I've rated this 10 out of 10 and I'm not even sure I can explain why but I'll try. I took my son (16) to watch this at the 11:15 IMAX showing on the Thursday 17th December, the first showing of the day, after raising him on Star Wars because I was such a huge fan as a child. He was born the same year as Phantom Menace and we have always enjoyed a Star Wars bond, as father and son
For him this has been a sequel he has been waiting for since Revenge of the Sith but for me, this has been 30ish years of waiting to know what happens next. You could say I was a little excited when I first heard Episode VII was in the pipeline but the past few weeks have been a constant buzz for me waiting for the release and Thursday morning especially I was like a kid at Christmas.
I avoided this forum for a few days before seeing the film and deleted facebook and twitter as I was worried about finding things out beforehand and I'm glad I did. Although the story is quite basic there is a lot that will come out now people have seen it and it could ruin peoples experience of the film.
If you haven't seen it yet and don't want any of it ruined, I would suggest avoiding social media and the internet until you've seen it, or just get to a screening ASAP.
Anyway, we got to the Printworks in Manchester and picked up our tickets for the 11:15 showing then went for some breakfast and couldn't stop talking about what may happen, what each character's role may be, how the original cast would play their part, what it would look like, sound like, etc.
We got to the cinema and it was like nothing I've seen before, the upstairs area for the IMAX screen was packed and the queues for not only the cinema but the drinks and popcorn were huge. Once we got into the auditorium you could feel a real buzz and after the trailers, when the rating and title STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS came on the screen, the whole audience errupted and began applauding. Right then I knew this was going to be what I'd hoped for and it didn't disappoint. The opening scroll and score took my breath away and I was almost in tears from the start!
I don't want to give anything away about the movie but there was enough humour, action, battles, force, and nods to the OT for any fan to be happy. About half an hour through the film my son nudged my arm and whispered "this is mint" and that was enough for me. Our journey was complete, yet we still had around an hour and half of the story to go.
As a fan, everything I needed was there. I smiled, laughed and welled up at numerous points of the film and I left with a huge grin on my face, which I still have now. We spoke about it the whole way home, and after we got home, and I've not stopped thinking about it since. It was a worthy sequel and worth the 30+ year wait.
Is it the best film I've seen? No.
Best Star Wars film? Definitely not.
Could it have been a better film? Probably.
Could it have been a better experience? I doubt it. It just really clicked with me and was everything I had hoped for and more and I just hope the next one delivers as much.
This is also the first film I have ever seen where the audience applauded the beginning and end of the film.
Since watching the film I have read opinions of people who didn't enjoy the film and expected more but one question I woke with after watching it is "Would George Lucas have made it any better?" and my answer is I honestly don't think he'd have made it anywhere near as good...
10/10, the force has awoken.