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The Mandalorian

1,271 words

“Help us, Dave Filoni. You’re our only hope.”

On December 20th, J. J. “Death Star” Abrams and Disney Corp. will complete the destruction of the Star Wars saga that many of us have loved since childhood, while raking in untold millions by cynically exploiting nostalgia for the mythos they are desecrating. So pass the popcorn, because I’ll be right there, dear readers, to review it for you.

But the Disney-Star Wars marriage has not been entirely fruitless. Seventy-five percent—soon to be 80 percent—of their movies have been disasters, but Rogue One is a pretty good film.

And now we have The Mandalorian, the first live-action Star Wars TV series, which is a collaboration between Dave Filoni—the producer of the two excellent animated Star Wars series, The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels—and John Favreau, director of such movies as Elf, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Cowboys and Aliens, and the recent remakes of The Jungle Book and The Lion King.

Both Filoni and Favreau are pretty much creatures of the modern mass media. They probably believe all the tenets of political correctness. But in Filoni’s animated series, his love of Star Wars and geek/bro energy pretty much kept the worst excesses of SJWism at bay. Favreau is the wild card here, for he is half-Jewish and pretty much a Disney Corporation insider. Let’s hope the Force triumphs over the Schwartz, lest The Mandalorian be reduced to another Disney-Star Wars farce.

The Mandalorian is basically a Space Western, which is a fantastic tack but also a dangerous one because the bar has been set impossibly high by Joss Whedon’s Firefly, which is not just a Space Western but one of the best science fiction series of all time.

The Space Western is a good fit for the Star Wars franchise, because the original Star Wars drew upon elements of Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress, and samurai and cowboy films are easily convertible, since the underlying warrior ethos is the same (Seven Samurai = The Magnificent Seven, Yojimbo = A Fistful of Dollars).

The title character is the Mandalorian with No Name played by Chilean-born actor Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones), with a low, husky, ultra-cool Clint Eastwood voice. The Mandalorian people were introduced as early as The Empire Strikes Back. At least Boba Fett wears Mandalorian armor. But they were developed extensively in Filoni’s two animated series as a people with a warrior-aristocratic ethos and a loose, feudal form of government. In the new series, we learn that they suffered greatly under the Empire, were scattered around the galaxy, and have adopted crypsis to survive. (Favreau’s fingerprints?) They follow a tradition and an honor code (“This is the way”). Like ronin (masterless samurai) and American gunslingers, they work as freelance wielders of violence (mercenaries, bounty hunters).

The Mandalorian with No Name is a bounty hunter, a profession introduced in the first trilogy. Here we learn that it is governed by a guild with its own code of conduct and technologies (bounty chips, which are basically wanted posters, and tracking fobs).

The first season of The Mandalorian has eight episodes, five of which have aired at the time of this writing. The opening three-episode story arc is utterly compelling, introducing the lead characters and their universe, and hooking us in. The story takes place shortly after the fall of the Empire, when law and order have broken down in the galactic rim (the Wild West) and both criminals and bounty hunters thrive.

The Mandalorian with No Name accepts a particularly lucrative unofficial bounty from a former high imperial officer (Werner Herzog, whose accent departs from the British norm for the Empire) guarded by a contingent of Storm Troopers, their armor somewhat worse for wear. After a series of trials, the Mandalorian with No Name captures the bounty, which turns out to be an adorable Yoda baby—a baby of the same species as Yoda. The Mandalorian delivers the baby and collects his bounty. But then he has second thoughts. The baby is strong with the Force, but he is obviously not a criminal, whereas the Imperials are clearly up to no good. So the Mandalorian returns, shoots up their base, rescues the baby, and they embark upon some Lone Wolf and Cub-style adventures. It is great television.

The fourth episode, however, is a big letdown. The Mandalorian lands on a planet where he promptly gets his ass whooped by a strang, independant, Xena-warrior princess badass wahman. But then he teams up with her to protect Diversity Village (there’s even a blonde child) from a band of marauders. It is basically a ripoff of Seven Samurai. I say “ripoff” rather than “homage,” because Star Wars already paid homage to Seven Samurai in a much better episode of The Clone Wars.

The fifth episode is much better but still rather light stuff, leaning heavily on nostalgia. The Mandalorian visits Tattooine, specifically Mos Eisley, and yes, even that specific cantina, where he asks around for work. He meets a rookie bounty hunter played by Jake Cannavale, who looks exactly like his father without any visible input from his mother, who boasts of being the daughter of Jewish director Sidney Lumet (Network) and the grand-daughter of black(ish) singer Lena Horne. Their bounty is an assassin played by Ming-Na Wen. The highlight of the episode is Amy Sedaris as a ship mechanic with a strong maternal instinct for the little green fellow. The plot is quite predictable.

The Mandalorian is off to an erratic but promising start. I like the basic premise of a Space Western. I like the character of the Mandalorian with No Name. I like the fact that it is set in the Star Wars universe. But I especially like how different this series is in style from the rest of the Star Wars canon.

Lucas’s films are extremely busy, and with the development of CGI, they only got busier. The same is true with Filoni’s animated series and the Disney movies. The Mandalorian is not so busy, which adds a sense of realism when one bumps into a droid or an alien monster. Even the Mos Eisley cantina is not so crowded. The special effects are also quite outstanding.

Another important stylistic change is the music. It is not John Williams, or imitation John Williams. Instead, Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson has created quintessential Space Western music by simply melding Ennio Morricone and electronica. His score is tasteful, tuneful, and catchy, with moments of deep feeling and epic grandeur. He even incorporates Williamsesque themes without ever sounding like Williams. I love John Williams’ Star Wars scores, but if Williams had scored this series, even he would have used a completely different sound.

I also liked the color palette of the first three episodes, which leaned heavily on chrome, magenta, and dark greens, like something went wrong with the technicolor.

When Death Star Abrams’s new technological terror is unleashed this month, I am predicting a huge flop. It may be the last big-screen Star Wars we get for a long time to come. So let’s hope The Mandalorian becomes the great series hinted at in the first three episodes. It is nice to know that at least part of the Star Wars saga is in the hands of Dave Filoni, a talented storyteller guided by a genuine love of Lucas’s vision and a demonstrated talent for carrying it forward—as opposed to envious mediocrities like Jar Jar Abrams and Rian Johnson, whose transparent motivation is to mechanically repeat Lucas’s original trilogy, this time as farce.

 The Unz Review, December 11, 2019


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  1. Sutter
    Posted December 13, 2019 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    ” But they were developed extensively in Filoni’s two animated series as a people with a warrior-aristocratic ethos and a loose, feudal form of government. In the new series, we learn that they suffered greatly under the Empire, were scattered around the galaxy, and have adopted crypsis to survive. (Favreau’s fingerprints?) ”

    Good gracious, they take everything cool in movies and make it a metaphor for Jews. I swear.

    They did the exact same thing to the Jedi. The Jedi were originally like a futuristic version of a Medieval knight. They even called themselves “Jedi knights.” They were described as followers of a “religion” which seems to have died out due to unbelief, which you can see when the Imperial general ridiculed Vader for clinging to his religion at the beginning of A New Hope. This rather parallels the contemporary position of Christianity in the West. The mainstream society was leaving it and ridiculing it, and the elite was, most of all. Obviously Medieval knights are understood to be Christian.

    Having said that, Lucas preferred Buddhism, and the Jedi were religiously more like Buddhist monks (or Christian monks?), than anything. So you can say that they were something like Buddhist monks and/or Medieval knights.

    But after order 66 (Holocaust) was issued by the space-Nazis, led by corrupted Jedi called the Sith (metaphor for Christianity, which is a “corruption” of Judaism in the Jewish worldview), we must conclude that the Jedi were actually Jews. I don’t know why Vader would then have been ridiculed in A New Hope, as nobody would ridicule the follower of the religion that was so pivotal in establishing the Imperial order – a religious order which, just two decades ago, was clearly a military superpower, and was heavily involved in the politics of the Galactic Republic. Turning the Jedi into Jews created a little bit of a continuity issue.

    I am so very tired of living in a world built for Jews. I want a world of my own.

    • Merfolk
      Posted December 14, 2019 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      I don’t think your impressions of the prequels are correct. I thought I detected a strongly anti neocon subtext in the prequels when I rewatched them about a year ago. Perhaps not “anti jewish” as such but when one understands neoconery as the quintessence of Jewish tribalism, then perhaps so. For example, “only Sith deal in absolutes” in answer to the Bush dictum of “either with us or against us.” Of the emperor, “he’s too dangerous…he controls the senate and all the courts” doesn’t that sound pointedly chosen?

      • Sutter
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        You have to remember: most people in the USA during the Bush years understood the neoconservatives as being foaming-at-the-mouth evangelical Christians.

        So Palpatine was being compared to George Bush.

        • Merfolk
          Posted December 15, 2019 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

          I think Lucas knew the deal though. Also, notice the Watoo character. Many people regard him as an anti Semitic caricature. He speaks with a Yiddish accent. Also, in the original Star Wars the Jawa. Make a mental substitution in the name!

  2. Mad Celt
    Posted December 14, 2019 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    Watch the original 6 movies. The rest are a fevered dream in the mind of a sleeping libtard, who is tired from a Bernie Sanders rally.

  3. Rob Bottom
    Posted December 14, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Boba Fett was never meant to be anything more than a throwaway villain, as demonstrated by his utterly pointless death in the Sarlac pit. It speaks to the creative bankruptcy of both Lucas (who stupidly elaborated on the character in the prequel trilogy solely because of the character’s popularity, which mostly stems from something as superficial as his “cool helmet”), and Disney (the white slavers, as Lucas put it) that this show even exists at all.

    Have you considered writing a piece on the Jewish takeover of Disney?

  4. R_Moreland
    Posted December 16, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Imagine if there really were an Evil Galactic Empire…

    And imagine this Evil Empire was taking over the galaxy, not only bringing all worlds under its control but also replacing their populaces with alien lifeforms. And not only that, this Empire used its Dark Power of Mind Control to convince the weak-minded it was really a heroic resistance movement fighting a tyranny so unspeakable that a mere hand gesture would be enough to cause mass hysteria. And in further pursuit of its nefarious agenda, the Evil Empire co-opted a corps of weak-minded minions to crash the defenses of worlds which dared to resist alien invasions, and also attack anyone who dared oppose the Empire, say by removing them from the Galactic holographic communications interweb.

    And imagine if somewhere far from the bright shining center of the Galaxy or perhaps even in the back alleys of the Imperial Capital itself there was a Real Resistance, Rebels who were free of the Dark Powers of Mind Control and fighting for the freedom of each world’s peoples to defend themselves against alien invasions.

    Even further, imagine if that Real Resistance set up its own Galactic holographic communications interweb and conducted daring forays against the Evil Empire. And even though the Evil Empire mobilized all of its resources and all of its minions, the Real Resistance continued to free more Galactic Citizens from the Dark Power of Mind Control such that the Evil Empire panicked and over-reacted and exposed its own contradictions, thus laying the foundations for its own destruction.


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