Disney movie producers are on a nostalgic fan service binge lately. Everything must be an easter egg to the movies we grew up with – meaning Star Wars. The truth is as kids we’d probably go nuts to see a movie about Han Solo and Chewbacca. As adults we know better, although Chewie is already his cool self. Han on the other hand… Yes, I’m going to have to say it: I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
Solo happens around ten years before the events of A New Hope. No, it’s not a story about a dashing cocky flyboy. It’s a story about Han before he was the smuggler than we know and love. In other words, this is not a story about a pre-Star Wars adventure of Han Solo. It’s a story about a punk kid that supposedly will become Solo later, but for now he’s just a punk street rat that hot-wires speeders that look like coffee tables. Have we forgotten how to design cool space stuff anymore?
Director Ron Howard was brought in to try to turn this into a real movie, but I doubt he was given room to work. It’s too much of a beloved Disney IP to not have a hundred people buzzing about what you should do and shouldn’t. Alden Ehrenreich doesn’t make it into half a character and whatever his character is, it’s not Han Solo. He misses the mark by all the parsecs in the galaxy. Woody Harrelson is almost playing Woody Harrelson, but he’s still interesting enough to watch.
On the plus side, Donald Glover does a terrific Lando Calrissian. He’s got the charisma and the scoundrel charm down to a science. He is a young Lando in this movie and I’m going to stop praising him before someone tries to make another spinoff of him. The Millennium Falcon… is in the movie. Chewbacca is still awesome. Yes, these are the positives. That was it. There’s a heist scene that some have found decent to watch.
Being an old school Star Wars fan nowadays is like being a lapsed Catholic. You see still watch the classic trilogy like you enjoy Christmas Eve, but there’s no way you can get into the new stuff anymore. You would rather watch the highlights on video than join the crowds the day it opens. Also, the common sayings mentioned over and over can make you cringe.
Lightly recommended to see a decent portrayal of Lando Calrissian and little much else. The central character doesn’t feel very central to a story that happens around him but not really to him. Chewbacca needed more scenes. The life debt, which is supposed to be central to the Han-Chewie dynamic is not even mentioned. Almost everything about Han that you know does not exist in the movie but it gets queued up to exist later. It’s like someone telling you all your favourite things and how you’ll get to see them the next time. But hey, you get to see the blank space in which they will appear.
That will do for now.