The Good, The Bad and ‘The Mandalorian’

The Disney+ series set in the “Star Wars” universe is a bland homage to spaghetti westerns with none of their enduring charm.

Set in the Star Wars universe, The Mandalorian premiered on Disney+ on November 12, 2019. (Via Facebook)

I love “Star Wars.” Granted, not all of it, but I love the universe. So for me, “The Mandalorian, had everything going for it. A spaghetti western set in space? What more could I ask for? Unfortunately, Disney has failed.

“The Mandalorian” has one of the most forgettable television pilots in recent memory. It basically consists of the minimalist adventures of the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), a bounty hunter and discount Boba Fett emulating Clint Eastwood’s iconic gunslinger, the Man with No Name.

What “The Mandalorian” is trying to do is captivating. Ludwig Göransson’s score is a high point of the episode. It’s a western meets Hans Zimmer synth meets Bill Conti’s theme for “Rocky,” and it became the show’s best aspect. It was truly surreal to see iconic “Star Wars” landscapes backed by something other than John Williams’ legendary orchestral sound. 

On paper, a “Star Wars” western is a genius idea, but it ended up featuring no more than bland takes on Western tropes, like in the episode’s final action set piece — a shoot ‘em up finale ripped straight from genre films such as “The Wild Bunch”. A faceless character the audience only just met shoots at a few dozen faceless troopers who have no purpose other than to be obstacles. 


This show had potential. It could’ve been a truly bold and original step for “Star Wars,” and in a way it is, but only superficially. Things look and sound different, but there is absolutely no story. Sure, seeing Werner Herzog act in a “Star Wars” series is a treat — hearing him oddly pronounce “Star Wars” vernacular such as the eponymous Mandalorian’s name is especially entertaining — but he serves absolutely no purpose to the plot. 

Ultimately, what I’ll remember “The Mandalorian” for is 30 minutes of mind-numbing shootouts and Nick Nolte riding on terribly-rendered CGI creatures. 

I really hope the series picks up because I love the style and the homages, and the trailers looked great. But in the end, not even an adorable baby animatronic Yoda could make this pilot truly enjoyable. If this is all Disney’s brand new streaming service Disney+ has to offer from one of its most lucrative and creatively vast properties, Netflix may still be the option.

Email Mas Bouzidi at [email protected]



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