11/17/2005: And yesterday in "Reel Thoughts"....
James Berardinelli addressed the important question: In what order do you watch all six episodes of Star Wars (now that you own all 6 on DVD, right)? (If you chase that pointer, scroll to the entry for November 16, 2005.) Berardinelli's answer (with which I agree):
My advice, as it happens, is the same as Lucas'. Yes, there are issues with watching the films in the order of I, II, III, IV, V, and VI - namely in the realm of special effects and production values. Lucas can "dress up" Star Wars all he wants, but it still looks more primitive than Revenge of the Sith. But will an 8-year old being exposed to Star Wars for the first time notice? Possibly. Will he/she care? Less likely. The problem with showing the movies to a child in production order is that it will be confusing. Why show the story out-of-order when it can now be shown from start to finish. Children, even bright ones, don't do well with non-linear storytelling. Why needlessly complicate matters? When they're old enough to understand, you can explain the ins-and-outs of why IV, V, and VI look a lot different that I, II, and III.
For my part, I would love to find a block of time when I could watch all six movies back-to-back. It could be done in one day. But finding the time is the problem. I remember back in the early 1990s when I had a ritual on the day before Christmas that involved the original trilogy, which I owned on laserdisc. I had a half-day at my "day job," which left the afternoon free. So I came home, ate lunch, then watched Star Wars and Empire. After dinner, I finished it off with Return of the Jedi, Ewoks and all. Good luck finding that kind of free time today.
Bottom line: watch the movies however you want. But if you're introducing a virgin to the series, stick with the sequential order: I, II, III, IV, V, and VI. If nothing else, after Episodes I & II, you can rightfully claim that the best is yet to come. And kids generally like the Ewoks, so they won't be as bothered by VI as I am.
Len on 11.17.05 @ 12:33 PM CST