“Uranium Rabbit Hole” | Nerd Rage #187

Uranium Rabbit Hole : Nerd Rage #187

From John McCain, to perpetual offense, to beauty and the creative spirit, we plummet into the rabbit hole this week!

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FFXIV Selections III

It’s the midpoint of Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood’s life, so it’s about time for me to add to the playlist! …Which I actually did four weeks ago or so, but who’s counting?

“Penitus”

I’ve mentioned before that I tended to gloss over A Realm Reborn’s soundtrack; I simply never found the game particularly engaging until the story-telling improved. Between that and the fact that my first run of this dungeon saw me get held up by watching a cutscene and subsequently getting lost, I never paid much attention to the music. Indeed, the music may be the only redeeming quality of a long, draggy dungeon. From bombastic brass to haunting vocals, Penitus is evocative and a fine final dungeon theme.

“Steel Reason”

A holdover from Final Fantasy XIV’s 1.0 era, Steel Reason is another tune I kind of tuned out. It wasn’t until mid-Heavensward when I really started to listen to it. I honestly want to say that the aspect of this song that stands out the most to me is how unique it feels. In a world of swords and magic, Nobuo Uematsu did a fantastic job of capturing the feel of fighting foes that wield advanced technology, from guns to armored walkers. Yet, it remains upbeat, as though even foes far above you can still fall.

“For the Sky”

For a change of pace, this is a theme I loved from when I first heard it. For the Sky perfectly captures the feeling of this time in the game’s story. When you have almost nothing, banished in a strange, war-torn land, still you drive forward.

“Even in our lowest low, we could cling to one thing: hope. Hope and the will to see our hopes realized. So did we enter Halatali, determined to save him, driven by the hope that, despite everything, there was still a chance to salvage this.”

“The Measure of His Reach (The Royal Menagerie)”

“Oh come ye wayward brothers,

bereft of hearth and home.

Beneath yon burning star there lies

a haven for the bold.”

This might be my favorite version of this song. I’ve always been a sucker for orchestral arrangements and this one is no different.

“Wayward Daughter”

I’ve always been fond of this style of music. There’s something about the haunting female vocals that arrest me. The song fits perfectly with its fight: it is face-paced without being too upbeat, somber without being too depressing. A fitting theme to end a tragic and wicked life.

I suppose I’ll be back in a few months to give the music one last look before 5.0’s launch…

Tomorrow

“Live like there’s no tomorrow.” That’s how it is these days, right? You may be here today, but you may not be here tomorrow, so live like only today exists and will exist.

As a sentiment, it sounds nice. It is very easy to waste one’s life, to come to the end of it all and realize you did almost nothing. In that sense, to cry “carpe diem” and live is not such a bad way to go through life.

How does that manifest, though?

How many people, in their quest to live, instead waste their lives by pursuing the dangerous and the unhealthy? How many live to party, spending all of their free time drinking and sleeping with as many people as humanly possible? How many people jump from thrill to thrill, never satisfied, always seeking the next “adventure” as long as it’s loud and exciting? How many, in their quest to not be dull and uninteresting, take innumerable risks?

And how many end up not having a tomorrow, not because of happenstance, but because of their own decisions?

The problem with living like there’s no tomorrow is that there is a tomorrow. More often than not, we will live into that tomorrow and we shall have to live with the decisions of yesterday. We shall live and discover, one day, our quest for cheap thrills has led to addiction. To disease. To sorrow.

A few won’t see that tomorrow, it’s true. But what about the people that will? The people that loved the lost, that were with them? The people that must endure tomorrow without them? Time does not cease when we do.

Of course, that will not be everyone, probably not even most. Not all decisions are reckless, not all are bad or even (inherently) negative. Yet, when you have spent your entire youth chasing adventure and thirty rolls around and you have built nothing at all…what does tomorrow look like then? What does tomorrow look like when you suddenly have to start building what people a generation or two ago had established in their prime?

There is a tomorrow. Tomorrow matters. You may not want to think about tomorrow today…but today will not last forever. Is not today best spent preparing for tomorrow? Is it not better to carry ourselves with dignity and grace, with honor, instead of sacrificing these ideals in the quest for an ever-greater youthful high?

Indeed, there is never not a tomorrow.

How we choose to live will influence the ultimate tomorrow, the tomorrow without a tomorrow: eternity.

If we choose to live life like there are no consequences, we will discover there are. If we choose to live like nothing matters, we will discover that everything does. If we choose to live without Christ, we will discover He was there the entire time and that it is now too late.

The featured image for this is the empty tomb because Jesus walked out of His tomb to ensure we would have a tomorrow worth living for. He walked out to ensure that tomorrow would not be one full of suffering and fear of the unknown. After all, for the world at large, tomorrow can bring nothing but decay and death and, for that reason, one can fully understand living like it won’t come. But it will. And two thousand years ago, Jesus made a way for tomorrow to be worthwhile.

The Greatest Gifts

Note: This is a post adapted from yet another Dixon’s Musings post.

In light of the many miseries of the world, many often wonder where God factors into all of it.  We wonder why God allows evil men to walk among us, men who seek to slaughter, to destroy.  In a world where earthquakes rend the land and tornadoes tear up the very foundations of the places we call home, why does God not let the Earth lay at rest?  Does He even care at all?

If He is all-powerful, why doesn’t he stop all of the disasters and cruelties of the world?

It goes back to Eden.  When Adam partook of the fruit, he did more than simply sin, he did more than simply curse us.  Something that is all but forgotten these days, with the rise of secularism and naturalism, is the presence of the supernatural. All the things that we do influence the supernatural and, likewise, the supernatural seeks to influence us.  When Adam chose to disobey God, he didn’t merely do a bad thing, like a child who has fibbed or a dog who pooped on the carpet. He surrendered the world to Satan. His choice gave power to Satan to dominate and corrupt the world.

This begs the question of why God doesn’t use his unlimited power to simply stop Satan? If He is truly so strong, and the devil His own rebellious creation, why doesn’t He just say “Stop!” and put an end to it all?

For reasons beyond our understanding, it seems that God has “rules of engagement” of some form in place on Himself.  These rules seem to give Satan some degree of freedom to sow chaos where he wills (before he is finally sealed away as foretold in the book of Revelation) without interference from God. This is best exemplified in the book of Job, where the Lord allows Satan to do what he wills to Job. God then uses Satan’s depredations to show the importance of faith and the value of His promises.

Naturally, the Lord doesn’t violate these restrictions, either. He would have no grounding on which to command us to follow His commandments for our own lives. It would make God hypocritical and inconsistent to violate His own laws, thus nullifying everything in the Bible.

Yet, God refused to leave us at the mercy of a being who seeks to corrupt and destroy us, to sunder us from the One who created us.  At first, His grace and mercy was largely reserved for his people, the Hebrews. The world was wicked and corrupt, and very often not even His chosen people obeyed him. He created laws and rituals for them to obey, but the task was insurmountable for mere men.

Then Jesus came.

Once before, God had given up on humanity.  Were it not for the righteousness of Noah, all of the world would have perished.  Yet God did not destroy us and our future.  Furthermore, He set in motion a greater plan, one that would not bring about destruction, but salvation.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, KJV)  After thousands of years of separation from him, God gave us all the means to return to Him,  He gave us a way to be absolved of our sins, to know that there is more to our lives than misery and the fear of the unknown.  To know that there is more to the universe than what we see before our eyes.

Despite our flaws and our failings, God loves us still.

Yet, Jesus’ coming is not the only proof of God’s love.

When God made us, he made us rational beings.  He gave us the ability to think and make decisions.  More than that, however, He gave us the freedom to make choices.  He gave us free will.

Our God made us free people.  He saw no purpose in forcing us to follow him, as if we were machines.  He saw no need to make us slaves to his will, compelled to act only as he saw fit.  Surely there are consequences for our actions; to sin and be in rebellion against God will lead us to an eternity none of us can fathom.  However, the existence of consequences does not make the freedom that choice grants us any less wonderful.

The fact that a God who could do anything opted to allow us to freely choose him may very well be the greatest gift of all.

So, yes, the world is broken.  There are griefs and miseries innumerable in the world.  It is also a world of beauty, a world with a savior.  A savior who would have never come had a loving God not willed it.

Merry Christmas all!

Crassness in the Wake of Tragedy

Like everyone else, I woke up to the horrific news of the shooting in Las Vegas today. Before we even knew how many shooters were involved or how many casualties there were, the internet was inundated with the hottest of hot takes – spurred in many instances by even hotter tempers. 

As the day wears on, we all are left to sift through the deluge of information and opinion in order to find answers. Most of us are still waiting, but we have managed to check on our friends and family members in the area. Some of the news we’ve received, personally, has been a great relief, but some of us are grieving and hoping that modern medicine will find a way to make our loved ones whole again. While news and opinion pieces rush out into the web at the speed of type, for many people the world has ground to a screeching halt.

It is always at times such as these that you can count on two sureties: there will be an outpouring of compassion and prayer, and there will be those using the tragedy to elevate themselves. 

It goes without saying that any shooting will be politicized aggressively and immediately. Before we have even the slightest clue what kind of weapon was used or how many laws were broken to acquire said weapon, there will be those demanding more laws, standing on the still warm bodies of the victims and demanding “justice” by means of “doing something.” It’s an easy position to take, bolstered by shock and emotion. It will inevitably elicit the kneejerk response of “terrorism” and “mental illness,” as if a perfectly sane person could never choose to do evil. 

While politicizing a tragedy is crass and crude and cheap, it is perhaps in some small way slightly more altruistic than the other kind of sneering in the wake of tragedy – that of the atheist.

I was not surprised but still disappointed to see responses to the call for prayer in the aftermath of the shooting were mocking and snide. A simple post on Facebook, which did not name a god or religion, devolved into the most vile attacks on people of faith. 

As a Christian myself, I have often asked for prayer during difficult times and sometimes my atheist or agnostic friends will instead offer “positive energy and good thoughts.” This does not offend me. It’s wonderful that they care enough to think kindly toward me, and I believe they are closer to conversing with God than they realize. 

Hannah was presumed to be drunk because her grief over not conceiving made her prayer more the sound of silent agony and thought than a clearly spoken appeal to the Lord. If someone is sending positive energy, God hears the desire of their heart. Is that not better than apathy? Is it not a thousand times better than condescension?

I’m not saying we must agree on the politics or see eye to eye on religion, but in the wake of something so terrible is it asking too much to simply hold our peace and give our thoughts to the victims rather than puff ourselves up with our own importance? Especially when people are offering thoughts and prayers for those affected and grieving, can you not accept that putting positive energy out into the world is better than sneering at the efforts of those who would? What has your condescension and pride done for the victims, and how is it any better than a solemn and sincere offer of prayer?

Clearly we are not lacking the sort of characters who would look down on their fellow man as a thing deserving contempt. That is, after all, what started this mess.

The Music of Stormblood

Spoiler warning: Though it has been about a month since Stormblood’s release, it feels prudent to place this here….just in case someone reads it.

It actually took a long time for me to warm up to Final Fantasy XIV. It’s not that I thought the game particularly bad at the outset (around 2.1), only that it didn’t capture my imagination. It was the music that turned the game from something of a slog to a joy. Sure, I had enjoyed music in the game prior, but it was the introduction of “Tricksome” for The Wanderer’s Palace HM that triggered something in me.

This was followed by the phenomenal soundtrack for Heavensward, which prompted me to start a playlist of my favorite tracks from the game (many thanks to Mekkah Dee for these uploads). Now, with the release of Stormblood, there’s a whole new soundtrack to enjoy.

Rhalgr’s Reach

The first major settlement the player reaches after entering Gyr Abania, the Reach is the home of the Ala Mhigan Resistance. For an organization that has only met with minimal success after two decades of occupation, I must admit that the theme is far more upbeat than anticipated. On the other hand, it instills the player with hope; great change is coming to Eorzea and we are at the forefront. One cannot help but be encouraged listening to this.

Yanxia

Before we can liberate Ala Mhigo, however, we first travel east, to distant Othard, to help our longtime ally and friend Yugiri liberate the nation of Doma. A good deal of the music in the east, from Kugane to the Azim, has an exotic feel to it, clearly inspired by the cultures of the orient. However, the theme that most drew me was that of Yanxia’s nighttime theme. A slow, somber piano piece, it almost feels a more fitting theme than the normal daytime theme.  The people of Doma have lost much in the quarter century of Garlean rule, a feeling far better reflected in the night. Yet even amid the ruins of a nation, the music carries with it a hopeful air.

The Temple of the Fist

While I am skipping ahead a bit to cover this one, I prefer the final two tracks of this group where they are. The Temple of the Fist is the former home of the Fist of Rhalgr, the order to which the Monks of Ala Mhigo (and, by extension, any Monk players) belong. If there’s any word that describes this theme, it is adventurous. It’s the sort of music that belongs to a temple hidden deep in a vast wilderness, where adventurers brave many great perils to reach it and the treasures hidden inside.

Actually, leaving aside the matter of Rhalgr’s Reach just below, that is precisely what the temple is. It is a theme that carries a feeling perfectly.

The Lochs

The liberation of Doma finally brings the player back to the Ala Mhigan front, where the Eorzean Alliance takes advantage of the Empire’s divided attention to strike straight for the city itself. At the very gates, we are greeted with this militaristic theme. Looming before the gathered forces of five nations, the imposing silhouette of the most impressive city state in the realm (at least to me). After a long journey fraught with peril and hard-fought battles, the end is in sight as we fight for the future of….

Ala Mhigo

Twenty years: that’s how long the Empire has occupied this part of Eorzea. How long it has been since people like those of Little Ala Mhigo fled from the invaders. Since the Empire erected Baelsar’s Wall, hiding its deeds from the world to the west. Twenty long years since a proud people were laid low by the mightiest nation in the known world.

No longer.

Liberty or death!

The “Othering” of Introverts

 

I wish that I didn’t feel compelled to write this, but after nearly 37 years on this Earth I still feel like a bit of an outcast because of who I am.

I am an introvert.

There are already a lot of people who have discounted this post out of hand because they see introversion as an “internet fad” that people use to feel special. There may be some people who do use this personality type and the online communities dedicated to it as a mask or an outlet. People are complex creatures and they sometimes do confusing or unreasonable things. However, I can attest to the fact that introversion is very real, and I know that we move more freely and comfortably online and it is therefore no surprise that we have found forums in which to congregate and commiserate about how we feel, how we function, and how we are still so misunderstood.

There aren’t many people who truly understand me as a person, or why I do (or don’t do) certain things. I was trying to explain to my children just this morning why I am so exhausted after a weekend that was not terribly physically demanding. It wasn’t the work I had to do that wore me out, it was the fact that my plans, throughout the week, have had to change almost daily, and I have had more interaction than usual with other people, and when I made plans to do nothing (specifically to do nothing) on my day off, I was instead asked to do work things and family things and school club things.

It isn’t that I dislike my job, or don’t get on well with my family, or that I’m depressed (introverts are often assumed to be depressed misandrists); rather, I just require time to recharge from the demands of servicing the needs of other people. Even conversation, however mundane, is a need most people have (hermit exemption applies), and it is not something that we can accomplish by ourselves. Therefore, conversation is an activity that you require someone else to participate in.

The conversation that most people expect just on a daily basis (the chatty woman in the bread aisle, the cashier asking about your shopping experience, the relative who calls with a question, the kids asking if they can go somewhere or do something) can already be taxing for an introvert, but add to that the extra demands of work, special requests of family, needs of friends, and any unexpected changes to your schedule and suddenly you have someone who is already feeling the tank run low but they have no idea when they’ll be able to refill it. You know that feeling… the feeling of anxiety and even panic when the fuel gauge of your car is dipping toward the red, and there are no gas stations in sight, and you’re on an unfamiliar road? That’s an introvert when they have had to deal with people and change and do not know when they’ll be able to enjoy their solitude long enough to recharge. We can usually calm down when we have a dedicated period set aside for doing nothing (which to us is everything – although many people see reading, meditating, or watching a favorite show as merely nothing). We may be puttering along, low on energy, but just knowing we’ll refuel soon is comforting: it’s the uncertainty that really wears on us.

To be clear, I love my family and I like my job. I adore my kids and encourage them to participate in activities that help them develop physically and mentally as individuals. I just need to spend time in peace and quiet in order to give the best of myself to them. The need for solitude, and the importance of self-care, is not a malicious or even passive selfishness. You cannot attend to the needs of others efficiently if your own state is precarious. It is no more selfish to assure you are psychologically prepared to handle your responsibilities than it is to insure you are physically capable of doing a task. It is prudent.

So many people see this need for solitude as shyness, or melancholy, or even arrogance. This is why we have our online forums and communities. This is why we write blogs. It’s not that we’re super impressed with ourselves for being “different”. It’s not that we want to be noticed and celebrated. We simply want to be understood. We want to exist without constantly being told we’re broken or that we need to change. Just because we enjoy solitude, and are often quiet in crowds, does not mean that we’re suffering from depression or shyness. It simply means we are observing and are content to interact on our terms. Not everyone wants to speak every thought. Not everyone needs to weigh in on every conversation. We aren’t “too good” to participate, we simply prefer to participate on our terms, in our time. We like to watch and listen and think. We are content with our own company. None of this means that we don’t like to go out and do things, or that we never want to talk. Introverts simply do not feel the need to do those things as strongly as other people do. When we are recharged and ready to participate in activities with other people, we’re a bit like a butterfly breaking free of a cocoon, vibrant and animated! We definitely require our quiet cocoon first, however.

Recently there was a concert listing game making the rounds on Facebook, and it reminded me how very unlike other people I am. There are several reasons why I haven’t attended concerts (money, time, desire), and I am not opposed to the idea of it, but I do not see concert-going as the pinnacle of fun. As a matter of fact, I simply don’t get worked up about music in general. This has earned me censure and a good deal of shocked disbelief over the years. I’ve had people insist that if I’d only listen to this, or try that, or “get out of the house,” I’d suddenly love it. Even if I do enjoy music I hadn’t heard before, I rarely enjoy anything that is blasted at full volume over a crowd of cheering strangers.

It’s not that I don’t like music, and even love some of it, it’s just that I really like silence. I enjoy walking outside without earbuds blasting notes and lyrics into my head, because I like the sound of birdsong and wind-rustled leaves and dogs barking in the distance. I like to hear gravel crunch under my feet. I despise, with a burning passion, unnecessary noise. I hate chatter that simply fills a silence. I bless the silence! I like to drive with the radio off. I like to clean with only the sounds of the fan running and the gentle swish of cleaner being sprayed. I just like hearing the world around me without blasting noise into it every second of the day and night.

There are, of course, times when I want to listen to music, and usually then a very specific kind of music or artist. I do enjoy it! It’s just not something I need to hear every day. Like a book that I can still envision in my mind, music plays in the background of my thoughts even when the world around me is silent. This is perhaps the most commonly expressed aspect of introversion – the “rich inner world”. It’s not that we despise the outside world and all its offerings, but that we can (and do) savor the things we experience beyond their actual duration. It’s often because we are savoring something in our thought and memory (or working out a problem, or pondering new information) that having anything intrude on that can be unpleasant and tiring. Imagine giving a presentation and being constantly interrupted with questions and demands that are largely irrelevant to the topic at hand; that is what it feels like to have the mind of an introvert.

I would dearly love it if I could fall into the blissful embrace of solitude, or sit silently pondering many things, without someone mistakenly assuming that I’m upset, or shy, or down in the dumps. Shyness is timidity, which by definition means lacking courage or confidence. Introverts are not necessarily shy any more than they are despondent merely because they’re quiet. It is much more plausible to say that introverts are simply stoic. All in all, stoicism and forbearance are not bad traits to have, and they are certainly not traits that imply one is dysfunctional. We introverts function just fine, we merely function differently than our extroverted and ambiverted friends, but we all share a commonality in that we as human beings wish to be understood and appreciated as we are.

Golden Sun Resumed

So, while I did say I was going to continue doing music posts, I did not.

I am going to say life got in the way and that’s what we are all going to believe until the end of the internet. To be fair, I have been pre-occupied with major life changes coming down the pipe, meaning less energy to put into the creative parts of my life.

Then again, this is a blog, so who am I trying to fool…

Today, I want to resume my Golden Sun playlist, begun an age ago, but never finished as I gave up on using Blogger. However, I want to change things up slightly. Previously, I was posting one song and one cover from 0rangastang’s Golden Sun Remastered album. However, because the quality of those covers are rather variable, I will instead choose a cover that I just happen to think is the finest, regardless of who made it.

Additionally, I’m going to try and keep the playlist as concise as I am able. There are a lot of themes in Golden Sun and it would not be prudent to try and share all of the ones I like. There are still a lot to come, but I will try to be more discerning in the future, to make it easier for me to come up with these posts.

With that out of the way, today’s music: Venus Lighthouse

Venus Lighthouse is Golden Sun’s final dungeon. Much like Mercury Lighthouse before it, it is a lengthy maze full of puzzles, traps, and enemies that culminates in a final showdown with Saturos and Menardi. Everything about this theme, from the vocals to the powerful percussion carries the feeling of finality that the conclusion of a great game deserves. And yet, this would prove to not be the end, but rather a new beginning for Golden Sun: The Lost Age.

That is for the next post, however. In the meantime, enjoy this Venus Lighthouse cover from OC/DC on YouTube. I honestly just discovered this cover today while searching for a video of the normal theme to use. I greatly enjoy its softer sounds and the limited usage of vocals towards the end charmed me.

Thanks for listening!

Big Announcements For Our Nerd Rage Audience!!

Last Wednesday night, we were excited to announce some big changes for Nerd Rage; unfortunately Osei had some glitches with his production software and we had to end our show early. We decided to bring you the news in the following video, and include our run down of the Walking Dead episode “Hostiles and Calamities“.

So we will be moving our show to Sundays at 7/6pm Central. This works with our schedules better and allows you, the audience, more time to catch up on The Walking Dead. We will broadcast just before the new Walking Dead episode airs, so that should reduce the chance of anyone hearing any spoilers on Nerd Rage.

We will try to keep the live, interactive show that everyone loves (hey, let us dream that you love what we do), with recordings playing on the upcoming Riot Radio. We look forward to engaging a broader audience and I, personally, think we can create some fun hashtags using the Rage and Riot themes. I’ll also be announcing more challenges and give-a-ways once we are settled into our new routine!

Battles with Heart

Something has been bothering me of late, and it has only just come together in my head, so let us talk about it a little.

Possible (minor) Rogue One spoilers (but not really) ahead.

Rogue One is truly the Star Wars movie I’ve wanted for a long while. Despite some weaknesses in the pacing and screenplay, it pressed all the nostalgia buttons and legitimately made me feel like a kid again. The final act is particularly noteworthy in this regard, as the final battle is exciting, emotional, and gripping. Even though the ultimate outcome is already known, the journey to the end is well worth it.

That is when it occurred to me: the Battle of Scarif is the first Star Wars battle since Endor that truly felt like an actual Star Wars battle.  What I could not quite figure out was why.  After all, the prequel trilogy is filled to the brim with fighting and duels. Very often, these battles were the highlights of otherwise incredibly mediocre movies. So what was it about this particular battle that made it better than three movies worth of battles combined?

battle_of_endor

The problem is that the prequels’ battles are merely a backdrop. They are the frame rather than the painting. The Battle of Naboo exists so that WesleyAnakin can do something cool and save the day. The Battle of Coruscant exists so that Anakin and Obi-Wan are not simply flying through empty space to save the chancellor. The battles themselves really are not important, based on how little we see of everything happening around the heroes. The battles are merely a means to get the heroes from point A to point B (in a fashion).

By comparison, the Battle of Yavin, while indeed a coming-of-age test for Luke Skywalker, is also just as much about the Rebellion’s desperate struggle against the overwhelming might of the Empire. Every Rebel pilot shot down in battle impacts the viewer in some way. The battle is not a background element; it is the story, of which Luke is a part. The story of the battle and the story of Luke compliment each other and strengthen each other.

Likewise with the Battle of Endor; we do not only see Lando Calrissian at the helm of the Millennium Falcon. We see rebel pilots like Wedge Antilles fighting overwhelming odds. The movie continually returns to Admiral Ackbar trying to save his fleet from the trap it has fallen into. Not only that, but the preceding two films laid the groundwork for the plight of the Rebel Alliance and the necessity of their cause. The viewer is emotionally attached to the fight, making it that much more intense and exciting.

Now, the Battle of Naboo contains some of these elements, but the problem is that the viewer has no real attachment to the plight of the Naboo. Any sympathy we feel for them is forced upon us by the movie’s framing rather than because there is an inherent goodness to the Naboo. At the very least, there’s nothing redeeming or enjoyable about the villains (after all, Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin were cool), thus leaving the woefully underdeveloped Naboo as the only option.

George Lucas made a critical error when making the prequel trilogy. He thought the plot should be a (political) metaphor, the battles should (only) look cool, and the characters…well, they would work themselves out. It seems that he never once considered that none of these elements could make a movie to which the viewer could attach themselves emotionally. Or perhaps he forgot how to create a movie containing that emotional pull.

rogue-one-rebels-615x242-1-615x242

Emotion is why Star Wars is not merely another summer blockbuster. Emotion is why Star Wars is such a phenomenon that transcends its time. If it were another brain-dead sci-fi flick, it might have a cult following, but nothing like what we see today.

We are pained when Luke’s foster parents are murdered by the Empire, sharing in Luke’s grief. We are elated when the Death Star explodes and a costly battle for the Rebel Alliance turns out to have been worth it. We feel Luke’s shock when his lineage is revealed to him on Bespin. We feel joy when the Empire is finally defeated at Endor, emperor and all. All of these moments mean something because they have captured our hearts.

Rogue One’s greatest strength is the power of emotion and connection. It manages to do what the prequels failed to do, creating a cinematic Star Wars experience that even The Force Awakens fell a bit short on.