Erik Jimenez/Staff Writer
If coming a mere five months after the heavily divisive “The Last Jedi” wasn’t bad enough for “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” it’s dodgy production is another reason to be concerned.
When Disney bought Lucasfilm and announced a Han Solo origin film, head of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy hired former Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back), who was later joined by his son Jonathan, to write the screenplay.
The principal photography was under the direction of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller of “21 Jump Street” fame. The film was practically near completion until the pair left the project in June 2017 after reportedly being fired over creative differences with Lucasfilm. Kennedy and Lucasfilm then hired Ron Howard to take over directing duties and practically refilming the entire picture.
And unfortunately, the picture shows that it would have been at least a little more interesting than it is now if they just kept Lord and Miller.
The film is a stand-alone feature that is set prior to the events of A New Hope. It explores the early adventures of Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) as we see his first steps into the world of criminal gangs in the Star Wars universe. While we do see him meet Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) for the first time, get his blaster and dice, the Millennium Falcon and what the Kessel Run actually is, those are the only interesting things in the film.
Ehrenreich and Glover aside, the rest of the cast (which includes the likes of Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton and Paul Bettany) felt like they are phoning it in. It doesn’t feel like they are acting as much as they are roleplaying as their original character at a Star Wars costume party. It also doesn’t help that they aren’t that interesting anyway.
Aside from a few cameos from actors that appear often in his films, there is nothing in the film that screams “directed by Ron Howard.” The film has a dark and dingy look throughout the picture no matter what planet the characters are on. Even the brightest locations in the film look like they had Vaseline rubbed over the lens.
Thankfully the visuals are able to stand out despite the odd color correction, especially the practical effects. The Star Wars films (or at least the good ones) have always been able to tout some of the best practical effects put on camera and “Solo” delivers in spade in that category. The practical costumes, locations and creatures are the best the franchise has had yet.
But sometimes those effects can be put on the wrong character and somehow, the Kasdan’s have managed to create a more annoying character than Jar-Jar Binks in the film. The droid L3-37 (voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge) is the most social justice warrior character in Star Wars yet (hopefully ever) and by default the worst character in Star Wars ever. And by SJW, I mean that the movie acknowledges that she is our world’s example of a SJW, but in Droid form.
I want to say that the character was created by Lord and Miller to be comedic in the vain of “South Park’s” PC Principal, but the lines she is given don’t come off as jokes, they come off as serious. So, it was probably either the Kasdan’s or Kennedy’s idea for the character to be taken seriously. And what a terrible idea it was.
With Solo, Chewie, Lando and the effects being the best things in the film, it’s really hard for me to recommend Solo to anyone but the most hardcore of Star Wars fans, and that’s only for street cred to say you have seen it.
2.5 Stars out of 5