Dead Air: The Book of Boba Fett in Two Words
The latest Star Wars saga to hit Disney Plus has landed with a flop. The Book of Boba Fett is a convoluted mess that feels hastily thrown together and sports characters that have as much depth as a puddle of rain.
The Book of Boba Fett has the pacing of a zebra dying of sepsis while stuck in a pool of molasses. The takes on scenes are more drawn out than Charlie explaining who Pepe Silvia is. The dismantled story is held together by a few flashbacks and dream sequences that feel stolen from a straight-to-TV melodrama starring Suzanne Somers.
The charm of The Mandalorian is completely absent and has been replaced with a benevolent protagonist that can barely keep the peace in his territory for more than a moment. To add insult to injury, the musical score drags the overall feel of The Book of Boba Fett into the mud. The music is nearly pretentious in its bombastic, over-the-top, “look at me, I don’t really suck”, tonality and is as annoying as it is loud, bravo.
The most glaring issue about The Book of Boba Fett is that you will never find yourself caring about Boba Fett. The mystique of his origin story is completely obscured by a plot that doesn’t seem to have any tension or established stakes. Worse yet, it seems to rhyme with The Mandalorian in the worst ways. The relationship shared by the Mandalorian and Kuill is desperately reproduced between Boba and the Tusken Raiders, and it is one of many ham-handed reflections between the two series that falls flatter than a portly opera singer crashing into the orchestra pit.
Violating the cardinal sin of having dead air in nearly every scene is the even more egregious crime of shattering the suspension of belief with some of the worst costumes and characters since the Star Wars Holiday Special. The fecal topping to this shit sundae is Drash and Skad. Named after rejected Ninja Turtles villains, these two colorful characters belong in Star Trek, not Star Wars. The Quadrophenia reference is grotesque and should never have been included. Drash and Skad come off as cartoonish inclusions too ancillary for character arcs and too annoying for lengthy screen time, another bullseye.
Even tragic films, like Broken Arrow, are salvageable through their action sequences. Unfortunately, The Book of Boba Fett is free and clear of any. The last episode is neck and neck with the Battle of the Falkland Islands in terms of ferocity and interest. One of the sure-fire ways to make the audience care about the hero is to make them part of the world in a realistic way and one of the worst ways is to detach them from it by making them invincible. Boba Fett is never in any danger, ever. Mando was nearly killed by a wild mudhorn, his armor and weapons failing him. Boba Fett survives more blaster shots than Don Corleone, effectively shattering any threat and blunting the threat of any danger.
Even Superman was thrown into a pool with a chunk of kryptonite, the final battle needs stakes and has none — the duo are attacked but never really hurt. The rancor tosses Mando around and even flattens a building Mando-first at one point — fine, no damage, not even a sprained ankle. That rancor, let’s get back to that rancor — it ruins more of the city than the mechanized droids do. This story is all over the place and the consequences are never that bad, unless you’re a Tusken raider. The Mandalorian is shone in an impregnable light when he is shot with dozens of blaster shots to no consequence. Not one drop of blood, Mando should have walked away looking like he belonged on a charbroiled patty.
Speaking of charbroiled patties, Boba Fett is not just hard to look at, he is unlikable. Between three-worded sentences and hushed whispers to Fennec, Boba Fett is also a shit crime lord. The ice-cold bounty hunter with nerves of steel from the Original Trilogy, God bless its eternal soul, has been replaced with an aged relic that wants to rule benevolently. A benevolent crime lord that is of the people and for the people… run for office, grandpa. Remember that crime boss who set the New York underworld on fire by giving his goons full medical and dental? Of course, you don’t. That limp-wristed poodle walker was chopped up by MS-13 and thrown in ten different dumpsters across the five Boroughs. A benevolent gangster, good god — save it for anime.
Boba Fett doesn’t have any sense of how to rule either, unaware of who he is even speaking to. Fennec has to hold his hand through negotiations and remind Boba that he is actually in charge, not her. A gruesome reduction of the notorious bounty hunter from the trilogy is the real crime that has taken place with The Book of Boba Fett. To add insult to injury is the introduction of the villain, Cad Bane. The prime example of why crucial content needs to be part of the plot instead of a character is Cad Bane’s debut in an already disjointed Star Wars tale. Rule number one of being a crime boss, anyone who disrespects you publicly must be severely punished if not killed. Cad Bane calls out Boba Fett in a public square and instead of dealing with him, Boba lets him go.
No wonder the city tried to kill Boba in the first episode, Boba is a Beta. East Los Angeles would eat him alive. Cradling this colon sundae is content without context — when your film requires that I read thousands of pages of fictional canon from the last two decades; you lose me. I don’t care what was written or what a cartoon for kids established years ago — if it’s that important, maybe it belonged in The Book of Boba Fett today. From its tired Western themes to its unremarkable characters, The Book of Boba Fett struggles to unfold its story in an interesting and organic way and too many situations have boba reacting instead of acting. A real gangster would have back-handed the Mayor while taking his best slug-jewels, and disrespecting his woman; leaving behind a ransacked office with walls covered in spray painted penises clad in Beskar. For God’s sake Boba, stir some shit up!
The Mandalorian was a work of art, a masterpiece that will one day hang in the Louvre as an NFT. The Book of Boba Fett is a song with one note that is more sour than the milk from a syphilitic Thala-Siren and its stench will linger far longer than the prequels. In the end, it is a boring story about semi-interesting characters told in a fantastically lazy fashion. This is not the way.