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Mando is losing its luster for me

Discussion in 'The Mandalorian' started by Jayson, Dec 29, 2020.

  1. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    I'll probably keep watching it for my kids, but....

    My interest in Mando is waning.
    It's moving more towards wookipedia checklists and melodrama while losing more and more of the poetics as time goes on.

    In both seasons, the final three episodes were pretty disinteresting to me, and the finale of Season 2 was entirely at odds with my personal tastes and interests.
    I was bored watching it. I didn't care about one thing that was happening.

    Neat vehicles, ships, etc... certainly, but none of the plot points mattered to me, and Mando taking off his helmet at the Imperial station entirely watered down the impact when he did so for Grogu. It was a wasted reveal that could have been saved for the meaningful moment. There was nothing meaningful about doing it in the Imperial station. It was just, "Oh my! Mando's going to take off his helmet!"
    So what? We know who the actor is. The fancy ATM machine doesn't care about Mando, and Mayfeld is an interesting character (largely because of Burr just nailing the character well), but I don't really care if he sees Mando or not - he's just some guy. He doesn't mean very much yet.

    Grogu, conversely, is the paramount of Mando's entire character arc dilemma. That's the whole point.
    The defenseless, harmless, and openly trusting innocent who becomes a personal ward of the soulless and faceless man with no name.
    It's a sort of The Professional meets Eastwood style of spin on things.
    As if one asked what The Man with No Name would do in Leon's type of situation, and then wrapped it up in a Star Wars poncho.
    It's a great shtick.

    But it was entirely undercut by showing us Mando in full on-camera revelation before his reveal to Grogu.
    It would be like The Man with No Name telling a soldier at a fort his name because he needed in, and then again telling a child he had taken on and never told before.
    Or, quite simply, like Vader taking off his helmet and revealing his face to on-camera in full to fit through a door he needed to get through to reach Obi-Wan in ANH, and then having the ROTJ moment play out the same as it does - as if it's still somehow this amazing reveal moment.

    It's not because the moment was blown early.

    That in itself isn't a big deal, but it's a pretty common style of lighthearted carrying of these massive narrative weights and motifs.
    Big set ups in motifs that get blown entirely off in exchange for focusing on "cool factor" concepts like "Ooh! It's a darksaber" "Oh! It's Luke!" "Wow! Those are powerful robots!" "That was a cool combat move!"

    Meh.

    That's all neat, but Luke means nothing to this story - he's not a precedent of value in its narrative.
    In the first season, the same thing happened there.
    The Empire wasn't a precedent in the story. It wasn't a part of the symmetry of the themes.
    But, threat needed, bam - there we go. Box-cake Star Wars. Insert Empire for threat. Ohh look, Darksaber! Fancy Tie-Fighter! Dude didn't die!

    *shrug*

    Alright.

    I'm also getting pretty tired of the, "Oh no! Mando's ship is damaged horribly, whatever will he do?!"
    Pretty sure it'll be fine until it's no longer needed in the series (or they get tired of dealing with the expensive cost of having a steel reflective exterior ship to model and light both physically and digitally).

    The entire point of the Mando narrative was a man without connection finding connection to a person, and then that connection to a person opening up a connection to society (likely Season 3).

    But it just keeps getting lost in tangents that have jackall to do with that narrative, and don't do anything for any character's movement, and every final third of a season so far has been entirely distracted by cool-factors over narrative resonances.

    Those elements are cool in themselves. That Tie Fighter is cool. That Dark Saber is cool. Luke being at the top of his game is cool. And on and on....
    But a dozen cool things doesn't make the narrative thrust.

    And suddenly spinning on your heels at the last minute and giving a minute of time to acknowledge the narrative moment needed without any attention to the topic for quite a length of time leading up to it doesn't really do much for me.

    It's like each season kicks off as The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, and then ends as Real Steel.

    And the elements that are being set up to move forward with are not all that interesting to me.
    I personally do not care about Mandalore. I don't care about Mandalorians.

    That's encyclopedia lore stuff, and for those who are big on that - this will likely be a right rocking show (along with all the other shows), but for me it was never about that.

    It was about film, and a style of filmmaking.

    And while I'm on the mention of filmmaking, who the hell decided to juxtaposition bright arse overcast sky against dark woods, and then have the characters stand with each of the VASTLY different luminosity conditions behind them so that as they talk we're CONSTANTLY flipping back and for between BAM! WHITE! - biff. dark. - BAM! WHITE! OW MY F***ING EYES!

    Those styles are pretty much gone by the end of every season, and I don't think it's going to come back as a main thrust. Further, it's mostly empty.
    Mando didn't go anywhere. He's going somewhere, but he's not gone anywhere.
    I know that we're only in season 2, but there's no pit stop anchors that close the loops to his character.

    Each season opens with an exposition of his internal character, and only superficially responds to that aspect of his character at the end, while spending more time on glitzy sideshow attractions that have no metaphorical relationship to Mando.

    Luke, for example, goes on an adventure exactly as he always wanted to, but it cost him his entire family to do that, and along the way he taught others about the bond of family while building a new one. That's basically his arc in ANH.

    Mando season one's arc is that Mando wants to find the baby because it's his job, and suddenly feels guilt and a want to protect for the first time.
    That's not really having gone somewhere. To have gone somewhere, Mando would need to have expressed something before that as a desire of something regarding the future - in some manner or another.
    But he didn't. He has no designs on the future; nothing is expressed.

    Even The Man with no Name outlined his designs for the future in the beginning, as simple as they were. He wanted to move on and get more money than he was getting from his current shtick.
    And that's more or less what his arc is wrapped up around, so him commenting on that at the beginning makes sense.

    Mando only talks about getting more money, but then abandons it.
    Conceptually, these are in the same wagon, but it's not a topical point.

    Then later we learn that he's not purely cold because he gets all this money and gives it to his tribe, so he's actually an incredibly bonded person and not a cold nameless bounty hunter at all, which only further devalues the merit of him choosing the baby over money.

    Again, the tribe is cool and was interesting to watch in and of itself, but the tribe doesn't move Mando forward. The tribe drags him backward narratively.

    And that's really common in the show.
    We take a step forward so that we can waltz around the legacy of the past for a dance or two, so that we can take a step forward.

    For example, we meet Malk so that we can move forward, but we go backward to backhistoryville instead and doublecrossing town over characters who mean nothing to us at all because we only just met them and only now are being told of their value to Mando...which isn't much - Malk wasn't that important. But we create a history with Mayfel out of it. Then we meet Mayfeld again, but he's gone from the hardnosed efficient killer with no sh*ts to give to being a bit of a softer killer entirely off camera. Anyway, we get Mayfeld. Step forward. Only, the main reason for getting Mayfeld back is to sizzle around his past through dialogue exposition that sets up Mayfeld's actions, not Mando's.


    Same thing happens with the other Mandalorian's. Same thing happens with Cara Dune, Moff Gideon, Cobb Vanth (and no, I don't remember their names - I look them up. I remeber them as, "Rebel Gangbanger chick", "Bad Lando with a Black Blade guy", "Sheriff of Dune, and better Kevin Bacon Trimmers guy"...).

    We get a lot of catching up going on for going nowhere. More happens to characters off screen than on, and with Mando being on screen all the time, he goes very little by comparison to everyone else zooming around their arcs like flies.

    It's like we're collecting trading cards for a card game ever time characters show up, or show back up on screen. It's the same character, but now a bunch of stuff's been added and they have this new effect when used. Hoozah!

    But before they get off into those tangents of character, vehicle, ship, and combat move rolodexing, the series' always start off with a beautiful cinematic footing and character story set up.

    So it comes off like half of a beautiful basket ball shot. The form and shooting are marvelous. The beginning of the arc is amazing and eloquent.
    And then the Harlem Globe Trotters jump in, snatch the ball out of the air, do a round of antics, and finale by acrobatically dunking the ball.

    The parts I have loved, I have loved.
    Unfortunately, it also comes with a hefty amount of, "meh", for me.

    Again, for anyone who's really into Encyclopedia Cinematica, this will be a whirlwind of joy going forward.
    Lots of "pokemon" to collect, so to speak.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #1 Jayson, Dec 29, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2020
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  2. Embo and His Pet Anooba

    Embo and His Pet Anooba Force Attuned

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    What do you look for when finding an enjoyable movie? I personally just like lore, and expansive history.
     
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  3. Choose Light

    Choose Light Mando Maven and Brown Eyes Backer

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    If Mando had lust for me, it would be a whooooooole different show. :p
     
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  4. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    The main thing I look for in film is the art and craft of the film, and how the story is told as a narrative art and craft.
    It was Star Wars that got me into it as a small child having my mind entirely blown wide open by the caliber of art I couldn't even express the words over or comprehend.

    All I knew was that it moved right and it looked right, and it moved right and looked right at the right times.

    You could tell me the story of the day of the life of a house fly if you move the narrative and cinematic forms in captivating ways.
    You can equally entirely bore me if you pile in a bunch of characters with over 50 years of development by simple exposition without narrative or cinematic eloquence.

    And even a cheap action film can have eloquence in narrative and cinematic form - several do.

    Beginning, Middle, End. How do you get in, what do you do, and how do you get out?

    That's what I'm there for.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  5. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

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    Before I go into your post more, I'm only dealing with this statement right now. I think you missed one important thing.

    Mando removes his helmet three times, but the first two moments are different compared to the last. Mando involuntarily removes is helmet in the first two scenes, but in the last scene he does it because he wants to do it. There is no need for him to show his face to Grogu and the others, but he still does reveal it. That's is the real reason why this moment is impactful.
     
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  6. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    I absolutely get that, but it doesn't change the effect.

    The only time that kind of play works is if it's a harlot set up.
    For example, if a stripper constantly shows her body to everyone and then later shows her body in private to someone she has come to love which is a new thing in her arc, then we're fine.

    But if a traditionalist Islamic woman whose entire arc is spent talking about not showing her body to anyone removes her burka to get through a border in disguise as a reporter, then redawns her burka, and then removes her burka to someone she loves and the film presents the moment as remarkable that she's removing her burka, then the removal of her burka is less powerful in the second moment because we, as the audience, have already seen her without her burka before.
    The moment is more impactful if we, the audience, witness the full reveal at the same time as the meaningful removal of her burka.

    It's the same with any reveal, really.
    If we know who Keyser Soze is before the meaningful moment that the characters know who Keyser Soze is, then it undercuts the reveal's cinematic punch.

    It's the Jaws effect, basically. If we see Jaws in full before the meaningful characters witness Jaws, then when they witness Jaws the impact is dropped.

    That doesn't mean the moment is worthless; not at all. It still works for the narrative moment and function entirely.
    But the theatrics take a hit because the prize at the bottom of the crackerjack box is already known. Now all we're doing is watching a character find out what the prize at the bottom of the crackerjack box is, and watching that character react to finding out what the prize is.

    That has cinematic value, but it's less cinematic value than if the character is finding out what the prize in the crackerjack box is at the same time as the audience.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #6 Jayson, Dec 29, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2020
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  7. MandoChip

    MandoChip Hate me later. Work now.
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    It really depends on what you want from Star Wars, for me it's an escape and I try and take it for what it is without overthinking everything. I don't like getting into all the technicalities, I want to have fun and enjoy the characters, world, lore etc. The Mandalorian is a dream come true in terms of what I want from Star Wars.
     
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  8. Lock_S_Foils

    Lock_S_Foils Red Leader

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    There used to be a regular here that would say "Just tell me a good story".....that is what I am looking for in a movie.

    And I think you mean "luster"......not "lust"
     
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  9. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    I also want a good story, but I'm not really getting that - for me.
    The story's falling flat on being "good".

    It's doing really good at starting good stories, but then it falls flat after that for me.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  10. Stormagadon

    Stormagadon Cantina Court Jester
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    No, Mando is honestly not lusting after @Jayson anymore, and that's obviously an issue.
    We liked that tension of unbridled, passionate lust that lurked behind Mando's mask.

    And until now, the unrequited passion Jayson had for Mando...
     
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  11. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    This is what happens when my mind mixes metaphors, thinking, "I'm losing my lust for Mando", and "Mando's losing its luster" simultaneously and resulting with an odd, and humorous, turn of words. lol

    I once screamed, "I'm all wet for the Lord!" because we - as teens - had been asked by a pastor if we were on fire for the Lord. It was raining, I thought it was a fun turn of phrase....and then it dawned on me what had just been yelled into the crowd of Christians.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  12. Stormagadon

    Stormagadon Cantina Court Jester
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    Happens to the best of us!

    I should be able to edit and fix it for ya.
     
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    I'm a Christian and I would have laughed pretty hard on that one.
     
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  14. Darth Chewie

    Darth Chewie Rebel Official

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    Very well said my friend! I enjoy the show, and more importantly enjoy watching it with my youngest daughter, who I successfully turned to the dark side when she became a "nerd" after reluctantly watching TFA with me - Lol

    There are times when the show makes me smile and I say "that was supper cool", and there are times when the show ends, and I'm all "that was it?". After listening to Jon Favreau before the Mandalorian debuted, I was expecting something completely disconnected from the current trilogies and characters. I was expecting an all new adventure and plot on worlds we have never seen or heard of, and I was expecting to fall in love with Star Wars all over again. I am not sure if something changed in production, or if we were simply lead astray so that the Grogu and the very obvious connections to the the First Order, Snoke and Palpatine would come as a surprise. But if some fans were upset that JJ copied the story beats of ANH for TFA, or used the "tragedy of Darth Plague" story to bring back Palpatine, then I am not entirely sure why they love the Mandalorian. Favreau and Filoni have given us more call backs, brought old characters back to life instead of creating interesting new ones(something that JJ and Kasdan did wonderfully in the TFA, btw), and they have relied on hardcore fans history of droids and side characters to make a scene "cool". Let's face it, if you didn't realize that droid was R5-D4 from ANH, the scene between Din and Peli in season 2 was kinda useless and dull. Throw in a droid Luke almost bought, that has nothing to do with moving the story forward, and all of a sudden Jon Favreau is a god. I don't get it.

    Now with Baby Yoda gone off with Luke, and likely not going to be major part of the plot moving forward, is it safe to say that the connective elements with the sequels will also end? Sequel haters are praying that is the case, as the last thing the haters want is for their new found gods in JF and DF to legitimize the story told in the sequels. And while I admit that I would take some pleasure in seeing the creation of Snoke and the beginning of Palpatines resurrection, if only to make the sequel haters squirm and eat their words, I too am hoping that the show at least for now, takes us to something new and unconnected to the empire, to the Jedi, and to the sequels.

    While I understand that the timeline of the show makes that kind of impossible, the SW galaxy is huge and we can easily have multiple seasons of fresh story telling without having to bring another character back to life, or insert R5-D4 into the frame. But I digress, it has become apparent that "fans" don't want that. Watching reaction videos to the Mandalorian for 2 seasons has proved that. I have watched reactors cry to a CGI Luke Skywalker, that reminded my of the cinematic scenes in video games(am I ever glad we did NOT get that in TLJ). I have watched grown ass adults giggle and laugh uncontrollably at the sight of R5-D4, or what looked like Anakin's old pod racer, or just about anything or anyone from the Clone Wars series. It has become obvious that Disney is not ready to take Star Wars to a new place. Not because they can't find writers and directors that could...{cough} Rian Johnson.... but because the fan base won't let them. It has become sadly apparent that unless EVERYTHING they currently make is not some how connected to the Saga timeline, we are not likely to ever see it played out on TV or film for a very long, long time.

    Which make one wonder why the sequel get the hate from the vocal minority that they do. Aside from Rian's portrayal of Luke, which was take from Lucas's treatments and I have zero issues with, the sequels were nothing but call backs, nostalgia, and returning characters to the max. I don't have the energy to figure out the SW fan base and some of their entitled opinions and reactions, but admittedly I do feel sad when I see a grown adult state that Disney ruined their childhood....With a movie..... Decades after their "childhood". {sigh}

    So, back on track here. The Mandalorian overall is a well made show, with decent writing and directing. But it does come off as a tad boring at times, even when they tease connections to the mysteries of the sequels. I want new lore and new myths. I want new hero's, not a character that is virtually a side-kick on his own show. Give me weird. Give me far fetched. Give me a compelling story arc and a fresh version of the hero's journey. Because, if the future of Star Wars is forever going to be connected to such a short time in galactic history, then my interest is already beginning to fade. When LFL created their own canon and sent the EU to legends, I was excited. They were giving themselves a blank slate. They could go anywhere, do anything, and create all kinds of new history and lore. Instead.... we have the Mandalorian, Ashoka, and the Book of the dead guy..... err I mean Fett, and a fighter pilot moving that also appears to be taking place during the Saga timeline.

    Thanks for taking the time to read that ridiculously long winded rant! :)
     
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  15. RockyRoadHux

    RockyRoadHux Ginger General

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    I don't get why you're so hung up on this? As a Mandalorian he has to wear a mask. And it did make sense for him to take this mask down for the narrative moment- exactly like you said.

    While we are at it: Him not taking off the mask- what Bo mentioned, that his view of the Mandalorians has been colored by his extremist upbringing, this imo is a lot more interesting and this subject still hasn't been explored yet. So I would argue that no, 'the bottom of the crackerjack box' is not already known.
     
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  16. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    You're missing the point entirely there, and I'm not hung up on it.
    I brought it up in passing in an array of points and it was singled out, to which I then answered.

    I really don't care that much, although it does easily highlight the lack of theatrical treatment, and by that I mean theatrics.

    As I noted, the whole thing works narratively. That was never in question.
    Never once complained about the narrative articulation of the Mando reveal.

    The theatrics were poorly played. No matter how you slice it, how the narrative still works or any other matter, the power of any reveal is always at it's strongest when it is the first time an audience has seen the reveal.

    It's not a complex concept. It's a simple shtick that's been around since before movies existed. Children get this. You jump out and scare someone. BOO! AHHH!!
    It doesn't work to scare them and then just yell BOO!! again at the same person. All that can happen now is that person join you in watching someone else go AHHH!! from you yelling BOO!!, but the energy level will never be as high for them as it was the first moment they were shocked. They can getting thrills off of enjoying others get scared, but it's not as heightened and powerful of an emotional hit as ever nerve in your body jumping to alarm.

    It's the same concept, but less horror and more spectacle.
    It's like finding the Sphynx and then saying, "Oh, right, I didn't have my wife with me, cover it back up and I'll show it to her! Act surprised when you see it everyone!"

    And no - the two things are not the same crackerjack prize. The two aren't even in the same crackerjack box.

    It's really simple. If you make a big deal out of something that is hidden, and it means something to a main character, and they are going to meaningfully reveal it to another character in the story because they care about that character and it's a big thing that they are revealing themselves to that character because it's a sign of vulnerability and love, then the audience should be witnessing the revelation of what is being shown at the same time that the revelation is happening between those two characters...not before that moment.

    It's basic theatrics. It's basic Star Wars theatrics. It's Vader's face being revealed to Luke.

    If you don't care. Cool. You don't care. That doesn't change anything about the theatrics being less powerful than they would have been if that was the first time you had seen it (unless you are a very strange sort of human with some odd neurological builds - which I strongly doubt).

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  17. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

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    @Jayson, what do you think of Kylo Ren removing his helmet before the emotional bridge scene?
    Back then a lot of people thought it would have been more impactful to have Kylo remove his mask only for his father.

    I'm asking this because this reminds me of your problem with Mando's face reveal.

    IMO this has the same structure as the three Mando scenes. They are needed to form the character, slowly. While revealing the face only once (for both cases - Mando and Kylo) would feel rushed.
     
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  18. RockyRoadHux

    RockyRoadHux Ginger General

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    Huh?


    Okay, so I don't think it's your place to tell me that I must be a very strange sort of human only because I don't agree with your way thinking.

    I remember that one.

    It's what the mask does stand for. Like I wrote in my last post. So to my mind it's the reveal and story that goes with why he does hide his face and not the fact that he's wearing a mask.
     
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  19. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    I actually don't have a problem with retreading the same content. That doesn't bother me. They could have Luke show up all they want.
    It's that Luke wasn't a part of this story, there's literally no room for him in it - straight up none. As soon as Luke steps on, no one gives a d*** about Mando, and more importantly, there was no work done to set up Luke being the one to show up.

    It's a pokemon card rather than a set up character that has ties to moral motifs in Mando.
    It's the same with Boba and Ahsoka.

    These aren't like Cobb or Kuiil. Characters who challenge moral motifs in Mando's disposition of being disconnected from society.

    Boba, Ahsoka, and Luke are just Star Wars porn. They're strip dancers showing up to make eyeballs pop for a moment with gleeful love to see the image of a favorite character. It's not even about whether it fits what's going on and serves Mando's turmoils.

    You did say these folks best - side character to his own show. When folks like these show up, absolutely that's what happens and it's dull to me.

    But yeah, to be clear, I don't care if Luke were in Mando - you could do that. It could work, and Boba almost got there, but it didn't. They went off on "OOOO BOBA!" mode instead of twisting Boba into Mando's running theme - Boba had nothing to say about community, or belonging. Neither did Ahsoka. And I don't mean you can't make something they said about community or belonging.

    I mean the lens didn't.
    Mando didn't react to a running tangent of cinematic conversation in reflection of Boba or Ahsoka regarding community and belonging.
    It was more just Boba and Ahsoka. They each had their bit about community and belonging in dialogue a bit...sure. It was pretty minimal weighted crap.
    About as hefty in impact to anything as applesauce cups are to a full course meal.

    I think they're overall bouncing too many places to too many disconnected characters too fast to actually stick to their motifs and follow them through well for the character.
    It's like The Man with No Name ripping through a new city and character every 20 minutes.

    Yes, I do think there's a lot of folks who want to see a wookieepedia-palooza sort of explosion in Star Wars, and they're going to get it.
    But I don't require a new place, new character, new whatever for things to work.

    I just want better theatrical flare and treatment over their motifs and themes, honestly. Just...just that.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
    --- Double Post Merged, Dec 30, 2020, Original Post Date: Dec 30, 2020 ---
    I agree it would have been a bigger theatrical firework and a better spot if the point was the reveal of his face.

    I don't think it's quite as critical because Kylo's facial identity wasn't a point of issue in the story, his internal identity was.
    Removing the mask was a way of getting it out of the way - communicating that that wasn't the question that was being focused on - the question wasn't who he is, but who he is. Not who he was as an identity, but who he was as a self-identity.

    So it made sense to blow that cover faster than later and blow the steam out from those fireworks - that wasn't the firework show.
    Han's death was the firework show. That was the "who am I" revelation.

    The equivalent blown reveal there would be Kylo full out stating that he's going to trick his dad and kill him before he does it, and then does it, and the camera doesn't play it like there's any doubt that he's going to do it.

    That would be blowing it in like fashion.

    I'm not saying you're weird if you don't care.
    I'm saying it would be weird for any human on the planet to not be MORE shocked the FIRST time they see something than they are the SECOND time they see something...

    If someone is MORE shocked the second time they see a revelation, they ARE a strange human...our basic neurology isn't wired that way.
    Otherwise we'd never bother doing anything new and shocking - ever.

    I don't know where the confusion is, but the point is that there is a massive difference between narrative and theatrics.
    When I say that the narrative works, that doesn't mean the theatrics are as good as they could be.

    It also doesn't mean that the story doesn't work.
    It means it's not as potent as it could have been.

    There's a big difference between those two statements.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  20. Darth Chewie

    Darth Chewie Rebel Official

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    And this was precisely why the writing of TFA was so difficult. When do you bring in Luke Skywalker and not have him take over the entire movie, when you've already established that movies will be about the new trio?

    And I am with you. I don't have issues with retreading, but I've had my fill at this point I guess. They have an entire history prior to TMP, and the entire future after TROS, and a streaming service platform to launch just about anything they want, and they're sticking to the current timeline, and to me that is disappointing. They gotta make money, I get it. They'll produce what people will be willing to buy, but of all the new projects announced, not even one is daring, bold, or even remotely new. The hate that was spewed after the TLJ definitely has made Disney shy to pull the trigger on anything of that nature. And it's to bad, I for one was really looking forward to see what Rian Johnson would have come up with.
     
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