I wish I could say I was blown away by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Instead I was — and this is going to sound odd — delighted with it.
You know that feeling you get putting on a favorite pair of broken-in jeans or when you look forward to a favorite cousin or uncle coming over a visit? Or maybe the sensation you get when you catch the scent of your mom’s cooking or baking?
That’s what my experience was like watching TFA in a Times Square theater in the wee hours of Friday morning with about 20 other fans.
It was that feeling of excitement and comfort to see the shimmering Lucasfilm logo appear and “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” and to hear the familiar chords of the “Star Wars” overtures we have come to know and love.
TFA did better than blow me away the way “Mad Max: Fury Road” did.
It instead stirred deep inside me the emotions and memories of a 12-year-old boy turned middle-age man.
In many, many ways, TFA represents a passage of time and of the torch (or should I say light saber?) to a new generation of actors and fans.
Seeing Harrison Ford (73!) and Carrie Fisher (59!) with their wrinkles and hearing their throaty not-so-young voices was a reminder that I am not a kid myself anymore.
But God! There was such a great joy in seeing them!
(Having just watched “Return of the Jedi” and Fisher’s infamous slave girl bikini scene, it is hard to believe it’s the same person! Carrie’s has had a hard go of it but I’m still carrying a torch for her.)
So, yeah. I cried at some parts.
And laughed out loud at others.
And jumped in my seat at yet others.
J.J. Abrams delivered the anti-prequels. TFA is, to borrow a phrase from a one-time leading “Star Wars” character: “Impressive. Most impressive.”
Without giving anything away, I must say that Harrison Ford is flawless and I think turns in his best Han Solo performance ever. And the lead actors — largely unknowns — were enthralling. The movie’s sense of humor was a wonderful, unexpected touch.
TFA is filled throughout with nods to its predecessors (prequels excluded). For “Star Wars” cognoscenti, there are ample callbacks to the first three movies that my generation grew up with.
And that is not a criticism. Abrams did not do that as cheat or a crutch. Instead he expertly renews past known relationships and builds new ones.
“The Force Awakens” is a stirring movie-going experience that harkens to familiar themes while introducing a host of new characters.
And for this 12-year-old boy in a 51-year-old man’s body, I could not ask for anything better.