+ BLU RAY
Solo: a Star Wars Story (Lucasfilm)
There was a lot of pressure on this one. After all, the first
Star Wars spin-off, Rogue One, was very decent; Han Solo is a beloved screen character; and Ron Howard had to come off the bench to direct when LEGO movie directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, exited the project. As it turned out, the Oscar-winning director proved himself to be a capable pair of hands. In this origins yarn, penned by the Kasdans, we first encounter young Han on the planet of Corellia, where he is involved in all manner of scrapes with his gal pal, Q’Ira (Emilia Clarke). Events conspire to land him in the rebellious company of Woody Harrelson, Lucas Glover and a certain very large Wookie, as they draw ever nearer to the Empire’s orbit. With Solo, Howard has fashioned an entertaining action yarn, aided by a fine cast (Paul Bettany and Thandie Newton also feature), and some striking visuals. Harrison Ford left big shoes to fill but Ehrenreich does a decent job, without exactly pulling up any trees. (I’d like to have seen what Jack Reynor would have done with the role). Howard has taken good care with those all-important Star Wars firsts: the first meeting of Han and Chewbacca; the first time we encounter the Millennium Falcon; and the ship making its iconic Kessel Run (fans will tell you in how many parsecs). Solo is no classic, but it’s good fun. Blu-ray extras include featurettes, deleted scenes and a roundtable interview with cast and crew.