PARIS: It’s been worth the wait. That was the verdict from critics Wednesday as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, one of the most hyped films of all time, finally opened.
After months of teasing trailers that raised more questions than answers, and a Hollywood premiere Monday from which the celebrity audience emerged smiling but sworn to secrecy, some of the franchise’s millions of fans finally got to see it for themselves.
And the first reactions were overwhelmingly positive.
“The Force Awakens re-awoke my love of the first movie and turned my inner fanboy into my outer fanboy.” wrote The Guardian’s critic Peter Bradshaw. “There are very few films which leave me facially exhausted after grinning for 135 minutes, but this is one.
“And when Han Solo and Chewie come on, I had a feeling in the cinema I haven’t had since I was 16: not knowing whether to burst into tears or into applause.”
Another British critic, Christopher Hooton of the Independent, was equally effusive. “This is the film fans were hoping for, and it’s an indisputable improvement on the abhorred prequels…
“‘The Force Awakens’ oozes the style and composition of the first trilogy, and will not look awkward stood next to your well-worn ‘Return of the Jedi’ DVD.”
Expectation had been high as the latest episode of the space saga opened in France, South Africa and several other countries.
“I woke at 4 am this morning and I have tickets to see it twice today,” said Antoine Gerber, who made a five-hour trip from his home in Alsace to the capital Paris to see the film with fellow fans.
Box office records are also expected to tumble across Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Morocco, where the film is also opening ahead of its US launch.
So keen are some American fans to see the seventh episode that a dozen have paid up to $5,000 (4,500 euros) to fly to Paris to see the film 48 hours before it comes out at home.