You see, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an unlikely mash-up of three things I sort of love - Star Wars, Christmas, and Disney.
Alright, Star Wars hasn't always been kind to us - indeed, the prequels were like watching a loved one slowly be seduced and brainwashed by a weird cult. Fortunately, I had just enough latent love for the Original Trilogy that it carried me through the mire, but it has been touch and go at times. Even for a dyed-in-the-head zealot like me.
Christmas... well, it's Christmas. Again, hasn't always been kind, but more often than not it's the best bit of the year.
Anyone who whinges about the commercialisation of it can shove this up their chimneys: I work my backside off for 11 and a half months of the year. Spending an unnecessary fortune on presents and food is my reward, especially when the days are short and dark and depressing. I'm going to spend my Christmas day rolling around on a big pile of receipts, while spooning cranberry sauce and chocolates into my gob.
And they can continue to stick their fingers in their ears over the fact that most of the traditions we associate with Christmas - even the date, for pity's sake - were stolen from pagans.
Plus, let it now be known that I'm a big Disney fanboy. I was even a member of D23, their grown-up fan club. I love their movies, I love their theme parks, and while I accept that it's a big, money-making, corporate entity, at least the message they're pushing is driven by quality storytelling, and a certain wholesomeness. Frankly, I'd rather kids worship at the altar of Frozen than the Catholic Church.
When Disney bought LucasFilm, my gut feeling was that Star Wars was in safe hands. I'd believed that before, though, when George Lucas was in charge...
Anyway. The Force Awakens, yeah? I wish to talk about it. There may be slight spoilers. So read on at your peril, if you've not seen the movie.
It seems only right to me that a new Star Wars film - let's face it, the best Star Wars film for 32 years - should come out at Christmas. From the ages of seven to twelve, I rarely got much for Christmas, that wasn't Star Wars related.
My mum could afford the occasional action figure throughout the year, and I once got an X-Wing from Belgium when my dad returned from an Army trip (he later confessed he'd picked it up in Debenhams, because my mother had guilt-tripped him into bringing me back a gift). And I once saved up for an AT-ST walker. But Christmas meant ships, or playsets - and they could expand my Star Wars storytelling exponentially.
Not that my bedroom wasn't already one big playset. Pretty much anything in the house became part of the Star Wars universe. I had this wardrobe-shelving unit combo unit thing, which had a drop-down door that became a landing pad for spaceships. I got into huge trouble for turning a plant pot into the Dagobah swamp. I froze Han Solo in carbonite by placing him in a beaker of water, and putting him in the freezer.
Any other toy I had would be employed as a bit of Star Wars scenery, rather than what it was intended for; a Mastermind board game became the walls of the Cantina. Matchbox cars would be laid out to delineate the walls and corridors of an Imperial base. When my mum was given a huge box full of second-hand Action Man stuff, my excitement was solely about which parts I could scavenge for my Star Wars play sessions.
I never got people who didn't share my obsession with Star Wars, in much the same way that some people have a brain aneurysm when I tell them I don't support a football team.
I mean, why wouldn't you want to know every last bit of information about a galaxy that's so much more fun than the one we live in?
I still get irritated when I remember overhearing a toy shop mother suggesting her son spend his pocket money on a new "Star Wars Galactica" toy.
And I get utterly incensed when I recall telling a boy in the queue to meet Boba Fett that we'd know it was the real one if his armour was bashed-up... only to later hear him pass off my fanboy observation as his own; if you've not put in the work to love Star Wars, don't try and steal my passion for yourself. Little shit.
Going into The Force Awakens, I knew that my love for Star Wars would not have survived another bad Star Wars movie. I was tense, nervous...
And it wasn't awful.
As we now know, The Force Awakens is really, really good. And not even really, really good in the way that I told myself The Phantom Menace was, after I emerged from seeing that, bewildered yet certain that my lack of enjoyment was somehow my fault.
Obviously, I have a few quibbles about The Force Awakens - love is conditional after all. There's one shot that's horribly green-screen-y. The giant bad guy is wretchedly CGI, and moves around in that unnecessary way that most CGI characters do (what about a bit of subtly and stately stillness, Serkis? Did The Emperor's hologram in The Empire Strikes Back keep leaning towards the camera so we could see the quality of the make-up job?).
Plus, a few of the planets felt a bit too obviously somewhere in the UK or Ireland - right down to the overcast weather. But then, perhaps the woods in England are as exotic to overseas audiences as Redwood National Park was to me as a 12 year-old. I look forward to Episode VIII being set in a Cornish tea room.
I have no complaints. Star Wars is back.
The new characters are great - they all look like they're having fun... as opposed to the way the prequel actors all looked as if they were being held hostage, and forced at gunpoint to read a statement decrying Western involvement in the Middle East.
What makes it feel like Star Wars is the lightness of touch, and the attention to detail.
From subtle camera moves which evoke those from the original (see the way the camera pans around Rey's speeder, just like it did with Luke's landspeeder in A New Hope), to the mechanical clank and squeal of a heavy metal door, which brings to mind the noise of the entrance to Jabba's Palace (to me, that is simply how doors in the Star Wars universe sound...). The tannoy announcements on the Starkiller Base, the echoing of the chasm that Rey climbs down... all are pure Death Star.
These are all things that only a tragic old obsessive like me would pick up on, but for most people watching they'll be absorbed without them even noticing. The outcome is a successful recreation of the unexpected alchemy which made the original Star Wars into The Biggest Thing Ever.
And I still get needlessly irritated when lesser fans try to pretend they're something else. Such as the article I read online about the questions raised by The Force Awakens, which included speculation about Starkiller Base somehow having a connection to the Starkiller character in The Force Unleashed. Because, yeah, it's really likely that JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan had that non-canonical video game in mind when writing the movie...
I seethed, and nearly fired off an angry email to the editor.
Yes, I know. Alright? I know this isn't normal. I can't help it.
I do feel for George Lucas, though. He seemed a bit broken and depressed at the premiere of The Force Awakens. The grief the prequels got has clearly taken its toll on him, and selling the company he created has evidently not been easy; he's compared it to a divorce.
Yet, I don't think there was much about the Prequels that were cynical. Indeed, he was making the movies he wanted to make. He saw the Original Trilogy as hamstrung by the technology of the time, and wanted to go nuts with CGI, and on a much reduced level I can kind of relate.
It's slightly like Digitiser2000 compared to the original Digitiser; it would be all too easy to make this site a carbon copy of the original Digitiser, with blocky visuals and limited word counts, but I'm not the man to do that.
You've read Games of my Years: Digitiser was a product of adversity, both corporate and technological. I'm not in the same place I was back then, and I've no desire to pretend I'm back there. George Lucas could never make a classic Star Wars movie again, and you can't blame him for that. In most ways, The Force Awakens is far more cynical than the Prequels.
But it also happens to be a much better Star Wars movie.
I think George realised that it has to fall to someone like JJ Abrams, who loves Star Wars as it was. A fan, who would relish the chance play with the best action figures and playsets in the world, and enjoy obsessing over the detail that he recognises as Star Wars.
And thank the maker he did.