SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY – A Digital HD Review by John Strange

 
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY – A Digital HD Review by John Strange
 
Solo: A Star Wars Story is the film so many of us have wanted since we first encountered Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope in 1977.  Some of the stories that have entered our legends from the films about Han's early years are brought to life here.
 
We are there to see his escape from his home world of Corellia.  We are there to see how Chewbacca and Han became partners.  We experience the team as they commit their first crime together.  All in all we get a strong feeling that the new actor, Alden Ehrenreich, is going to be a great Han Solo!
 
The other characters in the film are equally excellent.  Solo's love interest, Qi'ra (GoT's Emilia Clarke) is written beautifully.  She is both the love of Han's life and a great danger to him at the same time thanks to the Crimson Order who basically own her.  Woody Harrelson gives his character, Tobias Beckett, a taste of anarchy and ruthlessness tempered by the knowledge that you have to cover your team's backs (as long as they are willing to cover yours). 
 
Chewbacca is played by Joonas Suotamo, a 6' 11" native of Finland.  His first taste of the character came as a Chewbacca stand-in for 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens and moved up to playing the character for 2017's Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  Joonas is a great, I hesitate to say replacement but it is the only word that I can find that fits, for the great Peter Mayhew.  Mr. Mayhew gave us many excellent performances in the Wookiee suit but his age prevents him from being able to bring the physicality that this role really demands.
 
As our "bad guy du jour" we have Paul Bettany as Dryden Vos, a high-ranking crime boss in the Crimson Dawn syndicate.  He is the man behind Beckett's criminal activities.  He is also the man who controls Qi'ra.
 
The film, written by Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan, was directed by Ron Howard.  As you watch the extras provided with this film, I found I learned quite a bit of new information about the Kasdans but not nearly as much about Ron.  The "Featured Extra" with Ron Howard moderating a roundtable with the major actors and actresses from the film was enjoyable but light on true content.
 
The extras overall were much that way, light on true eye-opening content such as we have come to hope for but nice pieces to watch nonetheless.  I truly missed having a director's commentary but I think the filmmakers felt that the various featurettes gave you the same info you would have learned from that commentary.
 
Overall, this is a film that every Star Wars fan should watch.  Each fan will grab onto that piece of the Han Solo mythos that they always wanted to know about and be satisfied.  For me, it was all good, especially the last scene which is getting a lot of press and tells us what direction future films may go with this part of the storyline and possible spin-offs.
 
 
Directed By:
 
  • Ron Howard
 
Cast:
 
  • Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Paul Bettany, Joonas Suotamo
Extras:
 
  • Featured Extra:
    • Solo: The Director & Cast Roundtable (21:45)
Sit down with director Ron Howard and the stars for an intimate and entertaining discussion of the film’s making.  
 
  • Featurettes:
    • Solo Cast Reveals Their Must-Have Star Wars Movies (1:16)
    • Creating the Escape From Corellia (1:29)
    • Becoming Solo (2:06)
    • Tour the Millennium Falcon with Donald Glover (1:30)
 
  • Documentaries:
    • Kasdan on Kasdan (7:50)
Iconic Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and son Jonathan share what it was like to write the movie’s script together.
 
  • Remaking the Millennium Falcon (5:36)
Track the transformation of the most famous ship in the galaxy, from Lando’s swank and impeccable pride and joy to Han’s stripped-down hot-rod freighter with “special modifications.”
 
  • Escape from Corellia (9:59)
Get behind the wheel for the making of this high-octane chase through the streets of Corellia.
 
  • The Train Heist (14:29)
Explore the challenges and thrills of creating this action-packed sequence, including its remote location and spectacular effects.
 
  • Team Chewie (6:41)
See what it takes to bring your favorite Wookiee to life in this lighthearted look behind the scenes.
 
  • Becoming a Droid: L3-37 (5:06)
Meet the newest droid—and the talented actor who helps bring her to life.
 
  • Scoundrels, Droids, Creatures and Cards: Welcome to Fort Ypso (8:02)
Take an in-depth tour of the rough-and-tumble bar where strangers mix and gamblers risk all in the legendary card game, Sabaac.
 
  • Into the Maelstrom: The Kessel Run (8:28)
Join Han and Chewie at the controls of the Millennium Falcon to see how this legendary moment in Star Wars history unfolds.
 
  • Deleted Scenes (15:12 total)
    • Proxima’s Den
    • Corellian Foot Chase
    • Han Solo: Imperial Cadet
    • The Battle of Mimban: Extended
    • Han Versus Chewie: Extended
    • Snowball Fight!
    • Meet Dryden: Extended
    • Coaxium Double-Cross
 
Specifications:
 
Runtime:
 
  • 135 Minutes (Film only – extras
 
Studio:
 
  • Buena Vista Home Entertainment
 
Release Date:
 
  • Digital HD: 09/10/2018
  • Blu-ray/DVD: 09/25/2018
 
Region:
 
  • A/1 (U.S. and Canada only)
 
Website:
 
 
MPAA Rating:
 
  • PG-13 (for sequences of sci-fi action/violence)
Selig Rating:
 
  • BRAND NEW
 
Selig Rating Scale:
 
BRAND NEW: Should add to your DVD collection at any cost
SALE ITEM: Worth owning, but try to catch it a sale
SECOND HAND: Plan to get it, but wait to buy it used
RENTAL: Worth taking a look at, but not owning
COASTER: Pick it up at a garage sale and use it for drinks
PULL!: Makes a great Trap Shooting target