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Stars Wars’ Solo ride delivers the goods

Saturday May 26, 2018 Written by Published in Entertainment
The key people in Solo: A Star Wars Story now screening at the Empire Cinema. 18052503 The key people in Solo: A Star Wars Story now screening at the Empire Cinema. 18052503

It’s been a while, and it feels good to be back doing one of my favourite columns in this newspaper.

I missed writing the weekly movie review. I missed the buzz of the premieres every Thursday, the salty and buttery smell of popcorn and obviously a free entry to the movie theatre.

But I guess the thing I missed the most was being critical.

Being a critic is not an easy job. Ask the members of the Opposition; they will have a fair idea what it takes to take a swipe at the government.

The thing about being critical is, you have to have a genuine argument to back your claims and when it comes to top movies like Solo: A Star Wars Story, those arguments have to be extra-convincing.

I had my job cut short, thank goodness, with Solo: A Star Wars Story. I enjoyed it. It wasn’t that great, but really, it wasn’t a bad watch at all.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is the story of Han Solo, a rogue and a smuggler, detailing his life before he comes close to becoming a key player in the Rebel Alliance.

It is a stand-alone instalment set between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope – 10 years before the Death Star’s demolition on the Battle of Yavin.

Starring Alden Ehrenreich as Han, Solo begins in the shipbuilding world of Corellia.

Han, an aspiring pilot, tries to escape Corellia - which is run by the local gang members, with the love of his life Qi’ra who is portrayed by Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones fame.

They bribe an Imperial officer to gain passage on an outgoing transport but Qi’ra gets arrested. A dejected Han promises to come back for her. Fast forward three years, Han, an expelled student from the Imperial flight academy, is serving as an infantryman during a battle on the planet Mimban.

There he encounters Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), a criminal who poses as an Imperial officer.

Han in a bid to buy a ship so he can rescue Qi’ra, plans to join Beckett’s group. However Beckett has him arrested and thrown in an underground cell where he meets his future co-pilot Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo).

The two escape captivity and join Beckett’s group for a train heist to steal a shipment of the hyperfuel Coaxium.

Han also encounters Lando Calrissian (Donald Grover) in the journey of becoming Han Solo and years before joining the Rebellion.

The Star Wars franchise is branching out. Solo: A Star Wars Story is basically all about how Han became Han Solo, one of the key characters in the Star Wars franchise.

It’s about his journey from a scrumrat to one of the revered pilot and an iconic space smuggler.

Han is an idealist young man but when his dreams clash with the realties, he realises those realities are harder and more challenging than he expected.

It can’t be easy playing a character who is among one of the most loved in the franchise. It’s even more difficult when the character was previously played by someone who totally owned the role.

Harrison Ford was phenomenonal as Han Solo – it was his breakout role, and it made him the star he is today.

There might be a slight resemblance between the old and the new Han Solo, and Ehrenreich deserves credit for pulling it off with some convincing performances of his own.

For new Star Wars fans, Ehrenreich’s portrayal as Han Solo isn’t a problem. But for someone who has been with the Star Wars franchise for ages, there might be a slight uneasiness as to whether Ehrenreich was the right man for the job, especially considering the benchmark set by Ford.

Glover as Lando seemed like a good fit and Clarke as Qi’ra couldn’t have been any better.

In a nutshell, Solo: A Star Wars Story is a decent movie. It has a fair bit of action, some superb graphics and a portrays a great mix of emotions.

The scene where Han Solo manoeuvres the Millennium Falcon out of some tight spots in a whirling void during the Kessel Run will have you at the edge of your seat. This is probably one of the most memorable moments in the movie.

Solo: A Star Wars Story might not contribute much to the Star Wars franchise, but it still manages to do well within its means.