Warning, possible spoilers below, but by now you should have seen it if you want to see it, and they're only minor spoilers you probably saw in the trailers, so up to you.
During school holidays, I like to take the younger members of my family out, mostly to movies, though sometimes the gallery or the museum when there's something exciting on show. Once I took two nieces to the Abba exhibition at ACMI, on request. They had a ball and so did I. Max went with me to the Tim Burton exhibition and many more before he decided he was too old to be hanging out with his auntie Sue(he never said so, but somehow always has an excuse why he can't.)
Yesterday I took Rachel, my nephew David's younger girl, and about to celebrate her bat mitzvah, to see Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. We had about forty minutes before the movie started, so I took her for an iced chocolate and she told me that, actually, she hadn't seen the original Star Wars trilogy. This despite having a father and uncle who are huge fans! Heck, even her little cousins, Eden(6) and Jonah(4) have seen the original trilogy, which I gave Eden for his sixth birthday, at home with their Dad and uncle.
"But I've heard you don't have to have seen it!" she insisted.
Well no, not exactly. But most people at least know what Star Wars(now known as A New Hope) was about. She didn't. I told her that she could probably get away with it, but she would miss a lot of references to the original. (And that was true, by the way. When Han Solo made his wonderful first entrance and said joyfully,"We're home!" she asked me, "Who's that?") When the "garbage" spaceship in which the heroine, Rey, and her new friend Finn escaped was clearly the Millennium Falcon, she was not going to be excited with the rest of us.
I thought I'd better at least give her an outline, though she kept interrupting me with questions and asking about Jabba the Hutt, whose name she knew but not much else. She also knew that Darth Vader was Luke's father, though I told her that didn't become known until the second movie - and anyway, she didn't know who Luke was.
I had other interruptions, from the cafe proprietor, who was a huge Star Wars fan and intended to see the new film. He kept asking me questions I couldn't answer without spoilers for Rachel. Finally, I did tell him that the new movie went back to the spirit of the original and that satisfied him.
So, of course, she kept asking me questions every few minutes during the movie, thankfully in a whisper. Some I answered, others I just told her to keep watching and she would find out.
She had promised her older sister, Dezzy, to tell her where a favourite actor made his walk on, and she did spot it. When we met Dezzy later, she said, "He was in such and such a scene...and he died!" Little spoiler! Dezzy didn't seem to mind, though. She is seeing it with a friend next week.
It was interesting for me to see it a second time - I noticed things I hadn't noticed last time. And I noticed, again, how many British actors were in it, including one, John Boyega(Finn) who had to do an American accent for some reason, while his co-star, Daisy Ridley, got to be British.
I also realised how many things had changed since the original - for example, how many women were in it. There were female pilots among the Resistance and female Storm Troopers and officers on the other side, as well as female techs. Even the Yoda character was a woman. (And interesting to see a wise, elderly - er, bartender? Pub owner? - played by a young, stunningly beautiful actress under the CGI). And speaking of CGI, the Supreme Leader(think Emperor) was played by Andy Serkis, a veteran of wearing those suits with dots on them for the benefit of the SFX folk. He rarely gets to show his face - in King Kong, he played the title role but asked to gave just one scene as himself, so got to be the ship's cook as well as the giant ape. Well, he doesn't get to be himself in this either. ;-)
And I thought it interesting to see a multicultural/racial community on the desert planet, in the Resistance and among the customers at Maaz's pub(which made a nice homage to the original cantina scene, complete with jazz band), while the officers aboard the evil empire starship all seemed to be white and human - presumably not among the Storm Trooprers since the only one we saw without his armour was human and black, but he was one of the heroes of the movie, and whoever is under the armour, that is all uniformly white.
Come to think if it, it might be interesting to see a film in which a non human is the main character. Chewie is one of the main characters but in the end, he's not the hero and anyway, you'd need a permanent subtitle to follow what he's saying. He does get to make Han Solo squirm a bit with embarrassment in this movie, though.
Anyway, Rachel enjoyed the movie and promised to watch the original that evening. And on our way to lunch, we passed the cafe where we had had our drinks and the proprietor popped out to ask how it had gone. Fans!