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Review | 'Star Wars' extensions, from 'The Bad Batch' to 'Biomes' and 'Vehicle Flythroughs'

On May 4th - Star Wars Day - DisneyPlusHotstar released a treasure chest of 'Star Wars' stuff. Here's what to watch and what you can skip without losing sleep over it.

May 05, 2021 / 03:48 PM IST
Screen grab from 'The Bad Batch', available on Disney+ Hotstar from May 4, 2021.

Screen grab from 'The Bad Batch', available on Disney+ Hotstar from May 4, 2021.

When my Star Wars starved soul was seeking scraps - any scraps - of stories left behind, the silent, sexy Mandalorian showed up on my home screen, and soothed my spirit. Baby Yoda cooed me into my couch and I congratulated myself on having the patience to ration the series every two weeks because one episode a week wasn’t enough.

When Star Wars Bad Batch showed up on Star Wars Day, I watched the first episode with the same kind of anticipation that the bride’s friends on the balcony of the house have at the first glimpse of the dulha on the horse, ‘He’s here! The baraat is here!’ they run inside and inform everyone including the bride who waits in anticipation. This happens in every Hindi movie since they invented the ‘bad things happen when baraat arrives’ trope in cinema.

The animation is brilliant, but the food fight made me think that I was back in high school instead of being in a galaxy far far away. Then everything sort of derailed with Omega’s voice. It reminded you of that annoying kid in school who always showed up uninvited and tried to join the group.

Admiral Tarkin is less scary than the philtrum on Omega. It’s a drawing, my logical mind says, but if that drawing is going to be in every episode, and some sort of savior, a part of the group I want to like (because, rebels), then I don’t want ugly. Jessica Rabbit got it right when she said, ‘I’m just drawn that way.’

Episode one has all its highs and lows and the characters who will betray betray, the good guys end up being good guys. The Bad Batch turns out to be like the brownies that you baked but are slightly scorched. You eat them because you made them, but…

Close

Star Wars Biomes is a wonderful if slow glide over the magnificent worlds that the Star Wars universe contains. And as the camera slowly moves across vistas, you crow with delight when you see familiar characters. C-3PO and R2-D2 trudging across the desert, the slow moving AT-AT Walkers, the Jawas hunting for scrap in the desert…

It would have been better if there was a David Attenborough voice over explaining the origins of Darth Vader’s Sinister castle (I still maintain that it looks like evil Batman) or quietly reminding us which of the Star Wars films we saw the Crait (the white lands that spew red when disturbed). The 20-minute film just feels so damned long I fast-forwarded. Perhaps the pandemic has made me crave action…

Never thought Maggie Simpson would provide more action in the three-minute short of the Force Awakens than I got in Biomes. But that was just fun. I had to watch Star Wars Vehicle Flythroughs before I settled down to Lego Star Wars. Clever so and so-s! They chose the space junk called the Millennium Falcon to begin this series. Of course I fell in love! I saw the mysterious Quadex power core, the Holochess table Chewbacca got installed, the magic of the red, white and blue blinking lights, the quad laser cannons… I fell in love with the tick once again and have bookmarked the series that is to follow. This one’s made for the geeks, and although we are far, far away from creating the Hyperdrive in real life, I’m diving into the EmDrive that people are actually working on!

Wait! Episode two takes us inside the scary large pizza slice shaped (Or should I say a Calzone wedge?) First Order Destroyer. Remember how we clutched at the nearest person when it first appeared on our screens? By the way the spaceship makes the appearance on our screens, we know that it carries the baddest of the baddies. Everyone from Darth Vader to General Hux have been on these lethal weapons of the Empire. How many Kyber crystals does a 2915.84 kms long spaceship need to power through, I have always wondered.

As the camera takes us down super shiny corridors (my pandemic affected housewifely brain cells ask: how do they keep it so shiny clean? Perhaps there is no dust in space…), I realise that the conference room chairs look like coffins…

Again, I wish there was a voice over telling us more about the vehicles like guides do when they’re taking us on a tour of palaces… This is where the prince fought a hand to hand combat with twenty insurrectionists and survived and so on, and in hushed tones telling us Darth Vader walked through here…

And we’re not done yet. There are six Lego Star Wars: the Droid Tales to be watched. These are Lego versions of the first six Star Wars movies, except that these are told from the point of view of R2-D2 and C-3PO. And am not giving you anything, except to tell you that these episodes are far better than some of the shows you’re watching on OTT platforms these days. Don’t take my word for it, watch!
Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller, founder of Caferati — an online writer’s forum, hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic, and teaches advertising, films and communication.

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