I saw Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope) for the first time with my family when I was 9, and that simple act had a profound effect on my childhood and subsequent life. Watching that movie pushed a lot of switches in my head into the 'ON' position; you can trace a lot of my current interests right back to that movie: history, weapons, religion, mythology, martial arts, air combat and so on. In fact, reading about how Star Wars was made is one of the things that made me a film buff in the first place.
The action figures and toys held no appeal for me, but I did spend my own money on the double LP soundtrack, and in reading the liner notes I learned how John Williams had patterned the score in a leitmotif, similar to Wagner. I didn't know who that was at this point, but the reference made me want to find out.
I read and re-read the novelization, and the comic adaptation, enjoying Luke's banter with his friend Biggs Darklighter, but even more importantly, the idea of this huge universe that had never heard of Earth, and was full of people and ideas and cultures and languages (6 million of them!) and its own history (what the heck is a clone war?). The sequels scratched those itches, but did nothing to abate my curiosity about this larger world.
The sequels I encountered in 7th and 11th grade did nothing to dissuade me, but the prequels did. I didn't mind the first one, especially as a children's movie, but the I found the second so disagreeable that I only saw Episode III just last year. And at that point, despite having spent 5th grade wondering if anyone could be a Jedi Knight AND a starfighter pilot, or could only Luke Skywalker do it, Star Wars became something I used to be into.
Even when I heard J.J. Abrams was making a new trilogy, following the events Return of the Jedi, I was able to maintain an aloof disposition. After all, Star Trek Into Darkness was no great shakes, was it? I was glad to see a sliver more diversity in the casting, and was gratified to see John Boyega from Attack the Block in a prominent role, but the return of the original cast actually left me cold, preferring to remember the Hero, the Princess and the Rogue as they were three decades ago.
I put the odds of my seeing the film in the theatre at no more than fifty/fifty.
And then I made the mistake of watching the trailer.
Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in...
Is it the sweeping vistas, or the glittering starfields? The updated, yet ominously familiar stormtrooper helmets? Possibly. But if it is anything, it is probably the one-two punch of seeing my all time favourite space dogfighter, the Incom T-65 X-Wing Space Superiority Fighter, blasting across a body of water so low that it raises a rooster tail in its wake, accompanied to that majestic John Williams score, still unequalled in the arena of heroic film.