December 8, 2021

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[Review] The Mandalorian: Good, Bad, and Bounty Hunters

To kick off the Star Wars series on Disney+, Lucasfilm relied on Jon Favreau. The director and screenwriter of the first two Iron Mans features galactic epics, much of which was inspired by westerns. The polished aesthetic puts The Mandalorian well above what Star Wars has given us in recent times. Is it a sign of renewal for the universe?

If Star Wars cinema takes the necessary break, the adventure continues on the small screen. Lucasfilm’s first live-action series, The Mandalorian has the uphill task of getting the ball rolling. Launching last November in the United States, the series created a stir and excitement when Disney+ launched.

This time, we will explore the galaxy with Mando, a bounty hunter who finds himself on a strange mission. In 8 episodes, The Mandalorian covers the hitherto untapped period, between the fall of the Empire and the birth of the First Order. To bring the project to the screen, Disney trusted his new lover Jon Favreau. The filmmakers partnered with Star Wars: Rebels and Clone Wars director, Dave Filoni.

Once upon a time in the west
Jon Favreau takes us to the vast western intergalactic plains, inspired in large part by the westerner Sergio Leone. From staging to character construction, this series sounds like a lively homage to 7th art. Visually accomplished, it seems to reconnect with its story roots by offering a special effects show rather than an over-the-top offer of digital effects.

We’ll still be paying homage to the work done on the baby character Yoda, who screams for realism. Among the directors who follow each other behind the camera, we find screenwriters Dave Filoni, Deborah Chow or Taika Waititi. The latter also offers us a high aerobatic finale, very effective both in its realization and in its script construction. The scenes are sublimated by the photography of Barry Idoine and Greig Fraiser which gives the series a special atmosphere.

To stage the adventures of Mando and Baby Yoda, Jon Favreau relies on script construction that seems to have been abandoned by other series. When it’s time for a feature film to be cut into chapters on another channel, The Mandalorian offers one plot per episode. A format however widely used in 90-2000 before the advent of the SVoD platform.

The recipe is charged. The main plot is spread over eight episodes of this first season, so the subplots begin and close in 50 minutes. This doesn’t prevent a few “filler” episodes that will be able to discourage universe novices. Often silent, the episodes are the complete opposite of what JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson’s films offer you on the big screen.

On the casting side there are beautiful people, starting with Pedro Pascal playing the main character. The actor has the difficult task of playing a protagonist who can never take off his helmet and excels at practice. Mesmerizing, who played on Game of Thrones, shared the screen with Gina Carano.

The actress and former MMA sportsman shows us his talent in various fight scenes in the series. Finally, music by Ludwig Göransson sublimates the adventures of our heroes. The man to whom we owe the music of Black Panther, seems to have found inspiration in the western side of spaghetti and its main theme is also reminiscent of the works of Enio Morricone.

The Mandalorian was everything we dreamed of for the first Star Wars series on Disney+ and we wanted more. Luckily, we won’t have to wait long as the second round of episodes will land in the fall on Disney+, a year after the American broadcast.