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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2018 10:22 pm 
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Saw Solo on Friday.

It's going to need a second watch to say for sure, but this could be my favorite Disney entry into the franchise to date.

Despite Alden Ehrenreich's casting, I should add.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not ***** that they didn't find somebody who was more of a dead ringer for a young Ford -- that way lies madness and can easily fall flat; see Brendan Routh as Superman Clark Kent Christopher Reeves. (Though, I will question why they couldn't work with the hairstylists a bit to tell them to not just draw attention to how much broader Alden's face is...) I feel like they should have looked for somebody who could at least pick up some of the cadences to Harrison Ford's performance as Han Solo better. I would have been happier with something like the Ewan MacGregor casting for Obi-Wan -- somebody whose performance gave me chills and made me say to myself "I can imagine the original actor delivering those lines that way, with those inflections and emphases". Somebody who could have delivered the wry half-smiles that Ford did as the character, etc. And I don't think this is simply a conscious choice in portraying a younger, less experienced version of Han. The script makes it clear that young Solo has all the same cocky confidence in himself and his own talents despite not yet having proven them to the world.

On the other hand, Donald Glover stole the **** show as Lando. Every scene he was in was a bold declaration that the character was now his, and, perhaps, always had been just in the hands of a caretaker awaiting their true master's attention. He was everything Billy Dee Williams defined the character as, turned up to 11, and delivered with some of that attention to the previous portrayal that Ehrenreich lacked.

The movie wasn't one that needed to be made. The story didn't need to be told. But I'm glad they did, because it was a fun recounting, and I don't feel like the character's charm and mystique was damaged for having pulled the curtain back a bit. It was an interesting mix of things we were familiar with from Legends EU,* often arrived at in unexpected ways,** and some truly new stuff that fits just fine. Oh, and of course that cameo everybody's talking about.***

All in all, it was a movie comfortable with what it was -- a popcorn flick to pass an afternoon or evening with, unhindered by the weighty associations and expectations of its mainstream brethren. As ": A Star Wars Story", it was given rein to be fun and enjoy itself, and that served it well. This is the movie that has finally given me permission to be done with the Skywalker Saga main series. I can continue to enjoy the best of Star Wars with the side entries like Rogue One and Solo, without having to bemoan the bungling, mistreatment, and heavy-handedness of the latest entries in the main storyline. No, the best places to play in the Star Wars universe have become the margins of the story, rather than the main thrust.

Spoiler:
* Including some nods to serious deep cuts from obscure, half-forgotten sources, like L3-37's core getting uploaded to half-fulfill the 3 arguing droid brains thing, which I did NOT expect to see validated and canonized...
** Who saw the Chewbacca meeting looking like that?
*** Okay, so here's my take on Maul: Anybody watching Clone Wars and Rebels knew he was alive. Furthermore, we know that there are limits to Maul's defeat in eventual sequels to Solo -- so I think he'll continue to remain a shadowy puppet-master rather than the on-screen villain. Qi-ra will more likely take that place, or perhaps a more senior Crimson Dawn underboss. Somebody that can actually die without breaking later stories.

I rather loved the double-fake with the Sabaac games. The build-up of the first made you expect the payoff there, but they wisely held it back to keep Lando involved and pay out for the anticipation later with the wonderfully played disarmament of Lando's ace in the hole. And it was a great call-back to "You lost her to me fair and square", both reinforcing the line and shading the meaning to include the new fact that it wasn't Lando's intent to be playing fair... a minor ret-con that underscores both characters by playing on Lando's underhanded self-serving roguishness and Han's clever street-smarts.

One thing that I felt strained the boundaries of good, respectful play between author and audience was the hinting that the Raiders were yet another seed of the early Rebellion, crossing paths with our friend Han. It's the kind of thing they toss in and bat their eyes innocently at me with, but I'm just not buying the innocent act. It's as shameless and unnecessary as the Revenge of the Sith revelation that Chewbacca was friends with Yoda. It wants to be hand-waved away as a sort of poetic license, where the heroic coincidences happen because all the stories where they don't happen just aren't about the heroes, so they don't get highlighted to be told, that the interconnectedness of all these threads is what MAKES them the heroes. But it's unearned, in my eyes; the sort of thing that would work if that was the original premise their heroicness were based upon, rather than tacked on in ret-conning prequels.


Anyways, go see it. It's fun, it's not a tangled mess the way Last Jedi was, and not only will you be entertained by the story and wowed by the spectacle of the various jobs they do on the big screen, but you can also send the message to Lucasfilm that this kind of lower-stakes, lighter take on space opera at the margins is an okay thing to do.

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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 12:51 am 
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I liked it a lot. I liked it a hell of a lot more than Awakens and Last Jedi. It is clear from the end that they are thinking about more films. And I hope they get Ron Howard to do them.

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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 3:31 pm 
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Got a second viewing in today. It holds up.

I'll walk back my criticism of Alden a step. There are a couple lines where he gets it. I just wish it were more consistent.

Spoiler:
The beginning of the scene with Lady whosit has some good Ford-as-Solo dialogue delivery. I could imagine Harrison Ford delivering the lines in character in similar cadences and intonations. Then Alden blows it halfway through, and it's back to the strange character the movie insists is Han Solo.

Likewise, "There's a beast?" is smoothly done, and a couple of the responses to Chewie's untranslated lines.


Oh, also, I forgot to bring up the music. The score isn't John Williams, but it's also a noticeable step up from, say, Marvel movies. And the incorporation of the Williams themes used was handled beautifully, possibly to the detriment of the rest of the score in contrast by way of comparison.

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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 6:06 pm 
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I’ll probably catch it when it hits home video. I just don’t want this in my life. I’ve never cared about knowing more of Han Solo’s life, and it’s especially galling coming on the heels of The Last Jedi, which I consider to not only finally have moved the saga forward instead of looking backward, but also to be the finest film in the canon, full stop. Additionally, I’ve never, ever loved a Ron Howard-directed film. My main desire to see it stems from Donald Glover, who seems like a blast as Lando, and all of the reviews seem to confirm that. I think Phe’s going to maybe see it on a MoviePass sometime this week.


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 3:12 pm 
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Spoiler:
I rather loved the double-fake with the Sabaac games. The build-up of the first made you expect the payoff there, but they wisely held it back to keep Lando involved and pay out for the anticipation later with the wonderfully played disarmament of Lando's ace in the hole. And it was a great call-back to "You lost her to me fair and square", both reinforcing the line and shading the meaning to include the new fact that it wasn't Lando's intent to be playing fair... a minor ret-con that underscores both characters by playing on Lando's underhanded self-serving roguishness and Han's clever street-smarts.


Spoiler:
It also gives a new tone to Lando's leading the fighter attack on Death Start II. He wasn't self-serving there, and he didn't try to get the ship back. Instead, he was willing to risk it all in the ship with no reward above what anyone else would get. It adds a new tone of maturing and perspective to the story.

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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 8:40 pm 
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Force Awakens and Last Jedi come across like bad Star Wars fanfiction about someone's Jedi in SWTOR. The characters are more ridiculous than Taly's invincible sword princess lightsaber bunny that she plays in every pbp game.

The side stories have been much more meticulously crafted. They come across as a labor of love by people seeking to recapture the magic of the series with new stories.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:03 pm 
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We happened to like TFA and TLJ. *shrug*. The teen especially.

Spoiler:
We also enjoyed Solo, a.k.a. Star Wars: The Easter Eggs. Donald Glover stole the movie. It wasn't deep, but it was worth the price of admission. I loved the gambling scenes. And yeah, some old canon was definitely there.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:52 am 
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It's been a long time since i've posted anything of note here. Not very active anymore. But...i think this is a good thread to get off my chest what I love and hate about Disney's Star Wars, so far.

First off, on the original post, Kaffis from 1.5 years ago:

I agree with you about almost everything here. I loved this movie. It's not quite as highly ranked for me as it is for you, and I have the same complaint you do. Alden Ehrenreich is fine, i guess. He doesn't do a bad job. But I never really feel like he's the same person as Han Solo. I think this bothers me more than it bothers you, because the actor exists who could have pulled this off.

I give you Anthony Ingruber.


Other than that, i loved everything about this movie. It bugs me how little box office it got, because I think it's the 5th best Star Wars movie ever made (behind only Rogue One and the Original Trilogy.) There are so many little details I could describe as to why, but if you're the type of fan who'd appreciate them, you already know them. Anyway, on to the rest of Disney's Star Wars.

As you can guess from above -- Rogue One very well might be my favorite Star Wars movie of all time. It worst it's tied with Empire Strikes Back. It was, quite bluntly, perfect.

The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi? there are a lot of complaints about these movies. Some of them I agree with (TFA was just a rehash of ANH, TLJ has a lot of plot holes, Princess Leia flying like Superman was dumb as ****). Others I disagree with. (There are problems with the narrative around Rey, but she's not a Mary Sue, she's not overpowered, and the movies are not a social-justice fest.) However, my biggest problem with these movies -- is they make the star wars galaxy very small. Say what you want about the prequels (I do), but Lucas knew how to do one thing very well: WORLD BUILDING. His settings are amazing, and the depth he puts into them is astounding. I hate the prequels with a passion, but I love the additions to the star wars setting that these movies create.

In so many ways, TFA and TLJ are better movies than even the best of the prequels (Revenge of the Sith). And yet, they make the galaxy seem small, irrelevant. The Republic rules over a million inhabited star systems, and yet destroying one of those star systems (nevermind that Hosnian is the capital) seems to completely eliminate it. The resistance against this big threat is a few small ships and a few soldiers on a backwater planet, nothing more. There's no politics, there's no wider setting, TFA and TLJ feel isolated and irrelevant.

And that's not Star Wars for me.

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