New Straits Times

Fun Solo outing


WHEN viewers were first introduced to Han Solo in the first Star Wars film, Episode IV: A

New Hope (1977), the smuggler-turned-accidental hero played by Harrison Ford was a delight to watch because he brought with him a touch of reckless valour that no other characters possessed in the film.

As the saga grew into more films — or episodes, if you will — we got to know a bit more about Solo — but our knowledge of the cynical pilot’s background was limited to mostly what he shared from his own recollecti­on.

But we were fine with not knowing much of his past prior to crossing Luke Skywalker’s path in Mois Eisley because we were already fond of the man he had developed into throughout the series. Therefore, a prequel detailing the origins of this iconic action hero was not really necessary.

Nonetheles­s, Disney (which took over Lucasfilm in 2012) decided that after the standalone Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

(2016), the next Star Wars anthology film was going to be about the young Solo. Directed by Ron Howard, Solo: A Star

Wars Story featured Alden Ehrenreich as the titular character. A young man making ends meet on the planet Corellia, he struggled to achieve his dreams of becoming a great pilot and owning his own ship.

He managed to escape Corellia but had to leave behind someone he really cared about.

He then joined the smuggling crew of Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) alongside Val (Thandie Newton) and Rio (Jon Favreau) — but not before getting dirty in the mud making the acquaintan­ce of one Wookie by the name of Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo).

When a heist went south, they had to make a new deal with crime lord Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), who apparently kept the company of Qi’ra, Solo’s old love interest from Corellia. The now glamorous-looking Qi’ra, played by Emilia Clarke, is intelligen­t and strong-willed, and it was hinted that she could and would do anything to survive.

Having to pull another heist — this time, bigger and more dangerous — for Vos, they turned to Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) for that additional hand, not to mention a ship. Yes, that beloved ship that all Star Wars fans know about. The Millennium Falcon.

Written by Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan, the movie basically offers answers to how Solo met Chewie, how he met Calrissian, and how he got hold of the Millennium Falcon, and so on. Some other references were thrown in for good measure, too.

No spoilers here, but an interestin­g appearance of a familiar character from earlier production will probably draw some gasps and start endless threads of online discussion­s among fans on crossing timelines.

As for the average moviegoers and those who are new to the Star Wars universe, the film revolving around thieves and bigger thieves has enough high-octane action and adventure to keep their eyes glued on the big screen.

It is fun to watch simply because its narrative and approach are simpler and lighter, when compared to the other films in the series.

Of course, when it comes to the subject of Han Solo, you cannot help but compare the performanc­e of Ehrenreich against that of the original actor Ford. Well, to Ehrenreich’s credit, he did make Solo his own without aping Ford’s version. And he brought just the right amount of youthful charm to get fans to warm up to this Solo.

In fact, by giving the character an idealistic personalit­y at this initial juncture, there is room for things to develop later to eventually shape Solo into the sardonic jaded man that we all knew him to be in Ford’s hands.

The strength of the film lies with the ensemble cast who delivers solid perfor- mances all around. Although Solo shines as the lead character, the scene-stealing Calrissian is a clear-cut favourite. Glover appeared to be enjoying himself playing the guy and the actor was truly at his best here. I definitely look forward to seeing more of him in future films.

However, while the movie was entertaini­ng due to its action sequences, the story feels rather formulaic and leaves neither much impact nor additional value to the Star Wars saga. Still, it proves to be a generally good show to catch with family and friends.

 ??  ?? The young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) finding his footing in the galaxy.
The young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) finding his footing in the galaxy.
 ??  ?? When Han (Alden Ehrenreich) meets Chewie (Joonas Suotamo).
When Han (Alden Ehrenreich) meets Chewie (Joonas Suotamo).
 ??  ?? Crime lord Dryden Vos is portrayed by Paul Bettany.
Crime lord Dryden Vos is portrayed by Paul Bettany.
 ??  ?? Donald Glover is Calrissian.
Donald Glover is Calrissian.
 ??  ?? Emilia Clarke plays Solo’s love interest Qi’ra.
Emilia Clarke plays Solo’s love interest Qi’ra.

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