The Mandalorian takes place in the Star Wars universe some time after Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens, and features a mysterious Boba-Fett clone whose sole purpose is bounty hunting. It plays like a western, complete with drunk bullies preying on innocent people while the vigilante comes in and saves the day. You might find yourself calling him the BATMANdalorian, especially when he uses his grappling gun to drag his victims to their painful punishment, and later when he flies away in his BATMANdalorian ship.
Movie quality special effects, wardrobe and costume design make you take notice of the incredible landscapes and detail given to every scene and character. With director Jon Favreau at the helm, viewers should expect nothing less, and he delivers.
The Mandalorian works very hard to make sure you know you’re watching a true Star Wars story, by forcing in as many past trilogy easter-eggs in one episode as possible. Every monster, greedo-twin and gurgling sore-throat sounding alien you can think of makes an appearance. A distant cousin of r2d2’s shows up, along with the classic garbage-can-with-legs droid hobbling down a corridor. Star Wars wouldn’t be complete without Storm Troopers, and they even throw in that little one eyed security guard that used to work for Jabba The Hut.
We’re also given not one but two cantina scenes in the span of 10 minutes. We get it. This is Star Wars.
The show feels like an 80’s sci-fi drama, reminiscent of Buck Rogers, Battlestar Galactica and the original version of Knight Rider. It has a video game cinematic cutscene vibe to it. You’ll be looking for your Xbox controller to help maneuver “The BATMANdalorian” while he’s walking through the bar – I mean the “Cantina” – while hitting the A button to attack, B button to take the bounty, and X to change weapons. Don’t be surprised when “The Mandalorian” video game is released for in early 2020 with these exact same features.
We’re introduced to some new main characters who play an important role in the journey of The Mandalorian. The standout is one of the most creative droids ever created in the Star Wars universe: A robotic bounty hunter who resemebles a Terminator T-800, but with a 360 degree rotating sectional body capable of hitting multiple targets simultaneously. Of course, he becomes the Mandalorian’s sidekick.
Thankfully, the best part of “The Mandalorian” is The Mandalorian. He’s fearless, with an ominous presence, and has a caustic, impatient demeanor which is quelled only by tracking down his next target.
A new trend in movies and tv shows, probably due to Captain America: Winter Soldier, is to call the mysterious antagonist “The Asset“. It is compelling and annoying, but mostly annoying. How about a new word, like, “The Evader”, “The Bad Guy” or maybe the actual name of the “asset”?
Aside from a few cheap gimmicks, and the unintentional repetition of specific scenes, I found myself interested in the mysterious bounty from start to finish, and enjoyed the adventure of The Mandalorian and the path he’s chosen. He starts off as “The Mandalorian“, he ends up as “Han Solo“, even acquiring a droid version of Chewbacca, who has a tendency towards suicide.
The soundtrack is phenomenal: appropriately dark and brooding. Aesthetically, the music is perfect for the main character, who never should be off screen. The problem is, unlike all of the great Star Wars movies, the music and mood remain unchanged, despite obvious humor, suspense and light-hearted interactions. There’s only one pace that matters, and the atmospheric theme is mystery and suspense.
Certain elements of this show seem like they were forced in last minute additions by Disney, and not the creators. It’s as if director Jon Favreau and writer Dave Feloni wanted a much darker tone, as evidenced by the storyline and fighting sequences. But there’s an inconsistency between The Mandolarian’s first-half personality as a castigating bounty hunter, to a sensitive droid-loving hero by the end.
The run time is less than 39 minutes, which is not the standard for a typical Netflix competitor show. With Disney+ trying to burst its way through the “pay to watch app” business, it’s curious why they’re deliberately shortening the run time. Fans simply want a good show, not a longer season with shorter episodes, something the newer comic book tv show adaptations can’t seem to process. The culprit may be over-producing episodes and too many corporate voices shortening the script, rather than letting the artists paint thier own picture.
On a side note, Disney is making the utterly unrealistic and outrageous claim that in one day they managed to lure in 10 million subscribers to pay for the service, at a rate of $7 a month. That’s $70,000,000 in less than 24 hours. How is it that an underpromoted, unknown network with a strange release date managed to penetrate the market by 10,000,000 subscribers in under a day? Until the proof is released, this is simply a fantasy created by Disney to persuade people to join the 2019 version of The Mickey Mouse Club.
The Mandalorian is a promising new adventure in a galaxy not that far away. Pedro Pascal dominates the role as the lead character and manages to carry the pace, despite slight annoyances by certain supporting actor performances. But that’s not enough of a hinderance to sink the ship to an unrecoverable depth. This bounty might just be worth the risk after all.