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Thread: Solo directed by Ron Howard

  1. #1
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    Solo directed by Ron Howard

    We don't have to extol the qualifications of Ron Howard. The Oscar-winning director has distinguished himself over the past few decades with such films as "A Beautiful Mind" "Frost/Nixon" and "Apollo 13." For "Solo - A Star Wars Story" (title is superfluous), Howard brings his playful nature to the forefront. Stuck to the genre's dogma, Howard could only tweak characterizations and not deviate from the Holy Gospel according to Lucas (and his ardent followers). The origin story is filled with lots of near misses and conflict we've come to expect from these larger than life space tales. Solo is no different from the others. We see the same background characters and the same hardware present in all Star Wars pictures. Missing is the fun. While Solo retains his clever nature, I didn't sense that same quality of cowboy recklessness Ford demonstrated in the first film (now deemed the fourth in the series). His shouting lines "Yahoo! You're all clear, Kid. Now let's blow this thing and go home." You pictured him on a horse, riding to the rescue. Instead, we have a subdued Han ("That's Hahn"), tempered by his hard life as a child, full of regrets, full of sad wisdom despite his supposed young age. I write this not-so-much as a criticism of the film or its director and more as I stated, a lament, for the innocence expressed in the first film, that wide-eyed wonder we all experience in our youth when we encounter something new. The romance that should be there isn't. It's as if Howard delivered a technically perfect movie with no soul.

    I don't mean to take away any part of the movie that is exciting and it is with one scene that harkens back to the original in homage that did spark the first film (1977) in a way I can't express here without spoiling it for fans. Needless to say, I poked my son's side and almost yelled "It's John Williams!" in the theater. He had to calm me down. You can't miss it because its the one scene in the film that can't be missed and should be the most uplifting scene for all fans of the Star Wars movies. So while I found Ford's style of acting a let down, I found Donald Glover's Lando spot on. In fact, as I said to my son, if I closed my eyes, I could hear Glover channeling Billy Dee Williams. Glover's scenes had that sparkle and wit missing from Alden Ehrenreich's interpretation of young Han Solo. Strange, too, because Ehrenreich's part in "Hail Caesar" as Hobie Doyle is exactly how he should have played Solo... and didn't. I thought Woody Harrelson, while an excellent actor, miscast as the original rebel, Becket. He played Woody, which was fine for the "The Hunger Games" but somehow out of place here. He drew too much attention to his character through his acting style; though he played the action scenes with enough James Bond flair to distinguish that aspect of the film. I thought the quiet scenes pulled me out of the movie and I kept seeing his other work come through. Too much chumminess on the set, I suppose.

    In the end, Star Wars reveals much for fans to gobble. They not only get their backstory, but they also get a glimpse of how Disney plans to take the franchise into the future, with a never-ending barrage of spin-off movies that will spew out the same kind of near-miss action we've come to expect from this genre. They run the risk of posing that too often, until a jaded public will finally say, as they have with Bond and Star Trek - enough is enough.
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    Thanks for the early review!
    I happen to be a fan of the new Star Wars films, especially Rogue One, which was also "a Star Wars story".
    The Last Jedi was a masterpiece to me. I know a lot of people despise it, that a lot of fans are so pissed off that they have sworn off Star Wars forever. I had to step WAY back from what I was seeing in The Last Jedi, because I couldn't believe my eyes.
    I could not believe what they did with Luke's character.
    But after thinking hard about the movie I concluded that it was EXACTLY what it needed to be.
    The visual candy on display was AMAZING. The third act was off the charts cool.

    I'm looking forward to SOLO and any Star Wars films in the future. I'm not of the opinion that Disney "ruined" Star Wars.
    That label will always be worn by GEORGE LUCAS, kids.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  3. #3
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    Great to hear from you, Johann, long time no interact. Trust me (a Han line), you'll love it. I'll go further, you're going to have the ride of your life. Unlike, Last Jedi, that had WAY too many dramatic moments of introspection, this movie is a wild carnival ride that's full of thrills all the way. Don't mind my nit-picking. You go and enjoy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cinemabon View Post
    Great to hear from you, Johann. Trust me (a Han line), you'll love it.
    Thanks cinemabon. Hope all is well in your universe.

    Yep, looking forward to Solo. Wanna see how Ron Howard does Star Wars. George Lucas basically taught him cinema.
    I wonder when Steven Spielberg will do one...in the late 90's he expressed interest in doing a Star Wars AND a Harry Potter.
    I'll see SOLO soon and post about it. There are flaws with The Last Jedi, but I overlook them because I was compensated with the right amount of gravitas that I seek in a Star Wars movie. But I'm fully aware of the fan backlash. I know how pissed off people are.
    Time heals all wounds, and I think in time fans will come around. I laughed a LOT during The Last Jedi, and it was because I couldn't believe that they went where they went. All the hype and build-up from The Force Awakens morphed into something completely different! And yet the character arcs evolved. The scope of what was happening re-arranged our medullas! And a lot of fans resent that.
    But. Not. Me.
    Masterpiece. I applaud Rian Johnson. The guy was crucified critically and by the fans. But he stands tall.
    All that seemed wrong with The Last Jedi actually works if you look closely.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    I saw an incredibly in-depth background video on YouTube regarding the Star Wars universe where they talk about the entire history. How they derived this information is anyone's guess. I suppose Lucas had some assistant sit down with him and they hashed it all out, since the story originated with him. At any rate, Disney has promised Lucasfilm that it will remain faithful to the canon.

    The thing I questioned about Last Jedi was its introspection into what enlightenment is. I've studied Eastern religions for a long time including mysticism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Hinduism, and the Tao. I've also taken college courses in Western religions where we took apart Judaism, Christianity and Islam - their origins, how history and political views have altered their interpretations of scripture and so on. It's always fascinating to me when writers try to meld superficial versions of these philosophies into their work. The contrasts between the Natural and the Metaphysical have always fascinated me. But when filmmakers muck it up, they can wreck the flow of a good story. The mirror scene and subsequent island sequences didn't work for me; as they tied into nothing concrete. It's as if Luke threw the entire foundation of what it means to be a Jedi away; and made it trivial. This made no sense; and with no explanation, I had to dismiss it as an error on the writer's part. So that aspect of Jedi left me empty. However, the family tree stuff and the use of power are always show stoppers. It will be interesting to see if they decide to "end" the series as Lucas originally envisioned in 1975 when he began writing the nine part series.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cinemabon View Post
    It's as if Luke threw the entire foundation of what it means to be a Jedi away; and made it trivial
    This is the main criticism of The Last Jedi. Luke acted totally against his character. (Until he didn't.)
    I'm one of the few who could see how Luke could become what he became. But most fans (in fact almost all of them) were not buying it.
    Hell, even Mark Hamill wasn't buying it when he first read the script.
    Mysticism or religious attributes of the Jedi has always been suspect. Rey is very strong in the Force (the strongest?) yet she has absolutely no knowledge of her abilities or Force powers. The scene in The Last Jedi where she might turn to the Dark side was powerful. I was completely baffled by Luke's behavior until he faced the armada of Walkers. Then I put my fist in the air.
    And when he brushed his shoulder, I had forgiven any complaints I had up to that point.
    Now, I'm not sure if Luke is the Last Jedi or if Rey is.
    She's the only one around by the end of the movie. All Jedi were dead, so is she the "New Hope"?
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    I liked how Yoda called Luke "Young Skywalker" too.

    Kylo Ren has become the de facto Baddie in this new series. I can't wait to see the next episode.
    I also like Rose- she gets a lot of indifference from fans, but I really like Rose. She fit into Star Wars just fine to me.
    Snoke's demise was a surprise. I didn't see that coming, so kudos to Rian Johnson for not being predictable.
    I repeat: the third act of The Last Jedi was Aces.
    Just like how the final act of Rogue One raised the roof, I was stoked by the end of Last Jedi.
    They actually tied up a lot of loose ends, i.e. the original trilogy and how it connects to the new direction the series must take.
    Leia's "big moment" was interesting to me, and if I had one complaint, it was that she was under-used.
    The movie was all about Luke, so Leia was overshadowed to me. They could've given her morescreen time and a more walloping use of her Force powers. But seeing her use them was Cool. We've never seen that in Star Wars.
    Visually, The Last Jedi impressed me. That kind of SFX and production design is what I want to see these days.
    It's great to know that special effects and big action can still be done right.
    If I was a kid, that might've been my favorite movie ever.
    I'm a pretty good nit-picker of movies, and the backlash over how "Bad" The Last Jedi is even surprised me.
    No joke- fans DESPISED that movie. Some hate it even worse than the prequels & Jar-Jar Binks.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  8. #8
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    Two big thumbs up for Solo.

    Impressive action, sprawling visual candy, as a Star Wars fan, I approve.
    Ron Howard has added another great film to his filmography.
    The only criticism I have is the characters. Are they as well-rounded as the originals? No.
    Only Chewbacca was as well-rounded and THEN SOME. Chewy made this movie for me. Loved pretty much every scene he was in.
    Lando is an interesting guy here- I won't spoil anything, but he intrigued me.
    I loved the production design- this was what Star Wars should be. We had someone at the helm who leaves no doubt.
    I also loved how we get to see a different aspect of the Star Wars universe- oppression under the Empire first-hand.
    I'll see it again, because it honestly renews my faith in cinema.
    Thank you Ron Howard.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  9. #9
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    The Rian Johnson Star Wars, which I reviewed favorably here, got a very high critical rating, Metascore 86%, and this one (Ron Howard?) gets only a 63. I like Alden Ehrenreich from the relatively obscure movies he's been in, but he is rather an unknown quantity, and no Harrison Ford. On the other hand, Woody Harrelson, with that familiar voice, is a quantity all too well known.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Knipp View Post
    Woody Harrelson, with that familiar voice, is a quantity all too well known.
    Agreed. Woody's character baffled me. Was Ron Howard able to "direct" him? LOL
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  11. #11
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    Problem when you hired an actor known for one kind of delivery is that you get what you hired. I suppose that has some star appeal and box office appeal for insurance purposes. However, Star Wars is famous for hiring unknowns (in most instances) and I can think of only a few instances when using a veteran worked (Obi Won being perhaps the best example). The story relies more on the situational aspect and the action than it does on acting (as we've seen, even Mark Hamill couldn't destroy the original). Howard may have the unfortunate distinction of having the sequel with the smallest box office return.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cinemabon View Post
    Howard may have the unfortunate distinction of having the sequel with the smallest box office
    That may be true.
    It doesn't reflect on the film we got. Ron Howard really gave us a smooth Star Wars movie, and I for one am very happy.
    Timing is everything, and I think it was released too soon.
    Nobody seems to care, reviews are lukewarm. I LOVED SOLO.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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