Anything good in the theaters?

That title is, in fact, a joke.

At the risk of of sounding like a totally pathetic fanboy geek loser, I can say with certainty that no single movie has had a more profound effect on my life than the original Star Wars.  I’m a tad young to remember the first time I saw it (I was three when it was released).  I don’t think admitting that makes me any less of a fan; in fact I think it goes to show that the Star Wars movies have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

As an adult, I can look back at the movies and cite all the artsy-fartsy intellectual reasons for loving them:  the way that George Lucas wanted to re-create the spirit of the old movie serials; that he wanted create modern fairy tales; the ways in which he incorporated Joseph Campbell’s definition of the hero; the ways in which Lucas created the “lived in” sci-fi universe.  These are all valid and true strengths of the movies.  However, I fell  in love with these movies as a kid and I’d like to look back on them with the wonder of a child if I can…

Star Wars is just plain fun, period.  It introduced me to outer space.  It made me decide the first two things I wanted to be when I grew up: an astronaut and later a film maker.  As I’ve said elsewhere on this blog, Star Wars taught me how to dream.

That brings us to today and the release of the latest entry in the Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens. This movie has been highly anticipated since Disney announced they were purchasing Lucasfilm three years ago.

Star Wars was like rocket fuel for my imagination; whether it was through the colorful action figures, play sets and vehicle, or through the role-playing toys, like lightsabers. For roughly five years, Star Wars was the driving force (no pun intended) of my childhood. Simply stated, I ate, slept, played and dreamed Star Wars. In fact, the first two things I ever “wanted to be when I grew up” were and astronaut, then a film maker; all thanks to Star Wars.

No one is really sure what to expect, although director JJ Abrams has promised a movie with more “traditional” special effects; unlike the CGI heavy special effects used in the “prequel trilogy”. Disney is also promising multiple new movies, reinvigorating the franchise.

Personally, I’m not setting the bar too high for these new movies. Like a lot of fans, I was let down by George Lucas’s prequel trilogy. However I think it is important to remember that the original movie set the proverbial bar very high for film audiences. Anything less than the pop culture phenomenon that the original movies became will be seen as a let-down. Also, I think it’s important to remember that Star Wats was really made for kids. There’s no way it can hold the same sense of wonder for adult-Rob that it did for kid-Rob.

I will say that if any studio was going to take over the Star Wars franchise, I’m glad it was Disney. After visiting the “Star Tours” ride at Disney years ago, I thinking the Star Wars saga is in good hands.

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