Friday, December 23, 2022

Andor: Season 1

Okay, holy shit we made it to the end and with one hell of a show!

I had a small thought and find it hilarious, the people who waaay back who were like why in the hell are we introducing politics into Star Wars are the same people now who actually really enjoy this series and it's more political, slow paced, and less actiony moments. Yes Andor, the one show I was not entirely here for from the announcement but in the words of my Papa I'll be dadgum, I really enjoyed this show! Set 5 years before the Battle of Yavin and ostensibly also 5 years before Rogue One, we meet up again with Cassian Andor who through a secret contact in the still forming infant Rebel Alliance is thrown into many situations and rough spots as he slowly is turned to joining the cause. That is pure bare bones story, there is quite a lot that occurs, believe it or not there isn't a whole lot of twists and turns at least not in the conventional sense. Now this is a highly important factor to bring up when trying to get people onto this show, there isn't a chase and pew-pew action every episode, it's more the exception rather than the rule. It holds a different kind of power, and I attribute that to the series writer Tony Gilroy who's bread and butter is spy thrillers, he isn't even that hardcore a Star Wars fan hence the lack of aliens and droids for the most part throughout the series. But the man knows his shit and delivers an intensely fascinating and tension building show in any situation. From essentialy the great bank heist of Aldhani, to galactic Prison Break, to everything in between it holds your attention. True the flashback sequences feel very slapdash in how they mixed it with the story, going to and fro from the past to now, but truthfully you only got to deal with it for a few episodes. If you give this show your undivided attention it delivers much in return, character wise, plot wise, and even easter egg wise. So let's go through characters, it is a big ensemble cast so we'll focus on major players seen throughout. Diego Luna I feel really gets to spread his wings in this show, even though he did mighty well in Rogue One you just get more time with him. His out for his own self attitude, his secrecy, his sometimes cold blooded persona, but underneath it all you see a great dedication to his friends and family and know when push comes to shove he will fight alongside people. Stellan Skarsgard as Luthen, you want to talk like best performances ever in Star Wars? I'm serious man, he brought award winning big gun acting chops to this show potraying what I feel to be the true originator of the Rebels at least in ethics and conviction to fight the Empire. He just gets these sections of lines, full monologues at times, and just goes for it! I seriously couldn't praise the man enough if I tried. Now, oh yes, my favorite character, Denise Gough as ISB Lieutanant Deedra Meero. Whoa. It took maybe 5 seconds for me to settle on her as my favorite, if a quarter of the Empire had her conviction, meticulous mind, and broad strokes thinking the fucking Rebellion would have been killed before it got out of it's cot. She is not in this game for ascension through the ranks, she is here to wipe out dissidents and be awesome. Now to go to my least favorite character! Far from anything I could say bad things about Kyle Soller as Syril Karn, like the performance is spot on and done well but this character....Jesus wept. Okay, I didn't hate him at first, I saw this young, idealistic, commited to his job and code of ethics man and I can respect that. It then turned out he was a actually a simpering, washed out, wannabe who has a huge vengeance hard on for Cassian and a probably more quite literal hard on for Deedra. And I just, oh my God, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. The fact they even tried to nudge this potential romance made me want to wrap my lips around a fucking T-21. No. I am telling you no, go in the corner and think about what you did! This will not stand man! Now you know my stance on rebels, they are traitors, murderers, terrorists, and thieves. They are not heroes, they are not martyrs, they are a disease. However! Genevieve O'Reilly as Mon Mothma, I can live with her. Not to sound shameless, though I am, Mon Mothma is the most beautiful woman in all of Star Wars. No horseshit Jack, better than Cara Dune, better than Rey, Rose, Padme, even our beloved Leia, it's her over everyone okay! She makes my heart glow every second she is on screen, her husband is fucking useless marry me instead, and her story segments are kinda heartbreaking at times so she just gets a 12/10 overall! Everyone else as supporting cast was just as commited and strong as our major players so props to all involved, special love to Adria Arjona as Bix, Anton Lesser as Major Partagaz, and a secret extra bonus character whose work I love immensely but some secrets are best kept. Just go watch it. Lightning round opinion time! I have to applaud Lucasfilm for just making practical sets and not working exclusively with the Volume, the props, set design, costumes, and effects are just as good as any of the films maybe even a bit more so because you get just so much of it since it is a series. The Arrestor Cruiser plucked straight out of proto-type Star Destroyer concept art, amazing, flawless, showstopping, where's my toy, I love it. I want a whole friggin' show based on the ISB, it's wonderful to finally see it on screen and an environement I want to revisit a lot. Episode 6, wow. Just wow. Breathtaking visuals!! Plus this show made TIE Fighters legit terrifying, and I am an Imperial at heart but even my teeth were set on edge hearing those screaming ion engines. Our little droid B2EMO, I'm still grappling with that absurd name yet I treasure him and his little stutter, but it does pose the question....can you be too emo? (Yes.) Soooo many easter eggs in Luthen's art gallery, those prop boys were having a real good time peppering in all kinds of items and artifacts, most of which I caught. After credits scene for the finale, sheer pornography, a happy ending if I ever saw one. Ooh my....but anywho! I swear on all I believe, that march in the last episode was without question or doubt the most suspenseful dare I say Hitchcockian scene in Star Wars history, cause it just builds and builds at a slow burn pace, akin to the series as a whole in that way, and you know something is up, some shit is about to go down when it stops but you have no idea what. That's stunning to see, never that I would say Star Wars is "formulaic", there's too much diversity in eras, characters, and stories with obvious reoccuring themes but this really breaks the mold as what people consider Star Wars could be. I'm in the camp that Star Wars can take on any genre, sub-genre, style, or situation and Andor proves it can be done. We have the technology. We have the writing. The sky is the limit as I have said before. It does truly trail blaze, it sets out on it's own story and does it's own thing, with all the shows we've gotten not that I'm saying this as a detriment but it is traditional wonderful fan pleasing Star Wars. I still say it's a toss up between Kenobi and Mando for my favorite of the shows so far, but Andor has a lot of my respect and admiration and could potentially top them all. If I said to 2016 Dude, that Andor show you have no interest in and not much hope for yeah my Dude it's actually groundbreaking and amazing, I would scarcely believe myself! But that's what happens, time marches on, opinions and viewpoints change, impermanence is life. So I'm walking away highly pleased and looking forward to season 2. 4 stars, 8.5/10, and this...hurts to say.

Okay everybody I have news. Not good news. I've been sitting on this egg of an idea for about half the year and I feel it is important and more importantly, time. Next year, after the 8th anniversary, I'm taking a step back. I'm not quitting, I'm not retiring, everything is perfectly fine in my personal life, but reviews are not going to be nearly as frequent as before. I have written over 1,000 reviews in less than a decade. Can you count to 1,000? Cause I sure did and I can't believe it even now! You think I planned all this to go as long as it did?? Heeeellllll naw! So we're just gonna do new releases, our traditional Halloween October goodness, maybe a birthday week, but that's really it until 2024. This has never felt like a job, but a passion project, I do not get paid for it and never have but I could care less! But I also couldn't tell you the last time I rewatched a movie just to rewatch it, to enjoy cinema without really having to write about it, to not worry about my constant schedule of reviews. Even when I take months off I'm still planning and writing for the future. But when The countdown began to #1000, I had to do some thinking. I love it too much to quit, but life must take precedent. But I'll be back before you know it come January and I want to say thank you very much for sticking around another year, sticking around forever, recently, somewhere in the middle, and I hope you've seen some good movies this year! Mind you, this Top 10 list...yikes, I don't have much credibility in the slightest but I might get yelled at for this. But until that time, be safe, stay warm, enjoy your holidays, and I shall return to a sunless space to share my dreams with ghosts, monsters, and ghouls, to bask in the light of a full moon I'll never see in reality, to hear the sound of falling leaves and howling winds, to traverse paths through ancient woods where there is no way of escape, to revel in the spooky and the macabre. I find that good.

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