So I've been a Star Wars fan since I first saw Episode IV, back when I was six years old, in 1977. I remember sitting in the movie theater, and trembling a bit when Darth Vader force-choked Admiral Motti.
Okay, let's be honest. It scared me, so much so that I actually wet my pants. But I didn't say anything because I was both a bit ashamed and like really into the movie.
Anyhow, so years go by. I faithfully watch and absolutely love episodes V and VI. It all feels so bittersweet when episode VI ends, because, well, that's all folks.
Then, the prequels came out. I really wanted to like them. Episode I is, in a word, terrible. I wish I liked it. I don't. It crushed me a little, really.
I'm a fanboy. It's not a title I wear with even the least bit of shame. There's even a movie about some Star Wars fanboys on a mission to watch Episode I with their terminally ill friend. It's a hysterical movie which Spacey and I have watched together, because he's a fanboy too. (In fact, he is the one who introduced me to the film.)
Episodes II and III are okay. I don't mind them. But I don't watch them over and over the way I do the original movies. They don't speak to me.
When I first heard Episode VII, The Force Awakens was coming out, I had very mixed feelings. I didn't want to get hoodwinked. I'd sort of put aside my feelings of being let-down by the prequels, and developed a veneer of careful apathy.
I watched the trailers, but with a careful distance.
Then Missy, Marybeth and I got tickets to see it. In IMAX, in 3-D at the Air & Space Museum Extension over by Dulles Airport. I couldn't maintain my jaded, and let's admit it, artificial ennui anymore. I was hyped.
So we went.
And it was, in a word, glorious.
I felt like I was six again. I laughed, cheered, cried, made the appropriate ooh's and ahh's at all the right points. (No, I didn't wet my pants. Although if I'd prepared for it ahead of time, I could have done so comfortably. Maybe I need to get some tickets to see it again.)
I won't spoil any little bit of it for you. You should go see it.
People were nervous. Heck I was nervous. J. J. Abrams? Lens flare guy? I don't know...
But he did a great job. The movie bridges the franchise, so that a new generation of actors and stories can continue it.
I never really gave up on Star Wars. I was here waiting for it to be great again. And it is.
My friend Shokolada (who has mad google-fu), found this comic for me, which expresses my heartfelt yearning for, and reconnection to Star Wars so well.
It's like a ray of hope. (Shush.)