Posted in Fatherhood, Movies

Intro to Tarzan

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

At one and a half years old, Baby Primary Ignition doesn’t see a great deal of TV. But she has been exposed very selectively. We have a Disney+ subscription at the PI household. She loves the Frozen movies, Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, and as we very recently found out, Tarzan.

Released in 1999, Tarzan came down the pipe a little late for Mrs. Primary Ignition and I. But she recently turned it on for Baby, and was amazed at how responsive she was to the opening sequence. So much that she showed it to us this morning.

The sequence that’s pretty dramatic even by Disney standards. Baby Tarzan loses his parents to a leopard attack, and we see blood next to their shrouded corpses. This is after said leopard kills a baby gorilla. So of course, the gorilla’s mom adopts baby Tarzan, and we’ve got ourselves a movie.

As she gets old, Baby has started to point to things and say, “What’s that?” (In her own special toddler language, of course.) She was quite responsive during the movie’s opening, as Tarzan and his parents escape a fiery blaze. She also responded to the gorillas. Animals of all sorts are big with her. She’s started to point to different ones and say “Cow,” “Sheep,” etc. She also calls fish “elmo,” which we think is supposed to be Nemo.

But what really surprised us was her reaction to the bloodthirsty leopard. When the tiger leapt out and attacked, she actually called out “No!” She wasn’t afraid for herself, but the characters on screen.

It’s both scary and exciting to think that she’s becoming more aware and responsive to the world around her. That can only mean being a parent is about to become harder, and we’ve got to make more small decisions about what content is and isn’t appropriate for her. My days of watching John Oliver while she plays nearby may nearly be over.

Then again, we just showed her a movie where a ferocious leopard kills two humans and a baby gorilla. So maybe the child psyche is more durable than we give it credit for.

Incidentally, that Phil Collins soundtrack? Highly underrated.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Television

Rob Watches The Mandalorian: Return of a Jedi

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S2.E8. “Chapter 16, The Rescue”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Giancarlo Esposito, Katee Sackhoff, Gina Carano, Ming-Na Wen
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR: Peyton Reed
PREMIERE DATE:
December 18, 2020
SYNOPSIS:
Mando and his allies storm Moff Gideon’s ship to save Grogu.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Yes, I understand we skipped an episode. But for obvious reasons, this episode had to be talked about ASAP. We’ll come back to “The Believer” in a few days. Promise.

I hate Rogue One. I absolutely hate it, and can’t understand why so many people love it. But there’s one thing that movie did right: Captions that told us which planets we traveled to. Too many of these Disney-era Star Wars planets look the same.

Koska Reeves’ crack about Boba Fett being a sidekick rings true. That’s unexpected, considering this season is basically his big comeback. He’s got clean armor and everything!

Koska hitting Fett with a DDT is one of the most pro-wrestling things the episode could have done. I kind of love it.

See, if I’m a regular stormtrooper, I’m looking at that dark trooper armor and thinking, “Can I get at least half the protection that black armor provides?” Maybe then these damn troopers wouldn’t be so expendable…

Seriously. Cara Dune’s gun getting jammed was the worst thing that happened to our heroes as they faced down a virtual army of stormtroopers. It’s frustrating.

Those dark troopers are definitely nightmare fuel. Kudos on the design.

“…properties that have the potential to bring order back to the galaxy.” It’s reasonable to assume that means properties that can resurrect Palpatine, properties that can eventually be used to create Snoke, or some combination of both.

I like that the Darksaber was burning Mando’s staff the longer the two weapons had direct contact. It indicates the lightsaber is more powerful, which is as it should be.

Luke. Skywalker. Holy. Crap. This show just pulled out all the stops. The anticipation, the tension, leading up to the reveal of Luke’s face, was amazing. What a moment…

What’s more, they got Mark Hamill involved! I’m very anxious to see if it was just his voice, or if he was somehow involved on set as well.

And we get an appearance by R2-D2 as a bonus!

I just saw a headline that indicated this episode betrayed its characters by “indulging in the Skywalker saga.” The sub-head indicated new Star Wars had succumbed to old Star Wars. That’s a frustrating sentiment to read. But it’s a valid point. Despite a wonderfully emotional goodbye between Mando and Grogu, Luke pulled focus. It was inevitable. Anything from the original trilogy is going to have that effect. I mentioned Rogue One above, and Darth Vader had the same effect in that movie.

It’s a little bit like dangling a shiny object in front of a little kid. With this finale, Jon Favreau basically dangled a shiny object in front of the little kid in all of us. I really can’t dispute that.

But I would argue that, despite Luke pulling focus, the heart of the episode was indeed about Mando and Grogu. Those are two new characters that we’ve come to know and love over the course of two seasons. I also can’t dispute that.

And honestly, where else could this story have gone? Side effects of bringing in Luke notwithstanding, it’s logical that Grogu, being as strong in the Force as he is, would encounter him at some point…

Mrs. Primary Ignition was quite curious about what this episode means for Grogu’s fate, as he’s obviously not in the sequel trilogy. At the moment, I have two theories.

  1. Grogu’s attachment to Mando eventually lures him toward the dark side, and he has to abandon his training and return to his surrogate father.
  2. He stays with Luke, but is killed by Ben Solo during the events leading up to The Force Awakens.

Understandably, she was horrified at option 2. But I suspect we’ll discover the answer sooner or later.

Another headline I saw recently? How the “Marvel-fication” of Star Wars has officially begun. In other words, new shows, spin-offs, and all sorts of inter-connected content. You won’t find a clearer piece of evidence than The Mandalorian taking a page out of Marvel’s book with a post-credits scene. A pretty awesome post-credits scene, but a post-credits scene nonetheless.

We see that Bib Fortuna has taken over as the head of Jabba’s palace. Does he actually control anything? The throne seems to suggest he does. So is that what The Book of Boba Fett is about? Fett taking control of Jabba’s crumbling criminal empire?

I think the best season finales often leave us with questions. So what questions did this episode leave us with?

  1. What’s next for Mando? He’s got the Darksaber now, and is seemingly in conflict with Bo-Katan Kryze. So does he get involved with re-building Mandalore? Or does he go back to bounty hunting?
  2. Despite getting captured, Moff Gideon accomplished his goal. He got Grogu’s blood. So what now comes of that? Do the experiments start? Have they already started?
  3. The Boba Fett questions are rather obvious.
  4. Are we going to hear more from Luke and Grogu? Or does that become territory for another series? The recently announced Ahsoka spin-off comes to mind.

Definitely no shortage of questions. We’ll have a lot to think about over the next year!

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Television

Rob Watches The Mandalorian: Return to Tatooine

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S1.E5. “Chapter 5, The Gunslinger”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Amy Sedaris, Jake Cannavale, Ming-Na Wen
WRITER/DIRECTOR:
Dave Filoni
PREMIERE DATE:
December 6, 2019
SYNOPSIS:
After stopping on Tatooine for repairs, Mando takes a job alongside a young bounty hunter.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

So did we need to come back to Tatooine? No, not really. But I’m glad we did. Going to a classic Star Wars setting reinforces that this is, in fact, the universe we know and love. And yes, nostalgia is a factor. It’s nice to see Mos Eisley again.

I’m a little surprised they used pit droids, i.e. the “hit the nose” robots from The Phantom Menace. I don’t mind Episode I as much as some people do. But you’d think in this, the first live action Star Wars television show, you’d want to avoid allusions to what’s often considered the franchise’s worst film. (It’s not. But that’s another story.)

Question: Aren’t most rifles in Star Wars blaster rifles? If so, Peli Motto asking the droids to get her blaster rifle doesn’t really make sense. It should probably just be, “Get my rifle!”

Yeah. I’m nitpicking at that level, folks. But it’s because I care, damn it!

So he just left the child on the ship? That’s uncharacteristically stupid for Mando.

Dr. Mandible, the giant bug in the cantina, is also stupid. He makes his debut in this episode.

Fun fact: The Mos Eisley Cantina has a name. Chalmun’s Spaceport Cantina.

Another fun fact: They squeezed Mark Hamill into this episode. He’s the voice of the droid at the bar (shown below). Apparently that’s the very same droid that spoke to Threepio in Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi. What a remarkable coincidence…

I wonder if Mando would have taken Toro Calican under his wing before he picked up the child. Perhaps being a father figure softened him in short order.

That’s a recurring theme in the original Star Wars trilogy. The “scoundrel” who becomes a good man. The big one is Han Solo. But it applies to Lando Calrissian as well.

I must confess, I’ve never seen Agents of Shield, or much of anything else with Ming-Na Wen. But she makes a pretty good bounty hunter. And Fennec Shand is yet another powerful female character added to the Star Wars universe.

I don’t recommend watching this episode in a room with a lot of sunlight. I did so, and could barely make anything out during the nighttime scenes.

So the general consensus was that the person who comes to Fennec’s aid at the very end of the episode is Boba Fett. In the end, that obviously turns out to be true. That speaks to the amount of foresight the showrunners hopefully have.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Television

Rob Watches The Mandalorian: An Icon Returns

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S2.E6. “Chapter 14, The Tragedy”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen, Giancarlo Esposito
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR:
Robert Rodriguez
PREMIERE DATE:
December 4, 2019
SYNOPSIS:
Mando takes Grogu to the planet Tython, where he’s intercepted by Boba Fett and Fennec Shand.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I wonder who came up with the name Grogu, and how long they’ve had it. You think they had that in mind from the get-go?

Slave I gets an awesome entrance in this episode. Not overstated. Just a simple fly-by. The ship is so iconic to Star Wars fans that a simple appearance, even from a distance, does all the work.

So what is that energy field that comes up around Grogu? Are we to believe it’s Force energy? That seems like the most likely explanation. Especially since Grogu passes out afterward.

“I’m a simple man making his way through the galaxy. Like my father before me.” Nice little callback to two different lines there. The first from Jango in Attack of the Clones. The second from Luke at the end of Return of the Jedi.

This stormtrooper ineptitude is becoming a problem for me. The fact that Mando, Boba Fett and Fennec Shand were able to fend off more than a dozen of them is pathetic.

Also, when a giant boulder is rolling toward you…MOVE OUT OF THE WAY, IDIOTS!

The sequences with Boba Fett and the gaffi stick were a sight to behold. Aside from the few swings we saw in the original Star Wars, I believe this is the first time we’ve seen one in action. Certainly to this degree.

The fight between the newly re-armored Fett and the stormtroopers is obviously some great fan-service. It did bring to mind memories of the Darth Vader slaughter from the end of Rogue One. The difference? In Rogue One, that sequence was there to bolster up the end of the film because it had so little in the way of character and story. In contrast, this Boba Fett stuff has been set up since the beginning of the season. And to say the least, The Mandalorian isn’t lacking in depth.

Moff Gideon wants to be Darth Vader. Bad. Real bad. To the point that he carries around a lightsaber. It’s kinda cute, actually.

They blew up the Razor Crest! I didn’t see that coming…

I’ve never liked Temuera Morrison as the voice for the helmeted Boba Fett, especially the way they swapped out Jason Wingreen’s voice for his in The Empire Strikes Back. I have no issue with Morrison playing the role at large. But when he’s got the helmet on? Give him a voice like Wingreen’s. If Darth Vader can have a voice modulator, so can Boba Fett.

Some questions that still haven’t been answered: How did Fett survive the Sarlaac Pit? I think the general consensus is that he climbed out. But did somebody rescue him? When was he rescued?

If they do end up doing a Boba Fett series, this is some of the ground the first season should cover.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Television

Rob Watches The Mandalorian: The Samurai

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S1.E4. “Chapter 4, Sanctuary”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal (Voice), Gina Carano, Julia Jones
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR:
Bryce Dallas Howard
PREMIERE DATE:
November 29, 2019
SYNOPSIS:
Mando and the child seek sanctuary on the planet Sorgon, but are drawn into aiding a village against vicious raiders.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Oddly enough, Pedro Pascal wasn’t there for the filming of this episode. He was apparently on broadway doing King Lear at the time. Apparently the performance we see in this episode comes from a combination of stunt doubles Brendan Wayne and Lateef Crowder. Apparently Pascal and Wayne worked closely together in developing the title character. What’s more, Wayne is the grandson of screen legend John Wayne. Ironic, considering what Mando has in common with a lot of the characters John Wayne played…

When Mando looks at the child and says, “Stop touching things,” he briefly becomes the personification of every parent who’s ever had a toddler.

Here we have Cara Dune, played by Gina Carano. Mrs. Primary Ignition isn’t sold on Carano as an actor. Me? I think she’s perfectly adequate for the role she’s in. The one aspect of the character I’m not completely sold on? The tiny Rebel Alliance/New Republic tattoo she has on her cheek. She’s supposed to be making her living as a mercenary, right? Isn’t that an odd thing for a mercenary to keep tattooed on her face? You’d think she’d want the thing removed.

The samurai film influences on The Mandalorian are quite evident in this episode. And that’s even if you discount the fact that this village on Sorgan matches many depictions of such places in feudal Japan. You’ve got the nomad warrior sought out by a community of innocents to help them overcome an invasive evil. Thus, he trains the villagers to fight alongside him. It’s essentially the same plot as the classic film Seven Samurai, by Akira Kurosawa. Kurosawa was famously one of the filmmakers who inspired George Lucas during the conception of Star Wars.

On the subject of connections to Lucas, our director for this episode is Bryce Dallas Howard. She’s, of course, the daughter of Ron Howard, who starred in Lucas’ first big hit, American Graffiti. She’s gotten quite a bit of praise for her work on The Mandalorian, and rightfully so. Carano credits Howard with helping her figure out how to best translate the Cara Dune character from script to screen.

The combination puppeteering/CGI work with Baby Yoda is at its strongest yet in this episode. It blends so seamlessly. It’s not a fair comparison, given the near 20-year gap, but it’s a far cry from how fake CGI Yoda looks in Attack of the Clones.

I give a lot of credit to Julia Jones, who plays Omera, Mando’s kinda/sorta love interest in this episode. She performs the hell out of her scenes here, playing off someone who essentially has a bucket on their head. Now that’s acting.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.