Wednesday, January 12, 2022

REVIEW: 'The Book of Boba Fett' - New Threats Only Create More Complications for Boba in 'Chapter 3: The Streets of Mos Espa'

Disney+'s The Book of Boba Fett - Episode 1.03 "Chapter 3: The Streets of Mos Espa"

Boba Fett must deal with two very different threats.

"Chapter 3: The Streets of Mos Espa" was written by Jon Favreau and directed by Robert Rodriguez

This show is certainly capable of producing rewarding, visceral moments. It's absolutely devastating when Boba Fett returns to the tribe of Tusken raiders only to discover the entire village has been wiped out. That moment carries a lot of weight and power given the significance of those flashbacks so far. That's the time period Boba returns to whenever he is healing in the bacta tank. The audience could reasonably assume that it has a connection to his interests in the present day. That explanation is still incredibly vague though. Sure, connections are starting to form beyond Boba being present in both stories. Is that enough to justify the storytelling device being used in order to entertain? At this point, it's inevitable that the audience will see Boba in the tank and be tortured by the past. Some of that is explained. A lot is just left to be inferred. Plus, the narrative can be scattered in terms of its depiction of these events. It was rousing to see Boba join the tribe. That moment made it seem like they could conquer anything now that they have this new ally and access to technology. And now, they are wiped out as power players completely. Boba is left behind to deal with the emotional trauma. He honors their bodies in death. He also essentially surrenders his identity within the tribe. He throws away the weapons he has just created. It comes across as the show changing its mind from episode to episode instead of offering a story that builds each week. That is an overall criticism too. It's not contained to one element over another. Previously, the biggest threat to Boba's reign as daimyo was the Twins arriving to stake their claim to Jabba's former throne. It was eerie watching them be carried through the streets of Mos Espa. They send an assassin to kill Boba. That interrupts his rest in the tank. That's disruptive in a way that breaks the formula that has quickly been established. But again, it highlights how Boba is still getting up to speed about the fluid power dynamics that control this planet. It's not like it was when Jabba ruled. Things have shifted. Boba is coming to understand that. He gains new allies in this fight as well. People are trying to see if they can provoke him into action. He isn't foolish enough to be played by selfish and greedy people trying to take advantage of the resources they have at the expense of the less fortunate. Boba recognizes that he has use for the working class kids who just need direction. His new tribe is expanding. That comes at the expense of any kind of individuality though. At this point, Ming-Na Wen is being underutilized as Fennec. She is mostly just expected to stand by Boba and agree with his decisions. She may offer a different take. However, the action never lingers on any kind of disagreement. And then, all the drama with the Twins is resolved. It's jarring and sudden. Again, it's the show choosing to shift focus. That makes it come across as aimless and unsure of what it's doing. The attempt may be to showcase just how complex these criminal organizations can be. Boba doesn't truly know the enemy he is facing. A war is simply coming. That too suggests a connection between his past and the present. The Pyke syndicate is now present in both. That may offer a reason for why Boba wishes to serve as daimyo in the first place. But again, that's all guesswork. It's up to the audience to infer and build on the connections. Nothing is easily understood or appreciated. It's work. That's arduous instead of entertaining. Sure, it will be great when Boba gets to ride the rancor at some point. That will probably just be used to showcase him doing something in a different way. The show yearns to put familiar images in this environment into new contexts. The Tusken raiders aren't vicious savages. They have a rich and vibrant culture that has existed longer than anything on the planet. The daimyo doesn't need to be carried around like a king in order to project strength. Boba's skills as a bounty hunter do that. The rancor aren't solely monsters who kill anything they encounter. They are sensitive creatures unless they are provoked. The show plays with these images hoping to build a connection to the past and what the viewer has always expected from this world. Boba's myth has similarly been built up in the minds of fans. This attempt at dimension though is playing with ideas instead of telling a genuine story in an entertaining way. That basically dooms everything despite the meticulous thought put into expanding this world. Plus, everything is coming across as flat and boring, especially the action sequences - which is strange given the reputation Jon Favreau and Robert Rodriguez have based on their past projects.