After a full month of folks obsessing over Martin Scorsese declaring that Marvel movies aren’t “cinema”, filmmaker and agent of chaos Werner Herzog has decided to shift the “cinema” conversation elsewhere. Herzog has a part in the new Disney+ Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian. And even though everyone agrees that The Mandalorian is part of the TV landscape, Herzog just went ahead and referred to it as “cinema.”
We all love Werner Herzog. He’s a delightfully bleak man who makes powerful, uncompromising movies that can often be quiet soul-crushing, and he also happens to love watching wrestling. He’s everything you want him to be, and more. When Herzog isn’t directing documentaries and features that make you ponder existential questions he occasionally pops-up as an actor in unlikely places. He was the villain in Jack Reacher. He had a funny cameo as a man selling a haunted house so he could move closer to Disney World in Parks and Recreation. And currently, you can catch him in The Mandalorian as the mysterious figure The Client.
Herzog has said in the past that he hasn’t actually seen a Star Wars movie. But he has seen The Mandalorian, and he had very positive things to say about it during a recent Q&A. “I enjoyed every single moment of it,” Herzog said. “It’s beyond what we are seeing on the screen. It’s cinema back at its best.”
Referring to The Mandalorian as “cinema” will no doubt cause the denizens of Film Twitter to launch into all sorts of endless discussions. However, it’s worth noting that Herzog seems to be specifically referring to the way The Mandalorian was filmed. Specifically, the tech being employed to create the show’s sci-fi-fantasy landscapes.
“On the big fantasy films, actors were acting almost like robots in front of green screens, you didn’t see the world that you were inhabiting,” he said. “Here the actors see the entire universe in which they are operating and the camera does the same.”
The Mandalorian is shooting in something called “The Volume.” Mandalorian co-star Giancarlo Esposito previously offered some insight into the tech:
“Technically, this show has a new technology [that’s] never really [been] refined as much as it is right now. We’re in a place called The Volume, where we do most of our acting, where set pieces are brought in, where we can control the physical atmosphere of what is projected on the walls and control how gravity is; you get a feeling that gravity is being played with.”
And at the center of it all is Werner Herzog, sitting there saying dialogue like, “We can only give you a tracking fob.” If that isn’t cinema, then I don’t know what is.
Last week, Hasbro celebrated Star Wars Fan Appreciation Day, because every single day is a new chance for the population at large to be marketed to by major corporations. Thankfully, we’re Star Wars fans, and the announcement of new Star Wars Black Series figures is an exciting one, especially when they include a new version of The Mandalorian in Beskar armor, the respected Admiral Ackbar, a fierce Ewok warrior, and a slick carbonized version of a beloved character from The Empire Strikes Back.
The Mandalorian Black Series Action Figure
Just before The Mandalorian arrived on Disney+, the first wave of merchandising from the live-action Star Wars series arrived in stores along with the first action figures from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. But it seemed Hasbro didn’t properly anticipate demand for the Black Series figures associated with the series, because nearly all of them have been extremely difficult to find, especially Mando himself. But hopefully that will change with this new version of the bounty hunter.
Unlike the first version of The Mandalorian Black Series figure, this one comes with shiny new Beskar armor. It’s a much cleaner version of the character, and he still comes with all the appropriate weaponry. Unfortunately, there’s no two-pack that comes with The Child known as Baby Yoda, but you can still buy the little guy separately.
#gallery-3 #gallery-3 .gallery-item #gallery-3 img #gallery-3 .gallery-caption /* see gallery_shortcode in wp-includes/media.php */ Admiral Ackbar and Teebo Join the Black Series
Two characters from Return of the Jedi are getting their due diligence as Black Series figures. Admiral Ackbar joins the line, looking like his back has been seriously injured in the promotional photo above. Meanwhile, the Ewok known as Teebo is clearly not in the mood for dealing with any Stormtrooper crap, so don’t mess with that dude.
#gallery-4 #gallery-4 .gallery-item #gallery-4 img #gallery-4 .gallery-caption /* see gallery_shortcode in wp-includes/media.php */ New Carbonized Boba Fett and Stormtrooper
Finally, after first being introduced on Triple Force Friday last fall, the carbonized variant line of Black Series figures is getting two new additions this year, and they should be infinitely easier to find than that initial wave, especially since they’re both available for pre-order over at Big Bad Toy Store right now.
Boba Fett is easily the...
Baby Yoda fanatic Werner Herzog had an eventful 2006. He directed Rescue Dawn, his highest-grossing movie in America; was shot at during an interview with BBC; and saved Joaquin Phoenix from a car accident. The legendary filmmaker and two-time Simpsons guest star recounted the last two incidents in an interview with the New York Times.
When asked by interviewer-extraordinaire David Marchese whether he ever found out who fired at him with an air rifle, Herzog replied, “I was shot at various times. You mean here in Los Angeles?” Yes, in Los Angeles. “No, I wasn’t interested.” Fair enough. As for Phoenix, Herzog said that he recognized him it’s fun to imagine Herzog catching a matinee screening of Clay Pigeons, “although he was upside down in this car, squished between airbags that had deployed and wildly trying to light a cigarette.”
Only Herzog could make a car accident sound poetic:
“I knew he must not light his cigarette, because there was gasoline dripping and he would have perished in a fireball. So I tried to be clearly commandeering to him and tell him not to. But I was worried that if you gave him a command, he would strike his lighter even harder. So I managed to snatch the cigarette lighter from his hand. Then it became completely clear that it was Joaquin. But I didn’t want to speak to him after. I saw he wanted to come over and thank me. I just drove off.
Recalling the incident the week after it happened, Phoenix said that he heard a German voice tell him “just relax” and that “there’s something so calming and beautiful about Werner Herzog’s voice. I felt completely fine and safe.” I’m not sure what’s more on-brand: Phoenix smoking a cigarette after crashing his car, or Herzog refusing to stick around after potentially saving a man’s life. He would’ve stayed, had it been Baby Yoda.