Solo: A Star Wars Story
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Chewbacca, Woody Harrelson
Extra Feature Rating: ★★★★★
Review Spoilers: Moderate
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Despite the low box office returns and what some other outlets may have said, over here at Nerdophiles we really enjoyed Solo and think it’s pretty great. Cody Eastlick described it as ‘the spinoff no one really asked for but we have nevertheless been given” and, to be honest, it’s an apt description. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t one heck of a Star Wars journey.
Where as Rogue One was a more serious take on the Star Wars universe, Solo takes a more comical approach. Drawing from classic heist-style films, the Han Solo-centric prequel bring a very different tone to the series. The film is set well before A New Hope and introduces us to a very different young hero than we’ve seen before. We know Han Solo from the original films but what we don’t necessarily know is how he became the man we all grew to love in the original trilogy.
And, to be fair, this movie doesn’t necessarily tell us that story.
Instead we see Han Solo taken on a somewhat swashbuckling story across the universe that’s full of quirky characters, dangerous heists, loss, betrayal, and much more. He’s a young man looking for some place – any place really – in a bigger universe. And while he’d like you to think he’s a scoundrel and a thief we se that deep down he’s got a better heart than he’ll give himself credit for in the end.
At times, Solo can be a little to reverent to the original films. There are a few too many parallels in the dialogue — it becomes pretty heavy handed. The majority of the nods or not-so-subtle references to the later-set films becomes tedious after a way. Solo really shines when it let’s itself be itself. It shows us some unique characters and gives us a look at a galaxy that has more recently come under the control of the budding Empire.
And, of course, it gives us Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian.
Long story short, Solo is a really great adventure that is at times incredibly entertaining. It’s a different sort of Star Wars story and I think that had it come out at a different time it would have likely been received much better than it has been so far.
There are a ton of amazing special features included on the Solo blu-ray release — and a few more included if you happen to redeem your digital copy. This release gets a five star rating as far as special features go because, honestly, it doesn’t get much better than this. The folks over at Disney and Lucasfilms went all out to really give fans some great content.
The best featurettes are the ones that focus on the making-of the film’s more epic sequences. There’s whole, detailed breakdowns of the car chase on Corellia (‘Chase on Corellia’), ‘The Train Heist,’ and the Kessel run (‘Into the Maelstrom: Inside the Kessel Run). They are some really awesome explanations of how the scenes were made as well the inspirations not just for the action itself but the set designs. Both the cast and crew chime get to chime in and it’s always great to see just how much the story and the series as a whole really means to people. This cast is just so excited to be a part of the Star Wars universe and to be telling this story — and it shows. There’s even a special feature called ‘Scoundrels, Droids, Creatures and Cards: Welcome to Fort Ypso’ which talks about the scenes at Fort Ypso as well as one of the most important parts of Star Wars lore… sabacc!
There are a handful of additional special features such as ‘Kasdan on Kasdan’ which features Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan talking about their experience working on the film together. ‘Team Chewie’ and ‘Becoming a Droid: L3-37’ meanwhile feature behind-the-scenes looks at the titular characters and the challenges that were faced in bringing them to life. Lastly, ‘Remaking the Millennium Falcon’ takes a look at how the iconic ship was re-invented for this movie as a younger, sleeker starship whose destiny we all know so well.
One of the cooler special features is the ‘Solo: The Director and Cast Roundtable’ which features about twenty minutes of questions and commentary by the cast of film. They sit around a sabacc table as Ron Howard ‘moderates’ and it’s just a really cool thing to watch. Equally cool are the deleted and extended scenes which are always worth watching.
There are also a handful of Movies Anywhere “Exclusives” though most of them appear to be clips from longer special features. But there’s a fun one where everyone’s asked their essential Star Wars film if nothing else!
I didn’t get a chance to see Solo in theatres and so I’ve spent a while wondering if all the people who have been downplaying it were right. I went into the film guarded but was pleasantly surprised. Do we need a Han Solo standalone movie? No, of course not. But Solo is still an entertaining look at an earlier time in our beloved hero’s life. Solo honestly doesn’t do much to really drive Han’s narrative nor does it have much of a lasting impact on the storyline but it’s fun.
And there’s nothing wrong with fun. Star Wars fans should definitely check out Solo! It’s out today on blu-ray, DVD, and digital!