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Solo: A Star Wars Story

Note: I believe I’ve seen the Mario Van Peebles version, but I don’t remember it at all, so I won’t be able to make a comparison.

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY is the movie about Han Solo when he was a little younger than in STAR WARS. This is a generalization, but I’m gonna go ahead and say that no one in their right mind wanted to see a movie about young Han Solo. The only exception is George Lucas, who actually had Lawrence Kasdan writing this before he sold everything to Disney. I’m guessing it was his idea of what the fans who hated his prequels wanted to see.

The trouble is that if there was one Star Wars character who would be the MOST difficult to recast, it would definitely be Han Solo. This is a character that’s all about the specific charisma of Harrison Ford. If Kurt Russell or somebody had gotten the part then it might’ve still been a cool character, but it would not be the same. And you can’t re-create that. You can’t reverse engineer it.

So, with that in mind Alden Ehrenreich (the funny cowboy actor from HAIL, CAESAR!) has done as good a job as one could hope in an impossible task. He only looks a little like him and only sounds a little like him, but he gets some of his mannerisms, some of his attitude, some of his charm without ever seeming like he’s doing an impersonation. (If there’s one area in which it’s an uncanny reproduction I’d say it’s in his gun poses, which always look ready for a promotional poster.)

According to my calculations, Ehrenreich is about 7 years younger than Ford was when he was in STAR WARS. So it’s kinda weird because there’s not that huge of a difference between 28 and 35. But oh well, I’m willing to go with it. I knew this wouldn’t hit me like THE LAST JEDI did, and as “A Star Wars Story” it doesn’t need to. Not being an official chapter in an ongoing saga, these side adventures have less weight but also license to just be breezy and fun within this world Lucas created that we enjoy. And at that humble task SOLO is pretty successful.

The story begins on the streets of (and in the literal underground of) Corellia, where young Han is in the middle of a scheme to bust him and his girlfriend Qi’ira (Emilia Clark, from TERMINATOR GENISYS I’m afraid) out of their space-Dickensian existence doing petty crime for a giant caterpillar with the excellent name Lady Proxima and the perfectly alien voice of Linda Hunt (POPEYE, DUNE, KINDERGARTEN COP). There’s smart-assery, high-speed thrills, comic overconfidence and emotion as the two make a run through this populous area where regular people are desperate and gangsters seem to operate with impunity right under the noses of Stormtroopers.

Note: I think there’s an homage to the original Star Tours when Han drives a speeder through a shipyard and workers are trying to get out of the way – it’s a very similar shot at least. (If the nearby spaceport has any Star Tours ships in it or anything I missed it.)

Only Han gets away. Like so many kids trying to find a way to make some money after a hard life, he joins the Empire. He doesn’t get to fly and he sucks at taking orders, especially when he knows they’re full of shit, so he ditches and falls in with a gang of criminals led by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson, NATURAL BORN KILLERS). And the whole time he’s just trying to get enough money to buy a ship and fly back to look for Q’ira, kinda like how Joel Edgerton in JANE GOT A GUN was fighting the civil war just trying to get back home to Natalie Portman.

I was hoping Kasdan (writing with his son Jonathan) would make this kind of like SILVERADO, and fittingly SOLO does have more western tropes than any other Star War. There’s at least one HIGH NOON through-the-legs shot, he calls himself an outlaw, he’s involved in a train heist, there are quick draw shootouts, he makes a friend in a jail cell and they have to escape chained together, there are card games, there’s a rival gang that tries to get in on their scores, he’s a war deserter, and I’m gonna go ahead and consider the Beckett gang wearing military uniforms in a war zone while after a score to be a reference to THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY, even if the battle is much more WWI than Civil War.

The spectacle is well executed and imaginative, with a good amount of unusual vehicles and settings. The worlds build on previous STAR WARSes without feeling like rehashes, and by the time they end up on a pretty standard desert planet you’re ready for a good western style showdown so it doesn’t really matter that we’ve already had two of these places.

Left: Enfys Nest. Right: Rammellzee

It does a good job of that very Star Wars thing of having characters that you just get a little taste of, enough to capture the imagination while retaining mystery. My favorites of this type in SOLO are Lady Proxima and the gang leader Enfys Nest, who wears scary armor sort of reminiscent of Sand People style (and maybe even a little Rammellzee!). You sometimes hear people complaining that there’s not enough of a character like Darth Maul or Boba Fett but I think that’s a complete misunderstanding of this particular storytelling technique. If you got what you’re asking for you wouldn’t like the character as much anymore.

But actually I would be open to arguments that we could use more of Val (Thandie Newton, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2), who makes an impression in her relatively brief screen time as a badass heister with a haircut that reminds me of Huey Newton with his beret on.

Developed or not, Star Warses need a colorful cast of side characters. Here there’s a short, four-armed alien in the gang called Rio, voiced by Jon Favreau. I like his design, but I don’t like how his dialogue references mostly previously established Star Wars things like mynocks and that he knows what Wookiees are or that he pronounces it woo-key as in John-Woo-key, but I especially don’t like that he just sounds like a disembodied cartoon character voice, unlike so many of the other aliens and droids. On the other hand I don’t so much like the design of the rebellious droid L3 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Broadchurch), but she has some funny dialogue.

Of course we also have Han’s first encounters with returning-but-recast beloved sidekicks Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo, THE LAST JEDI) and Lando (Donald Glover, MAGIC MIKE XXL). They both have several fun scenes but probly don’t fulfill the maximum potential of their characters. I like that Chewie acts like a vicious monster before he trusts Han, and seeing them develop a bond that’s more of a mutual respect than the “life debt” we’ve always been told it was. Some of his best scenes are arguably hampered by his fur being wet. It’s like when you see a dog after a bath and they’re much skinnier than you realized and it just looks weird.

Do you guys think it would be cool if Chewie kept fondling a treasured locket throughout the movie and finally Han asks him about it and he shows him and it’s a photo of Yoda riding on his back from that scene in REVENGE OF THE SITH

I agree with the current conventional wisdom that Glover is something of a genius – his show Atlanta is by far my favorite thing on TV – but in my opinion Lando is not his best work. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy his arrogance and cape collection and occasional bickering with Han, but it comes off as more of an imitation and joke than the natural smoothness of Billy Dee Williams or of Glover at his best.

The prequely shit is mostly reasonable. Maybe I’m dumb that I always thought the Kessel Run was a race, but I like that it’s not what I expected. It doesn’t overexplain Han, because we still know nothing about his family and now know that they’re not even named Solo because he got a new last name just like Luke Skywalker did. (Not the Jedi from Tatooine – the rapper from 2 Live Crew.) So in that sense we know less than before. Good.

The only thing that did bother me a little as far as it being a prequel is the possibility that what we’re seeing here is supposed to be the “What you pulled” that Lando refers to when he first sees Han in EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, in which case their relationship goes by too fast. They don’t have time to be Butch and Sundance or Riggs and Murtaugh in this, and I’d I prefer to think they had a bunch of shenanigans and debauchery together before it went south. Similarly, where Han and Chewie are headed in the end could imply that it’s not very long before STAR WARS happens and if so he would really only be a beginning smuggler and he and Chewie wouldn’t be old friends, they’d be just getting to know each other. But there’s reason to believe there are still some years between the movies (evidence of that interpretation in the spoilery nerd shit section below).

Oh yeah, and I didn’t really like that (SMALL SPOILER) Beckett wears Lando’s disguise from Jabba’s Palace. Didn’t that seem specific to the people who hung out with Jabba? But I guess it makes sense that that’s Lando’s go-to disguise that he keeps in his wardrobe. I noticed that he had sort of the space equivalent of a Hawaiian shirt in there, and then he wears it at the end. Is this the first patterned fabric in Star Wars, other than stripes and shit?

I have to wonder if the comical Lando is a remnant of original directors Chris Miller & Phil Lord (21 JUMP STREET, THE LEGO® MOVIE), who were fired after several months of filming, reportedly because Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy and the senior Kasdan didn’t like the comedic tone and off-script dialogue they were coming up with. It is genuinely weird that the new Lucasfilm has so far replaced directors on as many films as they’ve completed (BOBA FETT, ROGUE ONE, SOLO and EPISODE IX all had replacement directors). They obviously need to find a more efficient way of judging who’s on the same page with them.

In this case they went to an old friend, Ron Howard, who I have sometimes considered to be a hack and a square. That would be a good explanation for why he could come in on short notice and reshoot approximatedly 70% of an almost complete movie using the already-prepared script and designs. That’s the negative way of looking at it. But I actually always looked at it in the positive way: maybe some seasoned directors with old school storytelling chops can still do the best Star Wars, or are more compatible with a Kasdan space western script. This is the director of WILLOW, he collaborated closely with the actual Lucas, learned lessons from him, made the most STAR WARSy non STAR WARS film. (Bonus points for working with Lucas as an actor.) And I gotta give him credit for APOLLO 13 and RUSH – he can be a good director. (I haven’t seen his western THE MISSING, but have heard good things.)

So here we have the child actor turned director of GRAND THEFT AUTO opening his movie with the young version of his AMERICAN GRAFFITI/MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI co-star committing grand theft speeder in a fantasy world as detailed as the one in WILLOW. I particularly thought of that movie in the great early sequences of underworld thugs chasing Han with attack-dog-like monsters. I wouldn’t try to justify how things went down, but I do think Howard did well, and I don’t think I would’ve preferred the comedy version.

Lucas famously connected his stories using the characters of R2D2 and C3PO, and this is the first theatrical Star Wars that doesn’t do that. So – I mean this in a positive way – it feels kind of like a much better version of an EWOK ADVENTURE. A fun little tale on the side, nothing big. You know, a Star Wars story. Their first attempt at that, ROGUE ONE, definitely did more new things with the world stylistically and tonally, but I find SOLO much more satisfying – it has the captivating leads, pacing and coherence that one lacked. Also, I’ll just admit it, I can admire a STAR WARS where everybody fucking dies, but maybe I prefer one where we get to smile at the end (and through most of it).

I can’t pretend this isn’t a part of the watering down and spreading thin of STAR WARS. I not only preferred this series as the idiosyncratic vision of Lucas, but as a genuinely special theatrical event that involved years of anticipation and technological advancement. Unless they can make them all as good as THE LAST JEDI I think having a new one every year is gonna get old fast. But for now I’m enjoying them.

APPENDIX A: SPOILERY NERD SHIT – READ AFTER MOVIE ONLY

Matt Lynch told me there was a cameo that he thought was really stupid but that I would like it. I was really, really hoping it would be Chewbacca’s family from the notorious 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special. It seemed possible. I do think they have an intentional nod to the possibility of them existing when Han is not sure whether to translate the people Chewie is searching for as his “tribe” or his “family.”

But of course Matt was referring to the appearance by Maul, formerly Darth Maul, now with robot legs. I do my research so I know his survival was already established in the Clone Wars cartoon series (and here Ray Park [ACCIDENT MAN] is dubbed with the cartoon’s Sam Witwer instead of PHANTOM MENACE‘s Peter Serafinowicz). The Maul cameo is my evidence that there’s still a big gap between SOLO and STAR WARS. He’s the leader of this criminal syndicate, which according to the timeline of the cartoons (considered Gospel to corporate canonists) has to be at least a few years before his appearance on Star Wars: Rebels, which takes place when Leia and Luke are still youths.

When Han did not win the Millennium Falcon in the sabaac game I thought that was a nice trick, that they were making us think “yeah, okay, this is the famously referred to incident” and then nope, still leave it to our imagination. But of course they were just saving that for the end. I gave them too much credit.

My friend joked that she wanted them to explain the origin of Han’s vest, and I realized it could’ve been when Chewie ripped that guy’s arms off and Han had been planning to steal his uniform. It was right there! (Shout out to Brian Collins, who had the same thought.)

I figured they would do something like that scene where Han just shoots Beckett in the middle of his speech. They gotta tip their hat to all the people who are so hung up on Han shooting Greedo in cold blood (as most interpreted the original theatrical cut) rather than in self defense (as Lucas made clear in the re-worked Special Edition). But even if I predicted it it’s a good character moment and a good laugh. And now if we stick with Lucas’s version (since it’s the only way STAR WARS is officially available) maybe it could be interpreted as a sign of Han’s softening toward his destiny as “the good guy” Qi’ra told him he was that he waits for Greedo to make a move rather than straight up murdering a peer and colleague who’s just doing his job in an act of petty but crowd-pleasing cowardice and moral failure.

APPENDIX B: SPOILERY SUBTEXT SHIT – MY INTERPRETATION OF THE SECRET MORAL OF SOLO

I’ve been talking about this like it’s an all-surface-level movie, but I do have a subtextual reading. I’m not sure this is intended by the Kasdans, but I like it either way. Okay, so we have all run into these people, more on the internet than in real life, who talk about “SJWs” and shit, who are upset that Disney’s Star Wars movies have done a good job of having more and better roles for women and for black and Asian actors, and that THE LAST JEDI ended on a note reminding them that the series has always been about the downtrodden, the orphan farm boys and slaves and refugees and indigenous tribes who rise up against oppression and find adventure and friendship and celebrate the love. Which they’re against.

Well, I think SOLO can be read as a friendly invite to some of the people who feel a certain way about Star Wars and real life. It all hinges on SPOILER a last act plot twist so seriously, don’t read this before the movie.

I haven’t read other reviews yet, so I don’t know if everybody else already sees it this way, but I’m talking about Enfys Nest and her gang of Cloud Riders that Beckett calls “marauders” who are out to steal all their scores out from under them. Eventually of course they are revealed to actually be a cell of early rebels, formerly led by Val and now by her daughter. The diversity of the group is emphasized, with their mixed race leader and the others said to be from all different worlds brutalized by Crimson Dawn and the Empire.

They’re not marauders. They’re not trying to steal what’s yours. You’re just both trying to get the same thing, and they have a good reason for it. They are rising up against the criminals and the government who are hurting people and stealing the resources that belong to everyone.

Enfys sees that Han is a good person and invites him in. She says they are “allies.” You see yourself as a scoundrel outlaw, you think it’s cool to be selfish, you had a hard life and you think you lifted yourself up by your bootstraps. Yeah, no shit, so did they! You could be one of them! Do you really want to be out here living the philosophy of the very asshole who screwed you over and then tried to give you a speech about why it was justified? Do you really want to be Woody Harrelson dying in the desert telling yourself “Yep, can’t trust anybody, I was right, I sure told ’em”? Or do you want to be the good guy that Qi’ra says you are and do what you know is right (and also have cool friends and go on adventures and make it to that Ewok celebration)?

These people think Star Wars is telling them “fuck you, whitey,” but it’s really saying, “Come on dude, get in!”

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Friday, May 25th, 2018 at 11:38 pm and is filed under Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

110 Responses to “Solo: A Star Wars Story”

  1. I was really impressed by this. Loved the way that when Solo pushed the Falcon he absolutely trashed it. Despite YouTube telling me this would be an abomination and that I should boycott it because not only had George Lucas ruined these people’s childhoods, Disney has also ruined their grownup lives too.

  2. Interesting take on Han getting his name. I found that to be the most egregious explaining things that don’t need to be explained, but maybe it does actually create a mystery where there wasn’t one.

  3. I loved this movie! Right now, the morning after, it’s up there with EMPIRE in my book. Maybe because, intended or not, I got an early 80’s ICE PIRATES, SPACE HUNTER, Mad Max feeling from a lot of the scenes. The last half an hour is pure THUNDERDOME. They have a very good villain in Paul Bettany and action scenes where you actually feel that people can die. Smart thing too to have actors from the biggest TV series around – WESTWORLD, GAME OF THRONES and CHEERS – making up the cast. And even if Alden looks more like a young Dennis Quaid than a young Harrison Ford he’s cool enough to pull the role off.

  4. Don’t get me wrong, Fred. I thought it was a silly idea. But I like that it does turn him into sort of a Man With No Name.

    P.S. I already saw an article speculating that Enfys Nest could be Rey’s mother, which pissed me off.

  5. BIG SPOILER QUESTION FOR THOSE WHO HAVE SEEN IT. Sorry, I’m sort of fixated on the fairly small character of Enfys Nest. In my review I referred to her as Val’s daughter. I felt this was communicated through Beckett’s look of recognition when she took the mask off and her bringing up taking over the mask from her mother. If he didn’t already know who her mother was this would be a non sequitur, wouldn’t it? I took it to mean that Val was the notorious Enfys Nest except when she was with Beckett doing heists that these so-called marauders miraculously always found out about. And that’s why she was willing to die for the cause of stealing. I admired the subtlety of how they got that across without ever stating it.

    Except reading various articles and theories about the character nobody else seems to have seen it that way. Was I reading too much into it?

  6. Clint Howard’s cameo got a full on cheer when I saw this in the theater.

    A later cameo/plot twist surprisingly didn’t….because I think everyone’s jaw hit the fucking floor.

    Great job all around. I’ve liked all the Disney Star Wars so far…but this one was above and beyond.

  7. Darth Irritable

    May 26th, 2018 at 5:17 am

    It was good but I preferred rogue one actually. I didn’t like the color palette so much though. I get that it was meant to be dark and oppressive color filters, but it felt more Payback than Star Wars.

    At this point, Darth maul must be pretty ancient, so maybe he has a robot walking frame that he kept off camera.

    I agree with your read on Enfys Nest. That relationship was definitely implied. No way is she Rey’s mother though unless she conceived Rey in her fifties or sixties.

    Finally I didn’t notice the invitation to inclusiveness you refer to, but I see where you’re coming from, and I like it.

  8. Afraid I have to agree with popular consensus that Enfys Nest is not Val’s daughter. And I was looking for that, cause I was ready to hate it but I just don’t see the evidence. I did really like this movie, which was nice after the abomination of Rogue One.

  9. Yay to the review, boo to the moralizing about Han shooting first. That it’s a scoundrel-y thing to do is obviously the point, and the canon alternative (that Greedo missed him from two feet away, despite having a gun trained on him the entire conversation and Han sitting still, and that Han would foolishly just sit there and hope that happens before retaliating) is hilariously stupid. And either way it’s an act of self-defense because before a shot is fired (no matter who shot first) Greedo declares that he’s going to kill him! And that he’s been looking forward to killing him for a long time! Some “peer and colleague who’s just doing his job.”

    That was very nerd-ragey, and I don’t even think Vern truly believes that Han shooting first was “an act of petty cowardice and moral failure” — if he does, I would argue it’s because he misremembers the details of the scene, and only remembers it through the prism of anti-Lucas advocates’ arguments against it. I get that it’s a jokey stance aimed at provoking reactions like this one from those people (though I’m not anti-Lucas — I don’t like his changes to the Greedo scene, but otherwise my views on him and his work are in line with and have been heavily influenced by Vern’s own) so I know I took the bait and I’m sorry.

  10. It’s worse than you remember it, JTS. Han doesn’t just sit there and wait for Greedo to fire in the Special Edition: He sort of hops a bit to the side in his butt to dodge the shot without actually moving his body in a way that would allow him to dodge, almost as if he’d been digitally carved out of the original footage and placed on a clear slide that an animator bounced around the scene like a finger puppet.

    Y’all know me. I ride or die with Lucas. But the Han/Greedo revamp is the one place I think his doodling in the margins actively hurt the finished product. Han is lesser for having let Greedo get that shot off.

    Also, Greedo had that shit coming. He let it get personal. How you gonna sit down and tell a man you’re gonna kill him and then sit there and talk about it some more? I think Marco from DIE HARD had some advice about that.

  11. I haven’t seen this, and I probably won’t until it hits DVD. I recently rewatched Rogue One, and about halfway through it, I realized that the movie not only wasn’t as good as I remembered, but that it actually kind of sucks. The first two-thirds of that film is a mess, and it doesn’t surprise me that there were problems behind the scenes. The movie stumbles froms scene to scene, and the big speech by Jyn Erso is unearned and downright embarassing. Nerds on the internet have been getting into a rage over midichlorians for years, but they should really turn their ire against that terrible speech. Also, the CGI Tarkin was even worse than I remembered. I think the undeniably well done climax made me forget how bad that movie is. So, yeah, I’m still a Star Wars nerd, and I don’t mind seeing other creatives play in George Lucas’s sandbox, but I’m starting to lose patients with these A Star Wars Stories.

  12. Thank you for the reminder Majestyk, I went back and looked and of course you’re right, in that split second Han’s head was digitally edited to unnaturally move a little. I don’t know if it makes it better or worse that the digitally-inserted Greedo shot wouldn’t have even hit where his head originally was, so the head-moving edit wasn’t necessary.

  13. Also I hadn’t seen Vern’s tweets about this very matter before my last post. Now that I have, it looks like he’s serious about his interpretation that Han shooting first would be a “cowardly murder” (though I get that it’s still a joke in the sense that it’s such a low-stakes and obviously silly thing to argue about in the first place).

    Vern — you’re off on this one, man. Your instinct to take the opposite view of the angry whiney anti-Lucas contingent is right and noble nine out of 10 times, but this would be a one of 10 example. Greedo announced he was going to kill Han, and that he had been looking forward to it, and we know he was serious because in Lucas’ preferred “clear” version, that’s exactly what he tries to do right then and there. Han shooting first is not petty or cowardly and you wouldn’t hold the majority of your favorite characters to those moral standards.

  14. SPOILERS HERE LOOK AWAY

    Vern, I really like the idea that Nest is Val’s daughter. I thought the way that reveal was framed was really odd, in that the build-up to taking her mask off really suggested it’d be someone we’d recognise. I was pretty confused by that build up as I was sat there watching, as I had no idea who it could be on account of how basically the only woman in the prequel era was Natalie Portman, who is long dead by then. When the mask came off and it was someone new I thought maybe it’d be Val and Beckett’s daughter, but then assumed otherwise cos Beckett didn’t really seem to pay her that much attention.

    I really liked this movie, seemed to have responded to it more than most. I think we might also be at a sink or swim moment in terms of the spreading-thin of Star Wars. Over here in the UK, I’ve seen it twice now and both times the auditorium has been less than full, and the second time I went – prime time on a Thursday – the room was almost empty. Would not be surprised if the film takes less than 100mil opening weekend in the States as well. That’d represent a potentially very large loss for Disney, not least as I’ve heard that the reshoots pushed the budget above 300 mil. Tepid opening, no legs, crowded release schedule is a nightmare situation, and it looks like that’s what Disney are getting.

    So I think what the relative failure (I’m treating it as a given now) of Solo proves that the SW name doesn’t necessarily carry a movie to success in the way Marvel’s brand now seems to. I can’t see them cancelling the Obi Wan or Boba Fett films, especially as they’ve secured real talent there (Daldrey is a bit square for me but a wandering samurai movie victory lap for McGregor feels like a home run and easy sell in the way Solo wasn’t), but I wouldn’t put money on a Solo 2. It does seem to have gone down well with the fans on the whole though, which has a value to Disney after TLJ soured things for so many people (I’m not one of them, thought it was near perfect). Really though, after Fett and Obi Wan I don’t see how many more spin-offs they’d be able to manage, I think that’d be about it.

    It does make me doubt the future of either one of the new trilogies they’ve announced though. B&W and Johnson have a big job ahead of them conjuring up Star Wars series’ that lie totally outside the Skywalker saga (my guess’d be B&W would go for a big-scale historical epic old jedi order thing, Johnson’d find a more character-driven, less aristocratic take) . I’m sure it can be done, but it’d be a hell of a tough ask and I don’t envy them at all. The situation now makes it seem like if people aren’t convinced they need an entry they just won’t show up.

    Part of why I’m hoping Johnson’s take makes it to screen is just because sacking him at this point would feel like a scalp for all the awful nerds who have been giving him shit relentlessly every day for the last six months (seriously, check out the replies to almost any of his tweets. I saw one where he joked about netflix’s autoplay feature being irritating and multiple people told him that netflix deserved to be ruined for him, on account of how he ruined Star Wars).

    Also the Maul cameo is hilariously rubbish.

  15. grimgrinningchris

    May 26th, 2018 at 8:51 am

    I have lots of thoughts on this movie, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that there are people that think Rogue One sucks. I personally think Empire, Rogue One and TLJ all stand together as the best of the series… and Rogue One is the only SW movie that actually made me cry… although the “In loving memory of our princess…: thing in the credits of TLJ did get me.

    One thing to start off with though. While I agree with Vern that L3 got “some funny lines”, I think it goes much further than that. This is another totally show-stealing new droid and easily my favorite new character in the movie. Also, I loved her design (familiar, but…not… and clunkier and more awkward and less sleek than K2 or Threepio) and obviously the fact that she’s the first “female” droid lead.

  16. grimgrinningchris

    May 26th, 2018 at 8:55 am

    Also, it can’t be overstated how much I wish these knobs with the “issues” with the diversity in the Disney SWs would just go the fuck away. They don’t “get it”, they are not gonna “get with it” and they never will. And they’ve turned every single SW messageboard and talkback that I’ve encountered in recent years into a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Wasn’t it some of that tripe that got AmazingLarry banned?

    It reminds me of a (now passed on) friend of mine. The most devoted Star Trek fan that I’ve ever known- yet the most casually racist person I’ve ever still managed to stomach an unlikely friendship with. Like… what? How does that work?

  17. Vern, I didn’t think that about Val at all. My first thought was that Mother Enfys died in the train attack, and that her daughter took over from there. I may be wrong, but didn’t the voice and height change during the movie?

  18. What was Marco’s advice in DIE HARD? I was thinking of The Ugly’s advice: “If you’re gonna shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.”

  19. “If you have a chance to kill someone, don’t hesitate.”

  20. Sorry JTS, I was just trying to be funny. I hate many of the special edition changes but I never related to how much people fixate on that one because to me it seems completely unclear what happens in the original version. But I’m not against Han shooting first. Didn’t mean to be taken seriously with that part.

    #SnootlesSangFirst

  21. It’s more that Greedo shooting first, coupled with the stiffest, jerkiest digital tinkering of all time, doesn’t even make it look like that’s what actually happened. Just let it go and leave the 1977 footage alone. If it’s a tad unclear, so be it. Let it be open to interpretation, as opposed to “that is a terrible effect so that’s clearly not the way it actually happened.”

  22. Ah, damn, my bad for taking it seriously and making you explain the joke. I did start off by assuming it was a joking stance meant to playfully antagonize people (like me) who would take that issue seriously (see above). Since you’re more of an ardent Lucas advocate than most, though, I talked myself into believing you were legitimately on his side on this one too — he says Han shooting first would have made him a “cold-blooded killer,” and says that he never intended him to, even though all other accounts indicate that’s not true and Greedo getting a shot off was a wholly retroactive invention.

  23. grimgrinningchris

    May 26th, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    The whole Greedo scene is ridiculous now… but the addition of the Jabba scene is even worse. The CGI is so so so dicey, but the big problem is that it is totally fucking redundant- there are beat for beat words in the dialogue in that scene that repeat dialogue with Greedo. It is obvious that when Lucas (originally) couldn’t figure out how to do Jabba, that the script for that scene was rewritten into/as part of the Greedo scene to get that storypoint/exposition out… As it is now, Han basically has the same conversation twice.

    But yeah Vern… of all the SE changes, the changing out of Jabba’s band (and their song) is the most egregious. Followed closely by the switching out of “Nub Nub” at the Ewok celebration.

  24. grimgrinningchris

    May 26th, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Did anyone catch the seeming BTTF reference?

    Talk of a street racer named “Needles”?

    That had to be intentional, right?

  25. grimgrinningchris

    May 26th, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Ahhh… looks like The Nerdist caught it.

    So my arch-nemeses, the Red Hot Chili Peppers already got their greasy, shirtless mooky mits into BTTF and Space Mountain (thankfully THAT has since been rectified) and now Star Wars. Ugh.

  26. This is a rare case of me seeing a movie before Vern reviews it. And that’s only because I saw it as part of a work function.

    Anyway, it was pretty good I guess but for some reason just really did not draw me into it. It was just…there. I mean, I’m not a massive Star Wars fan but I loved Rogue One. I really wish Lord and Miller had finished it – I think it would have been a much better movie. Why the hell would you hire those and then fire them for making it too funny? That’s basically the whole reason to hire them in the first place!

    Also, I thought we had a really bad screen because I could barely see anything but have seen a couple of reviews complaining about the colour. Maybe it was a bit of both but it was really annoying especially compared to something like Rogue One. Did I mention that I loved that one?

  27. HALLSY -Yeah, I was starting to question whether I was going blind in the first ten minutes of the movie, but other people I talked to experienced the same thing. Maybe it’s a 3D issue with this film.

    Anyway, I thought the opening scene with the giant puppet caterpillar fascist lady was really promising (and perhaps indicative of the faster, looser, weirder movie Lord and Miller intended to make.) I liked some things about SOLO, but mostly found it a pretty flatline experience.

  28. GrimgrinningChris, I noticed the scene redundancies back in 1997. “So they put this scene back in, only to go over the same information down to Han’s line ‘Even I get boarded sometimes?’”

    Coupled with the fact that it was actually the first time I’d seen Star Wars. I’d seen the sequels but somehow never got around to the first (they only played the sequels on HBO.) so I didn’t find out that those things weren’t always there until much later.

    I mean I could tell something looked wrong in the Greedo scene but didn’t know they were physically changing the setup. And I knew jabba was never there before but I sorta pieced Star Wars back together myself later.

  29. Maybe it’s just from having read the “Silverado” post below, but I just wondered, why did they never seem to consider having Lawrence Kasdan take over filming after firing Lord and Miller? I know he has kind of been in director jail after “Dreamcatcher,” but he did only direct some pretty iconic films back in the day. I mean if Peyton Reed, whose last movie had been 2008’s “Yes Man,” could take over “Ant-Man” from Edgar Wright and do a pretty serviceable job at least from had already been done in pre-production, why not let Kasdan finally get a director credit considering his involvement in the “Star Wars” universe goes back nearly 40 years?

    And yes it is interesting that we are nearing the 30th anniversary of Ron Howard’s first Lucasfilms gig with “Willow,” and that if you watch “Willow” now it definitely provides a glimpse at some of the sensibilities of George Lucas that a lot of people were going to hate in the prequels a decade later.

  30. Gonna second Hallsy- the 3d Imax screening i saw, the whole film seemed dark and underlit. Like a bulb burnt out in the projector.

    I enjoyed this, but didn’t love it. Harrelson, Glover and Emilia Clarke were all great. The dude playing Han lacked the charisma required to pull it off.

    Not the disaster i assumed it would be, but still not that good either.

  31. RE Kasdan not taking over, I think it is the case that union regs limit who can take over as director in these sorts of situations, and Kasdan wouldn’t have been able to make a sideways sort of move like that for those sorts of reasons. I think if moves like that were acceptable we’d see these sorts of bootings a lot more.

  32. Good point Steven, that’s probably why Kurt Russell had to sort of shadow direct “Tombstone” behind Cosmatos and never get a credit even though it seems to be accepted now that he was basically pulling the strings.

  33. grimgrinningchris

    May 26th, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Ehrehreich lacked charisma??? I don’t see that at all- charisma is popping off that kid like chicken pox.

    He also has the single best scene in HAIL CAESAR (a movie full of great scenes from far more seasoned actors, even if the whole doesn’t add up to the sum of its parts). Many a times I have bust out laughing randomly just thinking about his “would that it were…” scene with Fiennes. That shit is fucking GOLD!

  34. grimgrinningchris

    May 26th, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    Uh oh… I just spent about 10 minutes scrolling through an AICN talkback about this movie. And now I am just sad.

  35. SPOILERS. Okay, I actually saw it again already, and I was imagining things with that Val-being-Enfys-Nest’s-mother idea. I can see why the discussion of her mother led me there but it doesn’t fit the way I thought it did (for example Val seemed to be upset when they showed up at the train heist, it doesn’t fit that she could’ve tipped them off). So I apologize if I accidentally made up a fan theory.

  36. I haven’t had a problem with darkness other than the first time I was annoyed by all the blue at the beginning, but once he throws the rock I could understand why they did it.

    I don’t remember who Needles is in BTTF, but that was my favorite line in SOLO.

    This time I caught the guy from ROGUE ONE that’s in the Cloud Riders. That guy gets around.

  37. grimgrinningchris

    May 27th, 2018 at 4:48 am

    Vern-

    Needles was Flea’s character in BTTF 2 and 3. In 3 he gets Future Marty fired for goading him into some scheme by calling him “chicken” over video chat.

    It’s later revealed and then shown in 3 that it was Needles that had goaded Marty into the street race (also by calling him “chicken”) that he wrecked in, causing him to injure his hands and waylay his rock star ambitions since he could no longer play guitar… leading to 2015 (heh) Marty being a loser.

  38. grimgrinningchris

    May 27th, 2018 at 4:49 am

    Ugh. The second sentence should start with “In 2…” not, “In 3…”

  39. Grim, the reason for the R1 dislike is that it is a frankensteined script with no interesting characters and seemingly only exists to fill in a New Hope “plot hole”—the very idea that anyone thought it needed to be explained is in and of itself infuriating and symbolic of everything wrong with nerd culture. It is a pointless, joyless dirge of a movie and any love for it by fans I can only make sense of by assuming it’s a result of getting original trilogy aesthetics right.

  40. grimgrinningchris

    May 27th, 2018 at 7:06 am

    Chuck,

    I completely disagree.

    I think the “plot hole” issue was simply a byproduct of telling the story of the mission for the plans themselves. Like “hey, we are already doing a thing, why don’t we do this other thing in the process”

    And the lack of interesting characters? I’ll concede that Cassian is kind of a non-starter and that Mads Mikkelson is wasted as much more than a screen presence… but Jyn Erso is a great character and presented completely differently than any female we’d seen in the movies to that point.
    Saw Gerrera is underused, but Chirrut and Baze are both FANTASTIC characters and Ben Mendelsohn’s Krennic is stellar and really the first time we’ve seen an Imperial officer/diplomat take center stage as the lead antagonist- which I love.

    To say nothing of K2 being another scene stealing new droid, Bodhi being a fun nutjob character and well staged (maybe not Spielbergian, but in comparison to nu-action) set pieces…

    And although it is darker, I don’t find it joyless at all. Every death is earned and felt and sad- but they all come with the promise of “hope” in what their deaths have helped accomplish.

    Yeah, I totally disagree.

  41. This is the only time I have ever heard anyone make the case that Jyn Erso is a great character and I cannot take that away from you. Where I see a bland, lifeless cypher, you see greatness and I will not even try to take that joy from you.

    Donnie Yen is a great actor and presence…. shame they didn’t give him anything to do. Who is Baze? Gotta admit, this movie has mostly slid off my brain, its so bad and forgettable.

  42. grimgrinningchris

    May 27th, 2018 at 7:44 am

    Baze is Wen Jaing’s character… Donnie Yen’s (who was given about 100x more to do than I expected after TFA’s wasting of the Raid guys) homeboy.

  43. grimgrinningchris

    May 27th, 2018 at 8:19 am

    And so a girl who as a child sees her mother murdered and her father captured by the Empire that goes into hiding, is then taken in, raised and trained and then seemingly abandoned by rebel fighters- who then has no reason to trust either side and cultivates a life of crime and fraud under an assumed name under everyone’s radar- but is then driven to action by the memory of and wishes of her father- action that even the Alliance begins by forbidding- and keeps moving forward forward forward with singular purpose despite knowing the inevitability of her own death on her mission- underlined by everyone she has grown to even tenuously trust getting picked off around her left and right- and finally succeeds in the mission that yes, results in her own death, but more importantly directly sets off a chain of events that not only results in the reemergence of the Jedi, but also in the Rebel Alliance’s victory over the Empire and the redemption of Anakin Skywalker… is a cypher?

    Okay then…

  44. There’s a lot I can nitpick about Rogue One, but I think my central problem is that it should have been an ensemble war film, but instead tries to have Erso carry the film when she’s just not that interesting. She’s just another character with daddy issues (issues that aren’t even all that well explored). This means that all the other characters are sidelined, and we’re not really given much of a reason to care for them or really an understanding of their relationship to one another.

    There are some interesting ideas that could have been expanded on to create tension in the film, like the idea of how far the Rebellion should go to achieve its goals. I like the fact that they introduced this idea, but they did absolutely jack with it. Gerrera is unceremoniously killed off, which is an idiotic decision when there could have been plenty of drama built around his continued presence. (Also, the scenes with Gerrera and Jyn’s dad are really similar. Jyn goes to a planet to get information, meets her father/father figure, gets the info, and then the father/father figure dies.)

    It doesn’t help that I also don’t think Felicity Jones is all that good of an actress. She’s one of those British actors, like Eddie Redmayne, that convinces us Americans that they’re really talented by dint of their accent. But it’s not really her fault that she was written a sketchy character who’s all over the place, who radically goes from being a cynic to being seemingly one of a handful of the Rebellion who’s ready to die for the cause because reasons.

    That’s not to say that there aren’t some really good moments and parts of Rogue One. Like I said, the third act is really great. I actually think it’s so good that it acted like one of those Men in Black memory erasers that made most of the audience forget about the mediocre first two-thirds of the movie.

  45. I don’t think having an interesting biography is the same thing as having a compelling personality. I know my opinion on these new Star Warses is worth exactly squat round these parts, but I did see ROGUE ONE and didn’t hate it, but I have no real recollection of anything that character did or said. She was just the character everyone else explained the plot to for the audience’s benefit, and she needed to have that complicated backstory in order for her to be the one who was in the places at the right times to extract that information. The movie is perfectly fine for what it is, which is to say a completely superfluous filigree scribbled into the background of an epic painting, but I can’t say any of these characters, including Whatsherface The Exposition Whisperer, particularly made an impression. You could probably show me a headshot of any vaguely Latin-looking actor and told me he was the male lead and I’d have to take your word for it. It’s this overwhelming feeling of anonymity, like anybody could have made this movie and anybody could have been in it and nothing would have changed, that finally made me give up on STAR WARS. It seemed that people were more interested in the art direction of STAR WARS than the actual direction, which is fitting for a fanbase that for at least 20 years has been working overtime to attach more significance to the work of the original concept artist than, you know, the guy who wrote and conceived of and directed the movie.

  46. grimgrinningchris

    May 27th, 2018 at 8:58 am

    And I don’t think someone has to ooze charisma Han Solo or Poe Dameron style to be a great character either. Truth be told, Luke Skywalker is kind of a drip. Strike that, until he’s an old man, Luke is TOTALLY a drip… He is still a great character because despite that, he is still emotionally complex and has a compelling story.

  47. I’m not talking about charisma. I’m talking about personality. Luke might be a drip, but he’s a distinctive drip. You feel like you know him. His whininess in the first film might be annoying, but it’s an actual goddamn character trait. When he evolves over the course of the trilogy, those changes track. That’s why so many people got upset about his portrayal in TLJ: They felt they knew him well enough to know when he was acting off. (I’m not saying they’re right. I have no opinion on this matter.) I think the lead character in R1, on the other hand, was vague enough a that she could fulfill all of those plot functions without contradicting herself, because there wasn’t much self to contradict. She’s just The One Stuff Happens To. It takes more than that to create a memorable character.

    Poe Dameron oozes charisma? Maybe he just explodes off the fuckin’ screen in TLJ but all I know about that guy from TFA is he used to own a jacket and could have been played by anybody.

  48. grimgrinningchris

    May 27th, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Wow, really?

    Every SW-fan human I know (casual or die-hard) that digs guys is in love with Poe Dameron- and it’s not just cuz Oscar Isaacs is a good looking dude- cuz they’re not getting all hot and bothered by him in like Machina… it’s cuz Poe Dameron is an enormously charismatic character.

    If you don’t see it though, then you don’t… Can we add “charismatic” to Vern’s list of things that are too subjective to quantify along with “scary” and “funny”?

  49. Funny you mentioned SOLO. They’ve been giving that one on TV a lot lately. I guess they’re trying to fool people into tuning in then when they see Mario Van Peebles recharging like a battery in South America they go WTF

  50. The problem with Rogue One is that nothing is earned and there is no real reason for anybody to give a shit.

  51. grimgrinningchris

    May 28th, 2018 at 5:26 am

    That’s a little vague, Sternshein. Especially if that’s your take on “the problem”.

    That’s basically no different than saying “The problem with Rogue One is that it sucks and I don’t like it”.

  52. SOLO is a perfectly ok movie. Solid. Never bad, never great. I liked it more than Rogue One.

    The thing that surprised me the most was the BREAKNECK PACE. Things progress very, very quickly and it felt like the movie never went more than 5 minutes without an action scene. I was also pleasantly surprised at how practical the movie looked. There appeared to be actual sets and real locations and people in creature makeup! This is a big budget tentpole movie, so I was expecting at least a few glaringly bad blue screen shots or bad ‘character turns into cg and fights a cg character’ shots, but there really weren’t any. Overall I liked the color palette and the way the movie was shot, but I can see how the experience could be DESTROYED by 3D. Scenes like the Lady Proxima intro, Han & Chewie’s fight, and the whole Kesel Run are probably dark, blurry horror shows.

    Alden Whoever embodies the whole ‘perfectly ok’ feel of the movie by being a decent actor who plays Young Han as a pleasant nice guy. Harrison Ford’s ‘bit of prick’ edge never shows up. On the other hand, Donald Glover channels Billy Dee a lot more than I thought he would. Emilia Clarke is better in this than she was in TERMINATOR: GENYSIS, but that’s a super-low bar.
    I liked the ENFYS NEST reveal way more than the Red Dawn Head Honcho reveal, but never thought she was Val’s daughter.

    As for L3, I don’t get how you could watch an early cut of the movie and NOT think “We need more L3”, but maybe they didn’t want to spend *even more* money after the whole Lord & Miller fiasco?

    Speaking of Lord & Miller, the movie definitely would have been funnier with them at the helm. The movie is mildly funny a few points, but that’s about it.

    Oh and there are way too many shots of Han’s stupid dice. There are no less than 5 shots of the dice within the first 10 minutes of the movie.

  53. Grimgrinningchris: I think Oscar Isaacs is a very charismatic actor but Poe, in the one movie I will ever see the character in, is a nothing part that any reasonably dashing male human could have played. There just isn’t enough there for me to have an opinion one way or the other. The character is barely a sketch.

  54. grimgrinningchris

    May 28th, 2018 at 7:48 am

    And that’s charisma.
    When people can fall in love with a character who really has very little to do and comparitively limited screen time, just because he’s so fucking likable…

    He has a ton more to do in TLJ (and is shown to be hugely fallible in addition to being hugely affable) but it was TFA that started the love affair.

  55. I’m sorry, is Mr Majestyk really trying to convince people he refuses to watch The Last Jedi (aka the best Star Wars movie)? How dumb……

  56. I am willing to concede that I am incapable of feeling overly positive about anything in TFA. Poe was a perfectly fine character. I liked him in as much as I could like anything about that creatively bankrupt corporate takeover of our collective imagination. I did not think the character’s very existence was a crime against narrative, and Isaacs delivered his six or seven lines with appropriate elan. That’s about as high a compliment as I could give any aspect of that dispiritingly adequate movie.

  57. Chuck: I watch movies that make me happy. STAR WARS no longer makes me happy. So I don’t watch them anymore. It’s really that simple.

  58. Yeah sure whatever

  59. I’m sorry if me choosing my own viewing material bothers you. I’ll submit a request form next time I try to have my own tastes that don’t align with yours.

  60. Talking about charisma, Paul Bettany’s damn cool in this one. Nice to see a good old fashioned villain again.

  61. grimgrinningchris

    May 28th, 2018 at 8:44 am

    Majestyk… I think it is more the issue of your insistence on continuing to come into talk backs for SW movies to repeat how you aren’t seeing any more SW movies and as such can’t comment on THIS movie “BUUUUUT… let me take this opportunity to go ahead and AGAIN complain about another one that I DID see and didn’t like”. It comes off as smug and off-putting and very Asimovy (albeit far more sane and well written and with far less stupid name-calling).

    I’ve always enjoyed your thoughts on movies and you’ve obviously been far more vocal on the site than me (though I have also been around since pre-Talkbacks back into the Geocities days) and have both excellent knowledge and often excellent insight… and also (mostly) great taste.

    While admitting that although this is Vern’s hood, you are 100% one of the neighbors that truly makes this hood the great place that it is…this SW stuff really is getting old.

  62. grimgrinningchris

    May 28th, 2018 at 8:49 am

    Bettany is good in everything. Even when what he’s in is garbage.

    The first time I saw him was in A KNIGHTS TALE and his Chaucer took what is ultimately a dumb (albeit still very fun) movie- and made it one of my total comfort/chicken soup movies for decades now.

  63. I admit that I have a problem. My heart still loves STAR WARS but my brain knows that there’s nothing there for me anymore, so there’s a conflict. I thought cutting myself off from th product would be the end of it, but I seem to have a morbid fascination with these new films. I suppose in my heart of hearts I want to join the party, but I know I don’t have it in me. So I dip my toe back into the conversation every now and then, say, “Hey, I’m just mentioning this one little thing, It’s no big deal.” But then one thing leads to another and here I am, advancing my opinion about fucking Poe Dameron, a character I couldn’t give a fuck about in a movie I wish didn’t exist. It’s not the way I want to be, but the temptation is too strong sometimes. The existence of these post-Lucas films is a stitch in my mind’s eye I cannot seem to remove. As much as I wish I could let it go, it keeps pulling me back in. I can see how that could be annoying to watch.

    On the other hand, part of me doesn’t see what you have to complain about. You get dozens of comments talking about how much everyone loves these movies. You can’t handle one grumpy asshole who isn’t on the same side as you? You don’t want your parade pissed on, don’t read my comments. Like STAR WARS movies and in fact all movies you don’t get forced to watch in school, they are 100% optional.

    Perhaps we can meet somewhere in the middle. I’ll try to stay the fuck out of it when I have nothing new to add (which should be most of the time) and you try to remember that me expressing my opinion doesn’t effect you in the slightest.

  64. Just want to weigh in on the best part of Rogue One: the ADR during Jyn Erso’s ‘rousing’ speech on some space ship about 1/3 of the way through. She’s got this dramatic pause right before she says the part that moves the plot forward, and during that pause (this was enhanced for me bc I was watching it with headphones in) the left audio channel has a guy going “Get to the point already!” and then the right side goes “Let the girl speak!” and her speech then continues. Basically the post production equivalent of “We know this actor lacks the gravitas to keep anyone interested when they’re talking for more than 5 seconds, so let’s do our best to notify the audience that it’s time for them to pay attention again.” It’s that type of behind-the-scenes cynicism that really makes this phase of the SW canon shine.

    And Majestyk, for whatever it’s worth, in my opinion you’re right about Poe Dameron. Talk about cyphers. Not to get as cynical as Rouge 1’s post production team, but I’ve always assumed the claims of his popularity are a mostly online thing owed to the ‘shipping’ of him and Finn.

  65. If we are on the subject of people not watching this movie, I’m in that group. I’m not burnt out on Star Wars or anything. That seems the popular theory I’ve seen on box office sites for the weak performance. This movie just didn’t look that good to me—it didn’t hit me as epic or space opera like all the others attempted to be. But most of all I don’t like the face of this lead actor guy, and he doesn’t remind me of Harrison Ford at all, so I’m out on Solo. Plus, Emilia Clark isn’t a movie star—all her game of thrones scenes that don’t involve dragons, epic moments, or big speeches bring the pace down to a crawl. That’s enough for me to wait until it’s on a movie channel and I’m bored one weeknight.

  66. Good news then, this is perhaps the least Star Wars-ey STAR WARS ever, so there’s no reason not to see it.

  67. grimgrinningchris

    May 28th, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Majestyk,

    You’re right that the affect on me personally (or anyone else personally) is negligible. But I still feel like it derails TalkBacks and is the opposite of constructive when you have no frame of reference on the actual topic at hand and are just waving your hands stating as much.
    And Vern’s TalkBacks (even when people disagree wildly) are great BECAUSE they tend to remain constructive and on-topic.

    But again, whenever Blasters and Droids aren’t involved, I do love your contributions here and I’ve said what I had to say on the subject, so I’ll just shut up about it now and get back to Solo.

    PS Although, knowing your thoughts on nu-SW, I can pretty much guarantee that you would hate SOLO, so you are easily better off skipping it… but I really do think you might be surprised by TLJ.

    Okay there- now I really am done.

    In response to some others- I don’t know a single Poe-Finn “shipper”. I am sure millions of them exist, but I’ve never spoken to one.

    I have never seen a single episode of GoT and skipped Terminator: Genysis so this was actually my first run-in with Emilia Clarke outside of a handful of talkshow appearances. And I really liked her in the movie. And maybe it was a lack of baggage with her as an actress that fostered my enjoyment of her and her character- I dunno…

  68. Totally agree on Luke not being a memorable character by himself. If he had been in a generally unmemorable movie like ROGUE ONE instead, he would have been as forgotten as those characters.

  69. I beg to differ. I think SOLO is easier to like than THE LAST JEDI if you enjoy George Miller a bit more than George Lucas. And who doesn’t?

  70. I have some friends who are avoiding this one because they think New Han is not Harrison Ford enough. Personally, I think if they had tried to match someone up more to be like Harrison Ford it would’ve been a distracting impersonation.

    Since Han was a younger, more naive, more optimistic version, so I think it works out well to be played by a different actor. This one was all smiles and charm. He was still trying to con people and rig the system. By the time Harrison got to him that started to tarnish.

    I really loved Chewie in this one. He was part of conversations and was given motivations. He seemed to be an actual player in the game and not just there to lend muscle or comic relief or emotion.

    I wish we’d gotten more Lando, though.

  71. grimgrinningchris

    May 28th, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    SPOILERS

    SPOILERS

    SPOILERS

    Question… if Han had to use Wookeese (?) to communicate with Chewie to begin with (and Chewie obviously understood Yoda’s backwards “English” back in ROTS), then how can Chewie suddenly understand “English” pretty soon after?

    Or did he just use his knowledge of Wookieese to ingratiate himself to Chewie who could understand English all along.

    Pegsman- Isn’t Majestyk’s issue that the new SW lacks vision and is too backward looking and fan-servicey? If that is the case then he’d definitely prefer TLJ to Solo.

  72. Some new guy imitating Harrison Ford would have been awful.

    I liked how young Han was an optimistic and pleasant person, but I think Ehrenreich’s performance would have been more memorable if he either had a bit of an edge *or* was funnier. There are moments during the movie where I thought Ehrenreich had the potential to be really funny (I’m sure this is why Lord & Miller cast him), but the movie never really GOES FOR IT when it comes to humor.

    As for Chewbacca, I think the new tall guy did a good job. The shot of Chewie rolling his eyes and reacting to Han’s cards at the end of the movie is legitimately funny. I also liked his head turn after Han says “Have I ever steered you wrong?”

    And now I have some questions about the train heist:

    1. Why did they have to blow up the track? It seemed unnecessary. You’re losing the train car if it enters the tunnel, but you’re also losing it if it falls off the track.

    2. Why was Crimson Dawn stealing hyperfuel from the Empire if they’re in league with the Empire?

  73. *SPOILERS*

    Chris – I think it was just a way to break through to him to start communicating. I loved the way they met. “There’s a beast?!”

    Wadew – Is Crimson Dawn associated with the Empire? Do you mean because of Darth Maul? I haven’t watched them, but where Vern says above that he went on to head a criminal syndicate in the Clone Wars cartoon made me think he broke with the Empire.

  74. Maggie- Enfys Nest says Crimson Dawn is in league with the Empire.

  75. …but it’s possible that Crimson Dawn hiring Beckett to steal hyperfuel from the Empire was part of a larger scheme that we’ll probably never learn about because SOLO is kind of underperforming at the box office.

  76. …but it’s possible that Crimson Dawn hiring Beckett to steal hyperfuel from the Empire was part of a larger scheme that we’ll probably never learn about because SOLO is kind of underperforming at the box office.

  77. grimgrinningchris

    May 28th, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    Again, see HAIL CAESAR to see Ehrenreich being hysterically funny.

    I honestly don’t think this movie needed to be FUNNIER… it had, to me, a solid blend of humor and seriousness. Any funnier and it would have gone totally off the rails and likely felt like a parody.

    I still don’t get why they even hired Miller and Lord in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I love THE LEGO MOVIE and I am a huge fan of both of their JUMP STREET movies… Comedy elements, okay… but why in the world would you hire two guys known for encouraging that improv style to work from a fucking LAWRENCE KASDAN script?

  78. From what I’ve read, they wanted a Guardians of the Galaxy type of feel and then felt like Lord & Miller were going to far with the humor and improv. After that, they probably went into ‘stick to the script and get this done’ emergency mode.

    I thought they could have gone for more jokes without turning the movie into a parody. The movie got any big laughs (or really any big reactions) from the crowd I saw it with.

  79. *never* got any

  80. Saw this last night…. I would say I didn’t like it all that much and never want to see it again but that would go against our new No Negativity paradigm here on Outlaw Vern. So I will say some things I did like, followed by some weird stuff that I thought didn’t make any sense. SPOILERS BELOW SPOILERS

    Cool things that I liked:

    1. The monster in the nebula (Maelstrom?) was cool, even if it looked like the bad guy from GREEN LANTERN. I felt kind of sorry for it.

    2. The landspeeder chases at the beginning of the movie were very well done. The vehicles looked like they had weight with realistic accelerations. I think somebody said this up above, but it really felt like a real world where somebody could actually get hurt. Bravo.

    3. The robot uprising was cool. Lando’s love for his robot was kind of touching. Reminded me a bit of the forbidden love of two characters in the novel “A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet”.

    4. Emilia Clarke’s “character arc” was pretty satisfying for me. She is well on her way to Anakin Skywalker territory. Too far gone to turn back now.

    Stuff that didn’t make any sense to me (which could maybe be explained to me which I would appreciate but frankly I feel like these are storytelling failings):

    Crimson Dawn (why not Red Dawn? Crimson Jihad? Scarlet Crusade?) is… what? A rogue branch of the Empire? A terrorist group that is semi-tolerated by the Empire because they have the same-ish goals? A fully sanctioned part of the Empire that is especially feared and allowed to operate with impugnity, like the SS? I actually don’t know if this was explained, I just started seeing the CD symbol in a few places and was supposed to infer some stuff. I like movies that don’t spell everything out but this seems a bit overboard unless there was a bunch of expository dialogue that I missed.

    So Paul Bettany’s giant ship that looks like the ones from Thor’s home planet — it has 10 troops on it and that’s it? When the CD troops are surrounded by the Marauders and Paul Bettany is killed, Emilia Clarke is now the only one from the Crimson Dawn left alive? Why didn’t they give some air support? They can’t detect an ambush with sensors somehow? When the troops are ambushed, can’t they just send some more out of this giant ship, or fire some lasers or something?

    To refine this magical McGuffin substance (the idea that starships are fueled by these tiny vials is ludicrous) they have to go to a refining planet, which doesn’t appear to have any heavy machinery whatsoever. It looks like an abandoned mining town itself. Where is this stuff refined? It can’t require any special processing from the looks of the place.

    Han shooting first here is way past killing Greedo, who had a gun on him and was threatening him with death. This was the murder of a former mentor mid-speech. I don’t really care from a moral standpoint (kill or be killed, etc) but I just found this scene confusing. Especially after all the pacifist Han talk during the war scenes. It was weird. I think it would be more effective if Han had let him live. Abandon him on this refinery planet with some supplies and tell him, no hard feelings but I’m out. Good luck. Have a little dialog with somebody about how often somebody visits and make it clear he will be stuck there for a good long time. Ceti Alpha 5 style.

  81. Crimson Dawn is a criminal organization, a gang, a mob. At the end we learn that they’re in league with the Empire (or some phrase like that) which I took to me sort of like the way, say, Putin works with the mafia even though they’re not officially sanctioned.

  82. Ah I see. Well the movie’s alliances and groups were a little weird for me from the start, since from A NEW HOPE the Empire has been regarded as the bad guys by EVERYBODY. And yes Han is a rogue but joining the Empire and going to war (and spouting off peacenik catchphrases to his superior officers without getting punished??)??? I guess Han in A NEW HOPE has a distaste for the Empire but this always seemed it was because he knew they were the bad guys compounded with not liking getting boarded by the cops. But joining the Empire seems completely out of character for a guy who makes his own rules. I guess it was at the spur of the moment when he was about to get arrested (by the Empire… don’t they have IDs? Nobody knows this guy was stealing cars? The officer can’t see people right behind Han looking for him?).

    Would have made 1000% more sense if Han had been captured and forced into Imperial service as a way to avoid prison.

  83. grimgrinningchris, in my book TLJ is way more Star Wars-ey than SOLO. The Kasdans have borrowed so many things from the Mad Max universe that I think (hope) our friend will like it more. Well, we’ll never know.

  84. rainman, the way Solo enlists is obviously a riff on how The Foreign Legion used to operate. They were famous for taking in people on the run, those without papers, murderers and thieves.

  85. Pegs: There’s just no way this movie won’t be disillusioning. The Kessel Run is supposed to be this epic tall tale that adds to Han’s legend but is never actually seen, not a second-act set-piece acted out by an imposter whom you kind of instinctively want to punch in the face. I can’t see myself ever getting over all that enough to enjoy all the badly lit derring-do.

    But you never know, I guess. Always in motion is the future. Something unexpected happened last night, but I won’t derail the SOLO discussion any longer. For those interested, please join me on the LAST JEDI thread for an unforeseen plot twist.

  86. I really hate Prometheus because every time I see Alien now I think about those stupid tall bald fuckers. I liked not knowing what the Space Jockey was. I was really hoping Solo wouldn’t do anything like that to me, because I watch Empire at least 4-5 times a month.

    It didn’t. I liked it a lot. Saw it again last night, and I think I am a little less excited than I was. But it is still a ton of fun.

    And I think it actually does give a touch of depth to the original films. I found myself thinking of Han and Lando’s dialogue as they walked through Bespin (“Look at you, a respectable business man”). And I also thought more about Solo himself. When we first meet him in IV, you think he is this selfish, out for himself “scoundrel” who has some sort of epiphany and comes back to the Death Star trench to save the day. Maybe it wasn’t so much of an epiphany, maybe Solo was just this big softie all along and his decision to join the Rebellion and save his friends wasn’t all that surprising at all.

  87. Why is there a train there at all? In the Firefly episode where the crew rob a train, the train itself is running across a fairly empty and flat plain where a train seems like a reasonable transport option. That SOLO mountain railroad looks like a massive piece of infrastructure to solve a problem where a couple of landing pads and a flying transport would’ve been an easier build, require much less maintenance, and be much less prone to robbery. It’s not like there’s a problem flying the coaxium about, and it’s clearly not a commuter train with lots of mountain suburban stops to service.

    I’m guessing they were hoping to tap into the western vibe that Firefly had so much of, but I came away thinking that either there was a big push to get a rollercoaster ride out of SOLO, or someone really wanted to see Woody Harrelson in another train robbery movie because they just loved MONEY TRAIN.

  88. JeffG: I was going to write this same sentiment and then, BAM, two posts from the bottom, you already did.

    “And I also thought more about Solo himself. When we first meet him in IV, you think he is this selfish, out for himself “scoundrel” who has some sort of epiphany and comes back to the Death Star trench to save the day. Maybe it wasn’t so much of an epiphany, maybe Solo was just this big softie all along and his decision to join the Rebellion and save his friends wasn’t all that surprising at all.”

  89. Majestyk – glad to read your comments in The Last Jedi thread. You will always be one of the great commenters here, but I feel it must have been exhausting for you to have to always preface your thoughts about Star Wars by how little you cared about Star Wars, and how you didn’t bother to see Star Wars, etc… In fact, you may have possibly said that so many times it may have taken up more time to keep typing that over and over again than to watch the movie you were refusing to watch! And the thing is, even though i liked TLJ, your complaints are pretty much spot-on and accurate and add to the conversation here in a critical yet non-trolling way. So I guess I’m saying – you watching movies you don’t want to see may be a loss for you but a win for us?

    Another loss for you, however, is that Han’s aforementioned dice that keep showing up prominently in The Last Jedi, gets more screentime here in Solo. Wadew said the dice gets 5 closeups in the first 10 minutes, and I actually don’t think he’s exaggerating. My theory is a) since Han is pretty much fully formed at the beginning of the movie (because why would you want to see a Han Solo origin movie where he doesn’t act like Han Solo?), the only thing left to do is show the origin of all the shit around him, i.e. uh….props. The gun, the spaceship, the sidekick, the last name. So yeah, why not bring up the dice that the last movie told us is synonymous with Han even though I’ve never met one person who remembers them from the original trilogy? b) Disney has a shit-ton of already-produced dice that it needs to offload to kids/dudes.

    Anyways, Solo is perfectly fine – it’s more involving and coherent than Rogue One, but pretty much lacks any “Wow” factor or spectacle or anything that I’m probably going to remember in a week. It’s basically mid-level Marvel movie quality, whatever that’s worth. 2 big complaints: 1) The dark cinematography that looks gorgeous on my computer screen for the trailer does look like actual shit in the theater though. 2) *SPOILER* Clarke’s storyline has no real resolution. Disney was obviously hoping to keep churning out these Solo spinoffs and elaborate on that storyline, but since that’s unlikely now, the whole thing feels like Divergent 3 or whatever; it’s basically a YA novel adaptation teasing the next installment rather than tying up its own loose ends. How insane would that have been if Darth Maul showed up in person for the final battle? Instead we get the Phantom Menace score callback and he gratuitously lights up the dual lightsaber for no fucking reason other than so the girlfriends asking their boyfriends in the audience “who is that?” will then go, “oh yeah, i think i remember him. Wait, isn’t he dead?” By the way, was Clarke supposed to be his secret apprentice or something? I would have lost my shit if she busted out the Force (or at least fought using a double-sided object to foreshadow her alliance with Maul).

    Side note: I do think it’s weird that Han just kinda writes her off at the end of the movie, other than the script requires him to be freed up for Princess Leia. I mean, for all he knows, she got kidnapped or killed or shot by guards, or Bettany woke back up and stabbed her. He just watches a ship fly off in the distance and is like, “yeah, that woman I’ve been thinking about every day for ten years or whatever, i guess she turned on me. Oh well!”

  90. I think there *is* resolution for Qi’ra. She chose the pursuit of power over the man she loved. The teaser feeling of the Maul scene may make it seem otherwise but I think that’s a perfectly good ending to the story of Han’s childhood sweetheart who tried to escape the streets with him.

  91. grimgrinningchris

    May 30th, 2018 at 4:41 am

    I also don’t think it’s nuts to assume that Qi’ra and Maul and Han are going to at least show up in the Boba Fett movie.

  92. I didn’t get the feeling that Qi’ra was choosing Power over love, I got the impression that she was remaining loyal out of fear. She mentions to Han when he says “you got away” that she didn’t, actually. And I feel that her convo with Maul, where he basically threatens her with his lightsaber, was showing us that she is basically in fear of her life if she leaves. (Oh and it was an excuse to stick a lightsaber in the movie).

    Zod: “The dark cinematography that looks gorgeous on my computer screen for the trailer does look like actual shit in the theater though.”
    100% correct, I was thinking the same thing throughout. Opening night I was sitting in an aisle/Imax seat. I saw it again Monday and sat dead center in the hopes that I could see better. I couldn’t. The end scenes on the beach were such a delight compared to the vast majority of the movie. The blue scenes on Coruscant, the war scenes on Mimban, even the first card game with Lando are just really poorly lit. Even the relatively brightly lit train scene had me squinting, all the colors are so identical it makes it hard to keep track of what the hell is going on. Maybe I’m just getting old and need glasses.

  93. *SPOILERS*

    I don’t think she’s choosing power, either. But I think it’s even more than she’s afraid for herself. I think she knows they could never get away. She knows who they’re up against and Han doesn’t. I think she is very much afraid, but is also very brave. She’s sacrificing herself to save Han.

  94. I guess I didn’t think too hard about Qi’ra’s fate since I assumed there’s much more to tell about her story, but I’ll say that makes it even crappier if Qi’ra is sacrificing herself for Han and is forever enslaved under the thumb of Darth Maul during the OT, meanwhile Han is just strutting around the universe like, “man, I can’t believe I wasted all that time on that selfish broad”. Even more distressing since that makes it literally 3 for 3 female characters who get incredibly shitty fates (I’m not going to say fridged because I don’t think any of them actually got fridged). I wish the ending really was Qi’ra choosing power over love or choosing to be a Sith apprentice or whatever, but that’s obviously not what they had in mind for the sequels that will never happen.

  95. Your interpretations of Qi’ra’s motivations may be right. But whatever they are, I think the sad ending of their relationship is a good place to end that story. I’ve seen the Kasdans talking about a film noir influence on the movie, and I don’t really see it (especially not as much as the western stuff) but this is one place where I see it. I do think it’s possible that she’ll show up again, but I don’t think it’s necessary for this story to be complete.

  96. Welp, my HVAC went out earlier this morning, so while it was getting repaired I decided to go see this movie, mostly since I’d seen the movies out now that I wanted to see and because I’d have had to kill 2 hours if I wanted to go see FIRST REFORMED or DEADPOOL 2 again.

    This movie wasn’t good ya’ll. Vern, this line in your review left me particularly baffled: “…ROGUE ONE, definitely did more new things with the world stylistically and tonally, but I find SOLO much more satisfying – it has the captivating leads, pacing and coherence that one lacked.” Coherence? From where? Certainly not character motivations. It’s not worth explaining it all in detail because the ending just racks them up and up, as the filmmakers got afraid to have anybody come off as a bad person–Qi’ra, Han, or Beckett, in particular. That’s one element how about the acting styles? Paul Bettany is fine in the movie but he’s acting like he’s a different movie than anybody else, besides maybe Donald Glover, who still . And visually, the cinematography is bad and at spots is responsible for the lack of coherence. Oh and those card scenes might’ve worked better and had more suspense…if the audience knew the rules.

    And let’s talk about how overstuffed this movie is. ROGUE ONE at least has the story thru line of being a a gang comes together and goes on a suicide mission movie. This movie is overstuffed with Chewie’s concern about the rest of his specieis and liberating them, constant planet hopping (how many did they end up at by the end? 6? They hopped at least 3 in like 30 minutes) a droid revolution, and airdropped suggestive things like how Lando might bang his droid. On a similar note, the movie also can’t seem to decide if Emilia Clark is Bettany’s sex slave or just somebody indebted to her crime lord boss.) Emilia Clark was actually alright in this movie, and Alden…well he’s only like #5 on the list of reasons why this movie didn’t work for me. Back to the overstuffness–because the kessel escape run can’t just be a race against the clock, the movie has to throw in a giant space squid monster inside this maelstrom area, and this monster also needs to be by a giant gravity hole, so that the movie can double macguffin in coaxium in for a solution to this overstuffed ‘we need more warp speed!’ style sequence.

    FWIW, I interpreted Qi’ra’s motivations as both wanting to grab more power and also fear. (BTW, the Darth Maul scene encapsulated the iffy character motivations and actions things with this movie–why exactly does he pull out the lightsaber, turn it on, and scowl–to threaten her? via hologram? to make it clear to anybody that hadn’t figured out from his facepaint that he was Darth Maul? or because hey, people thought that double sided lightsaber was cool shit, if he’s going to get shoehorned in let’s show it off goddamnit!)

    @JeffG: Your point about how this movie re-orients us toward Han’s behavior in A NEW HOPE is exactly one of the reasons this movie didn’t work for me. It tells us the same thing that A NEW HOPE ultimately does, which narratively makes that aspect of Han’s character arc in A NEW HOPE less interesting.

  97. I left this out: did you guys enjoy the score to this movie? I found it one of the weakest scores in the SW movies, and it’s constantly hitting you in the face.

  98. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it, BrianB. My advantage is I just don’t see most of those things you listed as negatives. If it’s “afraid to have anyone come across as a bad person” it’s because it’s the first movie about the “scoundrels” of the Star Wars world, all conflicted people. Beckett is an amoral bastard and a turncoat, but also genuinely Han’s friend and father figure. That’s why it’s great that he fatally shoots him and then embraces him. Han and Q’ira specifically are both people who keep telling each other that they’re bad people. Q’ira turns out to be more right about that than Han.

    If there are different acting styles I don’t know why that would be a bad thing. It IS fast-paced and packed with lots of planets and monsters and things, which is definitely a big plus for me. It doesn’t have to be chapter of a story setting things up for future chapters, so instead it gets to be more of a rollicking self-contained movie serial adventure. The movie “can’t seem to decide if Emilia Clark is Bettany’s sex slave or just somebody indebted to her crime lord boss” because this is ambiguous and not specified and that’s why it’s interesting. And if there is ever a day when I complain about a movie having a space squid, this is not that day.

    Although I liked ROGUE ONE much better the second time, it still has that feeling of a movie that has been through so many different reiterations that nobody could remember what it started out as and there was no possible way for the puzzles pieces to fit together correctly. It has those weird story decisions like starting with the childhood inciting incident that leads to her meeting Saw Guerrera… only to then entirely skip over her being with Saw Guerrera and repeatedly referring to that she spent time with him. And to have everyone keep talking about what a troublemaker she is without ever having her seem like she actually does any troublemaking. And eventually her having a change of heart that as far as I could tell was unearned. And I love the idea of an ensemble team of specialists movie like they seem to be setting up, but instead they focus on the only two dull characters, and have them do more of a re-enactment of the scenes on the Death Star in STAR WARS than a heist.

    That’s what I meant about coherence. To me, SOLO doesn’t feel choppy and incomplete like that, it stays very much centered on Han’s personality and what he learns and gains in his quest to get money to buy a ship. I guess this fits with what has been reported about both troubled productions, because with ROGUE ONE they did rewrites, reshoots and re-edits after thinking it wasn’t working, whereas with SOLO they fired the directors for going too far off script and stuck to the original plan with Howard.

  99. How are we supposed to the take the staging of that ending with the characters seriously? Beckett is a turncoat and Han obviously has affection for him and vice-versa. But he’s also a turncoat who will betray Han, but then when Han outwits him he’s cool with it, respects Han, and will inexplicably let him live and escape while also getting Chewie’s help, although he’s willing to kill him later he says? (Nevermind how he decides to rob the guy who earlier he was willing to go on this insane mission for because he was so afraid he’d be hunt down and killed.) I mean you can just go on with the whole resolution to the Coaxium delivery swerves setpiece. It is an entertaining setpiece, much like the train heist, but you’ve really got to just go along for the ride and enjoy the surface because it’s a muddy mess if you stop to think: hey, why do they do this and not that? And expect any answer beyond the writers, producers, director or whoever trying to figure a way out of the scenario so they could stage the plot and character follow-ups how they wanted without too much concern for bringing them all together beforehand in the first place.

    In what way is this movie self-contained? There are references to other Star Wars films, characters (e.g. Darth Maul), and numerous star wars tropes (e.g. pretending to be taken prisoner to pull over an operation, Han being an orphan with daddy issues) thrown in. Related sidebar: I also think we might as well accept the Mary Sue “cliche” as part of this new Star Wars canon. For every rustled fanboy who complains about Rey or Jyn, Han in this movie is a complete natural at everything. We never see him learn to fly, but he’s amazing. We never see him learn wookie, but he’s the first dude who apparently knew it in the pit, and also noticed the weak structural integrity of a key beam. We never see him learn to play the card game–he quips he’s an amateur at it basically (but the tone makes it unclear if that’s false bravado), and he’s the best at it straight up, etc.

    I might’ve passed over this in the comments, but Han mentions that his father designed space ships, potentially ones similar to the Millenium Falcon, and that’s why he wanted to be a pilot.

    I disagree completely that this movie is all about Han Solo and his quest because it’s got him meeting up with chewie and lando, the chewie and his family/tribe subplot, the droid revolution subplot, all slow Corellia stuff, Lando’s romantic/sexual relationship with L3-37 (yup, leet jokes), amongst other things.

    I agree with the Saw Guerrara critique. But on the other hand, when I think about this movie, what time spent developing that part might’ve just slogged down the pacing and killed the payoff. For instance, this movie has a Thandie Newton death that’s supposed to have this emotional payoff, along with the Jon Favareau voiced guy, but both are unearned because we haven’t had enough western type scenes to set the stage and vibe for it all. I almost chuckled in my theater at Thandie’s death scene because I’d bet it’s the longest time she’s in a single frame for a single shot, and of course, it’s got to be right before she goes away. Oh, and everybody (or at least Han) is going to be cool with the people that killed them both by the end of the movie–that’s how (un)important she is.

    That’s a a good line about the space squid, but when the space squid looks a lot like the bad dude from the GREEN LANTERN movie, I think part of criticism holds water. I think I’d have minded it less if it wasn’t inserted in with all that other stuff. If they’d made it a brief part of getting to Kessel in the first place, maybe it’d have bothered me less…but thrown in with the ticking time bomb (which I’ve got a soft spot for, but was directorially underplayed), the needs more warp speed cliche, escaping the tie tighters, dodging maelstrom hazards, and a quicksand blackhole…it was too much for me.

    If the movie was a bit more like the “wow chewie’s you’re 190? you look great!” and less…Alden has to push hard to emote through this suddenly shut door separating him from Khalessi, It’d have been better off.

  100. “If there are different acting styles I don’t know why that would be a bad thing.”

    I guess the best way to answer that is this.
    picture: Dustin Hoffman playing Hans Gruber in DIE HARD, and how that would impact the movie. I doubt he’d be bad, but it’d shift things and in a less positive way for the movie overall. That’s why different acting styles can matter. Plus, you know, Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber (presumably leading another criminal syndicate) would’ve had a cheeky line about Crimson Dawn in this movie and how he read about them in a magazine.

    Finally, I’ve been struggling to put my finger on it exactly, but out of all the Star Wars movies, this one to me felt the least like a Star Wars movie. There were plenty of parts and elements there, but something was missing. Besides my issues with the music, I’m starting to wonder if it’s one of those epic or space opera standpoint reverential type moments you’ll see in the other movies, whether it’s how well many of the movies play with the scale and size of the universe (whereas to me this universe didn’t feel that large and lived in despite all the planet hoping, whereas the ripoff tantoonies in TFA and ROGUE ONE did along with the setpieces they did), or it’s like how THE LAST JEDI masterfully utilized silence, or standout staged lightsaber duels in THE PHANTOM MENACE, THE LAST JEDI, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, etc.

  101. I mean self-contained as in it has no need or expectation of any continuation. When we watched FORCE AWAKENS we wondered who are her parents, what does this vision hint at, how will Luke react to her, where is such and such going. With SOLO they never said they’d make sequels and if they were privately planning to they’ve probly ditched that and that’s okay because it didn’t leave unfinished business. And I believe if this was the only Star War you saw it wouldn’t need any explaining because you don’t need to know who Aura Sing is anymore than you need to know what a nerf is. Even Darth Maul would be fine because there doesn’t need to be a significance to who the new boss is.

    It bums me out how much most Star Wars movies seem to enrage a big chunk of the population. It’s the most popular series ever yet there are maximum three of them that are almost universally loved. So far they still make me happy. I dread the day when I join you.

  102. Ok, I can agree with most of that. I differ slightly in that I do think there are questions left in this movie to be followed up, if they wanted to. E.g. what happens with Qi’ra now that she’s risen in Crimson Dawn? What’s that dynamic and how will she use her power? How exactly does Darth Maul fit into this world? Does he still work with the emperor and empire? Is Han going to run into him? How is Enfys Nest going to utilize this space fuel stuff to challenge the empire? Will Qi’ra and Han pursue rekindling their romance, or is that it? Is Chewie going to push Han or leave him to go liberate the other wookies? Are there going to be more droid revolutions? etc. To me, the only interesting two are the last two. But you’re right that none seem like urgent questions that where a sequel is narratively demanded the way TFA and it’s cliffhanger did. And this isn’t a movie where you gotta ask the superfan nerd what the such and such was. That’s different than some of the marvel movies too.

    I’m not part of that population that is fanatical about Star Wars and sees them all dozens of times, but hates many of the movies. I probably seem like I am because I’ve written a ton here giving out about this movie. But while I like the original 3 the most, the only Star Wars movies two I didn’t enjoy were this one and THE PHANTOM MENACE.

  103. You’re right, I think the Maul thing was most likely intended to leave something they could follow up on in one of the other upcoming movies (if not another Solo then Boba, Obi Wan, or whatever). But if they don’t I think it still works as a send off for Qi’ra rather than a loose thread.

    I didn’t mean to categorize you as an angry Star Wars fan. I just see you worked up about this specific one and Majestyk about Last Jedi and I’ve been there before with other movies and I hope it doesn’t happen to me with a future Star Wars. I don’t mean it as a judgment.

  104. No worries. Tbf, even if you had meant it as a judgment, I don’t think that’s unfair because that does fit a big cross section of people. So, I realized I should clarify, especially since I realized I hadn’t posted in other star wars review threads on this site.

    I kinda hope I’m the wrong guy on this argument, and whenever there’s a retrospective, I’ll think “I was too hard on that Solo movie; it’s actually good.” in 10+ years or whatever, since I prefer to like movies vs. not like movies. But, if I had to bet, I’d gamble that you’ll come down more on this movie 10-20 years from now than I’d move up. I don’t know about eating a shoe like Werner, but I’ll be happy to metaphorically eat some type of crow, if I’m more wrong about this one, since I’ll have rewatched a movie I didn’t like before and then liked it, vs. rewatching a movie I didn’t like and getting that re-confirmed which is always a bit frustrating.

  105. Hey, I’m not worked up over TLJ. At best, I’m bemused by it. I never expected to think it was any good, so it never had the chance to let me down. My heart’s just not in it anymore. If anything, it’s a little better than I thought it would be. The Luke stuff mostly has merit, which surprised the shit out of me. Still not worth all this handwringing but that’s STAR WARS for you. We all care a little more than we should in our own ways.

  106. I liked it a lot. A few times Han says “I got a really got feeling about this!” but you understand how that turn of phrase changed over time given the melancholy events of the film.

    There’s a moment during the first gambling sequence where there’s no score, just ambient noises and talking, and it’s the most effortlessly organic Star Wars moment in any of these new films. While all the other Star Wars films Disney has made are packed with cataclysmic shit, this one had more laid back moments where you just get to kick it in the Star Wars universe. This sort of thing made me very pleased with the Hobbit films as well, go figure.

    Also I did not see THE GREEN LANTERN but the creature that Han sends into the void looks like a cthulu. Any movie where Han Solo lures a cthulu into some cosmic maw is in my opinion time well spent.

  107. “I got a really good feeling about this”*

  108. Vern, have you gone back to Last Jedi and tried to re-watch it?

    I feel like I was an apologist for that movie for a long time, which is odd since it is 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. But there is a ton of vitriol out there for TLJ.

    Well, since it came out on Bluray and ITunes, I have tried to re-watch it and just cannot make it through. Other then the duel in Snoke’s chamber, is there really anything you want to go back and see over and over? As all over the place as Force Awakens is, there are a lot of scenes in that movie that suck me in if I’m ever flipping around and its on (the final lightsaber duel, the discovery of the Falcon to name a few). Everything not involving Luke/Kylo/Rey in TLJ, for me, is near unwatchable.

    I can’t remember changing my opinion this much on a movie in ages.

    I like TLJ for how it advances the new trilogy: I liked what they did with Luke, I liked that they killed Snoke and set up Ben to be the big bad in the next film, I like that Rey may be “nobody”. But just from a nuts and bolts standpoint, the movie is a mess.

  109. JeffG – I went back two times in the theater and still loved it. Haven’t watched it at home yet.

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