REVIEW: ‘The Mandalorian’ presents ‘Star Wars’ in a western style

A CLOSE CALL— Pedro Pascual takes on the role of an unnamed intergalactic bounty hunter known only as the Mandalorian. “The Mandalorian” streams on Fridays on Disney+. Courtesy of IMDB.

By Ivan Cazares

Above anything else, “The Mandalorian” is entertaining.

It’s an expensive series, but it doesn’t have the budget of theblockbuster films, which limits whatcan be done with special effects.

However, with the combination of technology developed by the video game industry and classic techniques, like the use of scale models and props, the team behind this series has created something immersive that really feels like “Star Wars.”

Westerns are a staple of cinema,and the genre was a huge influenceon the inception of the galaxy far far away.

“The Mandalorian” embraces thatinfluence full-heartedly, Mexicanstandoffs and all, with the story of the titular Mandalorian.

He’s a lone gunslinger akin to a Clint Eastwood character.

Since he’s a man of few words, the character’s reactions, moods and emotions have to be communicated through cinematography and body language.

This is done expertly, bringing to life lead actor, Pedro Pascual’s, intergalactic bounty hunter in thefirst two episodes released so far.

Whether or not it will continue to be as captivating for the slated eight episodes remains to be seen.

Video game fans will be quick to notice that the special effects aren’t the only similarity between “The Mandalorian” and games.

The narrative progresses like a video game, with the protagonist having to embark on what can only

be described as a side quest in the second episode before the narrative can progress.

Some might see this as unsophisticated story structure, but it works for something broken up into chapters like this series.

The episode allows the protagonist to spend time with his quarry, which is not what he expected.

Series creators are making use of a western troupe, which places a lone gunslinger in a situation that requires them to defend a young character they empathise with.

It may be a spaghetti western troupe, but it’s presented in a clever and fun way.

The Mandalorian’s name isn’t revealed as of yet and he’s yet to remove his helmet, but viewers have been given some backstory, personality and clear character motivations.

He’s motivated by a warrior culture that’s mostly been expanded on outside of the main “Star Wars”films.

The planet they hail from was divided by civil war during the events of the original trilogy, and it’s clear he wants to help his people adjust to life in a period similar to the wild west.

The premise is simple, but there is an incredible amount of attention to detail being placed on the world building, and the characters will be what drives the story.

Not only is Mandalorian culture being expanded on, but series creators are taking a huge risk with the introduction of the infant the bounty hunter is protecting.

Its of an alien species that’s particularly powerful when it comes to the franchise’s take on

supernatural power known as the force.

He’s the McGuffin of this story,andanyonewhohasn’tbeenspoiled on the details of episode one should watch the episode before learning anymore.

It’s clear the team behind this series is passionate.

The score by Ludwig Göransson has hints of the iconic “Star Wars” music by John Williams, but has its own unique sound that adds to the ambiance and keeps with the western theme.

It’s completely different to his heavily hip-hop-oriented music he scored for Marvel’s “Black Panther,” but stays consistent with the heavy use of percussion instruments.

Each episode is being helmed by different directors, including Dave Felloni, who’s also an executive producer.

Felloni has pulled from “Star Wars” legends and introduced aspects to the Disney canon through his work on the animated series’ “Star Wars The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels.”

It’s clear his take on Mandalorian culture in those series will play a big role moving forward in this one.

The only major negative of “The Mandalorian” is having to pay for yet another streaming subscription to enjoy it.

There is nothing wrong with the service, but the market is saturated with them.

This is arguably the only show currently worth watching on Disney+, and it’s likely each chapter is being released weekly opposed to all at once to keep people engaged while more content starts streaming.

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