PARAMUS, N.J. — The latest installment in the revered "Star Wars" film franchise debuted early and in grand fashion at AMC Garden State 16 in Paramus on Thursday evening.
The crowds were lining up an hour before the inaugural showing of "The Force Awakens" at 7 p.m., and many had high expectations.
"I've been waiting for this for three years," said Tenafly resident Tai Muito, who said he purchased his ticket "months" ago. "It is the most anticipated movie ever.
"I’m hoping it’s awesome. It’s hard to be better than the originals but I think it could be better."
Maplewood resident Charles Ezell said he wanted the franchise reboot to be reminiscent of the original films.
"I am very hopeful this movie will be more in the spirit of the original trilogy and that it will be gritty and fun and kid appropriate but also exciting and fast-paced and corny," said Ezell, who brought his young daughter Maya to see the film with him.
Other film-goers had tempered their expectations for "The Force Awakens," unsure if the J.J. Abrams-directed film could capture the aura of the George Lucas originals.
"I’m not going in with super high expectations," said Fair Lawn resident Tim. "I hear this takes place 30 years in the future but doesn’t sound exactly like what I know at all. It's totally different."
"But different isn't necessarily bad either," Tim's girlfriend Valerie opined. "JJ Abrams did really good stuff with 'Star Trek' so I am excited to see what he does with 'Star Wars.'"
Most people in attendance weren't concerned with being let down by the new film. They were just happy "Star Wars" was back on the silver screen.
"I'm not even going to let the thought enter my mind that I will be disappointed," Ezell said.
"This isn't my movie it is somebody else's vision," added Paterson resident Ken Hughes. "I'm not going to place unreal expectations."
"As long as they give me enough explosions and enough force, I don’t care."
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