I need to write about The Mandalorian.
I just need to.
Firstly, there won’t be spoilers but I will be chatting about some of my favourite scenes. I’ll be as careful as a I can.
I kind of don’t even know where to start because I’m so excited haha.
Let’s let IMDB explain the plot and go from there…
“A lone gunfighter makes his way through the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic.”
Star Wars is, essentially, a Space Opera and The Mandalorian is a Space Western.
When the series was first announced I, mistakenly, thought it was going to be about the great Boba Fett as the outfit and helmet were of a very similar look. How wrong I was… or was I? Boba Fett is a Son/clone of Jango Fett who was a Mandalorian. What is a Mandalorian I hear you ask, somewhat confused? Haha.
Mandalorian are people from the planet Mandalore in the Star Wars universe. First conceptualized for The Empire Strikes Back as armoured stealth commandos but later being reduced down to a single character, Mr Fett.
So that’s the background now let’s get into it.
Even though The Mandalorian was released in Australia on the 12th of November I didn’t actually see it until mid/late December and after I’d just seen The Rise Of Skywalker. I don’t have Disney + nor will I get it. There’s just not enough content on there, at present, to really want or need it. However my good pal Warren has it so BOOM. He invited me over to watch the first four episodes with himself and his two sons. A few minutes in to the first episode I noted one major thing… It felt very Star Warsy. “Star Warsy” is a feeling. Just like you can feel drowsy, moody, sentimental and happy you can also feel Star Warsy. I feel that way every now and then throughout the year so I go home and watch a Star Wars movie or two. It’s also a feeling you get in a Star Wars film. For example, and everyone feels it slightly differently, I feel very Star Warsy when I watch Return Of The Jedi but not so much when I watch The Last Jedi. The Mandalorian is very, very Star Warsy. The mood of the show is just right.
They nailed the pacing. It moves purposely and deliberately slowish because when the action kicks off you really feel it like a jolt from a lightsaber hehe. Have you seen those old westerns when a cowboy strolls down the Main Street of some one horse town looking for a no good son of a bitch well that’s the pace this show has. So cool.
The plot is a, refreshingly, simple one. Basically, bounty hunter gets a job, bounty hunter finds the mark, the mark happens to be a kid (looks like a baby Yoda who is actually 50 human years old but is still classed as a baby within his own species). Bounty hunter can’t hand over the bounty because, well it’s a cute baby Yoda kid thing. The people that hired the bounty hunter (old remnants of the fallen empire) are kind of pissed off. Needless to say there’s a bit of a cat and mouse story arc from there which is brilliant.
The characters are simple and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way at all. In an old western the viewer easily distinguishes who the good guys are, who the bad guys are and who the in between guys are. Sure there’s a little double cross here and there but you kind of expect it but at the same time the way it all plays out is very well written.
The in between characters are some of the best. Take Quill for example (Think Old Prospector type). He is a great character with many layers to him that you unveil but by bit. He’s voiced by Nick Nolte which was perfect choice. Quills role is vital, especially towards the end of the season, but at the same time not overly complicated.
The bad guys are very Star Warsy in the way they are a little funny and incompetent but at the same time quite menacing. One thing to note is that home of the clean glossy armour of the storm troopers. Now they look worn, cracked and dirty which is spot on for the overall aesthetic of the show.
The good guys are straight forward but a little anti-hero too. This makes you fall in love with them all the more when they do good deeds or have a moment of weakness and their hard exterior cracks.
Thankfully, I’m season one at least, there’s not much in the way of “love interest” for the Mando. There was one lady in one episode that left you feeling like The Mando could have fallen but his duty and his coolness made him keep moving on.
How the main, good guy, characters meet is all very dramatic but not in a cheesy way at all. The story building throughout the season is top notch.
The Props, costumes and sets
This has a lot to do with why I feel this show feels so damn Star warsy. The planets, towns, ships, vehicles, clothing, machinery, food, furniture, droids and weapons are all spot on!!! I can’t stress that enough. It also manages to really kick home that this is an era not too long after the fall of the empire. I believe it’s set five years after Return Of The Jedi. The weaponry, especially that of The Mando, manages to look old school but well kept at the same time. The Mandos ship looks like the love child of an old B-29 bomber plane and Boba Fetts Slave 1 ship. Very bloody cool. The droids, and there are some familiar ones, also have that older type look to them. Nothing is polished or glossy. All the outfits and perfect too although I’m not a fan of Greef Kargas (Carl Weathers character) outfit. Looks a bit unfinished and boring. The Mando looks sensational and both Warrens eldest son and I feel that it’s one of, if not the best, outfit from the whole Star Wars franchise. I’ll always have a soft spot for the battle damaged armour and look of Boba Fetts outfit though.
Well let me first just say that as a, nearly, 41 year old man I have seen my fair share of movies. A lot of those movies have been action, western and science fiction so, due to this fact, I’d say that I’ve seen it all and am now hard to please. Maybe not please but surprised. Remember when Bruce Willis threw himself off the top of that building strapped to a fire hose? Remember when Arnold Schwarzenegger fashioned a bow and took on the Predator? Remember the massive shootout in the magnificent seven? Those were all moments in time from movies that have stayed with me for many years. The Mandalorian does something very cool! It pays homage to some great western movies/scenes but at the same time makes it unique. It feels familiar but new at the same time and, for me, that’s a big part of the magic that is The Mandalorian.
For instance in one of my all time favourite westerns called The Wild Bunch there is a huge shootout at the end (little factoid: it’s the first slow motion was used in a film and boy did they make good use of it).
Heres William Holdens character, Pike, kicking arse and taking names at a hacienda.
In The Mandalorian there is a huge shootout in a similar compound and The Mando Bounty Hunter jumps behind a similar weapon.
In another episode the bounty hunter and his little crew go and help defend a small village that is very reminiscent of The Magnificent Seven. They even train/teach the villagers how to fight.
As I mentioned it’s all delivered in a very unique way though that is “Star warsy”
Instead of horses there are creatures or speeder bikes to be ridden.
Pistols are in holsters. Rifles are long, almost like muskets.
It oozes Wild West.
Composed by Ludwig Göransson, who also did the score for movies like Creed, Black Panther and Venom, it’s a mix of music that is certainly worthy of the Star Wars franchise. It’s no John Williams who scored all the Star Wars movies but, in my opinion, it’s equally as iconic and great.
I won’t go so far as to say that without the score the Mando wouldn’t be as good BUT what I will say is that the score makes The Mando a whole lot more amazing!!!
I have downloaded all the chapters (each episode has its own score) of the score and each piece manages to be so dynamic.
It’s very Wild West with inspired and beautiful lashings of Star Wars in there. There is also a lovely but subtle hint of seventies film in there too. Think Rocky.
Woweeeeeee… The end credits art (which you’ve seen a couple of so far in this post) are nothing less than amazing. Each piece captures a scene. Some action, some dramatic, some just of the Mando or other characters standing there but all are unique and tell a snippet of the story you just watched in the episode. I’d love a book of all this art one day.
Even the brief opening artistic segment is cool and sets the mood of the show.
I think you’ve probably realised by now, from all my gushing, that I bloody love this new series for the Star Wats franchise. It ticks every single box for me and I don’t say that lightly.
I kind of hate to say it in a way but it’s better than The Rise Of Skywalker. It’s not apples for apples I guess but I came away from The Mandalorian very excited and bursting at the seams. I really enjoyed Rise but wasn’t left with the “on cloud nine” feeling.
I am super excited for the second season of the Mando and also the other series that’s coming out thats all about Obi Wan Kenobi.
So, even though the Star Wars movies have, allegedly, come to an end there is still lots more Star Wars to look forward to in the future and this little Star Wars dork is thrilled about that.
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