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Review: 'The Mandalorian' is 'Star Wars' to the core: a safe, entertaining blockbuster

Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

An all-star cast.

Decades' worth of "Star Wars" lore.

Disney's deep pockets.

There was no question about the media giant's aspirations for its streaming service, Disney+, when it launched early Tuesday morning with "The Mandalorian" at the forefront of several new original series: Go big -- like $12.5 million per episode big -- pull in half of Hollywood, stay on brand.

The premiere episode of the first live-action series in the "Star Wars" universe is a direct descendant of the big-budget film franchise in both tone and execution. It's long on impressive special effects and alien shootouts, and short on a fresh story line beyond the usual unwitting hero with a mysterious family tree and a destiny that involves saving the universe (or part of it).

The first installment of the eight-episode sci-fi drama is replete with swaggering bounty hunters, grotesque aliens yukking it up in bars and a narrative that must make a lot of sense to "Star Wars" fans -- because it's seriously confusing to the rest of us.

 

I have no idea what the series is about, at least not yet. But it looked cool, like a trip to Disneyland's Galaxy's Edge without the long lines and screaming children.

Here's what I do know: "The Mandalorian" takes place after the fall of the Empire but before the rise of the First Order. Per Disney, he's "a lone gunman in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic."

The new warrior who emerges in the wake of Jango and Boba Fett is a masked and caped bounty hunter (Pedro Pascal) whose cold heart will be challenged by the greater good, and maybe even a creeping sense of compassion, on his new mission.

"The Mandalorian" starts out with business as usual: "I can bring you in warm or I can bring you in cold," he callously tells a slippery creature he's bringing in.

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