Yes, despite the mountains of coverage, oodles of fan web-sites, and millions of fans dying for a taste, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is simply a movie. Yet, for fans such as myself, who plan on being there at the first showing on May 19th, it will be the culmination of sixteen years of anticipation. Over the past two years, where it became a reality that this film would actually be made as opposed to merely an arbitrary rumor, something became clear to me. My excitement about May 19th is not about seeing the movie, nor is it about laughing out loud as it (hopefully) obliterates every box-office record known to man. My anticipation is not about the hope that the movie will actually live up to my expectations, because I know that it can not. Although all of these things will likely give me great bliss in the coming weeks, my 'joy' is something such simpler.
I have realized that I am most excited about my own anticipation. It is the thought of my own excitement that gives me the most amusement. It is the conversations that I have with friends and family about how good it might be, how much money it will make, or how we plan to get tickets at soon as possible. It is the feeling of near-giddiness that comes over such fans when we talk of how much fun it will be to be there with hundreds of people such as ourselves.
The best part of the evening, or morning, will not be during the showing of the film. No, the highlight of the evening will be thirty minutes before starting time, when everyone is in the theater, as four hundred or so die-hard fans chat, laugh, scream, dance about in total, pure joy. Then, as the previews end, and the 20th Century Fox logo appears on the screen, followed by the Lucasfilm logo, and then, followed by the immortal words, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, it will be over. Then, there will be no mega-hype or frenzied anticipation. There will only be the film, itself.
To those who say that I am overreacting, you are probably right. I would argue that it is no different than the annual frenzy over the Super Bowl, or the bi-annual hype associated with Winter and Summer Olympics, but that would be beside the point. The point is simple. For those who don't care about Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, fine. I think no more or less of you because of it. Just know that in the coming weeks, fans like myself will have one more thing to talk about and one more thing be happy about. That's all that matters to me.