Reviewing a Star Wars movie is a bit tricky, do you just review it on its own merits or were it fits inside a cultural touchstone? Rouge One is a Star Wars movie the same way Balboa was a Rocky movie; you got the atmosphere, but it’s different than what you remember.

The first half hour of RO is a mess. I’m a low grad Star Wars geek and I was confused. But that might be the problem, looking for where it fit, and looking for continuatiy, instead of just watching. I’ll stand by the first half hour being a bit off though, b/c after that RO hits its stride and settles into an even pace, and a story arc of its own. The acting could be better, everybody looks like they are trying too hard, but the special effects are immersive and pleasing with one exception. The direction, writing and behind the scenes stuff is what you’d expect from Disney. And come to think of it (I’ve never written anything like this before), the sound was perfect; the Star Wars you have in your mind’s eye, better than the original.

We were almost all smiles afterward, and discussed the finer points of the movie. That’s a good sign, b/c after bad movies we end up talking about something else. With that said, I can’t give a wholesale, ringing, “everybody should go to the theater to see this movie” endorsement. It is the best movie in theaters right now, and needs to be watched, just don’t prioritize it over more important Christmas activities. I don’t really think I need to comment about bringing the kids, you know what you’re getting with Star Wars.

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