A short time ago in an alternative high school classroom not so far away ...
About a month ago, Makowetski began to teach his students Greek mythology. His lessons included showing the class the first "Star Wars" film, "The Empire Strikes Back," and they plan to watch "Return of the Jedi."
After the movies, the class writes essays about how the characters and themes compare to Greek mythology. They also got to choose from a list of themes common to the space saga and mythology to create "Star Wars" collage posters.
"They are comparing Odysseus (the hero) in Homer's 'Odyssey' to Luke Skywalker," Makowetski said. "They all know the story (of Star Wars) and there's the new movie that opened."
"Stars Wars" and mythology have a lot of similarities, including heroes, the adventure aspect, good and evil and conflict, Makowetski said.
"As a literature teacher, I'm trying to get them to understand mythology."
Makowetski has used other modern stories before in his literature classes, but with all the hype surrounding the release of "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith," this is the first time he decided to apply George Lucas's creative genius in the classroom. The six-week unit on "Star Wars" and mythology ends in a few weeks, and the class wants to celebrate by going to see the new movie after school.
"Star Wars is like any myth you read in high school," said senior Nick Draeger, 17, who was not even alive when the first three movies came out.
"Star Wars is an epic that has lots of meaning. You can apply Star Wars to almost every event in your life." said Maria Galves, a 16-year-old senior.
"It makes it easier to break down," senior Lindsey Revier, 16, said about studying "Star Wars" to learn mythology.
"It's a lot more interesting than studying something out of a textbook. You get more out of it."
Draeger, Galves and Revier were sort of strangers to the Star Wars universe before they signed up for the class. Revier said she had only seen the movies once before.
All three of them agreed that the best episode in the saga is "Star Wars Episode IV, The New Hope," which was the first one released.
"It's been interesting," Makowetski said. "Here at Maple we can use an alternative approach. The kids grasp it."
Meanwhile, a 'how did you like the movie' sort of thing in the Des Moines Register notes inter alia:
Few were crushed, and many pointed to the cloud of evil hanging over the movie as the reason it ranks among the best of the six episodes.
For "Star Wars" fanatic Gay, "Sith" was the perfect bridge between the two prequels and the original trilogy. Together, she enthused, the movies will be remembered as among the greatest epic storytelling, in the same league as Homer's "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey."
"It's going to be something people are going to remember through a good part of human history," she said.