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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 think there's a difference between interacting with, and focusing on.
    I wouldn't be bothered by the former, but the latter kinds of loses me.

    For example: if they made a show called, "Stormtroopers".
    I'd be really quite pleased they finally got around to serving up a bunch of fans a plate of what they've been asking for, but I personally would have zero inherent interest in watching it.

    Just as I have zero inherent interest in watching a show about a bunch of X-Wing pilots.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  2. Martoto

    Martoto Rebel Official

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    I don't believe the show focuses on those things. Rather it gives side characters a bit more depth by putting them in the wider historical context of the GFFA.
     
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  3. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    I've already kind of covered this, but essentially, if you swing a camera onto something and place the climactic tension on it, then it's focused on.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  4. Darth Derringer

    Darth Derringer Rebel Trooper

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    I agree with you that a show on 'stormtroopers' or even 'X-wing pilots' doesn't get me excited.

    But one of the joys of old-fashioned, self-contained, episodic TV like we've seen in The Mandalorian is that it can present us with a fascinating glimpse in a on-off episode like The Believer.
     
    #104 Darth Derringer, Mar 18, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2021
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  5. Martoto

    Martoto Rebel Official

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    I don't agree with that. The series does tend to distract the audience with conspicuous cameos. But sharing the spotlight among recurring supporting characters is a common feature in TV shows. Maybe it's often highlighted due to Din's taciturn persona, more so when he has his helmet off. But I don't think that the other characters are focused on at the expense of the lead.
     
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  6. Darth Derringer

    Darth Derringer Rebel Trooper

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    EXACTLY, Martolo! (yoda)

    I think part of the problem some people have with it is that in this 'streaming-a-whole-season-all-at-once' era, many viewers have forgotten - or may have never known - that all episodic TV used to consist of self-contained stories, with a beginning, middle, and an end. Ending a show with the words, "To be continued..." was extremely rare then. Also, keep in mind that most shows featured 24 episodes or more in a single season so there were A LOT of scripts to prepare.

    So back then, it wasn't at all unusual to have recurring supporting characters when there were 'fan favorites' and the writers had to come up with so doggone many script ideas. In today's era of TV screenwriting, if the writer has to figure out a bunch of cameo appearances within an intricate, season-long story arc, it's much more challenging -- which explains why you don't see it nearly as much as you would have back in the old days of network TV shows.
     
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  7. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    It doesn't have to be at the expense of the lead. I've written that before a few times.
    It has to be:
    A) Not something I'm interested in.
    B) Something that doesn't directly support Mando.
    C) Something that's put in as a 'general Star Wars universe interest' item.
    D) Is what the camera is focused on and the climactic tension centers around.

    That has nothing to directly do with dropping the quality of Mando's narrative capability itself.
    I've said it before, if someone likes these side subjects and objects, then it will never be a problem at all.

    If, however, you are the person who is 'asexual' about Elvis, Tyson's vest, and that really bada** pen, then it doesn't do anything for you.
    It's basically flat-line time for me.

    And that's not because I'm unfamiliar with older TV programming, which brings me to....
    I'm not seeing the relevance in bringing this up in this discussion as I am 42 years old this spring and grew up in a backwood remote island in Alaska where our local programming was all from the 60's and 70's for years.

    I grew up as a little kid watching the Lone Ranger, Zorro, Star Trek original series, B/W Perry Mason, Lost in Space, Dukes of Hazard, Dr. Who etc... on a black and white 15 inch screen with rabbit ears, the ones that the case itself was also black and white. In fact, that's what I was watching when I first saw Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
    When we did get color TV and the programming grew I was watching Matlock, new Perry Mason, Magnum P.I., Cheers, MASH, Star Trek Next Gen, Knight Rider, Quantum Leap, Airwolf, The A-Team, Murder She Wrote, etc...

    Today, we watch Murder She Wrote, Star Trek Next Gen, and Dr. Who almost daily, and Magnum P.I. makes a regular appearance on our screen.

    I am among the first to champion the episodic serial, and I've written about it repeatedly on the forum, along with praising the Romp and the desire for a return to Romp and pure heroism.

    Whether this was episodic or continual has absolutely no bearing on my point.
    Look, if you, as a person, only find Fletcher of interest, then you're going to think the technique of one-off's where they let Dennis Stanton lead the way around, or any of the others, as not a good technique regardless how many times someone tries to explain the merits of the approach.

    It's really that simple.
    Does Mando have a structural flaw that threatens to undermine the general audience quality of the show?
    HEEEELL NO!

    Does Mando have a structural weakness in ONE CORNER that HAPPENS to be a corner that bothers ME PERSONALLY?

    Yes. Yes it does.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  8. Martoto

    Martoto Rebel Official

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    Not really any coming back from that is there?
     
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  9. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    Not really, no.
    B through D just sum to A.

    That said, I still watch it. I'll still watch it.
    Because even with its lackluster moments for me and (likely) dropping of pastiche expressionism, it's still FAR fricken better quality programming than 95+% of content out there...including films.

    Besides, my kids love it and Star Wars with your kids is just magic.

    It's not like Mando is a show where every episode is an antagonistic interpersonal melodrama...which so many da*n shows have now turned to doing.

    I swear a ton of writers have forgotton that their medium is a visual one and not just a dialogue container you can play like a dang radio drama while you fiddle with your phone.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  10. Darth Derringer

    Darth Derringer Rebel Trooper

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    This seems like a weird comment to put in a thread about The Mandalorian. I never thought I'd hear a criticism that the show is too darn verbose. :) :) :)
     
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  11. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    No, no. Mando is not.

    My point in that comment was that regardless of anything being uninteresting in terms of where they're choosing to focus, the show is FAR better than most shows out there because a ton of shows have forgotten that theirs is a visual medium and not just a spot to shove dialogue and talking heads.

    Mando is far from a dialogue container for talking heads. That's why it's still worth gold in my book over most content out there regardless if I'm personally getting bored of them focusing on a bunch of stuff I don't really care about, and they're not using the artform I would prefer them to use.

    They are still bothering to treat it as a visual medium of art pretty much every single episode.

    Regardless of everything else, in my book, that deserves high praise.
    ezgif.com-gif-maker.gif

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #111 Jayson, Mar 19, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
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  12. Martoto

    Martoto Rebel Official

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    ^ Is that Carole King?
     
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  13. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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  14. Darth Derringer

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    Totally agree with you on this one, Jayson! (yoda)

    With the advent of The Volume, the show's ability to 'paint incredible pictures' each and every episode has gone up exponentially. After each episode this past season, I was thinking to myself, 'damn, what are we going to see next week?'
     
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  15. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    Mando's actually the reason that I declared, "The reign of the $50 million dollar movie is dead."

    Why would you spend $50 million on a crap-shoot film when you can yank that in on a streaming platform like Netflix and bypass the entire costly theatrical distribution system, and then...why even do that when you can at least afford to run a limited series film from anywhere around $9 million to $15 million per episode, and get more quality budget per hour more easily because of the return on investment to the streaming company - unlike a traditional production studio looking to recoup all costs out of just your film and all almost entirely banked on the first month of weekends.

    And Mando specifically is a head snapper because it's dropping the cost on some episodes down to around $13 million.
    $13 million for that quality?
    And that stagecraft system will only get cheaper. Most of that cost is just in that system currently, and right now that's sort of exchanging the cost between traveling everywhere (as in Game of Thrones...there's no excuse for the bloated costs on shows like "The Morning Show"...that's just crack talk).

    I have pals on the VFX side of the industry and they've been slowly working towards breaking into production as well, and they are playing with the new stagecraft platform and looking at how that can move them along.

    That was simply impossible before. Just straight up impossible for a VFX company to in-house production development.

    Now? Hey middle budget studios...you better watch the F out because VFX studios are far more fitted to do COVID style production, and use high-tech advantages like stagecraft, and they don't have to hire new departments or outsource to accomplish it - this is their back yard! All they have to do is afford some camera gear, logistically branch out to hiring talent, and brush up their direction and production shoot chops....which is FAR easier than a middle budget production studio trying to learn VFX or pay someone to do it for them!

    Not to mention, a Hollywood AAA film grade VFX studio operates at about the same cost as a middle budget production studio.
    Middle budget production studio...you're screwed!

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #115 Jayson, Mar 19, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
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  16. Darth Derringer

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    ...AND BETTER!

    Interesting stuff, Jayson. The first and most important component in creating a great sci-fi/fantasy movie or series is the 'believability' of the scenery/settings. Not to get OT, but it's one of the big reasons why Peter Jackson's LOTR was so great...and why The Hobbit was not.

    Until now, sci-fi series have been limited by the quality of their CGI. No matter how cool or futuristic the scenario might be, if it looks fake, it doesn't work. That's why The Volume used in the production of The Mandalorian is so spectacular. In fact, it wasn't until I watched the 'Making of..." videos that I realized the amazing visuals I was seeing were not because of expensive, on-location shoots. It STILL boggles my mind that they made these episodes in-studio.

    I get excited when I realize that the Volume is just the beginning. Just imagine how much larger and more sophisticated this technology will be over time.
     
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  17. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    The actual biggest leap forward wasn't the projection system, nor the LED system, nor the real-time rendering. All of those already existed, and were in use on AAA VFX films.

    What was radically new, however, is the parallax.

    With automatically tracking camera lens conditional parallax, holy s*** balls.
    I was watching this tech sort of unfold a bit before Mando hit and I was just ape-s*** blown away watching Unreal demo it.

    Some folks in VFX were sort of, "Eh...we'll see..." (and to a degree rightly so, because so many new toys are all promise and no delivery - or so expensive or complex that it's not really worth it), but I was simply blown just because of that parallax alone.

    The rest was just kind of added cheese, but that parallax! WTF! DUDE!?

    That is the real-time on-stage VFX equal, screw it, that's the VFX as a whole equal of Einstein's Special Relativity!

    We don't have General Relativity yet, but it's now a matter of time until automatic objects are tracked onto people. At first that will be clunky and need a lot of manual correction to clean it up, but after it gets in there a bit, it'll be just BOOM - wide open.

    Need a WWI Rifle? Coming right up! Need a lightsaber? Check! Need a jetpack? Rodger that!

    It'll be nearly like the scene in The Matrix when Neo loads up on guns in the infinite white room because of the data jack.

    All you'll need is some sort of facsimile to anchor to as a reference point and boom, it'll live-render the rest and angle it automatically, AND light it right all without requiring hundreds of man-hours of manual VFX work.

    Hell, a stormtrooper's helmet in the future, and indeed their whole outfit, could just end up being virtually blasted on them in real time now that they've cracked parallax!

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  18. Darth Derringer

    Darth Derringer Rebel Trooper

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    Yeah, that 'Unreal' stuff is pretty damn amazing. When you put it all together, you've got a film director's ultimate fantasy: an authentic environment where he/she can play around filming the action from any angle or perspective.

    My understanding is that on The Mandalorian, Favreau's team provides the episode's director with an early "pre-vis" look at the whole episode so they and the animators can begin playing around with it weeks before the actual shoot. Even during filming, The Volume's technology allows the director the flexibility to change things around once he/she sees how things look through the camera lenses.

    It's all pretty exciting stuff and means that the production values of our favorite shows are only going to get better and better.
     
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  19. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    I think so.

    That reminds me...there is one group that's not a fan, come to think of it.
    DPs/cinematographers.

    There's things they love: any natural light time you desire - you can do sunsets in a half day instead of at least 2 days (and easily more if the weather doesn't line up).

    But there's things they hate: constantly fiddling with the lighting and having to check on that parallax's read of the light, and the set up time for any solution is just tediously long. I forget who it was, but one cinematographer said it was like being at NASA doing practice runs for launches.
    Nothing's simple.

    You can't just grab your tungstens, and whip up a shot, nail it, and move.

    It's also harder for them a bit because there's nearly zero inspiration...that is, accidental. Everything is tightly controlled so perfectly that you almost never have a moment where you see a chance of light dancing around.

    You never catch light in there. You dictate it.

    Sort of the difference between digital computer music and analog synth music.

    Overall they find it impressive and super luxurious, but I gather that after a while they feel a little less human artist and more lighting drone, and just start craving the open air/natural studio again.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  20. Darth Derringer

    Darth Derringer Rebel Trooper

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    I recall listening to a lecture by a futurist at a conference I attended where he said that once upon a time, a major life-changing invention took place in our society once a generation. He said today the frequency of these inventions have accelerated to the point where it's now happening every seven years (and I heard his lecture probably 20 years ago.)

    In this particular case, the technological advancement is eliminating many of the headaches surrounding a cinematographer's job -- but it sure beats the heck out of eliminating the need for the job all together. :) ;)

    Back on topic, we've discussed the whole helmet removing thing at length but I'd like to address another one of your concerns that you expressed in your OP:
    For a show featuring a main character who wears a helmet and who is a man of few words, I would argue that it's actually rather remarkable how much character development Din has gone through since S1:E1. Despite the many episodic 'distractions' you mention, I would opine that the overriding power of the show's narrative shines through.

    It's an open question whether this continues to be the case now that Din has found a Jedi for Grogu and they're separated. But in my humble opinion, Seasons 1 and 2 kept their focus squarely on the main storyline and the character development that came from it.
     
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