Star Wars: Andor - 1.01 - Kassa

ctg

weaver of the unseen
Supporter
Joined
Aug 21, 2007
Messages
9,281
Wb8XIQy.jpg


Cassian Andor's reckless search for answer about his past makes him a wanted man
IMDB score: 7.8 Runtime: 42 minutes.
 

ctg

weaver of the unseen
Supporter
Joined
Aug 21, 2007
Messages
9,281
A few thoughts and I know that I've been quiet about this Disney+ product, because honestly I didn't have any thoughts about it... until about two weeks ago. It was the trailer showing a spy story, which this also has been pitched.

That was enough to make me intrigued, because one of them is very close to the Rebel movement. It's just it's rarely featured correctly... with a mystery and intrigue. Is it a good one or a cloak-and-dagger kind of fabrication?

JQIiWr6.jpg


Five years before the first Death Star blows. The Imperium as we know it was in stage full of might and oppression. Nothing were good, unless you were on the Imperial side, somewhere far, far away from all the action. But Cassius ain't in one of those places, but he's in the company town looking for his sister. Allegedly.

You can sense that he's in danger. Not just from the corpos and city rats, but from the Imperium as well. Especially after a botched raid from corpo guards goes bad, and one of the muggers goes down. But you also get a sense that he isn't first time in rodeo. What happened, happened because of the greed and there's no turning back the clock as the guard lies dead, in a cutter.

Even though the other guard begs for his life, playing an angle of confession, Cassius had no choice but to put down the greedy mugger. Poor b*stard. It ended his run on that planet, and sent him on board of customized B-wing to another.

FIpcDdX.jpg


My first thoughts were 'what a dump,' then it turned it to be a true Imperial waste yard, with wrecks and rubbish spreading as far as you can see. A good hiding place for spies and rats. I love that B2EMO is a different sort of industrial droid. A though and resilient, and somewhat smart even though its voice modulator could use some tuning.

A good servant for a man with a very few friends. But it ain't his only friend, as Cassius goes to town to arrange an alibi. That is a big ask for anyone. Yet, his friend accepted the task while back in the Morlana I, the authorities were waking up to the fact they had to dead guards in their hands.

It's so much easier to say yes to a morally dubious thing than to go through with it to the end, bitter or not. Not that the authorities were interested in anything other than sweeping the whole case under the rug and go boldly to an Imperial Review without raising a too much hustle.

9PrkEHr.jpg


Cassius and a fixer, that also camouflages herself as an astromechanic. It didn't surprise me that man with no-gun, no-credit, no-nothing owes IOUs and favours to everyone. But it's not what's driving him mental, it's the rare imperial navigational unit that is causing all the trouble.

The man is a thief. And it made me laugh when Cassius wanted all the credits from the item, and the Fixer weren't happy about it. They never are. You give them a cut, and they consider keeping you off from the naughty list.

The thing that he doesn't know about is that he's also a natural spy. Clearly very capable of getting things done and staying under the radar. The surprise was that once upon time he was just a tribal boy.

--

I'll review the other episodes in coming days. In my mind 8/10 episode.
 

Mon0Zer0

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
914
Andor S01E01 - not bad, not bad at all. Better than Mandalorian so far. Some nicely realised characters, good acting and well written dialogue. The characters actually have strong motivations and aren't cartoon villains. All in all, a much more mature offering.

Doesn't feel too Star Wars to me (which is fine), but more like a british thriller series with a few cyberpunk touches. The opening scene is very blade runner. I miss the smoke and the grit from that movie though. Here it's too sanitised, looks more like a studio than a club.

I wish they'd hire a proper composer with a real orchestra. The opening credits sound like generic Marvel; the incidental music like generic cop show bed one minute and Blade runner 2049 the next, all done on East West Hollywood Strings. It sounds cheap, not the flagship offering Disney should be turning out.

At least 60% of Star Wars is John Williams. The music should have leitmotifs, a full orchestra and identifiable themes. They don't have to all be ripping off Korngold or Stravinsky, but they should be classy and iconic. If the Orville can do it then, blimey, Star Wars on Disney should be able to do it, too.

The same goes for the cinematography. It looks sterile. I think this is more down to the work in post than the capture. Apparently, they didn't use the Video Volume wall used in the Mandalorian, instead opting for real sets and matte paintings - and it IS a big improvement. But, imho, it needs to be more cinematic - we need to see film grain running at 24fps in glorious 8K. The problem with the ease of Red-1 and those new high end cameras is they look fab, great colour, definition and so on, but they have no character. They could fake that cinematic look if they wanted, or even print it to film and scan it back in.

I'm nitpicking, though. The writing, the dialogue, the premise, the acting are all pretty good. But is it Star Wars or could this be any sci-fi show?
 

Rodders

|-O-| (-O-) |-O-|
Supporter
Joined
Nov 6, 2008
Messages
6,363
Delighted that this is one of those Star Wars offerings that Disney is doing well. I’m resisting Disney Plus, but this might be the show that tips me over.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ctg

sule

"What I do is me: for that I came."
Joined
Feb 14, 2020
Messages
367
The review article I read called this "Star Wars with the serial numbers filed off," which seems pretty accurate to me. Nothing I saw really stood out as STAR WARS, it could have easily been a cyberpunk space adventure series set in a new universe. This is fine; it was still an interesting story and I enjoyed it. I will say that the first two episodes felt fairly slow - how many times do we need a scene of "Andor schmoozes someone he owes money to"?

Most of the characters that were introduced in this episode were all interesting but all the "Andor owes them money" one-offs kind of blended together for me. Kyle Soller's middle management villain was a solid foil - I would say a mix of Hux and Javert. Tremendously good acting from just about every actor, but the head Corporate Officer stole this episode, for me.

My quibble: I didn't like that the series started with Andor looking for his sister then didn't seem to pick that thread back up. The "sister" strand appeared to serve the purpose only of getting Andor in trouble, then was forgotten. Sure, she shows up in flashbacks, but I got no sense of her even mattering to him. Maybe it'll matter in later episodes. (I also would have wanted to see more of Cassian before he kills the officers, but that's likely just personal taste.)
 

Parson

This world is not my home
Supporter
Joined
Oct 11, 2006
Messages
11,250
Location
Iowa
Having watched the first 3 episodes now, I'll chime in. It looks to me that I will once again be in the minority. So far this is better than Bubba Fett, but far short of the Mandalorian. The first two episodes were slow and confusing. If I had not watched all three in a row, I might have stopped watching the series. I kept thinking: "Why is this happening?" "Who is this guy?" And "Why are we spending so much time on a jungle planet with a tribe of near stone age tech with mostly? all? teenagers?"

On the whole my biggest grump with Star Wars was once again on full display. The places where people live and work would be at home in the 1910's except for some run down looking very high tech items. I mean they actually have pay phones?! Com'on man, be real! And that's to say nothing about a 1950's bus which somehow flies.

The acting was very good. The story did finally start in episode 3. And I'm interested in how his sister plays into what happens next. I'm assuming he's being tapped intelligence work, but I don't believe that was actually said.

One final picky gripe: What's Andor doing piloting the speeder? It would be more logical that the person who knows where the ship is would pilot it. But I suspect this just gave the video people a cool shot to use for commercial purposes.
 

The Crawling Chaos

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2014
Messages
342
I agree with @Parson that this is not The Mandalorian. But I'm biased and I know it. Put anything Star Wars in front of me with a Mandalorian helmet staring through the screen and you've got a winner. Well, The Book of Boba Fett was the exception. I still feel that The Mandalorian was able to achieve much more in far less time, at least as far as establishing the stakes and making us care about them goes. This first Andor episode was... muddled? But it kinda comes with the spy story territory, I guess. Still, there's a reason why Disney released all three episodes at once. They knew a lot of people wouldn't have come back next week had they just released this first episode.

I also agree with the general consensus (based on the few posts here) that this doesn't feel like Star Wars. You could slap any other generic SF label on it and no one'd be any the wiser. The music is not Star Wars, the tone is not Star Wars, the cinematography is not Star Wars... It's also maybe a little too serious for SW. I wish there'd be a heavier imperial presence just to set the mood, although I guess their absence is kind of the point: It's a big galaxy and the Empire can't hope to have Stormies posted around every street corner of every planet, so they have to delegate and make sure that the name of the Empire is feared rather than its face, I suppose.

Apparently the third episode makes it all worthwhile ... but (spoiler about the show's structure) the showrunner stated in an interview that the series is split in 3-episode arcs with a one-year gap in between each of those, and I'm slightly worried about that. If they need two episodes to build up to a strong third, only to let all momentum come to a stop to start over with a new arc, this will be detrimental to the show... (end of spoiler) I hope they manage to keep the ball rolling throughout the two seasons in spite of it.

Thank goodness for the total (?) absence of the Volume! Finally we get to see real sets with some sense of depth. The sets were probably my favorite thing, although I am curious to see the characters and plot lines develop. I can't say I cared for Rogue One much so I don't care much for this protagonist... and I don't really care for anyone else either, but who knows? This could be good... as an appetizer for The Mandalorian Season 3.
 

Dave

Non Bio
Staff member
Joined
Jan 5, 2001
Messages
21,706
Location
Way on Down South, London Town
I'm not going to do posts on each episode of this, but I just wanted to say that I'm quite liking it. I've seen two episodes and will now immediately watch some more. I'm finding Rings of Power and House of Dragons incredibly boring, but this makes me want to watch it. I knew nothing about Cassius Andor before this, so everything is new to me - there are no Easter eggs for me to find in that regard, nor any "I'm angry; that couldn't possibly happen because" moments neither.

it could have easily been a cyberpunk space adventure series set in a new universe
I'm also sensing a disturbance in a galaxy, far, far away. The first episode especially, did feel more like Bladerunner than it did Star Wars. I do find some of the plot a little derivative too, and there is certainly some cultural appropriation. The Emerald Forest (1986) was the vibe that I was getting with the backstory.

I can live with that because I think the story is genuinely intriguing. I'm not sure about the Imperial Captain Scarlet uniforms?? And the Imperial Guard Officer is too much of an idiot (all of them are actually.) There are also some strange but interesting casting decisions - a bit of a Carry On there!

More on the plus side - I agree with @The Crawling Chaos regarding the real sets with some sense of depth. I also like that there is some decent original music score here. If possible here, why was Obi-Wan so poor in those regards. I also like the transitions between his childhood experience between the crashed ship from the mine, with the present day events, which is making it very watchable.

I agree with you all, this isn't as good as the Mandalorian, and why not just make more of that? However, it is rather good and much better that Boba Fett. (It couldn't possibly be worse than that.)
 

The Crawling Chaos

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2014
Messages
342
I also really enjoyed this second episode. I thought it was solid through and through. The slower pace was especially welcome and the atmosphere of the show is just as enjoyable as it is peculiar for a Star Wars project.
The only little things that bothered me were:
- The lack of references to the established Star Wars lore (mythology, lack of recognizable aliens, planets, technology)
- "Bee" does not sound like a droid. Maybe he sounds too human?
- The costumes, sets and ships of the "Pre-Mor" Authority make me feel like I'm watching a parody of Star Trek or SeaQuest DSV.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ctg

ctg

weaver of the unseen
Supporter
Joined
Aug 21, 2007
Messages
9,281
Dave, since you're here, could you please update the episode names? 1. Kassa 2. That Would Be Me 3. Reckoning
 

ctg

weaver of the unseen
Supporter
Joined
Aug 21, 2007
Messages
9,281
To clarify: I meant his voice does not sound like a droid's.
Right, well, we know that with our technology we can deep fake voices now. So, to me, Bee sounded fine, and its dialogue was perfect for a droid that had not received updates or maintenance. I don't know why Andor never fixed it, but it's clear that he has a deep connection to them, as we can see from the Rogue One, and its very sarcastic droid.
 

Dave

Non Bio
Staff member
Joined
Jan 5, 2001
Messages
21,706
Location
Way on Down South, London Town
I'm not sure about the Imperial Captain Scarlet uniforms?? And the Imperial Guard Officer is too much of an idiot (all of them are actually.)
Okay. They weren't Imperial. They worked for the Corporation not the Government (like private military companies.) That was probably made clear and it was just me. They did mention several times that it was a "Company town" and that the guards worked for "the Company."

I'll have to watch Rogue One again as I've forgotten what happened.
 

paeng

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2019
Messages
117
It's like a banal procedural with a sci-fi skin. Good effort, but it lacks characterization that would make audience sympathize with protagonists, and reminds me of Lucas' prequels. Also, the pacing is not very good, and some sort of prologue should have been considered.

I'd give it around 6 out of 10. Same for the second episode, and probably the rest of the series.
 

Similar threads


Top