Mickey Mouse buys Darth Vader
“Mickey Mouse” has given us access to the first three (of eight) episodes of the first season of The Mandalorian, so this will be a somewhat amputated review. That said, what we’ve seen bodes well!
After burning $36 billion on all the rights to the Stars Wars universe, Disney has not rested on its laurels for the next eight years. They have launched three official films in the Star Wars saga, as well as two spin-off films. At the launch of Disney + in the US in November last year, the big news was a brand new original series, precisely originating from the Star Wars universe.
So far, Disney + has received approx. 62 million subscribers, which has then also had a significant effect on the share price of the company behind Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse.
Sidetrack in the saga
The action in The Mandalorian is set between the Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, specifically six years after Luke, Leia and Han Solo defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor. The empire has disintegrated and lawlessness and anarchy, with diffuse mafia gangs, prevail in the galaxy.
It is the golden age of bounty hunters, and the foremost of them all is “The Mandalorian” (Pedro “Narcos” Pascal). He is hired by the charismatic mafia boss, with stormtroopers on the payroll, “The Client” (Werner Herzog).
The mission is clear enough, catch or kill the person with a contract on their head, but who it is and where the person is is a mystery “The Mandalorian” must find out.
In the purest spaghetti western style, “The Mandalorien” rides out on the barren prairie, in search of its prey. In a small village, we are served a shootout that brings back memories of Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. We almost expect Clint Eastwood himself to emerge from a corner of the house, with the six-runner in hand, accompanied by the tones of Ennio Morricone.
Mandalorian is definitely gloomier and darker than the last three films, but also not free of playful humor – something we can obviously attribute to screenwriter, Disney comedian Jon Favreau.
Favreau is, in addition to the author, the series creator and executive producer of the series – and his footprint is unmistakable.
Even a big fan of the original films, Favreau takes care of the adventurous and exotic atmosphere from the old days, and drips us many nostalgic references from the original story.
In the first trilogy, we got to know the bounty hunter Boba Fett, who captured and froze Han Solo for Jabba the Hut; “The Mandalorian” uses the same technique. In the bar, in the opening scene, it is so we can still smell the scorched laser smell of Hans Solo and Greedo’s priceless shooting scene from A New Hope.
The strange characters who beep incomprehensible sounds or speak completely foreign languages are included, as are fantasy animals, a cross between piranhas and dinosaurs that you can ride, the annoying Jawa people we get a reunion with, as well as hopelessly naive and annoying droids . And, not least, giant spaceships that speed at the speed of light from planet to planet.
The special effects are to a very large extent of the same technique as the three original films, with thumbnails instead of massive use of computer animation. It gives the series a slightly old-fashioned look, which suits the dirty and unconventional universe.
Our main concern, so far in the series, is the lack of charismatic people, characters that we empathize with and care about. Here we get no characters á la charming Han Solo or naive, highly human, Luke. “The Mandalorian” becomes too much of an emotionless machine that occasionally utters one-syllable words behind the dense mask.
Only in small glimpses from the past of “The Mandalorian” do we sense a tough, human childhood, which has shaped him – but so far his character has too little meat on his bones. That said, we know that the role gallery will expand during the first season.
The fans will cheer!
The Mandalorian slips seamlessly into the traditional Star Wars universe, and the action scenes as well as the space jump are in a class of their own. The comedy is sometimes on the verge of annoying infantile, but we have (almost) forgiven that in the first episode culminates in a meeting between “The Mandalorian” and a tiny, wrinkled, green man with big ears…
Difficult to judge a series based on only three episodes, but what we have seen bodes well for an entertaining and exciting sequel. If you like the original trilogy, you will embrace the series.
Just put a cross in the calendar on September 15th! 4 strong stars for a series that expands the fascinating Star Wars saga, and that in the purest western style.