Solo soars above tur­bu­lence

Af­ter ru­mours of on-set trou­ble ,re­li­able di­rec­tor Ron Howard de­liv­ers a solid chap­ter of Star Wars saga

StarMetro Calgary - - BOOKS DAILY LIFE - Peter Howell

Ev­ery Star Wars geek knows that Han Solo is the cocky fly­boy who brags of hav­ing “made the Kes­sel Run in less than 12 par­secs” in the Mil­len­nium Fal­con, his trusty space­ship.

That sounds re­ally im­pres­sive — but is Solo good enough to pi­lot his own movie?

The an­swer to that burn­ing ques­tion was hap­pily “yes” Tues­day night at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val, as pre­quel spinoff saga Solo: A Star Wars Story had its world pre­miere in ad­vance of its May 25 wide the­atri­cal re­lease. The main cast and di­rec­tor Ron Howard walked the red car­pet into the Palais des Fes­ti­vals past an hon­our guard of Star Wars stormtroop­ers.

Star­ring Alden Ehren­re­ich (Hail, Cae­sar!) as a younger ver­sion of Solo, a role made fa­mous by Har­ri­son Ford, the movie of­fers the back-story of how Han be­came the good-guy ad­ven­turer beloved by gen­er­a­tions of Star Wars fans. It even ex­plains, quite lit­er­ally, how he got his un­usual name.

Di­rected by re­li­able stu­dio hand Howard, Solo isn’t likely to be­come any­body’s favourite chap­ter of this ever-ex­pand­ing fran­chise, but it gets the job done and of­fers more than a few good laughs and plot twists.

Many of them will bring smiles to the faces of fans, such as an ex­change that ends with the an­swer “I know” and a gun­fight that makes you won­der who shot first.

We also see how Solo got in­volved with in­ter­ga­lac­tic gam­bler Lando Cal­ris­sian, played by Don­ald Glover (Billy Dee Wil­liams in the orig­i­nal film) and how he won the Mil­len­nium Fal­con from him in a bet.

There were fears that the Dis­ney/Lu­cas­film em­pire couldn’t pull Solo off, be­cause orig­i­nal di­rec­tors Phil Lord and Christo­pher Miller (The Lego Movie) were abruptly fired over “creative dif­fer­ences” last year, ne­ces­si­tat­ing ma­jor reshoots of the story by Howard, and there had been other ru­mours of on­set ten­sions.

The fears were largely un­founded. Solo will please fans, if not nec­es­sar­ily as­tound them, and leave them an­tic­i­pat­ing how the story will con­nect with the orig­i­nal Star Wars saga.

NI­CHOLAS HUNT/GETTY IM­AGES

Alden Ehren­re­ich, left, and Don­ald Glover at­tend the Cannes screen­ing of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

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