Obi-Wan Kenobi Ep 1 & 2 Review: Ewan McGregor's series is a perfect blend of prequels with a dose of nostalgia
The galaxy in Star Wars is immense, and Disney seems to be focused on exploring every last part of it with its streaming series. Read Pinkvilla's review of the show below.
Obi-Wan Kenobi Cast: Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen
Obi-Wan Kenobi Director: Deborah Chow
Obi-Wan Kenobi Streaming Platform: Disney+ Hotstar
After seventeen years, Ewan MacGregor and Hayden Christensen have reprised their roles from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Star Wars has often highlighted the emotional load and its delicate connection with the Jedi. It led Anakin to the dark side. It caused Luke to forsake his duties. In the new Obi-Wan Kenobi program on Disney Plus, we watch Ewan McGregor bear the horrific toll of suffering through countless nightmares. The two-part debut kicks off a series that is shockingly sophisticated and unexpectedly adult; a weighty and rich slice of Star Wars. It still has the huge sci-fi moments you expect from Star Wars - this is a show with lightsabers and blasters from the start - but it's coupled with what seems like the most well-balanced Star Wars tale in a long time.The excitement is still running through my veins after seeing the first two episodes back to back. Obi-Wan Kenobi has effectively conveyed the greatest components of the prequels via the lens of a director who does not aim to replicate George Lucas' visual aesthetic, and yet this series seems more tied to Lucas than anything J.J. Abrams, Ridley Scott, or Jon Favreau has done. It's hard to watch these episodes without instantly comparing them to The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. Kenobi, in comparison, is a real auteur vision. Director Deborah Chow's imprint is all over this series, giving it the sense of a one-of-a-kind addition to the Star Wars narrative. If Mandalorian is a low-key homage to 1980s episodic action series, the TV equivalent of throwing out all the remaining action figures and smashing them together, Obi-Wan Kenobi is the franchise's first real prestige drama.
We witness a guy plagued by remorse and sadness in an excellent portrayal by an understated Ewan McGregor. McGregor's slow, laborious gestures and exhausted eyes portray a man whose actual troubles are his reluctance to let go of Anakin Skywalker, rather than the misery of the galaxy. His new camp on Tatooine was constructed not to keep an eye on Luke because he offers promise for the future, but because he is unable to let go of one of the few surviving ties to his fallen brother. That storyline starts in earnest when Obi-Wan offers to rescue ten-year-old Leia, who has been abducted by criminals as part of Inquisitor Reva's (Moses Ingram) plot to catch Kenobi. This narrative works on so many different levels. To begin with, this show is taking off. We've already visited three worlds and completed the first big plot objective in two episodes. Despite the periodic pauses to allow the emotions to simmer, this is a fast-paced, focused, and dynamic series. Second, it's an exciting cat-and-mouse game. Reva's use of filth and villainy to lure Obi-Wan into a trap is actually entertaining and intriguing. The moment in which she sets a reward on his head – when it's revealed that almost every fourth person on Daiyu is now on the search – even seems like a throwback to the thrilling conclusion of John Wick Chapter 2.
However, Ewan McGregor's comeback as Obi-Wan Kenobi is all you could hope for. The series quickly pulls on every ounce of nostalgia we all have for this actor in this position, utilizing it to induce grief rather than joy. Your heart hurts for Obi-Wan, who is played by McGregor as a deflated Jedi master determined to disappear. Of all, there is no show if Obi-Wan does nothing, but when he does anything, it seems earned. It was like seeing an old friend when I saw Ewan MacGregor reprise his role as Obi-Wan. MacGregor, at seventeen years old, moves and behaves more like Alec Guinness than ever before. MacGregor, no longer the idealistic Jedi he once was, imbues Ben Kenobi with a new edge. He retains his intellect and wisecracks, but he has become jaded. His last scene in the second episode, in which he screams out for Qui-Gon Jinn, was sad. While we only saw Hayden Christensen for a brief period in these initial episodes, his presence earned a thunderous ovation and is a chilling spectacle to see.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is off to a wonderful start because of his undivided attention to the emotional journey. But, although it is its main accomplishment, there is much more to examine. Even with her often incomprehensible capacity to know practically everything about everything, Vivien Lyra Blair makes for a surprisingly lovable young Leia. It's not a terrible thing if she's an Obi-response to Grogu. She adds some comedy to an otherwise unexpectedly somber piece of Star Wars. The same can be said for Kumail Nanjiani, who plays grifter Haja Estree with his typical flair.
To sum up, Obi-Wan Kenobi is the perfect combination of nostalgia and reverence, conveyed via a totally creative tale that captures and merges the two periods of George Lucas' Star Wars trilogies in a manner we've never seen before. This is the Star Wars narrative we've all been waiting for since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, and it's finally here. Obi-Wan Kenobi is a thrilling and dramatic blockbuster that will delight every single Star Wars enthusiast.