solo: a star wars story
DIRECTOR: ron howard (apollo 13, a beautiful mind, and the da vinci code)
STARRING: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, and Donald Glover.
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo befriends his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and meets the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of
one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes.
During the problem plagued production of Solo: A Star Wars Story which saw the original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller dismissed as principal photography was coming to an end, rumours started doing the inevitable rounds on the internet that Solo was in deep trouble. After Ron Howard was hired to not only finish the film but also filmed significant reshoots it seemed that the rumours and the speculation was true.
Those rumours couldn’t have been more wrong.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is a joy from start to finish; transporting you back at light speed to when you watched Star Wars: A New Hope for the very first time as a kid; filled with wide eyed awe and wonder.
We find Han in the midst of a dire predicament which leads him to join up with a rag tag crew of smugglers to pull off a heist. And that’s all I’m going to say about the story. It’s a spoiler free review remember?
What I will tell you is that the tale unfolds at a great pace, filled with great action set pieces, chases, and blaster battles. We are transported to breathtaking planets and places, we meet both wondrous and hideous creatures, and we are introduced to some terrific new characters. There’s great laugh out loud moments and a few little winks and nods to the films that have gone before. Every single thing you could possibly want in a Star Wars story. But this film isn’t just for die-hard fans. You don’t need to know anything about the other films to enjoy Solo as it is quite easily a stand-alone film.
Alden Ehrenreich is a delight as Han Solo, completely capturing his swagger, sarcasm, and recklessness. It’s as if Ehrenreich didn’t just become Han Solo, but became a young Harrison Ford himself. But the film makers don’t just throw Ehrenreich in there to perform an imitation of Han, he makes the character his own, aptly helped by the development the writers bring to his character. Emilia Clarke lights up the screen as Qi’ra, a smart, beautiful, yet damaged individual. Donald Glover is brilliant as Lando but we just don’t get to spend enough time with him. Woody Harrelson is on terrific form with a complex character that fits perfectly into the Star Wars galaxy. Thandie Newton and Paul Bettany round off the main cast, but are a little under utilised.
The visuals are spectacular and will blow you away. From snowy mountaintops to dry, desert villages, we are transported far and wide throughout the galaxy. The new species and characters we encounter fill the screen to the very edges so much so that you will definitely have to see it multiple times to appreciate the riches and depth that the film makers have added to the Star Wars world. The set design, costumes, cinematography, and score all contribute to creating the illusion that this film was made in the early 70’s just before A New Hope.
The only criticism I have is that even at nearly two and a half hours long it still seemed too short. We didn’t get enough time with Solo and his crew and I really hope this is not the last we see of Alden Ehrenreich as Han.
Solo: A Star Wars Story will have you smiling from the moment the opening lines appear on the screen and it won’t leave as you drive home pretending you are flying the Millennium Falcon (even if you are a 30 something year old man.)
Solo: A Star Wars Story is a rip roaring ride that will leave you with a smile on your face long after the credits roll. Everything you could possibly want and much, much more.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is available on DVD, Blu-ray, 4K UHD, and digital from all good disc and digital retailers.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is absolutely chock a block with extras. If you're a Jurassic Park/World fan then you just have to get Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom of Blu-ray to truly appreciate all the bonus features it has to offer.
There are Chris Pratt's Jurassic Journals, On Set with Chris and Bryce, exploration of new creates and characters, indepth looks into the various action set pieces, and a feaurette on the return of Ian Malcolm - of course.
By far my favourite featurette was The Kingdom Evolves which had interviews with Spielberg and the director of JW: Fallen Kingdom J A Bayona. This featurette explores the legacy of the previous four films in the franchise and everything that the new film adds to the franchise both in the respect and homage it pays to what has come before and everything new it brings.
Overall some really great features, over an hour in fact. If I had one gripe it would be that instead of having a big, long in depth 'making of' feature, which I prefer, these days they seem to split them up into little bite size chunks. Maybe I'm a bit of an old dinosaur. I know. A terrible pun.
Blu-ray Bonus Features: