Solo : A Star Wars Story

The movie going experience is thwart with dangers these days. The Internet can do a lot of harm to the credibility of a film even before it finishes production. Unfortunately for Disney, Solo has fallen the same fate. Yet many fans will look past this fact and push on through choosing to ignore the news, gossip and early reviews (much like this one).

But even still… having to add the “A Star Wars Story” to the suffix of a movie title, about what is possibly one of the best loved sci-fi characters in history, should raise more than just an eye brow. So much so this reviewer had to go back again to re-watch what he had seen just to be sure.

Of course no introduction is required for Han Solo. Lovable rogue, smuggler and all round (eventual) nice guy, everyone who has watched any part of the original Star Wars trilogy will attest to the sheer magnitude this character brings to the franchise. So was it any wonder that this origin story had a few hiccups trying to fill the some galactic sized shoes.

The audience is taken on a journey from Han’s early years escaping the life of being a human trafficking victim, through a series of adventures that eventually leads him into the smuggling racket. We see the formation of friendships with Lando and Chewie as well understanding more of his attachment to the Millennium Falcon. As far as stories go this is not a bad tale.

And if you are going to see this movie can i suggest you end reading this review now and just go.

Still here? ok lets discuss… This is in no way a perfect movie, nor will it win many (if any awards). Perhaps a technical award here or there. One thing that sticks out for me, and really annoyed me, is just how dark the film is. I just simply do not understand why its so dark, and not in the story sense but in the actual visible light spectrum sense. Surely there were lights on set. Ive seen this on two different screens at the cinema and at times i just felt like i had to imagine what the actors face was trying to convey, cause i simply could not see the detail.

Maybe this is the reason. Maybe there was so much to fault with the detail they dropped the lighting level. I felt like the director of photography was channeling the episode of the Simpsons when homer was shooting a sexy photo for Marge, the photographer layered inches of Vaseline over the lens and suggested that “light was not his friend”. One of the reasons why i went to watch the film a second time was to see if there was any potential story line reason for the darkness… but no.. i couldn’t find it.

There were some, from what i could make out, absolutely awesome side characters at play and they genuinely looked really interesting. The sets, in most part, looked great (save a few that looked like the budget had blown out so lets just pitch a tent and call it a village). So i’m just at a loss to the darkness.

However all that being said, for all the concerns about Alden Ehrenreich filling Harrison Ford’s shoes as Han Solo, i felt it wasn’t a bad portrayal. Yes there were a few moments i felt it missed the mark, but there were some moments when i felt he nailed it. Donald Glover also did a decent job with Lando, perhaps i’m still a little infatuated with his recent starring in Childish Gambino’s latest music video. Don’t get me wrong there were moments you could really tell they were dragged thru the scene for 15 retakes (yes this actually happened… a lot).

Look, there is a lot going on in this movie. The action scenes are decent, but the dialog sometimes stalled the progress of the movie quite heavily. This was more noticeable for me with my 10 year old son who commented it did get boring a few times.

And that’s possibly the biggest problem with this film. There is not one thing that drags it down, there’s a lot of little things. By the time you get to the end you feel ok with the movie, but not over awed. Maybe I/We have become so used to the fact that Star Wars movies need to be bigger and better than the previous episodes. Maybe this expectation taints our perceptions a little. The box office results for the Last Jedi certainly gave Disney a little shake up, maybe its time to pace ourselves on this journey.

Don’t get me wrong here, I did generally enjoy Solo, but i cant help but think we are starting to Production Line the Star Wars franchise so much that we are starting to see cracks appear.

Rating: M Violence.



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