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PARIS/LONDON (Reuters) - Donning Stormtrooper and Darth Vader masks, dressed in capes and holding lightsabers, fans young and old turned out for the first screenings in France, Germany, Australia and Britain of "The Force Awakens," some lining up for hours to watch the first "Star Wars" film in 10 years.
Parisian moviegoers got in line before sunrise and many came out of the movie ecstatic.
"As soon as we saw characters appear on screen from previous films, like R2-D2 or Han Solo, everyone started clapping and starting to scream. It was really a magical atmosphere, really exceptional. Especially for me because it is the first time I have seen a 'Star Wars' film in the cinema because I am too young to have seen the previous films," said young fan Adam Voutina, who was dressed as Princess Leia.
A group of American fans traveled specially to Paris to catch the movie a day ahead of its release in the United States on Thursday.
"There's a couple people that are envious, that we're able to see it, 'What? One day earlier than us?' I get some bragging rights," said George Rhoten, who is part of the South Bay Star Wars fan club in San Jose, California.
For Elliot Smith, who works for video game company Ubisoft in San Francisco, the movie was a chance to relive cherished memories.
"I wanted to be a Jedi growing up. I was like, 'Oh, man, if I practice really hard and train, maybe I can move things with my mind.' That sounds really nerdy, but that was probably my favorite memory," Smith said.
In Berlin, a seven-meter-high (30-foot-high) replica of an Imperial TIE fighter was placed outside the Zoo Palast movie theater.
"It is really special, to finally have a 'Star Wars' premiere again, and I had to be here as a fan," said Berlin fan Felix, who was dressed as a Stormtrooper.
Critics heaped praise on the film in reviews published on Wednesday after an embargo lifted that was aimed at avoiding spoilers and after years of secrecy over the plot.
Rottentomatoes.com, which collects film reviews from across the world, had found only four negative notices out of 132.
"For 'Star Wars', a sequel is a must," singer Tim Omaji said in Sydney. "The story can't end, not yet, and I'm excited to see where it goes."
Reporting By Sophie Kinloch in Paris, Anastasia Gorelova and Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London and Jill Gralow in Sydney; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Jonathan Oatis