Tuesday, 22 May 2018
With his fine filmmaking pedigree and a track record of crafting satisfying and diverse movies across all genres, alongside his prior friendship/historical ties to George Lucas, I had no fears that Ron Howard would deliver a solid and satisfying adventure in the STAR WARS universe. But Solo: A Star Wars Story is so much more than that- it's a genuine triumph and a job truly well done, extremely well done, by the director, his fine acting ensemble, and a superb behind the scenes group. Full of big-screen thrills, drama, danger, a swirl of romance, and BIG surprises and revelations, the film is a lovely counterpoint to the often grim events of 2017's The Last Jedi and 2016's Rogue One. Simply put, Solo is a lot of fun- a hyperspace jump full of it!
Woody Harrelson commented in a recent interview that he thought the Solo script was terrific, and it certainly is- the Kasdans deliver the storytelling goods: fast moving, full of great characters and incident, with a fine grasp on their favourite character of Han Solo and the genesis of his relationships with Chewbacca and Lando. Such exemplary material proves a great blueprint, but its enhanced through Howard's assured and confident camera lens, and via an equally stellar cast, all uniformly excellent throughout, of which up and coming Alden Ehrenreich is a fine prequel successor to Harrison Ford. Ford IS, and always will be, Han Solo, as producer Gary Kurtz once remarked in the seventies, but Ehrenreich captures the same likeable, reckless, endearing, mad and spirited qualities of the character, alongside more of a wounded soul with sorrowful eyes at the start of Solo's original journey from the absolute depths of the now legendary industrial world of Corellia. Donald Glover is a scene-stealer as the smooth yet gutsy Lando, in ways in which Billy Dee Williams will be proud, whilst Joonas Suotamo as Chewie is perfect, clearly working hard to make sure his interpretation of the Wookiee matches what Peter Mayhew once did- it still rankles AFICIONADO that Joonas's name was not properly given a credit on the singular movie character poster.
As expected, the effects and sound design are first rate, with John Powell's music fusing well with John Williams classic material and his new theme for Han. Plus so many great moments for Classic and Prequel fans to enjoy and spot in the movie- I loved the further referencing back to the classic Marvel comic books and Expanded Universe, now given official filmic reality. Above all else, Solo surely captures the beloved STAR WARS feel that the general public will appreciate, and especially die-hard fans who were more than a little upset by the developments of The Last Jedi. A sequel to Solo, continuing to link the pieces in towards A New Hope, would be great to have- let's hope this new anthology film's fun and warmth of heart tome finds its audience at the box office, and that Ron Howard continues his input with the franchise and the Millennium Falcon's crew somewhere, somehow.
Go see it!
AFICIONADO RATING: 4.5 out of 5
With thanks to Disney UK for the advance screening ticket.
|One of the Mimban-based Imperial Stormtroopers.|
Where the Empire spreads its cruel dominion, so too comes the presence of the Imperial Stormtroopers. We've seen many iterations of them now, yet Solo: A Star Wars Story cleverly reveals new types of environmental fighting soldier that will surely keep the 501st fans entertained for years to come...
|Imperial Range Troopers protect the Conyeyex transport on Vandor.|
|Mimban Stormtroopers endure the swamps.|
|A new variation of the speeder bike pilot.|
Monday, 21 May 2018
A villainous character whom we are set to see on Corellia, at the beginning of Solo: A Star Wars Story, not much is yet known about the new alien character of Moloch, except that the creature is part of the slimy White Worms gang there, and that contact with the Imperials is inevitable, as seen in a recent TOPPS card. It'll be most interesting to discover what part Moloch eventually plays in the formation of Solo's character and instincts when the film comes out this week...
This is the week that the cast and crew of Solo: A Star Wars Story have been waiting for, as the fans and the public finally get to see their hard work come to fruition. Good luck!
Latest TV spots:
|Cover of the new Entertainment Weekly special on Solo.|
Behind the Scenes (People Magazine):
|Chewie and friends on The Graham Norton Show. Image: BBC/TWITTER.|
Emilia Clarke and Phoebe Waller-Bridge on The Graham Norton Show (18th May 2018 edition):
|Cover for the May 25th, 2018 released soundtrack. Score by John Powell.|
Latest online interviews:
Emilia Clarke and cast:
Emilia Clarke- Cannes:
Donald Glover and Phoebe Waller-Bridge:
Sunday, 20 May 2018
MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD!
We don't yet know what the mysterious cargo is on that Conveyeyx transport that galactic gangster Dryden Vos wants Tobias Beckett and his skilled crew to liberate (Kyber Crystals perhaps?), but we do know that whatever it is is worthy a considerable fortune, and certainly too enticing for more than one group of thieves to go after it, as the ominous, well-armed and powerful marauder swoop/speeder bike clan Cloud-Riders, led by the formidable Enfys Nest (based on characters created for early Classic MARVEL STAR WARS comics), soon arrive on Vandor to try and liberate it from any rivals, plus the transport's heavy-duty Imperial protection, in what will surely be a showcase scene for Solo: A Star Wars Story.
He's unintentionally led Indy into a trap, and now Mutt is taking our mature hero on a spin through academia streets in order to avoid their thuggish pursuers, for a speedy chase scene from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a film which celebrated its landmark Tenth Anniversary this weekend!
Saturday, 19 May 2018
|A sophisticated new villain: Dryden Vos, played by Paul Bettany.|
MINOR SPOILER ALERT!
In his later years as a freelance smuggler for hire, we've seen Han Solo face up to a number of genuine types of scum and villainy, most notably the foul Jabba the Hutt and dogged bounty hunter Boba Fett. But before them all, however, right at the start of our hero's breakout career as a top pilot, there's the dangerous and calculating intergalactic gangster Dryden Vos, as played in the Ron Howard version of Solo: A Star Wars Story by acclaimed British actor, and regular Howard movie veteran, Paul Bettany.
And Han will certainly have to tread very carefully with the simmeringly volatile Vos- not just whilst part of his and Tobias Beckett's unique team sent out to capture a mysterious cargo from the cold climes of Vandor, but also in the fact that Han's ex-lover, the mysterious Qi'Ra, is now linked to the sociopath gangster, acting as a formidable and impressive 'lieutenant' helping him instigate his plans across the galaxy.
|Friendly fighting? Or something else?|
Operating from a slick space yacht base that shows opulent wealth, frequented by the best and the brightest of 'business' operators working within the more shadier realms of the Imperial stranglehold, we'll also witness Vos's penchant for collecting rare items (Mandalorian armour, for example) as well as being efficiently versed in using all kinds of weaponry at his disposal. Indeed, Dryden Vos is clearly a man difficult to out-think and truly unique in his attitudes of crime and punishment.
But then, has he underestimated Han Solo...?
|Paul Bettany and Ron Howard on set. Image: Ron Howard/TWITTER.|
Bettany and Clarke interview:
Bettany on Jimmy Fallon:
Despite the troubled times of the galactic conflict between Republic and Separatists, there are still moments where our heroic Jedi and their allies can shine through to win the day, as seen during the epic underwater civil war between the Mon Calamari versus the Quarren, part of the ambitious opening episodes of The Clone Wars Season Four.
Friday, 18 May 2018
|A legend is born in Solo: A Star Wars Story.|
Buckle up, baby, this film's almost here!
|Enjoying the spirit of Cannes.|
The latest coverage from The Star Wars Show:
|One of the many special magazines out in the US.|
Other news and clips:
The Los Angeles premiere:
|The Millennium Falcon- only to be operated by particular talents!|
The writers speak!:
Alden Ehrenreich interview (BBC Online):
|Thandie Newton at Cannes wearing her special STAR WARS celebration dress.|
Donald Glover interview:
Emilia Clarke interview:
Joonas Suotamo interview:
Ron Howard interviews:
Thursday, 17 May 2018
Confidently taking the control reins of an Imperial Hauler vessel, the good-natured Ardennian alien mercenary/pilot Rio Durant (a terrific character name conceived by the Kasdans that wouldn't look out of place in a classic Humphrey Bogart B/W movie, for sure!) plays his part in the Conveyex transport heist, in a scene from the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story.
At home on and off screen as an actor and director, and now TV producer for an all-new STAR WARS live-action series for the not too distant future (set a short time after the events of Return of the Jedi), of which he'll also be penning half the episodes, the ever-talented and highly likeable Jon Favreau brings a fun simian-toned voice to Durant as seen in early teaser footage.