Tag Archives: Alden Ehrenreich

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) Blu-Ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Solo: A Star Wars Story Review

Director: Ron Howard
Writers: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan
Stars: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Paul Bettany

Like a lot of folks, I was initially dubious about Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm. Sure, I was ecstatic that the Star Wars saga would indeed continue – especially without George Lucas’ (who lost the plot a long time ago). But announcing spinoffs that would result some kind of Star Wars-related movie every year? The prospect of overkill loomed large. Did we really need character origins or side stories based on a single line of dialogue from the original trilogy?

Then Rogue One was released. We didn’t really need an entire film about how the rebels stole the Death Star plans, but damn, if it wasn’t the first one that actually felt like a war movie. While obviously still part of the Star Wars universe, Rogue One was a gritty, in-your-face film that owed as much to The Dirty Dozen and Where Eagles Dare as the saga which inspired it.

If Rogue One is the classic war film Star Wars universe, then Solo could be considered its classic western. And that’s a great thing. We may not have needed a Han Solo origin story, but in the tradition of the coolest westerns, the film gives a true anti-hero as its main protagonist, a first for the franchise. While no one could ever truly replace Harrison Ford, Alden Ehrenreich is terrific in the role. He sort-of resembles Ford if you squint your eyes, but more importantly, he incorporates just enough of the character’s mannerisms that we believe this is what Han might have been like in his reckless youth. Frankly, I don’t understand much of the criticism that’s been levelled at him in some circles. Wouldn’t a Ford lookalike who can’t act be worse?

In fact, I’m surprised at some of the negativity aimed at the film in general. As much as I revere the Star Wars saga, its massive story-arc has become so massive, sweeping and concerned with its own mythology that we tend to forget the 1977 film was just a simple, old-fashioned space opera with no concrete franchise plans. More than any other sequel or prequel, Solo maintains the same light, playful tone of the original. 

And yeah, a cynic can question the film’s overall necessity. We already know about Han’s legendary Kessel Run, and how he acquired the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) is common knowledge, but it sure is fun watching it all play out. The story touches all the bases, from befriending Chewbacca to the story behind Han’s dice. But Solo isn’t bereft of creativity. In addition to some great new characters, a few nifty story surprises are thrown in. There’s also a brief nod to the maligned prequel trilogy, as well as an amusing moment near the end that could be interpreted as a sly dig at Lucas for altering the one scene that established Solo as a questionable rogue in the first place. 

Like Rogue One, Solo takes a story we’ve known about for years and turns it into a rousing adventure, albeit much lighter in tone. It’s essentially a space western – with touches of classic pirate films – but still fits nicely in the Star Wars universe. Who cares if the outcome is a foregone conclusion?

Advertisements

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) Movie Review By John Gray

Solo

Director: Ron Howard
Writers: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan
Stars: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover

Solo, a movie I neither needed nor wanted. Why demystify one of the most iconic characters in movie history? Does everybody need an origin story? Sufficient to say I walked into my local cinema with managed expectations, not just because I thought the movie was a bad idea, but because of its troubled production.

I needn’t have worried. Like Han swooping in last minute to aid Luke during the trench run, director Ron Howard arrived late to a tension- filled set and saved the day. Solo is an old- fashioned adventure movie in many ways, and that’s part of its charm. On the other hand Howard wisely strips away the main saga’s gravity and bombast. Those complaining Solo didn’t ‘feel like Star Wars’ are missing the point of these standalone films. They’re supposed to play with tone and genre a little. Rogue One was a gritty war film (although it was supposed to be far grittier) and Solo is perfectly pitched as a kind of heist- movie- space- western. 

Of course none of it would have worked without a good cast. When Alden Ehrenreich was cast he faced a Daniel Craig type backlash, and I’ll admit being skeptical myself. One doesn’t simply replace Harrison Ford’s effortless charisma and screen presence. Thankfully Ehrenreich doesn’t try, and gives us a performance rather than an impersonation. There are moments- facial expressions or vocal inflections- when we see and hear Ford, but these moments are wisely sparse, just enough to help us believe we’re really watching a young Han Solo. 

The rest of the cast are just as good. Donald Glover’s Lando almost steals the show. Amelia Clarke brings disarming charm to her part as Han’s first love, Kira. Woody Harrelson is great as world weary thief Beckett, and Paul Bettany manages to bring real menace to his limited role as villain. 

Aside from being immensely fun, its also rather funny, although this is perhaps the greatest weakness here. The humour, like the Falcon, doesn’t always land. What does land for the most part is the emotion. While the film’s twists and turns are hardly unpredictable, you feel for the characters involved. Oh, apart from that one twist that almost made me spit out my popcorn. That, I did not see coming.

Enjoyment rating: 4/5 

Quality rating: 4/5

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) Movie Review By Anna-Maria McAlinney

Solo: A Star Wars Story Review

Director: Ron Howard
Writers: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan
Stars: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover.

Plot: Star Wars side story. We get to see Han Solo as a young man, learning about the empire, becoming a pilot and meeting his frenemy Lando Calrissian.

Review Summary: Pleasantly surprising.  Actually worth going to see.

Review: I was totally prepared to actively dislike this film.  I was actually a little bit disappointed by how enjoyable if I am honest.  The characters are quite relatable and there is a good balance of action, comradery and romance.  I was worried that with a young and attractive cast that there would be an overkill of longing staring and fleeting eye contact but they actually mingled the romance in with the action in an appropriate way.

Negatives:

  • We have a whole wave of new characters introduced and I don’t feel that they were all needed.  I would definitely argue that the wrong ones were given the more screen time.

Positives:

  • They clearly examined the original trilogy source material closely and got a few ideas from it, but they didn’t just replicate the Han we know.  That makes sense because adult Han was clearly the product of some interesting stories and a whole heap of experience so the younger version would be a little more naive .

Generally speaking, I enjoyed the direction that they went with this.  Solid performances from the main cast and thematically spot on for the time period in the franchise.  I am looking forward to seeing how they spring on from this into Boba Fett and Kenobi.

Enjoyment Rating: 4/5

Quality Rating: 4/5