It didn't feel that long ago that the last Star Wars movie The Last Jedi was out, in fact it was a mere five months rather than the Disney 12 months or the George Lucas 3 Years. I for one was looking forward to seeing it, I enjoy the Star Wars movie ever since watching the first one on television. When the frst came out in 1977, I was too young to know anything about. Looks like I'm showing my age.
So far since Disney has brought the rights to the franchise, they've bought out four including this one. Two have been sequels and two have been prequels. The first prequel was released iin 2016 and that followed the efforts of Jyn Erso and a group of Rebels stealing the plans for the Death Star. It was set immediately before the first film, Star Wars IV - A New Hope.
This is set some time before the events of the A New Hope. It shows us the history and background of everyone's favourite space smuggler, Han Solo and how he befriended Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian. It also featured Han winning the Millennium Falcon off off Lando and completing the infamous Kessel Run in 12 Parsecs.
It didn't feature Jabba, the Hutt. It did mention him in all but name setting up a sequel when it comes. It also featured a surprise guest appearance from well know character from the prequels. I've given too much away so won't mention it any further. I did like the guest appearance but I would never have guessed s/he be back.
It won't win any oscars for acting, it was ok enough. The film had had a troubled past with the first directors being sacked and Ron Howard of Apollo 13 film fame to mention just one of his films took over. There were reports that Alden Ehrenreich needed acting lessons because Ron wasn't too happy. Whether it was true or not, Alden did ok. The other actors were decent enough including Oscar nominated Woody Harrelson who was the biggest star in the film.
Also appearing was veteran actress Thandie Newton whose character Val was the first non-white female in the films. Maz Kanata was played by Lupita Nyong'o but she was stop motion so she couldn't be called the first non-white female in the film.
The lead female was played by Emelia Clarke who rose to fame on the back of Game of Thrones as the Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons. Emelia had her normal hair unlike the white blonde wig that she normally wore in the television series. Unlike her character in Game, she does keep her clothes on, after all it is a family film. They'll be no Princess Leia metal bikini scenes anymore so no point hoping because its not going to happen. There were a number of people who had been upset that the previous films had had female leads in the case of Rey and Jyn Erso, for those, you have nothing to fear, the action is front and centre on Han Solo. When Qi'ra does re-appear after the first appearance, she does stick with Han and is an equal, sharing the lime light with him.
There were two guest appearances from Star Wars veterans, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Warwick Davies who has played a number of roles but most memorably as Wicket. In Solo,you actually hear Warwick speak. Warwick is shown in the flesh at the end of the film reprising a character that he played in The Phantom Menace nearly twenty years ago now.
I'd be hard pressed to find something that I didn't like as I'm just a big Star Wars fan. The scenary is great using real scenary unlike the green screen that so typified the sequels. Real world locations used were Fawley Power Station in Hampshire, United Kingdom for parts of Corellia, Han's home world. The coast of Fuerteventura provided the scenary for Savareen, the desert planet at the end of the movie. I'm trying to find out where Vandor was filmed so if anyone knows...
At the box office, it failed to make the impact Disney had hoped for, according to B.B.C., it only made $103 million at the cinema over Veterans weekend in the United States. The fact that it didn't do that well at the cinema shouldn't put you off seeing it, it is a worthwhile film in the series despite its faults. If you love Star Wars, you'll love this. The next film out is in December 2019 so there's a bit more of a pause till the next one. In the meantime, they'll be quite a few Marvel films to fill the gap if you're into those. If anyones talking about oversaturation of films, its Marvel more than Star Wars.
If you're interested to know why they released it now at the end of May. The first Star Wars film came out on May 25th 1977, 41 years ago. If they wanted to celebrate, they should've done it last year, 40th anniversary rather than the 41st.