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Han-Solo-Movie-First-Reactions-Reviews-Ron-Howard

After 41 years of waiting we have our Han Solo movie. The special Edition release of Attack of the Clones is about as good. It’s not as good as Revenge of the Sith. In the Disney Sci-Fi universe it’s not as good as Black Panther or any Captain America Movie. It’s not as good as Rogue 1. It’s not as charming as Ant-Man. Thor : Ragnorak is considerably better. From the Abrams universe Star Trek Beyond is also considerably better.

The Rotten Tomatoes score of about 70% is fair, maybe slightly generous. Metacritic from IMDB has it at just over 60%. Split the difference

The movie is not as bad as Last Jedi. Han is cast well but the script is simply bad. There may have been nothing more Ron Howard could have done. It’s on the Kasdan’s. The director came close but they couldn’t save this movie.

Here’s the issues (as vaguely as possible)

Uneven Casting

Han and Lando work out, you’d figure biggest challenge has been met and the movies going to be great, but it never kicks in to gear. Quite the reverse.

Then it seems the casting people just pilfered the Marvel actors like Vision/ Paul Bettany as the bad guy Dryden Vos. He’s a lazily created alien who is essentially human. John Favreau gets his voice in to the movie. Everything looks a lot like the Avengers world. This is also true for the starship design and most of the CGI aliens. Lazy and quick and worst of all – familiar and boring. We’re talking Hellboy and the Golden Army or the aliens from Avengers 1 scattered through the universe. At times its too close to Marvel.

In an awful up front fail we meet the feared gangster Lady Proxima, who is basically Audrey 2 and a millipedes lovechild. Its not compelling. To complete the sort of lazy fails we see in this movie the voice is simply Linda Hunt, from one of the NCIS shows. Okay, she’s a great actress with an Academy Award but perhaps an interesting unknown may have been better?  It doesn’t kill it, but it’s unsettling. It stops the movie dead for a half a second. There’s just a few too many fails like this sprinkled in for you to really develop a lot of goodwill for moments where the movie needs you to be generous.

Aside from Han and Lando no one else works out. This includes the now standard poorly programmed android. And the pure CGI character with 4 arms.

Love Interest “Q’ra”(kira) cant act through the mediocre script and has no chemistry with Han. The character isn’t appealing. She feels very Marvel. I dont blame the actress. Her costumes were uninteresting and we never learn too much about her beyond “very early Han Solo girlfriend apparently from the same planet.”

Woody Harrelson just cant do anything with his poorly conceived character Beckett. This movie starts to feel contrived every time Woody speaks a word. We’ve seen Harrison Ford’s character foreshadowed better by other actors in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which is where they sort of took the Beckett character from. Woody was a lot better as a better developed character in the last Planet of the Apes movie (which is slightly better than this).

Then theres the cruel paradox-  the movie is actually kind of okay for about a half an hour because dammit they nailed the casting with Alden Ehrenreich and the Imperial Navy seems interesting. It’s a lot like the first JJ Abrams Star Trek that way. He’s as good a Han Solo as Chris Pine is a Captain Kirk, both deserve better movies.

Serving the Empire Had More Potential

Han’s stint serving the Empire felt fine. More than fine, it was going great for a minute or two.  I was really staring to enjoy it. He came off like Han Solo but then we quickly move on to his post Imperial career just as we’re starting to invest in the idea he’s going to serve the Empire for most of this movie. Sadly we move on and things get sort of lazy story-wise. If the movie had been his Imperial career maybe it’s better. It had a ‘Kelly’s Heroes’ kind of potential.

They also just have no more planets up their sleeve. In Star Wars the desert planet is a giant desert, The city planet is a giant city. So we’ve seen all the major terrain types now. For this movie it means that Corellia was exactly Coruscant.

Chewbacca FAIL

Its not the actor its the concept of the new fully CGI Chewbacca. He always looks like an Effect. Not as bad as Jar Jar Binks, but bad. I do not think there’s a practical suit prop. I think the actor just walks around in a unitard with ping pong balls on it. If their IS a suit they’re enhancing it more with CGI and its just wrong looking. He’s very smooth, very CGI too often. It doesn’t kill the movie, but as the movie slows down you start to notice.

However the initial meeting between the two might be the best character interaction of the movie. The natural light in the scene is low and hides the CGI fails for a while.

Its Been Done Before

In Solo we get Unfrozen Giddy and dumb Han Solo with bad taste in women. Essentially everything we hate about the character in Return of the Jedi and Force Awakens is on display most of the time. A dash more cynicism would have been just fine. Its like getting frozen made him revert to his younger self.

Slower & Slower

Every increment of 10 minutes that goes by you feel the movie losing momentum. It’s probably too long. The very fast pace is too breakneck for too long. Moving fast, not spending time with the right set of foes. It’s just hectic.

Don’t Blame Ron Howard

Ron Howard does capture a Lucas feel early on and does as much as a non writing director could do.  It does feel like a Star Wars movie most of the time but the Avengers are right on the edge. I really feel the script wasn’t that great.

We mostly meet poorly explained and convenient transplants from other franchises. There’s road warrior elements too in one rival criminal clan. They’re transplanted straight off Fury Road.

Bad Production and Cheap Aliens

The concept art was not reassuring but they overcame it and made a couple of good trailers for this ho-hum movie. Sadly the Avengers are now the dominant Disney Sci-Fi franchise so we have the same creatures and effects.

At this point an alien is too easy to create. A few scars or a helmet and some breathing issues and they’re ready to go.

Mandela Effect?

Who doesn’t remember the highly superstitious Han Solo’s signature small brass dice-like charm on a keychain?

Me either. Its a charm on the controls of the Falcon we see for a moment in The Last Jedi and yes, they’re probably going to find a way to CGI it into the other movies. I mean maybe we see them in Force Awakens but really it’s this new cannon and its a square peg in a round hole again. Han Solo is not superstitious as much as instinctual. It’s a new incongruous dimension to the character i sort of tried to ignore.

It was forced and cheap. Im sure the charm is available for around 40 bucks from the Disney Store. Thats the only reason its in the movies

UPDATE- Is the Mandela Effect Attempt legitimate or is it merely well researched? Its left over research from OTHER movies at this point (likely Last Jedi). To be fair, there IS a similar, but really anomalous object hanging in the Falcon cockpit in A New Hope. The chain is much longer on this charm (or stray wire). You can see it momentarily right as they fire up the Falcon and split Tattooine. Seems more silver than brass. It’s not where it should be when we get more looks inside the Falcon’s cockpit again later. I may be experiencing a Mandela Effect. 

Its hard to say, but I am re-watching the original movies with an eye towards it so I will update if needed.

Will 3-D Help?

NO. Not at all, it just adds to the amount of money you’ll be out after seeing it.

As much as I regret NOT seeing Blade Runner 2049 in 3 D is as much as I regretted seeing this one that way. It doesn’t add anything.

MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE 2 Reunion 

At least they keep the love interest (Thandie Newton) and the Bad Guy (Paul Bettany) from Mission:IMPOSSIBLE 2 out of the same scenes.

 

Musical Score

The score is better than Last Jedi and is actually good most of the time

Biggest Issues

All Non Lucas spaceships and aliens are under-thought and simple. Its just not Alien to the eye. Its bland and under-thought most of the time.  The pure CGI creations are boring and box like. So we have the Falcon and its all great when we mix it up with some TIE fighters, but the movie can’t live with prosperity and just ditches that moment pretty fast.

I’ve already described the way we just create aliens with some colored make up and a bizarre suit of clothing now. (or pure CGI). The Paul Bettany alien (is he an alien?) is just very simple and bad,  but I guess as his other Disney job is Vision of the Avengers he just wasn’t going to do another role where hes completely unrecognizable. You can understand why. He should just been human. Total costume fail.

Timeline Disaster

Just WHERE THE HELL are we at the end? I left confused. Reding some explanations, the thought Han Solo is supposed to be 16 at start of movie is just silly. And all just to create a Marvel Like semi-easter egged reveal we get an incongruous character from a bad pre-quel that we had really moved on from.

Afterwards

It might be too long. Let’s say it ends when it should and its gonna be hard to shoe horn in another pre Episode 4 story

Walking out someone cheered my rebel alliance t shirt and i instinctively said “It sucked.” and tossed my 3-D glasses into the recycling bin. It wasn’t a bad trip to an American Movie Theater in the 21st century. At least no one had shot me.

I wish I had saved the extra few bucks on 3-D. Its worth 12-15 bucks to see. Not 20. Its not as good as Rogue 1. We now have some Star Wars movies that are just mediocre. This is one of them.

 

If you truly LOVE Star Wars youre going to think “They DID save this, its 51% good” There’s some argument to be made for its not the best Sci-Fi movie of the year and maybe, depending on your view of Deadpool 2, not the best Sci-Fi movie in theaters at this time.

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