We have seen the premiere of “Solo: A Star Wars Story”, the second spin-off after “Rogue One”, and here’s our review, spoiler free, of course.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Behind and in Front of the Camera
The idea of seeing a Han Solo not played by Harrison Ford has been quite of an issue after the first announcement of “Solo”, and the project hadn’t had an easy life both behind and in front of the camera.
As everyone expected, direction was a sore subject which was first given to Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (“21 Jump Street,” “The Lego Movie”) and then it arrived in the hands of Ron Howard. The creative gaps between the new Lucasfilm production and the two young directors were too large to bridge them, and giving the whole thing to a more experienced director but with a completely different style like Ron Howard had its upside downs.
“Solo”, indeed, is the latest example of how the production problems couldn’t be easily hidden in the final cut (who said “Suicide Squad”??).
“Solo” has in fact the great flaw to not go beyond, presenting for example some of the most beloved characters of the saga but always without a true style, indulging in banality and flattening a good screenplay, also taking away the deep meaning from epic encounters.
Luckily the cast succeeds to rise the quality of the movie. Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke and especially Donald Glover hold perfectly the performance of Alden Ehrenreich who, able to completely identify with the character, walks out with his head up from one of the most difficult situation that an actor ever had to face. The comparison will always be unbalanced, but Ehrenreich, besides the rumors about his unqualified performance, has succeeded to bring on the screen Han Solo, and this was probably the less expected aspect of the movie.
Who’s Got the Typewriter
On the screenplay of “Solo: A Star Wars Story” we find a veteran of the galaxy, Lawrence Kasdan (“The Empire Strikes Back,” “The Return of the Jedi,” “The Force Awakens”), with his son Jon Kasdan.
The Kasdans have been able to write a good Han Solo, in search of freedom and before becoming the cynical lone wolf that we knew. What is certain is that seeing the pilot inside some of the most told tales about him makes an impression: one among all the legendary Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs!
The Western vibes that soak the screenplay make it interesting, from the assault on the train to the Mexican standoffs, to the continuous deceptions. If there’d been a clearer directing line, we would’ve seen a kind of genuine space-Western, and that might actually have been a great movie.
What to Know (ABSOLUTELY NO SPOILERS)
“Solo” takes place eleven years before “A New Hope” and tells how Han Solo has become a pilot, how he met his faithful sidekick Chewbacca and how he won the Millennium Falcon. So, it gives shape to the past of one of the main characters of the saga, exposing the truth behind legends and stories about the “rascal with a heart of gold”.
The production problems previously mentioned have made the whole movie a bit too didactic, but in general the movie is entertaining, and the saga references are well-used, enough to create powerful and completely unexpected plot twists.
What You’ll Need
The rest of the saga isn’t essential to enjoy and fully understand the movie, just remember that it takes place between “Revenge of the Sith” and “A New Hope”, in order to contextualize it among the events of the other movies.
But if you really want to understand it, we suggest watching not only the features, but to start to keep up with the animated TV series, like “Clone Wars” and “Rebels.”
What They Say
Alden Ehrenreich said: “George Lucas came on set, then, about a week or two ago, I went to the Skywalker Ranch and I sat down with him for an hour and talked to him about a lot of stuff like Han, Star Wars and more. He talked a lot about the museum that he’s creating now, which is of narrative art and he was talking about Star Wars and other different stories that can help to free children’s imagination and to imagine several different situations. He was like: “You can’t do something if you can’t imagine it.” And it was really interesting to hear him talking about the value of those stories that project us into another world or make us imagine a bigger, brighter and better life for ourselves.”
Ron Howard: “This particular movie, which is not a war story, is really the story of one character and his journey of discovery, quest for freedom, but it’s also a story of relationships that are going to help shaping this young hero into the iconic figure that we got to know afterwards.”
One Last Thing…
If “Rogue One” had the purpose of continuing the style of the Star Wars’ old school, giving “A New Hope” a powerful start, “Solo” is intended to bring together the big screen with the small one, using a tone which is closer to the animated series like “Star Wars: Rebels,” aiming also to reach a wider and younger audience.
Out of 5 Monkeys