I think this movie may have the same build up, in my mind, as TMP did...I remember going to that opening night and standing in that long line. Then watching the laser show that proceded it. Then the long view of space while they played the Ilya/Decker love song..and then that opening battle with the Klingons...all so great!!!!
I agree with you on that, for me, this has been very much like waiting for TMP back in '79. You're lucky though, here in Cleveland we had to wait until December 21 for the movie to open here. Matter of fact, I saw it exactly 19 years ago today, December 23. Brings back memories.
I hope that May 8 creates some new ones, all of them good!