Solo: A Star Wars Story – Review

The gap between the prequel and original trilogies gets a new entry in an origin story for one of the galaxy’s most notorious scoundrels. Solo: A Star Wars Story gives us an action-packed tale of a young Han Solo set around ten years before Star Wars: A New Hope. The film is full of speeder chases, heists, explosions and blaster fire it barely stops to take a breath, but it is a great ride!

The story starts on Corellia, Han (Alden Ehrenreich)’s home world where we are thrown in to the action straight away with a familiar scum and villainy vibe Han squares off against a weird looking crime boss followed by an American Graffiti like speeder chase with Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) by his side. We then see Han’s time working for the Empire, and his escape while meeting Chewbacca and his new mentor, Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) along with his crew. A job the crew picks up sends them to Kessel aboard Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover)’s ship the Millennium Falcon. We see Han’s confidence shine through these adventures however, we start to see the toll these series of misfortunes takes on him as he goes from a hopeful and naive young man become the scorned scoundrel that we came to know and love.

The film looks and sounds beautiful! The different planets we visit, separated by scenes in the immaculately kept Millennium Falcon provide a stark difference and shows that not all the Star Wars universe around this period was worn and lived in. The film feels very much like a combination of the prequel and original films the music, sound effects and action come from The Phantom Menace through Revenge of The Sith while the grit and realism come straight out of the classic films.

Alden Ehrenreich delivers a pretty good portrayal of a young Han Solo. I can see this character becoming the man we see in the Mos Eisley cantina in about 10 years. His speaking Shyriiwook left a little to be desired by other than that I thought he was good. Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian is pretty spot on for the most part. There was one or two times where I felt he was being too formal/British for my liking, there was a slight feeling of ‘Would Lando say that?’. But again, these two actors did a good job of bringing younger versions of Han and Lando to big screen. Most of the other members of the cast performed to a good standard but there wasn’t much of a stand out. I could tell Paul Bettany was enjoying himself playing a crime lord, but other than that no one stole the show. Chewbacca is always great and its good to see Joonas Suotamo continuing his fantastic performance.

After the bizarre events surrounding the production of this film, I am happy with how it turned out. I was worried that Lord and Miller were going to make it a little too campy for a Star Wars film and while Ron Howard was a safe replacement. There are a few of his movies that I really enjoy and I knew he was going to do right by Johnathan and Lawrence Kasdan’s script and make a good film. Speaking of the script, I think character wise, the knocked Solo out of the park.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is a good movie. It was familiar and predictable for the most part, very fan-service-y, but a very enjoyable action-adventure movie. Honestly, I think that was the point. If they keep doing a few simple but fun movies like this people might not need to take every entry in the Star Wars anthology too seriously. We can go back to a time when just being in the universe was enough. While a Bobba Fett movie or an Obi-Wan story would be interesting, I think Lucasfilm need to step out of their comfort zones and find a story that can feature nothing we’ve seen before but still be interesting and maybe even profitable.

Solo: A Star Wars Story – Above Average

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It’s Official: Ron Howard will take over directing the Han Solo project

The front runner of the choice of directors to take over from Phil Lord and Chris Miller on the untitled young Han Solo film has been confirmed by Lucasfilm. The announcement came in a press release on StarWars.com:

Lucasfilm is pleased to announce that Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard has been named director of the untitled Han Solo film.

“At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie. Filming will resume the 10th of July.”

Howard has made some of the biggest hits and most critically-acclaimed movies of the modern era. Among his many films are Lucasfilm’s Willow, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind (winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director), The Da Vinci CodeFrost/Nixon, and Rush. He also narrated and produced the beloved comedy series Arrested Development, starred in George Lucas’ American Graffiti, and remains a TV icon for his roles in The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days.

The untitled Han Solo film is slated for a May 25, 2018, release.

They still have about 3 weeks or so of production where Howard will have to review footage they already have and make the tough choices of what to keep and what to re-shoot, for which another 5 weeks have been scheduled. There could be some clashes in the future that the production will have to keep in mind with Emilia Clarke likely to return to filming for Game of Thrones (provided she doesn’t die in season 7) and Donald Glover to shoot Atlanta season 2 soon.

What will this mean for the film? Good question. Ron Howard is a safe choice and he will produce the best movie he can. He is a competent director who has work on a few average films in the last little while, the best recent film he has directed was Rush so we’ll see how we go. I can give you a proper answer in May next year.