Solo: A Star Wars Story, Soho Square, W1

16 May, 2018, 08:29 | Author: Laverne Higgins
  • British actress Emilia Clarke

Ever since it was first announced, response to Solo: A Star Wars Story has been lukewarm at best.

One reviewer, New York Post's Johnny Oleksinski, was far more cutting: "Solo, sadly should be frozen forever in carbonite".

"Solo" is not an terrible movie, it just has a few bad parts that feel uninspired. Separated at the last second, Han flees the planet while Qi'ra is caught and left behind. By the end, it becomes hard to keep track of some of these people - what they want, what they're trying to accomplish, why they're doing whatever they're doing. The characters are often similarly uninspired, despite the likes of Paul Bettany, Woody Harrelson and Thandie Newton doing their best with clunky, cliched dialogue. It's just a shame they didn't use the time to add an engaging plot. But at first it looks as if they've really pulled it off. It doesn't merely make obvious the comfort-food imperative of keeping this mythology alive-which is to say, profitable-but also proves it can still find ways to be legitimately satisfying.

Ehrenreich - who earned raves for his performance in the Coen brothers comedy "Hail, Caesar!" - does a solid job as Han, creating a likable scoundrel bounding with reckless energy.

Outside of her ongoing movie projects, Clarke is also dipping her toes in screenwriting and plans to start her own production company in a bid to "tell really good stories". The imprint of Star Wars on everyday American life now feels so despotic that it's too much to ask a film like Solo to be moving or thrilling as a piece of cinema.

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Discovering how Han met Chewbacca, or why he made the famous Kessel Run, doesn't make him more interesting.

In all other aspects, Ron Howard, delivers a competent and workmanlike story. Shouldn't his movie follow suit? While far from a poor director (he has an eye for small details and a smooth sense of action), perhaps a more visionary presence was needed to make this a truly great movie.

Disney hired filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller to direct "Solo", presumably impressed with the pair's work on the crowd-pleasing blockbusters "The Lego Movie", "21 Jump Street" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs". Phoebe Waller-Bridge has an entertaining voice role as Spartacist droid L3-37. She believes that Lando has feelings for her, men and robots can definitely have sex, and even convinces other robots to rise up against their masters. It's a poignant, intriguing-enough buried subplot that I nearly wished Qi'ra were the star of her own story.

The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote or co-wrote original trilogy Star Wars movies The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as 2015 franchise reboot The Force Awakens, along with his son Jonathan Kasdan, whose previous credits include writing and directing the rom-com The First Time. This extended sequence calls to mind the westerns, serials, and World War II movies that all helped inspire George Lucas's original Star Wars. The good news, though, is that Ehrenreich manages something more apt. With the exception of one or two lines that anticipate the title character's future adventures, the proceedings have the perfunctory air of biting into the aforementioned apple, and taking tasteful, unobjectionable nibbles.

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