I was enamoured with Star Wars as a kid. I'm enamoured with it now. It captured my imgination like nothing I had ever seen before or since. The universe that George Lucas created was not in a galaxy far far away; it was much closer to home than he ever could have realized and that's why I'm still hooked.
Luke Skywalker was a young man out of place, a guy that believed he was meant for something more but had no idea what that something was. He was unhappy with his situation and looked to the stars for his salvation.
He wanted to discover who he was and ultimately, what his purpose was.
Luke's story is the story every man lived as a teenager; the longing for something better, the desire to rise above everything and truly find out who you are and what you're meant to do with your life.
Luke's story took him to heights he could only dream of and kids like me took the journey with him.
I saw the original trilogy in theaters and while that's not surprising to anyone my age, it occurs to me that a whole generation only knows the last three movies. Episodes four through six exist for them only in books and DVD.
They will never know the fascination I had seeing the first films in original release, to feel the excitement of the audience around me and knowing that life was better for the experience. Star Wars opened up a world of possibilities and fun that sparked the imagination of every kid growing up during that time.
Now The Force Awakens is nearly upon us and the kids of that whole other generation will know what it's like to have their imaginations opened up like never before. Of course those kids are living in a world with iPhones, a device that looked as though it could have been used on the Death Star.
Hollywood has come so far in terms of CG and motion capture that at this point, nothing is impossible. The Avengers could never have happened in 1977, especially on the scale that Joss Whedon gave us. Now when we see Iron Man and company on screen, it's not really all that impressive when they battle just a villain or two.
Add in a couple thousand computer generated aliens and then we might be impressed.
We've seen countless planets destroyed time and time again in one big budget sci-fi movie after another, We've watched costumed heroes take flight in some of the most realistic flying sequences ever filmed. We've seen creatures that do not exist interact with actors in scenes that are so well done, you could swear it's actually happening.
Will Episode Seven even make a dent for these kids?
I want this film to succeed. More importantly, I want this film to be good. I want my seven-year old to be as happy and as captivated as I was 30 years ago and I want to see the mythology I grew up with expand and improve.
Just seeing the epic scope of the Star Wars universe and all the history it brings on the silver screen again is enough to bring a grown man to tears. Trust me, I'll probably be one of those men weeping when The Force Awakens hits theaters in December. But if this movie is truly going to stand out as well as erase all of the ridiculousness left behind from the last three, then the story must be on point.
Let's face it; it must be perfect. JJ Abrams knows what he's up against in terms of fan expectation. He knows he has to hit it out of the park and as lifelong fans like myself prepare for December 18, the hope is he can do just that.