Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo:  A Star Wars Story
Joonas Suotamo, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover and Alden Ehrenreich

Rated: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence.
Reviewed by: Frank  
Release date: May 25, 2018 Released by: Walt Disney Pictures

The Star Wars series will always have a special place in film history.  When these words appear "A long long time ago in a galaxy far far away.," at the beginning of Solo we expect more of the film magic from the past.  We get some but not as much as we expect.  

The story line revolves around the meeting of Chewbacca (Joonas  Suotamo) and Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and the acquisition of the Mellennium Falcon. We follow Solo moving from a part in the Empire's military to his calling as a thief, but this time his stealing from the Empire is a good deed, but Solo only wants the money to pay debts.  

Woody Harrelson is Beckett who teaches Solo new ways to appropriate some of the wealth of the Empire. Emilia Clarke is Qi'ra an interesting character who initially is Solo's lover but over time has become the voice of a segment of the bad guys.  Donald Glover plays Lando  Calrissian who eventually looses the Mellennium Falcon to Solo in a card game called sabacc the game that will win him the floating city he controls in The Empire Strikes Back.  The relationship between Lando and Solo is based on a non-trusting friendship.

Ron Howard who took over the direction part way through the process and something is missing.  We get plenty of action and creative special effects and Howard introduces the Mellennium Falcon in such a manner that it brings back the original emotion of "that piece of junk" from the original 1977 film.  Solo also speaks about making the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, that is one of the obvious mistakes in the first film that is continued here in Solo.  A parsec is an astronomical length equal to 3.26 light-years,  Solo speaks of it as a measure of speed but it's a measure of distance.  

Howard does not use the musical theme at the beginning when it is just what everyone is waiting to hear, it does show up a bit later in the film but it does't  dominate as in past episodes.  Folks remember music more than anything else in a film.  It was obviously missing in many locations where it would have added emotion and excitement to the film. 

The best action scene takes place as the Mellennium Falcon attempts to escape the maelstrom and a tentacle space creature while the black hole like event pulls on the heroic space ship.  The escape is something like a ride in a theme park.  We know it will escape because the hero is on the ship, but the experience is exciting and creatively presented. 

There is danger everywhere and the challenges never end and they each bring creative solutions. I guess we could say, Solo is a tramp, but we love him, and his fuzzy buddy and his space ship.  

Solo is not great, but it is quite good. 

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Gerry Matt Claudette Jennifer Audralee Nina  Avg. 
Solo: A Star Wars Story  B   B-   C+            B   B         B- 

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