SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY – A Review by John Strange
Little did we know when we first heard about Star Wars in the mid-1970's what a phenomenon it would be. The stars of the film quickly became icons, their careers would never be the same. In Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, relative unknowns, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford came onto the screen and magic happened. Audiences could not get enough of their characters, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa, and Han Solo.
Now, forty-one years later, the original stars have completed their storylines and new actors have joined the franchise. This has allowed the filmmakers to reset the timeline and go back to before the series began.
The process of closing out the original storyline and introducing us to the next generation of actors began with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and completed with Star Wars: The Last Jedi Now, we are presented with a film that gives us the backstory on one Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), rogue and scoundrel, Solo: A Star Wars Story.
When I first heard about the story I was worried that the writers and directors would try to rebuild the character, to make him something new. Thankfully, the story we have been given is that of a young man who came from a rough place, who made a lot of tough decisions to survive.
His early years are alluded to as the story begins with the actions that lead up to his getting off his native planet, the shipbuilding world of Corellia. Even the escape taught him a lesson that would live with him the rest of his life and influence his actions until the day he dies.
The story the filmmakers have presented us with gives us a wild ride through the underbelly of the Imperium, showing us the criminal world that was fact of life for young Solo and the others he ran with.
The adventures of this Han Solo are in line with the man he would later become, the man brought to life by Harrison Ford. The timeframe for this story falls between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Solo comes to the attention of the Crimson Dawn criminal syndicate when he finagles his way onto a team attempting a crazy dangerous heist that fails. Dramtically.
I have read a few early reviews that talk about how they are not impressed with Alden's portrayal of the character (or possibly just not impressed in how the writers crafted the character). I have to disagree. In my eyes the character portrayed by Harrison Ford would not have existed without the trials and adventures of the character that Alden Ehrenreich portrays,
Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), originally introduced to us in A New Hope (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980) begin their stories in this film.
The other supporting characters are played by many recognizable faces. Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau, and Warwick Davis pretty much all play scoundrels of one sort or another. In fact, I would have a problem pointing out "good guys" in this film. All are basically varying shades of gray without a true white night among them.
Wish I could tell you more about their first meetings with our hero but I want you to experience these scenes with a fresh eye. I expect you to enjoy them just as much as I did. This is a good film, maybe not a perfect film, but it is a good one. I rate it as a strong "A".
Directed by: Ron Howard
Written by: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Joonas Suotamo, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau, Linda Hunt, Ian Kenny, John Tui, Anna Francolini, Andrew Woodall, Warwick Davis
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sequences of sci-fi action/violence)
Selig Rating: A
Runtime: 135 Min.
Movie Site: www.starwars.com/films/solo
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.