Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Solo: A Star Wars Story is not a film I was necessarily looking forward to, nor did I really feel a need for it. I was pretty ambivalent until I saw a trailer shortly before its release. That sneak peek did get me a little more interested, but I haven't been crazy about the last few Star Wars movies so my expectations were decidedly mixed. I'm happy to say that having seen it, I didn't hate it. I didn't love it, necessarily, but I didn't hate it either. 

This is of course the origin story, of sorts, of Han Solo, everyone's favorite scoundrel in the Star Wars universe. Does the movie work? Well, I guess. It's one of those movies that's just there. Nothing really groundbreaking, a lot of familiar tropes. I have to say that after this movie and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I'm a little less impressed with Lawrence Kasdan as a screenwriter. He of course co-wrote the Empire Strikes Back, among other things, so I always had a pretty good view of him but that's taken a nosedive. Although I will say the script here is better than The Force Awakens. There's just nothing particularly noteworthy here, in my view. 

This movie of course had some well- documented missteps, including a change of directors late in the game. Who can say what might have been? Would it have been worse, or did the change save the movie? Hard to say. It has a lot of callbacks to the original movies, perhaps too many, and it tries to give us those iconic moments- I mean, we see where Han got his famous blaster, we see how he wins the Millennium Falcon, we meet Lando for the first time, you name it. Lando, by the way, is pretty awesome- Donald Glover lives up to his billing and owns that role- and I thought Woody Harrelson did a great job as Tobias Beckett as well. I wasn't sure how he would work in a Star Wars movie. 

Overall though I think the callbacks and Easter eggs were maybe a bit much. I don't need to see everything- sometimes less is more, leave some things to the imagination- like the origin of the dice Han keeps in the Falcon's cockpit. I don't really care. But that's just me, others may think the level of fan service is just right. To each their own. I also thought Chewbacca was outstanding. And Emilia Clarke was effective as Qira, the early love of Han's life. 

I was happy to finally see Corellia, a pretty prominent planet in the Star Wars universe. This is the first time we've seen it in the movies, and it's about time! I've said for a long time that we should be seeing more of the "name" planets- Corellia being just one of several. So that was welcome. I wasn't super impressed with how Corellia was portrayed, but as the birthplace of Han and as a renowned shipbuilding center, it made sense to see it. 

Other than that we do visit a few other planets although I didn't catch their names, if they were mentioned. Okay I just checked Wikipedia and apparently the planet that Han visits early in the movie is Mimban, which made me chuckle. Mimban of course is the world featured in Splinter of the Mind's Eye, the first spinoff Star Wars book released way back in 1978. Nice little touch there. Although this is apparently after he was expelled from the Academy- I would have liked to see some of his time at the Academy, especially since his time there would have presumably involved an important world, perhaps Coruscant? Like I always say after these movies, why don't we ever see more of the Inner Rim worlds? 



One thing I did like was a certain throwaway line to the effect that Tobias Beckett killed Aurra Sing. Aurra is a famous bounty hunter in the Star Wars universe who appeared briefly on screen in Star Wars Episode 1 The Phantom Menace. While I generally don't care for the prequels and tend to scowl when they're referenced, I did like that line. It kind of established Beckett's bona fides as a badass, and frankly Sing (along with Darth Maul) was one of the few things I liked from Episode 1. I also thought the music was mostly effective, with just enough hints of the original trilogy themes without being a rehash. There was even a hint of the Imperial March at one point and that made me smile.  


Spoilers/ discussion

A few thoughts. I liked how Han won the Falcon- out cheating Lando basically. That seems appropriate. The fact that their friendship is in fact tenuous. And I like the emphasis on double- crosses. That also makes sense in a movie of this sort. I'm not a fan of heist movies generally, but there were some things that I felt worked here. The biggest surprise for me was the appearance of Darth Maul at the end. I like his role as head of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate- I mean, who better?- but at the same time it's a reminder of the first movie, which I have a very dim view of. They could have at least given him better dialogue, and I didn't think he looked great either.   

29 comments:

  1. I can't honestly say that I'm keen to see this one. I think I'll stick with Harrison Ford!

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  2. I was so meh about this movie, and he's one of THE fave characters in the Star Wars universe. I get why they thought it was a good character to do a pre-equal, but it just didn't spark any interest in me OR the hardcore Star Wars fans I know.

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    1. Yeah it just didn't have that spark?

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  3. I kinda feel like this movie was doomed to fail even before it released ;) There was just so much drama behind the scenes.

    It's a pity it was kinda underwhelming, because Solo is one of the most beloved characters ever and this film looks like it wasted his potential.

    I hope to watch it at some stage, but my expectations aren't high!

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    1. I think you might be right.

      Right? It could have been so good??

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  4. A lot of my thoughts are similar to yours. Do I think there was a need for this film? No.

    I feel like everything that happened in this film, we already kind of new from the hints and nods in Episodes 4-6. There wasn't any new information and, overall, I thought it was okay.

    Did you see that they've put making other stand-alone films (Obi Wan/Boba Fett, etc) films on hold now because of how underwhelming this was?

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    1. I agree. It just didn't add anything new? Nothing that held to the old trilogy standards, anyway. I think w should have seen more big name planets, and I think it being a heist movie hurt it too. They should have looked at him a little older, when he already had the Falcon, and given him something else to do.

      I did see that, and wow! I don't feel like I need a Boba Fett movie, although it could be cool, and Obi- Wan... I don't know. I like the character but not so much Ewan McGregor's take on him? They could win me over tho.

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  5. I'm so hesitant to watch this. I'm sure I will at some point.. I came to the Star Wars world late (just 3 years ago). I liked the original three, really enjoyed the "newer" three, but the last two have been kinda meh for me.

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    1. It's worth a watch as a Star Wars fan, but it's certainly nothing to write home about. PErfectly average!

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  6. I can't say that this one was my fave, Greg, and as always, you a good job of describing why. Happy 4th and Hugs...RO

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  7. People’s expectations must have been rock bottom because I’m seeing lots of positive reviews. I, found this one mediocre at best. Entertaining but weak writing and, like you said, way too many nods at the older movie. It couldn’t just be it’s own thing. I was unimpressed.

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    1. Right? I don't get the pos reviews at ALL. Mediocre is a good word for it.

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  8. I love when I don’t love a movie but I don’t hate it either! I hate Star Wars anything but we have been on the fence about this one!

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    1. Ha ha not a fan eh? It's okay, just not great...

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  9. I was also pretty hesitant to see this, especially with all of the news surrounding production, but I wasn't terribly disappointed like I'd thought I might be. Definitely wanted to see Han at the Academy, and I'd kind of expected the movie to start a little further back in his life. Lando was awesome, and I also loved L3!

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    1. I was just, IDK, ambivalent? Then the trailer got me excited. Then I thought it was just okay. :) The academy would have been good to see. And yes Lando!!

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  10. I am way behind on all things Star Wars! The last one we saw was The Force Awakens and I think Rogue One... hasn't there been more? I'm so lost. The only reason I want to see this one is because Donald Glover plays Lando! The guy playing Han Solo was ruined for me when he was the main character in that Beautiful Creatures movie. His hick accent was DEEP.

    I think the other movies are on Netflix now... maybe I'll catch up.
    L @ Do You Dog-ear?

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  11. I have liked the newer movies much better than you have, but this one seemed a bit lackluster to me. It was entertaining, but forgettable. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this one, Greg.

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  12. My son and I both felt the way you did about watching this one. Then we realized, how could we not. LOL

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  13. I actually liked Solo a lot, but then again, I did go into the theater with absolutely no expectations. It had been panned so hard by critics, I fully expected a total disaster, and I was pleasantly surprised that it was nowhere as bad as people made it out to be. I also loved the old school sci-fi adventure feel of it, it's the kind of fun film I can watch again and again.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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  14. I haven't seen this one. I've seen the ones in the main storyline, but they've just been coming out with so many of them...

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  15. I've decided I'm going to wait for it to come out on DVD before I watch it. I want to see it because...Star Wars...but the more I hear, the less I'm feeling it. I've been waiting for your review so I'm glad to hear you didn't completely hate it.

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  16. I think I'll wait for this one on DVD, unless Mr. Bookwyrm really wants to go see it. Everything I'm hearing is that Donald Glover was great, and the movie was OK, but not stellar; your review seems to bear that out.

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  17. I've been kind of meh on this one. I really liked Rogue One and was okay with the Last Jedi but this didn't quite have the same appeal in the previews. We'll probably watch it here if it comes on Netflix or HBO but I don't really see running out to see it. Your review has me at peace with that decision!

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  18. I haven't seen this movie yet, but do plan to watch it eventually. So it was interesting getting your thought about this one. I'll make sure not to get my hopes up. The callbacks and Easter eggs sound a bit overdone indeed. But it is Star wars, so I figure it probably still will be slightly entertaining at least.

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  19. I literally did not care about thia movie, I just wasn't interested in a young han solo, but I saw the movie and I thought it was fine. Donald Glover was amazing as Lando. I just feel like I have a lot of questions about crimson dawn now and I don't know if they are going to be answered. This movie had a lot of eu callbacks which was cool as an eu fan, but for the casual fan it didn't matter.

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