There’s a photo of me taken in 1996. I’m six years old, dressed in an "Aladdin" costume, and I’m assembling a model of the Millennium Falcon with my dad. And there’s a look in my eyes that’s hard to place. My dad’s playing along out of affection, (something he’d continue to do for the rest of his too-brief life) but I’m…somewhere else: on Dagobah or Tatooine or Hoth. At 6 years old, I’m transported to another world.

Which is to say, I had a lot of expectations when I sat down to see "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" (I am definitely not the only nerd to feel this way). This movie not only had to succeed as a film, it had to live up to my childhood imagination. Are you not familiar with the part in "Star Wars" where a young kid named Marc, who was really great at the force, piloted an X-Wing into the Death Star and totally beat Darth Vader in a lightsaber duel? Because I certainly am. The unfiltered daydreams of a youngling are a high bar to clear.

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer: It was good!

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is a fun movie. The casting’s perfect, the action scenes are exciting and fast-paced, the lightsabers feel physical in a way they hadn’t before. J.J. Abrams made a great choice in focusing on the themes of episodes I through VI ("Star Wars," from 1977 onwards, has always been an exploration of the limits of fatherhood). And there are scenes that stand with the best in the original trilogy. Rey’s scavenging on Jakku reminded me of early Miyazaki, the introduction of the Millennium Falcon is a blast, and Finn’s a genuinely funny character. The whole movie was funny, in fact. Funny and competent and joyful and exciting and…

…and yet.

I had pre-ordered another ticket to see a later screening. When I got home, I cancelled my second ticket.

There are certain fictional worlds that are easy to get lost in. I’m thinking of stories like "The Lord of The Rings," Harry Potter, "The Chronicles of Narnia," and yes, "Star Wars." All stories transport you, to an extent, but some stories do a better job of it than others. Regardless of the quality of the works themselves, each is a unique vision. They all function as an almost embarrassingly personal glimpse into its creator’s soul. That’s part of the reason they stick. These world-seeds (if you’ll forgive the terrible name) take mythologies we’re all familiar with and then filter them through a singular perspective.

With their conquest of the culture, it’s easy to forget just how weird the "Star Wars" movies actually are. They’re a bizarre mish-mash of samurai films, '70s-era hippie philosophy, westerns, Buck Rogers serials, World War II dogfights and the hero’s journey. There are eccentric touches: blue milk, the jazz band, Tatooine’s twin suns.

Even the prequels, which fail dismally as actual movies, are products of a vision. George Lucas may not be that great at dialogue, and he may not have directed the best "Star Wars" movie, but he is an auteur.

Every "Star Wars" movie until "The Force Awakens" was either terrible or amazing. Every single one. It’s a function of how weird and personal the films were; they stuck their necks out, they were either going to be extraordinary successes or extraordinary failures.

"The Force Awakens" was never going to be a great movie. Conversely, it was never going to be an awful one. There was too much riding on that. It had to make enough money for Disney. It had to please both nerds and people that don’t care all that much about "Star Wars" (which, if you’re reading this article, is probably not you). It had to reintroduce Star Wars as a brand rather than a vision. It had to be a fun, competent movie. And it succeeded.

I don’t mean to make light of that achievement. It’s a very difficult thing to make a movie, let alone a good one. And Abrams does a wonderful job of doing what I’ve been doing since I first built that Millennium Falcon with my father, playing with Lucas’ toys.

The original "Star Wars" has the quality of "The Lord of The Rings" and Harry Potter and all fables everywhere: it inspires stories. You feel like if you could tilt the camera a few degrees to the left, you could follow another character, experience another adventure.

It’s a quality that "The Force Awakens" tries hard to match, but I don’t know if it succeeds. Maybe I’m completely off-base, but I think you have to have an intensely personal vision to do that. You have to tell a story that might just alienate a few people. The only touchstones of "The Force Awakens" are other "Star Wars" movies, and that’s one of the many things that prevent it from truly taking off.

Now that (as a marketing flack would put it) the brand is revitalized, I hope the "Star Wars" universe can contain that kind of story. It’s not impossible, Episode VIII is being directed by Rian Johnson, director of "Brick" and "Looper," who seems incapable of making a film that isn’t uniquely his. If that doesn’t work out, maybe Disney will hand the reigns to someone who can put their own stamp on "Star Wars."

Until then, go see "The Force Awakens." It’s a good movie, one I wholeheartedly recommend. There will always be a part of me that’s 6 years old, dreaming of adventures as I sit next to my father. No matter who directs the films, no matter if I actually like them or not, that’s what "Star Wars" is to me.