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Now on Blu-ray “Solo: a Star Wars Story”

 

 

 

Review By John Delia

The movie I’ve been waiting to arrive for quite a while Solo: A Star Wars Story blasts into homes on October 25. It’s an adventure that reminded me of the start of the franchise with the comedy, adventure and glory that made Star Wars fun way to imaging the universe. Being a prequel, we get to find out where Han Solo the smuggler started out, the reasons for his distrust of the Empire and how he meets his friend Chewbacca. And all the action, excitement and thrills that made Episode 4 a winner are multiplied tines 2 in this creative must see Sci-fi thriller. The film will be released on DVD, Blu-ray, 4K/BD combo and Digital HD.
In this earlier account we find Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) on the planet Corellia caught up in a scam to smuggle Iridium for Empire credits. Getting discovered by Empire military, his accomplice and current love interest Oi’ra (Emilia Clarke) helps him escape from Corellia using a stolen land rover. The two teens try to evade the imperial army and make it to freedom, but how fate will have it, both get separated.

Alden Ehrenreich as Solo and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca in Solo A Star Wars Story IAN

Now three years later and a trooper in the Imperial army, Solo must find a way to get out. Enter Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), a Wookiee with the strength of ten men and soon to be Han Solo’s best friend and protector. When Solo inadvertently becomes a partner with Beckett (Woody Harrelson) involving a train heist carrying a mega amount of Iridium, his life becomes very complicated. Especially with Oi’ra coming back to his world under the control of ruthless syndicate boss Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany).

Taking on the exciting prequel director Ron Howard does a terrific job by adding his style to this Star Wars segment. It’s a challenging test that has to keep within the worlds previously established and yet make it feel new, exciting and thrilling. His train heist scene and the Millennium Falcon sequences are amazing and look very Star Wars real. Working with wires and other devices, he puts his actors to work taking down a speeding train on the side of a mountain. He ups the excitement with the Falcon showing Solo getting control of the craft with the likes of Lando Calrissian’s new droid L3-37 (voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge), Chewbacca. From there it’s the roller coaster universe with Solo speeding through worlds filled with rocks and debris.

He does a nice job with his cast of new faces, especially Alden Ehrenreich who has a tough act to follow considering Harrison Ford captivated billions over the years with his interpretation of Han Solo. Being that Ehrenreich is playing a teen and then in his 20’s as Solo, try not to compare the two as by the time we get to A New Hope where he meets and teams up with Luke Skywalker, he’s gone through a lot of years of smuggling. Ehrenreich does an admirable job of keeping the character a reckless, colorful and a likeable hero who always by chance, saves the day.

Two character newcomers enter the world of Star Wars, Beckett played by Woody Harrelson and Val depicted by Thandie Newton. The two are cohorts in crime and make robbery their business. Not completing a job for Dryden Vos, Beckett has to come up with another scheme to get the iridium in a new more daring heist. Taking on Solo and Chewbacca, the four attempt to hijack a train filled with the valuable gems that disable shields. I like Harrelson’s performance as the unpredictable pirate. As Val, Newton makes her character strong and determined as she fights alongside Beckett. She’s a tough kick-butt cookie that will take a foe down on command.

Alden Ehrenreich as Solo and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca in Solo A Star Wars Story

The special effects, sets, locations and make-up are outstanding and in keeping with the Star War’s universe. In one scene where we meet Lando Calrissian at a gambling table, the CGI depicts him surrounded by at least 20 different aliens from various planets in the galaxy. All animated and looking wicked the characters bring a feel of Solo’s future run-in at a bar. The train heist outweighs anything we saw in The Last Jedi and that goes for most all the earlier Star Wars sagas. Intricately meshed with the actors, the scene is breathless as it careens on a floating track along a mountainside headed for a bridge that may be Beckett’s only chance to make his heist work.

BONUS FEATURES:

Over an hour long on a separate disc includes:

“Solo: The Director & Cast Round Table”
“Kasdan on Kasdan”
“Remaking the Millennium Falcon”
“Escape from Corellia”
“The Train Heist”
“Team Chewie”
“Becoming a Droid: L3-37”
“Into the Maelstrom: The Kessel Run”
“Scoundrels, Droids, Creatures and Cards: Welcome to Fort Ypso”
“Deleted Scenes”

Solo: A Star Wars Story has been rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence. Most of the violence is a common thread in all Star Wars films and centers on rebels vs the Empire.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very cool Blu-ray with a lot of action from start to finish. (5 out of 5 Stars)

Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Joonas Suotamo, Thandie Newton, Paul Bettany, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jon Favreau, Linda Hunt.
Directed: Ron Howard
Written by: Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Spin Off
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence
Running Time: 2 hrs. 15 min.
Original Theatrical Release: May 25, 2018
Video Release Date: October 25, 2018
Language: English (changeable to English Descriptive Audio (2.0), French or Spanish)
Reviewed Format: Blu-ray
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
Video: 1080p Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 2.39:1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Number of Discs: 2 discs, plus Digital Code
Distributed by: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Released Formats: DVD, Blu-ray, 4K/BD combo and Digital HD

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