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Reviews Series / The Mandalorian

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01/08/2020 09:17:00 •••

Disney Bad, Show Good

Before I get into The Mandalorian, I want to moan about Disney. Back in the 90s, movies got a staggered release internationally. Disney was one of the few big studios to carry this practise way into the internet age, and I remember it taking two months just for them to release Princess and the Frog in the UK. Rather than see things improve, we're now in 2020 and The Mandalorian gets released on a new digital platform that won't even be made available in the UK until five months after it debuts in the US. Total pain in the arse. Luckily I know someone who worked around it, and so I finally get to understand what the hell all these Baby Yoda internet memes are about.

The Mandalorian is a spaghetti Space Western about a "Mandalorian" bounty hunter. He has no name, he's good with a gun, he hangs around dusty border towns, he has an uncertain moral stance. From the first episode onwards, he gets stuck with a Lone Wolf and Cub situation. None of it is groundbreaking stuff, but the addition of the Star Wars setting is enough to make The Mandalorian feel fresh, whilst also including just the right amount of references back to the old movies to tie it in, without cloying fan service. Also, its refreshing to see something Star Wars that's not being crushed under the burden of decades of continuity. In more ways than one, The Mandalorian is like experiencing A New Hope for the first time.

Whilst there is a thread tying everything together, The Mandalorian is very episodic in nature, with each episode recreating some classic old West yarn. One lovely little detail is how every episode ends with painterly style concept art, styled to look just like the covers of some tawdry Western pulp fiction. It's more proof that this isn't aiming at anything lofty or ambitious, and we don't always need ambitious story telling.

What we do need is good characters though, and that's also something The Mandalorian gets right. There's a nice mix of humans, aliens and droids who each have their own arcs and quirks, and somehow its always the Droids that manage to be cooler than everyone else. The only piece of characterisation that doesn't really work is the show's justification for having a protagonist look and sound exactly like Boba Fett. Boba Fett in the old movies was just a guy who a neat costume that fans liked, but this series has to invent an entire, goofy religion that dictates how these Mandolorians must all dress identically. It reminds me of the whole "Corellian Bloodstripe" nonsense to explain how Han Solo could possibly own two pairs of trousers. Unnecessary!

When you get the chance to, I recommend you watch the series. It's pleasant, and I hope it acts as a nice assurance to Disney that they can afford to make more live action shows with the franchise.

01/08/2020 00:00:00

To be fair, the Mandalorian space warrior religion nonsense is just them piggy-backin\' off an old EU thing a lot of people who aren\'t me have a lot of affection for, and to be fair was probably a pretty decent bit of the show\'s early success.

I am excited about it, but I also don\'t want to give Disney any of my money for a pure cash-grab like Disney+, so I am trying to find a way to pirate it without getting caught or going to jail. We\'ll see, I suppose.


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