My Problem With Rogue One

Overall, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a pretty good flick. As the fourth movie in the series and the second in the past two years to feature the Death Star or a Death Star-like-doomsday-device, it had to separate itself from the others while still retaining that Star Wars feel. Mission accomplished. It’s a fun action-adventure romp full of fun characters, great action and a descent script.

It is, however, not a perfect movie. The first half is kind of a jumbled mess and there are plot threads that don’t really go anywhere. The re-shoots are very apparent as many of the moments and lines from the trailer don’t show up in the movie itself. The two main characters: Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor, are somewhat bland, despite the actors themselves giving good performances. But all of these issues could have been solved if the writers had made just one major change.

Jyn and Cassian should have been the same person.

What I mean is that the character of Cassian was not needed and all of his dialogue and backstory would make more sense coming from Jyn.

[ Spoilers Ahead ]

For instance, there is a line in the movie where Cassian says to Jyn: “I’ve been fighting in this revolution since I was six-years-old.” or something to that affect. Being that the movie opens with Jyn having her family taken from her and subsequently being brought into the revolution by Saw Gerrera at about six-years-old, this line would garner more sympathy from the audience coming from her, because we witnessed how it went down. Instead, it comes from a character that we hardly know, and at this point in the movie haven’t even decided if we liked or not. A line that could have been a sympathetic character moment just becomes expository background noise.

Having more characters in a story is a weakness if it means having to water down other characters. A movie is only so long and that means there is only so much time we get to spend with each character. The more we get to know and sympathize with a character the more [SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOILERS] tragic it is when they meet their demise. The more we, as the audience, would feel it and view, not just their death as a tragedy, but their lives. At the end of Rogue One, instead of feeling a powerful emotion for one character, our sympathy is split between the two of them and is far less potent.

The issue with the movie jumping back and forth in the beginning could have been solved by eliminating this one superfluous character. Imagine if the movie jumped from Jyn being a child to her offing some guy in an alleyway just for thinking about snitching. That one scene would have given her some much-needed character depth and shown the audience just how much she had grown and changed since we’d last seen the character. Instead, it is Cassian who does this in the beginning of the movie. When I saw that in the movie my only thought was: “who the fuck is that?” “Is he gonna’ betray everyone?” It left me with a bunch of questions then promptly jumped to the next scene. What could’ve been a badass introduction to a character that we were already invested in was wasted on a character that we didn’t know.

Combining these characters would have not only cut down on the confusion of the beginning of the movie, but could have eliminated some of the plot threads that went nowhere. Like Cassian’s attempt to assassinate Jyn’s father. How much more interesting would it have been if it had been her sent to assassinate her own father and had to make the decision of just how far she was willing to go for the rebellion? It also would have eliminated the confusing plot thread of Cassian having to find Jyn, so that they could find Saw, so that they could find Jyn’s father, so that they could find the plans to the Death Star. Not to mention eliminating that cheesy death fakeout then miraculous reappearance just in a nick of time at the end.

If Jyn didn’t have to split screen time with Cassian than not only would it have given the character more agency, but it would have allowed her to become the answer to the Mary-Sue that was Rae from the Force Awakens. It would have been nice to see a complex female hero on screen that made decisions and didn’t have to share her screen time with a counterbalancing male equal. With this one simple change a character that was passable could have become iconic and a movie that was good could have become great.

The moral of Rogue One is never have two characters where one will do.

Happy Veteran’s Day

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Veteran’s Day was made to remember and appreciate the sacrifices of the brave men and women whom have fought and died for this country, as well as those that still do.

Pre-Revolutionary War and just after, the American people were weary of the idea of a standing army. They feared that a military made up of career soldiers could be used by the government as a means to oppress the people. George Washington had to fight extremely hard in order to build and maintain a standing military that wouldn’t be seen as an oppressive force but as defenders of liberty.After WWII, the idea of the military as a force for good, as protectors of the great nation of America, was firmly established. Though that image has been tainted by the rise of the military industrial complex and the general ugliness of war, we should still honor and respect those who serve.

But it doesn’t stop there.

When I joined the army, I did so with the idea of protecting people and defending those that could not defend themselves. When you swear in, you swear to protect the United States from threats both “foreign and domestic.” That soldier’s commitment to defending the United States from foreign and domestic threats is something that we should all take to heart. As the threat of fascism, climate change, and war has come to our doorstep, we need to stand up and fight against it. This doesn’t mean taking up arms against the government (necessarily), but it does mean doing your part to fight injustice.

America is its citizens, not its government. If the government is out of touch with its citizens it is our RIGHT to reign it in.

The most important lessons to learn from our veterans are those of duty and sacrifice. At a time when our society is becoming increasingly individualist, we must remember that soldiers believe the opposite. They stand in unity and understand that it is a cohesive unit that accomplishes a mission, not an individual. Soldiers fight for everyone’s freedom by giving up their own. They commit to duty and know that while they may not live to enjoy the fruits of their sacrifice, society as a whole will benefit.

Being a soldier means trudging through the marsh, against enemy fire, against a hostile environment. And yet, the idea of turning back is never an option. They know that their mission is too important.

This veteran’s day, don’t just thank a vet for their service, learn from their duty and sacrifice. We can’t turn back now. The mission for justice, freedom, and life is too important.

Happy Veteran’s Day to all who’ve served and those that still do.

Why Millennials (Bernie Supporters) Are Refusing To Vote

This is the most important election ever! I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Hell, you might even have said that before. But that’s what they said the last time and the time before that. That’s what they always say. This election is no different than any other–and that’s the problem. Once again the election has come down to the two last demagogues standing, duking it out for the enrichment of themselves and their constituents. One of them is a racist and the other helped send millions of black people to private prisons for often nonviolent offenses. One has rowdy and sometimes violent rallies; while the other voted for a war that cost thousands of American lives, a million Iraqi lives, costed trillions of dollars, and destabilized the middle east–then did it again. One is a rich asshole and the other just works for them.

Oh, you’re still reading? Still not enough reasons why many millennials are not motivated to get to the poles this year? Okay.

Well, millennials are sick of this shit. We’re not just being told to vote, but told who to vote for. We can’t vote for Donald Trump for obvious reasons, but we can’t vote for Gary Johnson because he doesn’t know where Aleppo is (as if any of us is basing our vote one what is going on in Syria). We can’t vote for Jill Stein because she doesn’t exist. So, in other words, go out and Vote for Hillary Clinton or else. No one gives a shit whether or not you agree with anything that she stands for. If you vote for Trump the world will explode. If you go third party it will split the vote, resulting in a Trump victory thereby destroying the world, it’ll be all your fault. So fuck you, vote Hillary. You have no choice.

We’re onto the game and we’re deciding not to play.

The older generations don’t seem to understand why we feel no civic duty to uphold a system that has long been corrupted. They’re so used to not rocking the boat and going along and hoping for the best. They compromised and compromised until they had nothing left to bargain with and now find themselves feebly begging to hold on to what they’ve got left. Unable to imagine a better world, they’ve simply given up fighting for one, instead they’ve tied their fate too tightly to the maintenance of a corrupt system that continues to sell them out. They’ve learned to eat their shit sandwich and not talk with their mouths full, all the while closing their eyes and telling themselves it’ll all work out. And now they’re surprised and even outraged that we refuse to do the same.

It was the indifference of the previous generations that allowed wages to stagnate, benefits to disappear, prison to overflow, the ecosystem to be raped, and the wealth gap to increase. They passively participated in the electoral process without ever stopping to think about what exactly they were voting for; or what the agenda of these people they were voting fr actually was; or ever really demanding anything from those that were supposed to be serving them. That was the political climate that allowed for candidates like Trump and Clinton to thrive.

It’s easy for liberals to point out that it was the policies and campaign strategies of the right over the past five decades that paved the way for such a despicable candidate as Donald Trump. Their blatant racism, anti-intellectualism, bible thumping, and worship of the wealthy could only have culminated in a candidate of this ilk. However, liberals have trouble admitting that it was their constant compromising, backroom dealing and all around rightward movement that paved the way for Bernie Sanders.  Bernie showed that things didn’t have to be this way. Candidates didn’t have to accept big donations from large corporations and that we could talk openly about alternatives to the traditional way of doing things. He showed millions of millennials that they weren’t alone and did have a voice.

That’s why he had to be destroyed.

And now his supporters are being asked to switch gears and vote for Hillary lest risk the reign of Donald Trump. These are the same fear tactics that the right has been using for decades. Millennials aren’t falling for it. We’re refusing to be bullied or coerced into voting for someone with whom we fundamentally disagree on just about everything. I didn’t support Bernie Sanders the man, I supported his policy positions and that didn’t change once he dropped out. I didn’t suddenly become for fracking or TTP, two things Hillary is in favor of. Rather than voting for the lesser of two evils like good little team players, a lot of millennials are opting out and refusing to play the game. It’s a form of silent protest against politics as usual.

The image of the “millennial” as a twentysomething keyboard warrior, still living in his mother’s basement ignores the fact that a lot of us are well into our thirties. We’re battle-hardened veterans (some of us literally) who’ve seen some shit and done our homework. Sure, we don’t like Trump because of the things he does on television, but we don’t like Hillary for things she’s done behind closed doors; far away from any video camera, where she and her constituents, in the most undemocratic way possible, make decisions that affect the world. Voting for the lesser of two evils is no way to promote change. It’s actually proven to be a step in the opposite direction of progress. The first step in doing what works is to stop doing what doesn’t. That could mean voting third party or sitting it out altogether until we’ve repaired our broken democracy.

There was an episode of The Simpsons where aliens took over the bodies of Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, planning to get elected president in order to enslave humanity. At the end of the episode they are discovered by the horrified citizens. Now standing on stage, without disguises and with everyone aware of their evil agenda, one of the aliens arrogantly says “It’s a two-party system, you have to vote for one of us.”

No we don’t.

Who Are The Millennials?

We are the Information Generation

With knowledge at our fingertips

We can find out anything in just a couple of clicks.

Just open the page and type in the word.

We are the generation that made Google a verb.

We are the Connected Generation staying in touch with our friends.

Measuring our self-worth in likes, shares and trends.

Our smartphones at our sides at all times.

It is our right hand,  an extension of our minds.

We are the Lonely Generation that can’t find a date.

The Hookup Generation with no need for a mate.

The Educated Generation,  attending universities.

The In-debt Generation, still paying the fees.

We showed up and fulfilled are bargain

Followed your plan and learned all your jargon

We were told “through education we’d reach the peak of our powers”

That’s what you said, the idea yours not ours

Now they say we’re lazy, full of arrogant entitlement

because we search for jobs with healthcare and retirement

We are the Awareness Generation who’s been paying attention

watching our parents slave away in hopes of pension

What they got was laidoff, foreclosures and debt

They’re pensions blown away

In financial Russian Roulette

We are the Working Class Generation, just happy to be hired

toiling away hoping not to be fired

We are the warrior generation, post 9-11.

The deployed soldier,  The neglected veteran.

Scarred and scared still fighting a war with no end.

We are the Occupy generation that occupied Wall St.

All the while the police occupied us on their beat

We are the Tolerant Generation, politically correct

Still finding the way to show each other respect

We are the Millennial Generation, ready to embark

From all nations, colors and genders

A multicultural Noah’s Ark

So move over everyone, it’s time to take a bow

The millennials are here

And our time is now!