May the Force (Awakens) be with you…

We are just a few days away from the most anticipated movie in a franchise in decades.

I am talking, of course, about “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip.”

Ha! Little nervous humor there. Like any good 40-something, I cannot wait for my Christmas to come early this year, when the latest Star Wars movie hits theaters. I have not been this excited for a new Star Wars movie since the last time they rebooted the franchise, with the oft-maligned prequels.

I had a similar anticipation for those movies, and while they weren’t exactly the same caliber as the original trilogy, I don’t hate them with the white-hot intensity some do. The main reason for that: Yoda.

When “The Phantom Menace” was re-released in theaters in 2012, I took my son and nephew to see it. When Yoda appeared on screen — in particular when he busts out his lightsaber and a heaping helping of green Jedi fury — I watched a 7- and 9-year-old experience the same thing I had years ago. All the Jar Jar hate in the world can’t take away the image of seeing two little boys experience big screen Star Wars awe for the first time.

And so here we are again, wildly anticipating the next chapter. And 43-year-old me feels like 8-year-old me all over again. Is it a little silly for me to be this excited about a sci-fi movie? Probably. But I don’t care. So a few thoughts as we bide our time waiting for Dec. 18:

  • My kids are excited about going to see the new movie and asked if we could do a marathon viewing of the earlier movies. I said that we could, but we’d probably just skip the prequels because, you know, Jar Jar. Then I realized why no longer having brick and mortar Blockbusters around is a bummer. You can’t rent Star Wars anywhere. You can buy it online for $20, but that’s about all I could find. So, one day when they are grown, my kids will get to share the story of how their dad showed them the original trilogy by stringing together YouTube clips.
  • I still have all of my Star Wars toys, and have passed them on to my son. They are in rough shape, especially the greatest Christmas present I ever got, the Millennium Falcon. They are not in rough shape because of my son. They were in rough shape when he got them, because I played the heck out of them when I was a kid. Anyone who kept their Star Wars action figures in the packaging to preserve them should not be allowed to go see the new Star Wars movie. In fact, if you are my age, I think you should have to present one busted up action figure in order to be admitted. (“Here’s a one-armed Lando Calrissian. If that doesn’t work, here’s a C-3PO I spray painted blue, and a Darth Vader with a plastic martini sword glued to his hand.”) If you are a kid with action figures and a Millennium Falcon, you need to play with them. And make the “pew pew” noises.
  • My Chewbacca and Yoda impressions are strong, and my wife will undoubtedly have to endure a larger number of them than usual this week. Please keep her in your thoughts.
  • Anyone who posts spoiler information online is a bad person and hates good things. I’ve never quite understood why ruining surprises in a movie is fun for some people.
  • I don’t particularly like it when movies in a franchise make cheeky references to previous movies. That said, if somebody doesn’t “have a bad feeling” about something in the new movie, I will be disappointed.
  • When “The Phantom Menace” came out the first time in theaters in 1999, I went to a midnight showing with some friends. I did not have kids then, and thus I will not be doing that this time. It’s not that it’s too late for me. Rather, I don’t want to endure the next day with two grouchy kids who didn’t go to sleep until 3 a.m.

So my fingers are crossed that the new movie will live up to the hype that we had for the first reboot. Even if it falls more into the prequel camp than the original trilogy in terms of quality, at least I will be heading back into the Star Wars universe again on the big screen. If you are not a Star Wars fan and just don’t get the hype, that’s fine. You like what you like, and I’ll like what I like. And may the Force be with you.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Charleston. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.

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