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Thursday, 16 May, 2002, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Fans in orbit over Star Wars
Fans at a cinema in Las Vegas
Some fans went to screenings in costume
Star Wars fans have given the latest episode in the film series mainly ecstatic reviews after it hit cinemas around the world on Thursday.

Many enthusiasts queued for midnight screenings, while hundreds of thousands of others have been to see Star Wars: Episode II - The Attack of the Clones during the day.

Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman
Some people criticised the quality of acting
Hundreds have given BBC News Online their verdicts - with many proclaiming that it marks a return to form for the Star Wars series.

They outnumbered those who were disappointed and said it did not live up to the standard of the original trilogy, criticising its acting and dialogue.

"It's no Empire Strikes Back, but thankfully it's no Phantom Menace either," wrote one fan, Chris Diamond, from Scotland.

"George Lucas is back to his best and keeps you glued to the screen throughout," according to Alex Goldsmith, from London.

"Apart from a couple of dodgy moments, the film totally recovered all its old fantasy qualities. The Force is certainly strong with this one," said Joe Franklin, from the UK.

Fans outside a cinema in Newport Beach, California
Many queued for hours, days and even months
But others were not so generous.

"Having stayed up late to catch this sci-fi nonsense, I can confirm this is twaffle of the highest order," wrote Victor Stetson, in the UK.

Thousands of fans turned out for screenings in the early hours of Thursday to become the first members of public to see the film.

Cinemas in Europe, the United States, Australia and Asia laid on special screenings from midnight.

The first people to see the film were in the Pacific nation of Guam, where two sold-out cinemas held showings at 00:01 local time, 17 hours ahead of Los Angeles.

Some fans in the US had been camping outside cinemas to secure their places at the front of queues for more than five months.

Many more flocked to see it on Thursday, with some companies organising trips for workers.

A recent survey suggested thousands of employees would call in sick so they could go to the cinema on the day of release.

Box office records

Analysts are waiting to see how many fans see The Attack of the Clones over the weekend.

But they do not expect it to break the US box office records recently set by Spider-Man.

Georga Lucas with C3PO
Georga Lucas has has admitted Episode I was a disappointment
The release comes three years after The Phantom Menace disappointed many hoping for a repeat of the success of the original three instalments, released between 1977 and 1983.

Despite The Phantom Menace's critical drubbing, it became the third most successful film ever, earning nearly $1bn (£690m) at the box office.

Some fans went to early screenings dressed as characters from the film - and the head of a behavioural studies centre has described such people as a "human phenomenon".

Dr Michael Nuccitelli said the film series has become a hobby that people can share - and that is healthy.

"If they are not suffering negative consequences, It's not a problem," he said.

Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen are among the stars of the new film.

The BBC's David Sillito
"25 years on... and it shows no signs of flagging"
Is Attack of the Clones the best Star Wars film yet?



8695 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Behind the camera

The fans

The verdict


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