Review: JJ Abrams breathes new life into ‘Star Wars’ with ‘The Force Awakens’

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Fans fly across globe to be first to see Star Wars.

With the world abuzz over the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens yesterday (Dec 16), even the White House spokesman was asked if President Barack Obama would be catching the well-reviewed installment of the space saga. “I don’t know if he’s had the opportunity to see it yet.From ‘storming’ the Great Wall with 500 troopers, and endorsing Chinese designers for a Star Wars clothing line and bag series, marketers did all they could to grab eyeballs. But having travelled 16 hours through the night from Las Vegas to see a film he could have seen back home at a preview the following day, it was too late now for regrets. “I know it is going to be great. Mr Obama is the first US president to have grown up in the 1970s, and was just 16 when the first Star Wars movie captured imaginations around the globe.

I am not even going there,” said the 37-year-old public policy consultant, one of more than 200 Star Wars fans to have crossed the Atlantic to see the film two days before its official release in the United States. ‘Most expensive movie ticket in history': One #StarWars fan spent “several thousand dollars” to fly to Paris to see #TheForceAwakens two days before its official release in the United States. The trio of heroes who appeared in the first of the blockbusters in 1977 — smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), leader of the rebel alliance, and her twin brother Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) — are all back and played by the actors that Star Wars first made famous. Disney, which bought the Star Wars franchise from its creator George Lucas for US$4 billion (S$5.66 billion) in 2012, went to extraordinary lengths to keep the prequel’s plot shrouded in mystery. Evidence of this can be found in orders for Star Wars merchandise in China, which Shanghai movie and comic merchandise retailer Wang Kai said makes up only about 10 per cent of that for movies featuring Marvel or DC heroes. “Star Wars may not generate as much interest in toy collectors compared to Marvel’s Avengers, DC’s Batman, these hero-related movies, They’ve been more successful because the characters have a deeper human interest appeal,” he said. “The Chinese are probably one of the most forward looking and open minded looking people as consumers.

Before they were marched off to the cinema by an honour guard of Stormtroopers to the sound of John William’s “Imperial March” — looking jet-lagged and a little embarrassed — Chinese-born Jun, who lives in San Francisco, said it had all been “worth it for the red-carpet treatment. Lois and David Tom, who are both in their sixties and who had also made the 9,000-kilometre journey from the Californian city, were beginning to feel the pace. Both were hoping they wouldn’t fall asleep during the two-and-a-quarter-hour epic. “That would be a real pity given the price we have paid,” they laughed.

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