During an adventure into a dark criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion. Described as a space western, the film centers on the young Han Solo and his adventures with his Wookiee side-kick Chewbacca, including their encounter with Lando Calrissian. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “Solo: A Star Wars Story is a perfectly serviceable origin story for the famous titular character. The acting and direction provide an outstanding mix of visuals and characterization.” KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror, Kimbirly O. adds, “Howard’s optimistic effort on this prequel doesn’t save the film. He made a good film, but if it was a stand-alone film, I would not predict a plethora of sequels.” See their full reviews below.

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Solo: A Star Wars Story
By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Link to Video review: https://youtu.be/3mUDXJqVIYE

Solo: A Star Wars Story is a perfectly serviceable origin story for the famous titular character. The acting and direction provide an outstanding mix of visuals and characterization. This is definitely an essential watch for any Star Wars fan.

The movie follows young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) on his journey to become the famed hero pilot. As a talented maverick, Solo joins forces with the thief Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and his crew to escape poverty and become part of something bigger. However, one of their heists goes wrong resulting in a life or death deal with Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) which will determine the fate of their lives. To rectify this, Solo and newfound friend Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) enlist the help of old flame Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) and the charming Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) to take part in the second heist.

Alden Ehrenreich, as Han Solo, wonderfully portrays his hero’s journey from a poor, oppressed dreamer to heroic pilot. His mannerisms and line delivery excellently match up to the standard set by Harrison Ford. Joonas Suotamo, as Chewbacca, encompasses an extraordinary counterpart Peter Mayhew’s mantle as he perfectly portrays his growing friendship with Han. Donald Glover, as Lando Calrissian, is my favorite character due to his exact interpretations of Billy Dee Williams’s zany parlance. His banter with Solo only forwards the character’s legacy. Woody Harrelson, as Beckett, provides for a flawed yet effective mentor to Solo by guiding him about motivations and how to deal. Emilia Clarke, as Qi’ra, is great with what she is given, but her character falls into the stereotypical “will they or won’t they” love interest loop. Paul Bettany, as Dryden Vos, is menacing with his passive aggressiveness building to volatile outburst when his orders are disobeyed.

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Ron Howard efficiently grasps all the characters’ tales by providing great interactions with known Star Wars lore. My favorite scene is the initial train heist as it showcases how unprepared Beckett’s gang was and is intense as regards the fates of all characters involved. Also, there are great displays of special effects with the train’s movement patterns. The one flaw is that it really doesn’t Solo any character transformation as he always remains heroic with the only change being how he goes from rags to riches. The love triangle between Solo, Qi’ra and Dryden also feels uninspired.

The message of the movie is to always abide by morals rather than selfish instinct. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 because of its intense action. The movie releases in theaters May 25, 2018, so check it out.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

By Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

Link to Trailer : https://youtu.be/jPEYpryMp2s

I was excited to see the origin story of Han Solo, as he has been a character favorite of mine for years. The young man was boosting scams from age 10 and lived a life of adventure, for sure! Learning how his last name came to be was interesting – think passport control questioning. But, I digress.

While the film strives to tell the story of how Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and Chewbacca, everyone’s favorite Wookie (Joonas Suotamo) became BFFs after a contentious beginning, it had some stalls and at times, I wondered if Han was attempting to be our hero or villain. I felt the origin story of Han Solo did not go deep enough to show us who he is, and what lead him to be, Solo.

The most interesting character is Becket, played by Woody Harrelson. He is a true team player, but what team does he play for? His chameleon-like persona is wonderful to see and a testament to this talented and beloved actor.

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The film begins centered on a bunch of bad dudes who all fear the reptilian and then, our hero Han, who eventually joins the Imperial armed forces to reconnect with his love, Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke). Being the rebel he is, Han is kicked out of pilot training and ends up in one of the many Empire wars. His quest to find Qi’ra lands him in the clutches of the dreadful mob boss Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) and a gambler named Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover).

Long ago, in a vision far-away, original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were off-loaded from the payload and rescued by super Director Ron Howard. Howard’s optimistic effort on this prequel doesn’t save the film. He made a good film, but if it was a stand-alone film, I would not predict a plethora of sequels.

I give this film of 4 out of 5 stars for the performances, which are spectacular, especially Glover, Harrelson and Ehrenreich, along with special effects, creepy wardrobes, action scenes and Star Wars references that any true fan will ‘get’ (like the Kessel Run, the Millennium Falcon and of course, the necklace hanging on the rearview mirror). I recommend this film for ages 8 to 18. I caution younger viewing due to adult themes and fight scenes which may be disturbing to younger children.

Photo by Jonathan Olley – © 2018 – Lucasfilm Ltd.


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