First meetings for Solo

FIRST MEETINGS: Alden Ehrenreich plays a young Han Solo who meets sidekick Chewbacca, in Star Wars prequel, Solo.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

  •  Sci-fi action; Cert M, contains violence; 2hrs 14mins
  • Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo and Paul Bettany
  • Director: Ron Howard

ALDEN Ehrenreich takes on the thankless task of playing a young Han Solo in this entertaining romp through space.

Unflattering comparisons are inevitable when having anyone take on the role of a young Harrison Ford, who has become an iconic figure to Star Wars fans.

But short of Ford taking a sip from the grail of eternal youth, there didn’t seem to be any way around telling origin story, except to have a little-known actor take on the role.

All credit to him, Ehrenreich does a solid turn as Solo, without going so over-the-top as to make it look as though he is doing a Ford impression.

2018 Wedding Planner

The story begins on Han’s home planet of Corellia, where Game of Thrones dragon queen Emilia Clarke plays his hitherto unknown childhood pal and love interest Qi’ra. As the cohorts try to escape their planet – which is, of course, controlled by criminal gangs – they become separated and Han is conscripted to fight for the Empire, vowing to return one day for Qi’ra.

What follows is a long-winded plot to attain coaxium, a MacGuffin used to make hyperfuel.

It’s hard to ignore that this is all just an excuse to put Han together with Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian.

Donald Glover’s turn as Lando was the highlight of the film for me – it was flawless.
Long time Star Wars fans may want to check their expectations as the door, however. I thought the other stand-alone prequel Rogue One was far the superior movie.

Apart from an exciting train heist in space, the story relies heavily on star power to carry the plot.

Woody Harrelson is wonderful as ever as Han’s mentor, a criminal by the name of Tobias Becket, supposedly based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Long John Silver.

Thandie Newton (Westworld) plays Tobias’s wife and fellow criminal, while yet another British actress, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, is CGIed in as Lando’s droid companion.

Paul Bettany (Avengers) is not terribly scary as crime lord Dryden Vos, our main baddy.

The plot appeared to be left hanging somewhat, with questions up in the air about the fates of at least one character, although no sequel explaining their fates seems to be forthcoming.

The cinematography seemed a little dark and hazy, as though it is meant to be viewed through 3D goggles.