PARIS/LONDON “Star Wars” fans rejoiced at the chance to see the much-anticipated next instalment of the sci-fi saga on Wednesday as the movie began hitting cinemas worldwide, winning mostly glowing reviews.
Donning Stormtrooper and Darth Vader masks, dressed in capes and holding lightsabers, fans young and old turned out for screenings of “The Force Awakens”, some queuing for hours to watch the first “Star Wars” film in 10 years.
Parisian movie-goers got in line before sunrise.
“It is a phenomenon which goes beyond the film itself, it is extraordinary … An event like this cannot be missed,” said Benoit Alix, wearing a Stormtrooper mask.
Most critics heaped praise on the film in the first reviews, published on Wednesday after an embargo.
“As the best ‘Star Wars’ anything — film, TV show, video game, spinoff, what-have-you — in at least 32 years, ‘The Force Awakens’ pumps new energy and life into a hallowed franchise in a way that both resurrects old pleasures and points in promising new directions,” The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy wrote.
Rottentomatoes.com, which collects film reviews from across the world, had found only three negative notices out of 113 covered by 1400 GMT.
The movie, which stars veterans Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill as well as many newcomers, has been shrouded in secrecy.
“I was brought up with (“Star Wars”), I was practically bottle-fed with it,” jedi-dressed Quentin Encina said in Paris. “I have loved it ever since I can remember,” added the 24-year-old.
“For ‘Star Wars’, a sequel is a must,” singer Tim Omaji said in Sydney. “The story can’t end, not yet and I’m excited to see where it goes.”
Eager movie-goers gathered early at London’s Leicester Square ahead of the film’s premiere in the British capital later on Wednesday.
“I love (that) they could gather all the stars from the original movies together because that brings us a sense that they are staying true to the story and I hope they can achieve that,” Louis, a Brazilian exchange student, said.
“The Force Awakens” opens in most countries this week.
(Reporting By Sophie Kinloch in Paris; Anastasia Gorelova and Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London and Jill Gralow in Sydney; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Andrew Heavens)