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The “Star Wars” series is not a force to be reckoned with

The Jedi barely appear in the original Star Wars trilogy. Both Obi-Wan and Yoda are hermits hiding from their own failures in distant corners of the galaxy, and both die after teaching Luke Skywalker a bit about the Force. Luke himself never technically completes his training, although he comes close enough to be considered a Jedi Master in later films. So the Jedi exist more as an exciting symbol in these early films, as well as a mystery: how could such a wise and powerful group of people cease to exist?

The solution to this mystery unfortunately deprived the Jedi of most of the mystery that Obi-Wan and Yoda gave them in the first films. It turns out the Jedi were wiped out because they were meek, self-congratulatory, and way too attached to rules that did more harm than good. If Mace Windu had just told young Anakin that he was allowed to go kiss Padme, for Pete’s sake, the Empire would never have been created. THE Clone Wars And Rebels the cartoons did a little better by the Jedi, but overall they are, like Boba Fett

a George Lucas creation where the more they do, the less exciting they become. AKA, the guy who turned out to be so boring, his own show had to turn into a

Mandalorian

bonus season in progress. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tzur6JrUEA The new Disney+ Star Warsseries, The Acolyte , at least attempts to openly confront the reality that the Jedi are smug, complacent, and pretty terrible. But the execution of this idea is uneven throughout the four episodes submitted for review. And the decision to set it a century before the rise of the Empire seems to defeat the purpose of the whole thing, as the Jedi of

The Phantom Menace learned exactly zero lessons. The Acolytewas created by writer-director Leslye Headland, who was one of the co-creators of the big Netflix sci-fi comedy

. Headland built his entire story around the institutional failures of the Jedi. A young woman named Mae (Amandla Stenberg) seeks revenge on a quartet of Jedi Masters: the wise Sol (Lee Jung-jae), the stoic Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss), the Wookiee Master Kelnacca (Joonas Suotamo) and young Torbin. (Dean-Charles Chapman) – for a family tragedy. And the more we learn about history, the clearer it becomes that Jedi law – and the question of who is and isn’t allowed to study the Force – unfortunately played a huge role. Meanwhile, Mae’s twin sister, Osha (Stenberg again) works as a mechanic after dropping out of Jedi training, and she must speak with her old teacher, Sol, again. Editor’s Choice Two of the actors from this series play the Jedi here. Rebecca Henderson is Vernestra, a high-ranking, green-skinned member of the order. Charlie Barnett is Yord, a Jedi nerd with an unfortunate rooster haircut.Lee Jung-jae, the Emmy Award-winning star of

Squid game , does not speak English fluently and therefore his line readings can sometimes be interrupted. But he otherwise brings a necessary amount of gravity, warmth, and regret as Sol. His relationship with Osha is by far the best and most fully realized aspect ofThe Acolyte . Stenberg, Headland, and their collaborators unfortunately have difficulty telling Osha and Mae apart, even when they wear different clothes and pursue different goals. (It’s even worse in the third episode, a listless flashback where the two girls, played by Leah and Lauren Brady, have identical styles.) Most of the pieces are uneven at best, if not just downright disappointing. Carrie-Anne Moss is used well in an opening action set piece (once again getting to work with bullet-time effects, 25 years after the first Matrix) but is otherwise wasted, and the later fight scenes aren’t as dynamic. There are some amusing anecdotes regarding the interpersonal dynamics among the Jedi: Yord is so disrespectful that even Sol’s padawan, Jecki (Dafne Keen, from

And

Its dark materials

), feels comfortable acting superior to him – but not by much. And the idea of ​​seeing a Wookiee Jedi in action is more exciting than what little Kelnacca can actually do.

Related Charlie Barnett, Dafne Keen and Lee Jung-jae in “The Acolyte”. Christian Black/Lucasfilm Ltd. Manny Jacinto injects some welcome scoundrel energy as Mae’s ally Qimir. Like Han Solo and Finn, he doesn’t care much for the Force, which is an element that was sorely lacking in the prequels. This is especially useful in a story that’s so much about the Force and that the Jedi think they should be allowed to use it. This was, of course, a key theme of the sequels, both in the story and in the awkward handover between writer-directors JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson. Johnson

The Last Jedi goes out of its way to democratize the Force, rather than treating it as something only fit for characters with noble bloodlines. It positions Rey as nobody’s child, and its final scene features an orphan boy casually using the Force to grab a broom and sweep out a stable on Canto Bight. In The Rise of Skywalker, Abrams acknowledges that Rey is the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine and that he has no interest in Broom Boy.Without having seen the second half of the season, it’s hard to know for sure where Headland stands in this debate, but

The Acolyte

certainly seems pro-Broom Boy so far. However, the particular moment in which Headland chose to tell this story seems too confined. In The Phantom Menace , the Jedi have overseen a peaceful, Sith-free galaxy for a thousand years. They are confident in the correctness of all their decisions. The situation with Mae, Osha, and Mae’s mysterious master Sith Lord raises questions that run counter to where the Jedi are, philosophically, when Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon find little Anakin in the sands of Tatooine. TendencyIn other words, it feels like a narrative dead end. That doesn’t automatically rule out a good series: the fact that no one learns anything here might be the whole tragedy of the story Headland and company are telling. It’s good to see another one Star Wars project which, like Andor, questions some of the fundamental assumptions of the franchise. From an entertainment standpoint, however, the first half of

The Acolyte is unfortunately much closer to The Book of Boba Fett

.The first two episodes of The Sidekick begin airing tonight at 9 p.m. ET, with additional episodes airing weekly. I’ve seen the first four of eight episodes.

Gn entert
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