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‘The Mandalorian’ Trailer: A Shot-by-Shot Analysis

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With Disney’s D23 Expo well underway in Anaheim, California, we got a slew of information about upcoming Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars projects. One of the most anticipated of these announcements was the trailer for Jon Favreau’s upcoming television series The Mandalorian. The show will take place following the events of the original trilogy of Star Wars films, set a few years after Return of the Jedi, when the Empire has been defeated, and will follow the titular gunfighter. The Mandalorian trailer suggests a darker tone for the Star Wars franchise; story-wise, we haven’t had much information, so let’s break down the trailer and see what we can decipher.

Stormtrooper Graveyard

One of the most striking images from the entire Mandalorian trailer is the opening shot of decimated Stormtrooper helmets in the sand. The setting of the series is emphasised here, with the collapse of the Empire highlighted by what looks like a shrine to their demise.

We also get this image of the helmets on pikes, suggesting a dark and violent tone. It is understandable that the inhabitants of the Star Wars universe would be vengeful towards the Empire, but this imagery illustrates just how deeply rooted this anger is throughout the galaxy. It is also a rather violent image, suggesting that the show will have a more adult nature similar to that of the Rogue One film.

Razor Crest

We then get a look at the Mandalorian’s ship as it cruises across a lush planet flourishing with greenery. The ship itself is known as the Razor Crest, a fact that was given back in April at the The Mandalorian panel at the Star Wars Celebration event in Chicago.

Prepare for Landing

The next shot we see is of some kind of ship port where the Mandalorian has docked the Razor Crest. He obviously travels far and wide within the galaxy for his contracts, and it could be interesting to see where his work takes him throughout the series. This particular port looks like it has seen better days. It’s likely that it took a beating during the civil war between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance. The effects that the war had on the rest of the galaxy could also be a fascinating element to explore.

Greef Carga

Next we see the Mandalorian exchanging what looks like credits of some kind with a character confirmed to be called Greef Carga, played by Carl Weathers. Carga is said to be the leader of a guild of bounty hunters who hires the titular character to track down an asset of great value.

Desert Plains

The Mandalorian trailer then sees the Razor Crest flying across a planet with a cracked, desert style terrain. This is another great example of the various worlds that we might see across the span of the series.  The scene is also visually stunning, and the production values are incredibly impressive for a television series. You can see that Disney is investing a lot in the show.

Suit Up

The Mandalorian readies his armour and weaponry in the next shot, obviously preparing for a fight. The mystery of the man behind the Mandolorian mask is clearly going to be a strong element of the series, much like with fellow Mandolorian bounty hunter Boba Fett, who became a fan favourite despite his minimal screen time. We know that the title character will be played by Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones, Narcos), but little else is known about him.

Cara Dune

Gina Carano’s Cara Dune is seen in the following shot. Dune is a former Rebel solider, having been a Rebel Shock Trooper beforehand.  Carano described her as a “loner” who has trouble fitting back into regular society following the end of the Galactic Civil War. This is also an interesting story element that could bring some relatable human moments to a galaxy far, far away. Soldiers often have trouble adjusting back into ordinary civilian life following a long stint on the battlefield, and seeing this via Carano’s character could really humanise the Rebel soldiers who weren’t necessarily big players in the war, but just regular troopers. They are often overlooked in big adventure stories such as Star Wars in favour of the unobtainable heroes, so to explore the stories of the other Rebels could be interesting.

Uganaught

We then see an Uganaught  riding on what looks a bit like a worm with legs (that is my best scientific description). Uganaughts are humanoid creatures that have a slight resemblance to pigs. They come from the planet Gentes, and have made appearances across the wealth of Star Wars media. It’s nice to see the inclusion of a variety of alien species from the Star Wars universe here.

Twi’lek Ladies Get it Done

Similar to the Uganaught species, the Twi’lek are an alien species who have made appearances across the various Star Wars books, television shows, and video games. This particular Twi’lek woman looks like she has some sass to her, and I’m a sucker for strong sci-fi ladies. Girl power and all that.

The Lone Ranger

This is personally my favourite shot of the whole Mandalorian trailer. We see the Mandalorian walking by himself as the sun sets on a desert landscape. This shot encapsulates the lone nature of the bounty hunter. His dark silhouette slowly approaching is somewhat menacing as well, and makes for a fantastic shot that not only looks terrific, but also suggests the dark tones of the show and the moral ambiguity of the character.

Mother and Child

The next shot shows a woman and child cowering. This shot could be taken from any moment in the show, and could be a flashback or an important event in the series. Either way, it is likely that they are related to the Mandalorian in some way. Whether they were family to him or they are characters that he protects, I am certain they will play some role in the events that occur.

Ready, Aim, Fire

The next shot seems to be edited together in a way to make it seem like the line up of Deathtroopers are aiming at the woman and child in the previous shot. Though this is most likely purposely edited, it shows that the Empire still has loyal followers attempting to uphold the regime.

From the Hip

We see the Mandalorian’s itchy trigger finger next as he stands off against an unknown adversary. The trailer is certainly establishing a Western theme and this moment truly captures the feel of traditional gun-slinging Westerns.

Moff Gideon

Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon is the next character introduced in the Mandalorian trailer. Esposito confirmed that his character is still serving the Empire despite their fall in Return of the Jedi. He seems to have an ensemble of  Deathtroopers behind him, so he clearly isn’t alone in his dedication to the Empire. We know that the First Order will step up and take the place of the Empire in the future, so perhaps Gideon will play a part in establishing the new regime. It could also be that Gideon is an independent party, acting alone with his team of troopers.

Bounty Hunter for Hire

The close up of the classic Mandalorian helmet brings back memories of fellow Mandalorians — Boba Fett from the original trilogy, as well as his father, Jango Fett, from the prequels. The people of the planet Mandalore were ravaged by war on their world, so I’d be interested to see if we get to see the Mandalorian home planet, get more of an insight into the Mandalorian people, and learn how they were affected by their planets violent history.

Swoop

We then see a man aboard a swoop bike back in the desert at night confronting some sort of space craft.  This looks like it could be the Mandalorian, but he is missing his signature helmet. Hopefully, we will get a look at the man under the mask at some point in the series.

Warzone

A battle rages in the night in the next shot. You can see trenches set up and ships blasting at those on the ground. The ship makes the classic ‘pew pew’ noise when it fires, which is always the best part of anything Star Wars-related.

Run

Someone carrying a child runs through a street where a battle is raging; could it be possible that the valuable asset that Greef Carga has tasked the Mandalorian with transporting is indeed this child? It would make sense if the person carrying the child is the Mandalorian himself without his helmet again, but it could also be possible that this is just a child and parent affected by the war, trying to escape the battle. Either way, you can clearly see how the fighting is affecting someone so young.

Knock Knock, Open up the Door

Another cool scene from the Mandalorian trailer is this moment with the Mandalorian and a droid. The droid was confirmed to be named IG-11 after fans were originally thinking that he was an IG-88 assassin droid seen in the previous Star Wars movies. IG-11 will be voiced by Taika Waititi, so he is sure to have some attitude, and hopefully will deliver some one liners. If IG-11 has a similar personality to some of Waititi’s others roles, such as Korg from Thor: Ragnorak, then it could be a nice contrast to have him team up with the stalwart and stoic Mandalorian.

Space Battle

For a series set in space in a franchise known as Star Wars, we only get one glimpse of an actual fight in space.

IG -11

After seeing the Mandolorian gunning down some people in a battle, IG- 11 gets a moment to shine as he takes out several people with his laser pistol. Hopefully, the droid will pay a significant role in the series, perhaps forming a similar relationship with the Mandolorian that Cassian Andor and K2-S0 had in Rogue One.

Mexican Standoff

One of the finishing shots of the Mandalorian trailer shows the Mandalorian standing off against a group of Stormtroopers. He seems to be outnumbered and outgunned. At least until…

Hold the Door

He pulls a finishing move on this guy by tripping him as he tries to run, grabbing him with some kind of grappling hook, and pulling him back in through the door. He then shoots a panel next to door, forcing it to close on the attempted runaway. The shot cuts away before we get the bloody shot of someone getting chopped in two (this is still a Disney production after all), but the tone is clear. This guy is skilled, he is precise, and he is certainly not to be messed with.

Carbonite

A brief shot of an alien frozen in carbonite is seen next, showing that this isn’t a punishment just reserved for the likes of Han Solo. We also hear some voice lines from acclaimed actor, director, writer and all around artist Werner Herzog who states “Bounty Hunting is a complicated thing.”

Herzog Himself

Then we cut to the man himself. It is unclear as to who Herzog will be playing, but to have such an acclaimed person on board is pretty promising. He finishes his speech, “Don’t you agree?” I really hope that the series explores the moral ambiguities of what a bounty hunter is, and this small yet poignant speech from Herzog’s character suggests that this could come into question.

The Mandalorian

Jon Favreau is clearly a huge fan of the Star Wars series, and I have no doubt that he will bring us an interesting story that explores the dark underworld of the bounty hunting business in the Star Wars universe, whilst also maintaining the conflict between the Rebels, the ordinary citizens, and the last remnants of the Empire. With an impressive cast and crew working on it, The Mandalorian has the potential to be a brilliant addition to the Star Wars lore.

The Mandalorian will be available to stream from November 12th on Disney’s streaming service, Disney+.

Antonia Haynes resides in a small seaside town in England where she has lived her whole life. She's a simple girl with a passion for zombies, writing, film, television, drawing, superheroes, Disney and, of course, video games. Her ideal day would consist of junk food, fluffy pyjamas and video games because quite frankly going outside is overrated. Follow her on Twitter on @RainbowMachete

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Let’s Discuss the Revamped Sonic the Hedgehog Design

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The internet has breathed a collective sigh of relief following the release of a new trailer for the upcoming Sonic The Hedgehog movie. Some leaks a few weeks back that turned out to be correct showed the design that we see but the trailer shows a lot more of the new redesign of the world renowned video game character. The movie has been the subject of much attention-mostly negative- after the initial trailer was released six months ago. The first trailer (which initially announced a release date of November 2019) was incredibly poorly received due to the odd design choice for the titular character. With small eyes, a tiny snout and human teeth, the original design was weirdly realistic and resembled an odd humanoid rather than the blue cartoon hedgehog that we all know and love.

The first design for Sonic looked a bit like a child in a Sonic the Hedgehog suit. Creepy to say the least.

The new trailer shows off a brand new look for Sonic which is far more in sync with what we already know for the character. He is definitely an animated character, with the exaggerated features that he has always had in every other iteration. The movie itself still looks cheesy as hell but it looks like a tolerable, even kind of enjoyable sort of cheesy.  The controversy surrounding the terribly received first Sonic design has been so prolific that some even argued that the whole thing has been a marketing ploy and that the character was never meant to look as bad as he originally did. Whatever the case may be in terms of what went down behind the scenes of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, it is clear that even if the film is terrible it will attract a substantial audience of people just curious as to how the whole thing is going to turn out. As a fan of Sonic since the 90’s when I was little, I’m probably going to be one of those people.

Sonic is now appropriately cute, fluffy and more in line with his usual style.

I’m still kind of hoping it can break the curse of the video game movie-like Detective Pikachu did- but alongside the aforementioned cheesiness, it looks like a pretty generic movie aimed at kids rather than diehard fans of the Sonic franchise. Flop or not, at least Sonic is looking far more adorable and less like he might murder you in your sleep. It also shows how the filmmakers were willing to listen to their audience and implement changes following feedback. Incredibly vocal feedback at that.

The comparison between the two designs shows just how much the animators have worked to create a brand new Sonic. Their hard work has certainly paid off.

Sonic the Hedgehog is due for theatrical release on February 14th, 2020.

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Anamanaguchi – [USA] (Album Review)

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Few acts boast such renown amongst uber-nerdy video game enthusiasts as Anamanaguchi. Unveiling their debut EP ‘Power Supply’ in 2009, the Chiptune pioneers have pushed their unique brand of 8-bit powered Rock and Pop across various releases, including 2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game soundtrack, and 2013’s Kickstarter funded 22 track LP ‘Endless Fantasy’. And with ‘Endless Fantasy’ being their last LP (excluding their stuffed to the brim ‘Capsule Silence XXIV’ compilations), to say fans have anticipated ‘[USA]’ is an almighty understatement.

Six years is a while, so has Anamanaguchi’s latest batch of tracks been worth the wait? Seasoned fans Harry and Kyle are on the scene to offer their takes, from how ‘[USA]’ stacks up against the band’s other offerings, to its effectiveness as an artistic whole.

Background With Anamanaguchi

I first heard Anamanaguchi around 2010. At the time I was neck deep in my Slipknot phase (a phase I’ve yet to grow out of judging by how much I replayed ‘We Are Not Your Kind’ this year), so their goofy electronic schtick didn’t tick my boxes. But as time passed I developed a stronger fondness of them, so much so that I enthusiastically backed their 2013 LP ‘Endless Fantasy’ on Kickstarter. Now I’ve seen them live twice, followed their progress over the years, and can proudly proclaim my superfan status. – Harry

The late 2000s saw a shift in pop culture: suddenly, geek chic was all the rage. G4 was at the height of its popularity, pixel art infested countless pieces of media, and video games were undeniably cool. Few other pieces of media encapsulate this cultural zeitgeist more than Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game. Based on the popular comic by Bryan Lee O’Malley, the Scott Pilgrim game featured Anamanaguchi’s crunchy pixelated Rock sound, which melded perfectly with the colorful 16-bit beat-em’-up gameplay. Older Anamanaguchi albums are more than just music: they’re a trip back in time to a brighter, more innocent era of pop culture and gaming. – Kyle

Introducing [USA]

I was excited for ‘[USA]’, but that’s stating the obvious based on my prior words. The LP kicks off with its titular track, introducing affairs with an amalgamation of predictably glitchy bleeps ‘n’ bloops. It’s straight up Anamanaguchi, their Chiptune flair intact. This is good, as Anamanaguchi sans Chiptune is like spaghetti sans sauce (still awesome, but lacking a key ingredient). “USA” is chanted as instrumentation morphs stylistically, crescendoing in dynamics and tempo, and setting the stage for the lead single.

“Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)” is an LP highlight. Stepping out the gate with Vocaloid-y singing, an aesthetic of grandiose gorgeousness is speedily cemented. This later juxtaposes with the rapid-fire rhythms of Luke’s drumming and manic synthesizer arpeggios that run around like an 8-bit-ified (Sega Master System) Sonic the Hedgehog. This mental meld of melody, Drum and bass, and all manner of other musical magic finally sinks into a sea of atmospheric spookiness, concluding in an out of left field (yet utterly engaging) way. “Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)” avoids predictability through each and every beat of its journey, but nails catchy accessibility to a tee. A masterclass in creative songwriting, it sets ‘[USA]’s’ bar sky high. – Harry

The weeks to ‘[USA]’ releasing were positive ones, marked by enticing singles like “Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)” and “Air On Line”. Anamanaguchi’s distinct Rock-flavored Chiptune style had undergone a stylistic shift in the band’s 2013 release ‘Endless Fantasy’, where the band shed off some of its punk flair in favor of dreamier synth tones. In the six years between LP releases, Anamanaguchi experimented with singles and EPs featuring sonic palettes characteristic of modern J-Pop (“Pop It”, “Miku”). While the band stretched its legs with poppier beats, it did mark a further departure from the traditional Rock-oriented sound that had defined much of their earlier work.

‘[USA]’ in many respects displays a return to Anamanaguchi’s roots. Tracks like “On My Own (feat. HANA)” and “Air On Line” boast driving guitar riffs, thumping drums, and fluidly complex intricacies. Yet, it’s more than clear that Anamanaguchi has evolved beyond their geeky beginnings to cultivate an airy soundscape of bright pastel colors and crystal clear tones. It doesn’t always hit the mark, but the highs that ‘[USA]’ can reach prove that the guys have still got it. – Kyle

Negative Bits

Unfortunately, said sky high bar is scarcely met again throughout the rest of ‘[USA]’. Plenty of tracks, like “The C R T Woods” and “Overwriting Incorporate”, are serviceable, but fall short of the laser focused compositional direction and melodic magnificence that Anamanaguchi are so super slick at. ‘[USA]’ suffers from banality, with tracks like “Tear” and “We Die” meandering noisily without focus, and big chunks (particularly the interlude-like tracks “Speak To You [Memory Messengers]” and “Apophenia Light [Name Eaters]”) feeling akin to ‘Capsule Silence XXIV’ cuts (i.e. decent demos, but not kickass LP standouts). – Harry

Much like Harry, I found a large chunk of the album rather dull to get through. Admittedly, Anamanaguchi has an undeniable talent for their synth instrumentation. However, what pushes their work beyond generic electronic music is their ability to anchor that instrumentation to a melodic through line built on catchy hooks and unexpected turns. “Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)” is one of the few tracks that manages to pull off this floaty, ethereal sound because it moves forward with purpose and constantly engages your curiosity. The same can’t be said for several of the other synth-heavy tracks, too lost in their own sound to offer anything truly engaging. – Kyle

Positive Bits

Nevertheless, there are flashes of brilliance here. “Sunset By Plane (feat. Caroline Lufkin)” is Anamanaguchi firing on all cylinders, delivering energetic poppy bombast in spades. Porter Robinson’s co production is evident in “Air On Line”, resulting in a smooth stomper of happy hooks. “B S X (feat. Hatsune Miku)” incorporates choppily glitched-out singing from the iconic Vocaloid, serving as a pseudo-sequel to the 2016 single “Miku”. “On My Own (feat. HANA)” sees Anamanaguchi’s Chiptune/Pop/Rock melting pot bubbling away again. And speaking of Chiptune, it’s wonderful to hear mountains of 8-bit eccentricity throughout ‘[USA]’, proving even as their sound matures, Anamanaguchi still celebrate where they came from with beaming pixelated smiles. – Harry

As a whole, ‘[USA]’ still deserves a place worthy of praise in Anamanaguchi’s discography. Porter Robinson only collaborated with the band for “Air On Line”, but his style bleeds wonderfully into tracks like “Up to You (feat. meesh)” and “Sunset By Plane (feat. Caroline Lufkin)”. The kawaii-infused J-Pop rhythms and hooks are infectiously catchy, but don’t let that fool you: Anamanaguchi haven’t lost their edge. “B S X (feat. Hatsune Miku)” and “On My Own (feat. HANA)” show that the band can reach back into their deep musical pockets and bring out their signature hard Chiptune Rock to surprise you with something intimately familiar. – Kyle

Final Thoughts

In typical Anamanaguchi fashion, ‘[USA]’ is ambitious from start to finish. ‘Endless Fantasy’ is bloated, but stylistically spot on, whereas ‘[USA]’ trims the fat, but gets a little lost in its journey. Glistening gold sits alongside stale pies, and that description is a fitting metaphor for elements of ‘[USA]’: it’s odd, and doesn’t make much sense (and perhaps that in itself is a metaphor for the real life USA?).

Still, when Anamanaguchi’s latest is good, it’s really good, and there’s bundles of genius in the 8-bit boys yet!

Check out, stream, buy or consume ‘[USA]’ in your preferred capacity by clicking HERE!

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Star Wars Fan Films Embrace the Essence of A Galaxy Far, Far Away

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There is no doubt that dedicated fans are capable of creating brilliant, fan-made content, but the Star Wars fan base has a habit of going above and beyond in making incredible works of art that often surpass official entries in the franchise. Two relatively recent short fan films — one released last week, the other released in March of this year — are great examples of this.

The first is a 1970s/80s-style cartoon from YouTuber Wilkins Animation called Dark Empire Episode One: The Destiny of a Jedi. This animated short is incredibly reminiscent of classic cartoons — so much so that it is difficult not to feel a pang of nostalgia upon watching it. The style gives off a He-Man vibe due to the quirky animation, stellar voice work, and vibrant colour scheme. The story is set after The Return of The Jedi as Han, Leia, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO embark on a mission to save Luke and Lando, who are stranded on war-torn Coruscant. I won’t spoil anything in case you want to check it out for yourself, but the story is engaging, and I couldn’t help but feel that I wanted to see more when it came to an end.

Have a watch below if you want to see more, and to check out Wilkins Animation’s Patreon to support their work, click here.

The second fan made film is a slightly older (from March 2019) one called Battle of the Dreadnoughts, by YouTuber EckhartsLadder. The film is significantly shorter than the 12-minute Dark Empire cartoon, clocking in at about three and a half minutes. It depicts a space battle between the New Republic’s Viscount Class Star Defender and the Empire’s most dangerous of all its weapons, the Eclipse Super Star Destroyer. Battle of the Dreadnoughts may be short, but it is astounding in quality. Upon my first viewing, I was certain I had accidentally clicked on a scene from the movies rather than a fan-made project. The accuracy, attention to detail, and sheer scale blew my mind and — as with the Dark Empire animation — left me wanting more from the content creators involved.

Check out EckhartsLadder’s Patreon here and their Twitch account here.

There is no doubting the talent of the Star Wars fan base, but these two films in particular are incredible works of art both in their own right and as Star Wars fan projects.

For more Star Wars, have a read of our Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer breakdown.

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