Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

solo_a_star_wars_story_posterSolo: A Star Wars Story comes at a bit of a difficult time for Star Wars, although most of the franchise’s issues have been vastly blown out of proportion. All of the new films have been commercial and critical successes, grossing over a billion dollars each (with The Force Awakens becoming the 3rd-highest grossing film of all time) and have connected both with longtime fans as well as a new generation eager for their own Star Wars stories. But there have been bumps along the way for Disney, who took over the reins from George Lucas in 2012, magnified by a fanbase that is vocal and demanding, occasionally to the point of absurdity. There was an outcry when decades of Expanded Universe stories were struck from the canon, giving Lucasfilm and Disney a clean slate to start fresh with their own stories and timeline. The Force Awakens was an unprecedented smash, seemingly designed expressly to please longtime fans, but it had its detractors who complained that it was basically a rehash of A New Hope. Rogue One was likewise a hit, but stories of massive reshoots led to (untrue) rumors of a production troubled by interference from Disney, while some fans found the characters to be less compelling than the original heroes or the new trio from The Force Awakens. Then The Last Jedi dared to be different and bold, and critics responded with enthusiasm, but a vocal minority strongly objected to how the film handled Luke Skywalker and planned boycotts and sabotage of the film’s online ratings. The Star Wars fandom has never been more divided, and it has become impossible for the artists behind these films to please everyone.

Of course, that was never really possible, but the internet magnifies the voices of the angry while ignoring the voices of the masses who seem to have generally enjoyed everything they’ve been given so far. We live in an age where fandoms increasingly claim ownership of the things they love, and the expectation has grown that studios have an obligation to deliver exactly the film that each individual wants, just as they had always imagined it in their head, regardless of the fact that there are thousands of different viewpoints about the “correct” direction of the franchise. These people want to only focus on characters from the original trilogy, those people want to honor the prequels, others just want to see the new heroes. These people want family films, others want R-rated “adult” movies. These people want movies about the Force and the Jedi, others want to spend time in the world of bounty hunters and smugglers. Some want Old Republic movies, others want to fill the gaps between the prequels and the original trilogy, while more would rather see what happened after the fall of the Empire. Some want the movies to have a political side, the way George Lucas intended, while others take any instance of inclusive representation of women, people of color, or LGBT individuals as a “SJW” or “Feminazi” agenda from people who only want things to be “PC”. Star Wars is such a broad franchise, with so many diverse fans, that no movie will ever satisfy everyone. Yet everyone expects every movie to satisfy them personally. It’s a lose-lose situation.

All of this is to say that Solo: A Star Wars Story, much like Avengers: Infinity War, does not exist in a bubble, and it’s impossible to try to completely separate the film from the context in which it exists. Solo comes in with its own set of burdens that could potentially threaten its success alongside the current state of the film industry and the Star Wars fandom. Its production featured the departure of its original directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, partway through filming over “creative differences”, leading to Ron Howard stepping in to finish the film, while early negative fan reactions to the film’s lead fueled rumors of acting coaches and major concerns by Disney. And then there’s the constant talk that “nobody asked for this,” that a film about Han Solo’s origins was not something people particularly desired to see. But my goal is always to take each movie at face value, judged not on everything that went on behind-the-scenes, or the prevailing winds of the current internet conversation, with the hope of enjoying it. The fact that Solo works pretty well is a testament to the creative forces behind it, as well as the guiding hands of producer Kathleen Kennedy, who has stuck to her guns as the president of Lucasfilm and who has a vision of the types of Star Wars movies she wants to see made. Solo is a fun adventure, filled with the action and humor we expect from Star Wars, punctuated by moments of connection that enrich these characters we know so well, and holding a few surprise cards up its sleeve. It may be the “safest” Star Wars movie yet, in that it is neither revolutionary nor particularly challenging, without as much to say as earlier films, but it’s an enjoyable ride that combines the new with the familiar in unexpected ways.

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Quote of the Day


Sookie: OK, don’t panic.

Lorelai: Good opening line. What’s wrong?

Sookie: We’re out of ice.

Lorelai: How could we be out of ice? We had a ton of ice. It was like a penguin habitat in there.

Sookie: I don’t know how it happened, I just know it happened and somehow we have to deal with it.

Lorelai: I will go and get some then.

(Luke comes in carrying ice.)

Lorelai: Oh! Oh my God! You’re a vision! Sookie, we have ice!

Sookie: Hallelujah.

Lorelai: How did you know?

Luke: Well, a good rule of thumb is you can never have too much ice.

Lorelai: Oh, you’re the best.

Gilmore Girls — Season 1: Episode 6 — “Rory’s Birthday Parties”

Quote of the Day

 

Harken: You fought with Captain Reynolds in the war?

Zoe: Fought with a lot of people in the war.

Harken: And your husband?

Zoe: Fight with him sometimes, too.

Harken: Is there any particular reason you don’t wish to discuss your marriage?

Zoe: Don’t see that it’s any of your business, is all. We’re very private people.

(Cut to…)

Wash: The legs. Oh yeah, definitely have to say it was her legs. You can put that down. Her legs, and where her legs meet her back. Actually, that whole area. That, and above it. … Have you seen what she wears? Forget about it. Have you ever been with a warrior woman?

Firefly – Episode 3 – “Bushwhacked”

Quote of the Day

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Xander: Flowers for milady.

Buffy: I think they call those balloons.

Xander: Yeah, stick ’em in water, maybe they’ll grow.

Willow: Not to be outdone…

Buffy: Homework!

Willow: It’s my way of saying, ‘get well soon’.

Buffy: You know, chocolate says that even better.

Willow: I did all your assignments. All you have to do is sign your name.

Buffy: Chocolate means nothing to me.

Cordelia: Nobody told me I was supposed to bring a gift. I was out of the loop on gifts.

Giles: It’s, it’s tradition among, um… people.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Season 2: Episode 18 – “Killed by Death

Quote of the Day

Benjamin Sisko: Hey, Jake that was a hell of a game! A hell of a game!

Jake Sisko: I gave up ten runs.

Benjamin Sisko: They’re Vulcans. If they were humans you’d have held them to just two or three.

Jake Sisko:When you put it that way.

Benjamin Sisko: Yes. Now, pardon me. I owe you an apology.

Rom: No. Unless you really want to.

Benjamin Sisko: I’m sorry.

Rom: Apology accepted.

Benjamin Sisko: If you have some time one day, maybe you can teach me how to bunt.

Rom: Sure… What’s a bunt?

Nog: That’s my dad.

Solok: I fail to see why you are celebrating. The Ferengi’s bunt was an accident. And you still lost the game.

Benjamin Sisko: You are absolutely right. And I couldn’t be happier. Quark, a round of drinks for the house on my tab.

Quark: I’m way ahead of you, Captain.

Solok: You are attempting to manufacture a triumph where none exists.

Kasidy Yates: I’d say he succeeded.

Julian Bashir: To manufactured triumphs.

Benjamin Sisko: Manufactured triumph. Hear, hear!

Niners: Hear, hear!

Solok: This is a typical human reaction, based on emotionalism and illogic.

Benjamin Sisko: Did I hear irritation in that voice?

Solok: Certainly not.

Julian Bashir: That sounded positively defensive to me.

Miles O’Brien: With a hint of anger.

Quark: And just a touch of jealousy.

Kasidy Yates: And a lot of bitterness.

Ezri Dax: Are you always this emotional?

Solok:I refuse to engage in this human game of taunting.

Ezri Dax: Human? Did I forget to wear my spots today?

Quark: All that intelligence and he still doesn’t know what a human looks like.

Kira Nerys: Captain. Here’s something else for your desk.

(She throws him a baseball signed by the team.)

Benjamin Sisko: Well, will you look at that. Would you like to sign it?

(Solok leaves.)

Benjamin Sisko: No.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season 7: Episode 4 – “Take Me Out to the Holosuite”

What I want to see from tomorrow’s Oscar nominations

The Oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow morning, and while I try every year to predict the winners I won’t even attempt to try to guess the nominees.  However, I do have some things I would like to see when the nominations are announced tomorrow.  I’ve divided these into two categories: actual, genuine “Possibilities” and “Not a Chance”.  I may be hopeful, but I try to keep things at least moderately realistic.  I’ve left out some of the more obvious ones, like Gravity for Best Picture, Director, Actress and all of the technical categories, simply because I think that they’re foregone conclusions and I’m not really sweating them.  Come back later tomorrow after the nominations have been announced (and I’ve gotten home and can actually write about them) for some quick thoughts on who made the cut and who was left out.  In the meantime, read on for the names and films I would like to hear Chris Hemsworth read outtomorrow. Continue reading