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Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 1 Review: Stranger in a Strange Land

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The following review contains spoilers

Boba Fett has been a beloved Star Wars character ever since his debut in the infamous Holiday Special and made his big onscreen appearance 41 years ago in The Empire Strikes Back. We then later on learn about the origins of the renowned bounty hunter in Attack of the Clones and in the Clone Wars animated series. The appearance of Boba Fett in The Mandalorian season two was also a welcoming surprise as last we saw of the bounty hunter was when he fell into the Sarlacc pit during the events of ‘Return of the Jedi”. 

How did he survive? well, that’s the very first thing covered in the opening of the series premiere which splits its time between flashbacks to what happened after Fett’s downward slope into the pit, as well as the events following The Mandalorian season 2, in which Boba (Temuera Morrison), alongside his loyal assassin Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) navigate the galaxy’s underworld when they return to the sands of Tatooine to stake their claim on the territory once ruled by Jabba the Hutt and his crime Syndicate. 

Chapter one reminded me why I love Star Wars as this episode gave me the classic, vintage feels mixed with Lawerence of Arabia and The Godfather, as both Fett and Shand take down the seedy underbelly of Tatooine. Directed by showrunner Robert Rodriguez and written by Jon Favreau, take a reflective approach in order to fill in the gaps of Fett’s past in which he’s scarred by. 

The opening chapter of the series entitled “Stranger In a Strange Land” shows that Fett still needs medical treatment for his escape from the acid-filled Sarlacc pit as we see him lying inside a Bacta Tank, which provides brief flashbacks to his birthplace Kamino and to the Geonois arena where his father Jango Fett was killed By Mace Windu. 

We also see flashbacks to recent events especially his escape which is executed quickly as he’s shortly running out of time. Boba breathes fresh air from the supply of an expired and eroded Stormtrooper whilst punching a hole through the Sarlacc’s thick stomach. He fires his flamethrower through it and tunnels his way out onto the surface and emerges in front of the wreckage of Jabba’s sail barge. 

Photo: Lucasfilm

After being left for dead and enduring the pain and suffering of being slowly digested, Fett encounters Tatooine’s infamous residents. First Jawa scavengers steal his armour and leave him for dead again. Then becoming dehydrated, Tusken Raiders discover him and force him into subjugation. What follows is an unfortunate escape plan as he survives a brawl with a Tusken Massiff. 

Meanwhile in present-day Tatooine, Boba Fett and Fennec Shand start to secure their hold on crime lord Jabba the Hutt’s former territory, though conflict begins to simmer between the two as Fennec recommends that a more violent rule will surly guarantee a more stable transition of power . However Fett takes a far more measured approach by working by a code of honour that somewhat excludes torture or killing to send a message as “Jabba ruled with fear, I Intent to rule with respect”. 

Photo: Lucasfilm

Fett awakens from the tank as he dons armour and receives visitors in his newly claimed throne room, where a torture droid ( voiced by Matt Berry) announces guests who bring tributes to him as a gesture of being under Fett’s leadership. An Aqualish hands over a tribute of New Republic credits, Dokk Strassi, a Trandoshan leader Fett once worked for, offers a Wookie pelt, two Gamorrean guards pledge their loyalty and a suspicious display of respectfulness comes from Madam Garsa Flip (Jennifer Beals) who is the proprietor of The Sanctuary an upscale Mos Spa Cantina. 

Photo: Lucasfilm

Many of Jabba and Bib’s former subjects are prepared to bend the knee to Boba Fett, well not all of them. As Mos Espa mayor not only fails to show up to the palace in person but sends his majordomo (David Pasquesi) to collect tribute from Fett and as Fett and Shand leave the Cantina they’re ambushed by many assassins with batons that can stun you and energy shields. What follows is a badass parkour pursuit as Fennec kills one and captures the other though we’ll have to wait till next week to see who the assassins work for and who especially is the Mayor??.

This episodes big fight sequence is a battle between a six-legged sand monster that is very reminiscent of classic star wars and feels like a Ray Harryhausen stop motion puppet. This victory in the eyes of the Tusken Raiders makes Boba a made man as the Tusken leader hands boba a gourd which is a sign of respect or acceptance into the tribe. 

Photo: Lucasfilm

Wen truly shines as the cunning enforcer/assassin Fennec Shand her skillset is utilised throughout this first chapter. She’s a compelling lead and delivers her lines ruthlessly. 

And Morrison’s portrayal depicts a man that’s been though hell and now onto more of a redemptive path. His delivery and humour truly flesh out the character. Fennec surly feels obliged to Fett because he saved her but chapter one also implies that she would do things differently if she were the crime lord. Life on Tatooine is hard as honour amongst thieves thrives thrives amongst the town. 

The episode also features an epic theme, from Ludwig Göransson who also composed both seasons of The Mandalorian.

Overall Chapter One “Stranger in a Strange Land” is certainly a promising start and offers us glimpses on where the Book of Boba Fett could ultimately be heading as it features action and Star Wars nostalgia. 

The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 1, “Stranger in a Strange Land,” is streaming now on Disney+. Future episodes premiere on Wednesdays.

 

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Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight | Official Trailer | Disney +

A former U.S. marine, struggling with dissociative identity disorder, is granted the powers of an Egyptian moon god. But he soon finds out that these newfound powers can be both a blessing and a curse to his troubled life.

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Drama

Release Date:

March 30, 2022 (Disney +)

Creator:

Doug Moench

Cast:

Starring Oscar Isaac, Ethan Hawke, Gaspard Ulliel

Plot Summary:

A former U.S. marine, struggling with dissociative identity disorder, is granted the powers of an Egyptian moon god. But he soon finds out that these newfound powers can be both a blessing and a curse to his troubled life.

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Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 2 Review: The Tribes of Tatooine

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The following review contains spoilers

The second chapter of The Book of Boba Fett is officially here and it picks up right where Chapter One left off. Chapter two entitled “The Tribes of Tatooine’ delivers one of the best and thematically rich episodes of classic star wars to date as the second chapter expands the mythology and is seeped into its own culture. 

“The Tribes of Tatooine” is directed skilfully by Academy Award-nominee Steph Green and written by Jon Favreau and utilises the narrative by telling two different tales at the same time and I found that it works to their advantage. The Book of Boba Fett showcases the present in where Boba and Fennec Shand are now inside the underbelly of the Tatooine crime world and are trying to figure out exactly who sent those assassins as seen in Chapter One “Stranger in a Strange Land”. Then there’s the past which showcases some of my favourite parts and seems to be the bigger plot of the show which continues to show how the former Bounty Hunter came back from near death with the help of the Natives. This allows the series to fill in the gaps of Boba Fett’s story since his last appearance in 1983s Return of the Jedi. 

The episode opens with a high angled shot of the rocky desert landscape outside Jabba’s palace. As Fennec Shand delivers the Order of the Night Wind Assassin to the feet of Boba Fett, which helps set some engaging events in motion from the offset. What follows is a Rancor fakeout, an icy reception at the mayor’s office and neatly waving Hutt Twins who threaten to claim the palace back. Bureaucracy plays a vital part in chapter two as mayor Moz Shaiz offers Boba some advice about ruling after he has the assassin killed and treats Boba off by paying him like he’s hauled in a bounty. After being sent back to the Sanctuary, talks about the assassins are quickly forgotten as thumping drums start to play in the background as it’s shown that Jabba the Hutt’s cousins have come to Tatooine to lay claim to their cousins’ palace as I previously mentioned. 

Photo: Lucasfilm

With a familiar Wookie from the comics Black Krrsantan appearing by their side, this provides one of the episodes best standoffs. During this moment is where I felt The Book of Boba Fett gearing towards the original trilogy as the style and aesthetic is very 70’s and vintage. Its advantage in storytelling is that The book of Boba Fett has shaped new edgier Star Wars stories as, despite only landing on a few locations, Tatooine is teeming with life, scum and villainy that truly can be expected from this hostile planet. This episode also shows Temurea Morrison’s Boba slowly growing into the role of a leader. 

Photo: Lucasfilm

Whilst Fett is resting inside his bacta tank, he experiences a flashback of his time with the Tusken Raiders. Chapter two takes a more meaningful approach in its portrayal of the Tuskens. The characters have been in a Galaxy Far, Far Away for many years in various Star Wars films and tv shows. The book of Boba Fett chooses however to dive into who these people are and what their motivations are. What we’ve been led to believe is that these Indigenous people of Tatooine were aggressive and blood-thirsty bandits, it turns out however that they’re very much misunderstood as in fact they’re just trying to live their lives whilst people intrude on their land. I loved seeing the day to day lives of the tribe as Boba creates a kinship with the Tusken leader as he trains with them. One of the young Tuskens is like his shadow, always following along beside him. Boba cares for them, mourns their dead and partakes in their rituals. During the 51 minute runtime, Boba finds a way to protect them from danger and tries to better their circumstances without changing their ways. 

Chapter two also includes a phenomenal sequence in which the famed Bounty Hunter brings out his brutal side. He steals a set of speeders from a biker gang and then proceeds to launch an assault on the train that killed his newfound friends. What follows is an adorable but hilarious training montage as Boba teaches the Tuskens some new tricks as he goes through his battle plan, tactics and how to ride and jump from a speeder.  The train sequence is a phenomenal set piece and action sequence, it’s truly the franchise’s answer to Mad Max: Fury Road as scenes fuel with kinetic energy. 

Photo: Lucasfilm

This is a classic western story of an outsider getting to know the native species as it effectively turns Tatooine into the Western planet. However one of the things that feel held back at the moment is the series’s present storyline as there is a lack of attention paid. 

Overall in the final act of chapter two, the dead have been burned and the spice has been captured. Boba Fett is welcomed into the Tusken Chief’s tent with a gift for his helpful service with humble gratitude and amazement, especially when a small lizard climbs into his nose and guides him which gets real weird once Boba is taken on a hallucinogenic journey. With The Tribes of Tatooine, The Book of Boba Fett reminds us that Star Wars has so much more to give than the Skywalkers, Jedi and epic space battles it’s ultimately about the individual stories, rich cultures, world-building and shared experiences. 

The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 2, “The Tribes of Tatooine,” is streaming now on Disney+. Future episodes premiere on Wednesdays.

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Home Sweet Home Alone | Hollow Remake Is The Worst Christmas Present Imaginable

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If there was ever an argument against the merciless and never-ending re-hashing of classic film franchises, Home Sweet Home Alone is the smoking gun. The only point you need ever raise and the personification of everything wrong with corporate filmmaking. Utterly devoid of charm, creativity, or intelligence, this Disney+ original desecrates the legacy of Chris Columbus’ 1990 Christmas gem with a barrage of distasteful characters, lazily recycled plot elements, and fart jokes.

Max Mercer (Archie Yates) is a privileged child whose house is riddled with unwanted uncles, aunts, and cousins, and all he wants is some peace and quiet. Meanwhile, Jeff (Rob Delaney) and Pam (Ellie Kemper) are a struggling pair of young parents who are looking to sell their house to keep their young family afloat. When they find an antique doll worth over $200k, it seems as though their problems are solved. However, it looks as if Max has taken the doll for himself, meaning holiday hijinks are surely just around the corner.

Director Dan Mazer attempts to hit all the key beats of the 90′ original without any of the essential character development and emotional moments that made Columbus’ film a success. Max is a pale imitation of Kevin McCallister; a failed copy that retains only his least likeable elements (his smarminess, selfishness etc), without any of his quirks or sentimentality. Even Max’s familial problems are left entirely undeveloped and seem trivial compared to the hyperbolised chaos of Kevin’s kin. Regrettably, while Archie Yates is clearly trying his best, his performance ends up markedly wooden. However, the young performer has already proven his talent for comedic timing in Taika Waititi’s JoJo Rabbit, so this failure rests firmly on the shoulders of Mazer’s direction.

Yates is in good company, as the film doesn’t offer a single compelling performance. Even The Office veteran Ellie Kemper, who charmed viewers of later seasons as the strange-but-sweet Erin delivers a flat, lifeless performance as the ironically named Pam. Indeed, Pam and Jeff are the closest things to protagonists the film has, and it spends the majority of its time with them, leaving Max with very little time to develop a fulfilling arc. Furthermore, though the film positions them as the antagonists, their plight is inextricably more relatable and sympathetic than that of the greedy and brattish Kevin clone.

Home Sweet Home Alone completely misses the point of the original, and then remembers it in the final ten minutes, as it hastily tries to make us care about Max’s relationship with his Mum. This sluggish recycling of the 90′ film’s ending is made more apparent by the inclusion of John Williams’ iconic Home Alone theme, which is sad to hear against a backdrop of fart jokes and some of the laziest character writing in recent memory. This misguided tone is made even more stark by the profoundly unfunny pranks, which seem more vindictive than humorous this time around. Though the slapstick of the original film veered towards the cruel, the fact that Jeff and Pam have no intention of harming or robbing Max makes his sadistic torture of them altogether unpleasant to watch.

The unnecessary intertextuality of Home Sweet Home Alone only makes matters worse. The inclusion of Devin Ratray as Kevin’s brother Buzz as a local police officer is superficial and only serves to retroactively make the charming Kevin seem petty and vengeful, as he apparently pranks Buzz each year by calling in to the force to let them know a child is home alone. Making the protagonist of a nearly thirty-year-old film seem unlikeable without him ever appearing on-screen is quite an accomplishment, and not one Home Sweet Home Alone should be proud of.

However, this element did provide the film’s one and only laugh; in a recreation of the film-within-a-film in the 1990 original via a shallow remake that transposes the characters into a new sci-fi setting. Max’s family practically winks at the audience and asks why studios keep recycling the old classics, as they’re never as good as the original. That joke was a nice touch, though the amount of self-awareness apparently on display at Disney is both tear and laugh inducing.

Is this the worst film this year? Perhaps. Young kids may enjoy it for its slapstick gags and juvenile humour, but that’s about it. For anyone over five, it’s the kind of film you feel embarrassed to put on with your family after a Christmas roast. The kind that makes people doubt your taste in entertainment altogether and sees your remote privileges removed until next year. Perhaps “The Ghost of Home Alone Past” would’ve been a more apt title, as that’s what it feels like; the ghost of a better film. It’s a hollow shell that hits all the same beats and appropriates the same music and archetypical characters, but without any of the festive joy and witty commentary on middle-class family drama that made the original film so endearing. Give yourself the best Christmas present possible this year by skipping this nauseating cash grab.

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