June 17, 2015 9:55 AM EDT

Reaction was mixed in China following the debut of the original Star Wars trilogy—nearly 40 years after it first made a splash for Western audiences.

Some fans who had only seen the movie on television screens praised the theater experience. “It looks better on the big screen,” Joy Han, a fan who took the day off to see the movie, told AFP. “This is the first time for China.”

One viewer praised visual effects that were ahead of their time but criticized the characters and the actors who portrayed them. “The character design is weak, the leading actress is not beautiful, the leading actor is not handsome and action scenes are like children fighting,” filmgoer Xiaosi Buxiang wrote on social media site Douban, according to the Guardian.

Another social media poster suggested looking at the film through a “comparative perspective.”

“In 1977, the United States already had such stunning imaginative creativity and movie special effects, while China had just ended the Cultural Revolution period and its people had just emerged from a dark era,” a poster called T-maxdo wrote.

Despite mixed reaction, the film generated buzz for the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens later this year. Douban alone received more than 35,000 comments on the movie.


Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com.

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