Review: The Mandolorian (part 1- the Western)

Spoiler alert: I’m only on episode 5 (of the series), but I think this is the sweet spot. 

Star Wars has always been a hybrid space cowboy fantasyland crossbred with samurai mysticism. Within that hybrid lies stunning noir underpinnings adding to that mysticism in a tangible way.

But I’m only on episode 5. Besides, I’m late to the party.

Fanboys and girls clamored for years about what they didn’t even notice was missing, Perhaps their minds weren’t quiet enough between the new movies, the franchises’ new owners who incessantly rolled out side stories spinoffs, and the painful realization that Kylo Ren and Rey wouldn’t or couldn’t mend the wounds of the latter day Lucasfilm trauma. A trauma that set its sights on us having our generational Coup de grace going through our asses, or rather our wallets. 

Jar Jar, je taime. Not.

After all, it revealed the true intentions of the story’s creator. To suck us dry of our newfound capital, and pass the addiction on to our offspring. 

“Empire” was amazing though, right?” 

Time for digression. I’m not here to throw shade on the movies, Disney, or to confess to my own ‘sheeple’ transgressions. Besides, that would take way too damn long.

“The Mandalorian” achieves what we’ve all been waiting for. Perhaps, what George Lucas original “true intentions” for the Franchise were: It’s a western with a flair. Actually, several flairs. A flair within a flair. A flairy flair even. You get my drift.

The Mandalorian or “Mando” is a character void of exposition. We’re unaware of his origins, his methods, his goals, his animus. The only thing we do know is that he looks very similar to our beloved “bad guy” Boba Fett. Mando is, in fact, a bounty hunter. Apparently, he’s on trend with his fellow hunters in gear and dress. He’s a man of few words, and even fewer relationships, with the few he does have sharing his trade.  

I’m immediately reminded of Sergio Leon’s “Man with No Name” (Clint Eastwood) and the birth of the Spaghetti Western genre. It’d be a characterization that Eastwood would take on the road throughout his career for decades, from 1973’s “High Plains Drifter” to 1992’s “Unforgiven.”

Lucas’s love of that genre re-emerged in “Star Wars,” influencing casting choices, like Harrison Ford, whose career trajectory seemed to parallel Eastwood’s early career. Lucas cast Harrison based on his acting in Westerns on screen and television. Where Eastwood had his “Rawhide” and “Fistful of Dollars,” Harrison had his “Gunsmoke” and “Journey to Shiloh.” In these aforementioned efforts, the tall, dark, non-verbose gunslingers were exactly what Lucas had in mind to fit nicely into his “space cowboy” concept. Han Solo would lead the way as a mercenary for hire, whose cynicism and contempt for the establishment would prove formidable in a galaxy far, far away.

That kind of sounds like the beginning of a film noir character (minus the scifi). No? But we’ll save all of “that” for next week.

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