Tag Archive | Star Wars

Birthday Fun


We have a birthday coming up this week, and we’re heading out to a second showing of Star Wars as one of the birthday treats. It’s always a challenge to organise presents and parties for birthdays so close to Christmas, and it’s difficult to make them memorable, as they’re normally quiet, family affairs.

When birthdays fall during the ‘school’ week, though, it is nice as home educators to have the freedom to take time off from academics to go on outings, or just to chill out for the day.


I thought I would share this birthday memory from the Svengelska Hemskolan archive:

We’ve been gearing up for a birthday this week, so we have managed only to get very little formal ‘schooly’ work done. On Tuesday we received a CD of stories and nursery rhymes from a toddler-group we used to go to (produced and recorded by the group and the Library service), which proved to be really popular. It reminded me that we used to sit down everyday and have music-time with nursery rhymes and action songs, but we haven’t done it for a long while.

On Wednesday, the birthday boy got to choose all our activities, so we ended up watching “The Blue Planet” on DVD (one of his presents) most of the morning, and in the afternoon we went for a walk in Salcey Forest with a group of friends. The children particularly enjoyed running and jumping along the tree-top ‘Elephant’ walk and jumping in muddy puddles! (Mummy was slightly less enthusiastic!)


More recently, I have tried to re-introduce music time or circle time as part of our ‘Morning Time‘ (see Cindy Rollins’ lovely Ordo Amoris blog for details.) But right now all our music books (we love the books from A & C Black such as ‘Okki-Toki-Unga’ and ‘The Jolly Herring’ amongst others) are all in storage so I’m not sure what shape our music time will take from now on. Dragon-tamer has discovered that he loves the Beatles, so we may learn some of their songs to sing, just for fun. I remember learning ‘Yellow Submarine’ at school myself. Thank goodness for the internet! I don’t know how we ever coped without it!

John Carter or Under the Moons of Mars

john carter

Netflix has been suggesting we watch John Carter for a while now, so we finally gave in and checked it out as I have seen it has been mentioned a lot since Star Wars 7 and it’s easy to see why.

Disney films are so variable, you never really know what to expect with them. Apparently, the film – released on the 100th anniversary of the appearance of the main character, did rather badly at the box office, but considering the amount spent making it, it would have had to sell an unprecedented amount just to have made even. Well it isn’t awful at all in fact – there were lots of things I liked about it, and probably the thing that put us off watching it earlier more than anything was the lame name, and the fact that the leads seemed to be relatively unknown.

John Carter, a Victorian era American soldier from Virginia is transported to the planet Mars, (which the natives call Barsoom) which is populated by two races of people – the green Martians (Tharks) and the red Martians (Therns), the latter of a similar appearance to humans, but since John Carter is from earth, he finds he has supernatural ability to jump great distances on Mars.

"JOHN CARTER"..Sarkoja (Polly Walker)..©2011 Disney. JOHN CARTER™ ERB, Inc.

The Tharks were very nicely conceived – tall green humanoid aliens with 4 arms and tusks.

The Princess of the red martians, Dejah Thoris, wears a costume conspicuously reminiscent of Slave Leia (although the Disney version is far more modest than her comic book counterparts), and although she is a princess, like Leia, she is to be married off to the leader of the enemy to broker peace and so, unwilling, she escapes to the Thark encampment disguised as a soldier.


The gladiatorial scene also definitely echoes the second (?) Star Wars prequel.

john carter colosseum

Although the John Carter film was made in 2012, and the look of the film is clearly influenced by Star Wars in its various manifestations, let’s not forget that the book pre-dated the Star Wars saga by more than 50 years. In fact it has been suggested that the John Carter series was at least partly the inspiration for Star Wars in the first place.

Perhaps I wasn’t paying attention, or maybe it was all the interruptions with my son complaining all the way through about CGI, but I found it very hard to follow.

[It seems more fantasy than science fiction firstly due to John Carter’s ‘Conan the Barbarian’ look, and the fact that it is set on a fictionalised version of Mars (you have to suspend a lot of disbelief since we know it’s not M-class and there’s no atmosphere, none of which is explained!) The science fiction elements include an artifact which teleports Carter to Mars by unspecified means, and the Therns use flying ‘Helium’ ship technology.]

The film didn’t make me truly love it, but it was ok. I might like to watch it again to see if I can make more sense of it second time round, and I do hope that they do eventually go ahead and complete the trilogy it was originally intended to be.

What the film did do for me though is to make me want to read the book, which has the far superior title of “Under the Moons of Mars” (I’m sure it would have done much better at the box office with that title).

I really liked the fact that Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author, is one of the characters in the film as well, and in fact at the end of the film John Carter tells him, amongst other things, to “write a book”. Good advice!