Monday, June 25, 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Brace yourself for something I never expected to say: Thandie Newton is the best thing about this film.

(Perhaps unfairly, she had attained the unfortunate distinction of being my least-favourite actor, and one of two who would actively drive me to avoid a film - the other being Patrick Dempsey. (Okay, technically, there's Russell Brand as well. But I've always considered him a comedian rather than an actor. Well, 'comedian'.))

"Solo" is actually an entirely fine film. The cast is pretty good, the performances are decent, the action is as thrilling as you expect in a prequel (where there can be no tension, since you know how things are going to turn out for most characters, and can be pretty sure about the rest). Granted, it also has Emelia Clarke in it, who I'm afraid I also don't rate, but she's okay here. And Donald Glover is excellent, so makes up for a lot of ills.

Unfortunately, though, "Solo" is also a rather pointless film - firstly because we really didn't need to have Han's backstory filled in, secondly because much of it is a box-ticking exercise working through almost everything we know about the character, and thirdly because it is, as noted, a prequel... and prequels suck.

So, um... if you're looking for something to kill a couple of hours in an inoffensive way, "Solo" will do it. But, to be honest, I think I'd recommend seeing "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" instead, and I'd certainly recommend "Avengers: Infinity War" over this one.

(One last thing. In terms of the Star Wars films, I'd rank "Solo" on a par with "The Last Jedi", placing it above the prequel trilogy but below "The Force Awakens", "Rogue One", and the original trilogy. It's actually rather more enjoyable than "The Last Jedi"... but TLJ gets considerable credit for at least trying something new, even if it didn't work out. "Solo" really doesn't, playing things very safe, and so while it's the film I'd rather see again, it's also not something I'd encourage.)

#29: "The Magic Faraway Tree", by Enid Blyton (a book from The List)

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