'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Review: A Western In Space

'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Review: A Western In Space

Does "Solo: A Star Wars Story" do justice to our favorite smuggler and his Wookie pal?
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The "Star Wars" universe has drawn inspiration from several forms of pop culture, history and cultural mythology. This is one of the reasons I find the franchise so interesting. However, one source of inspiration that never quite carried into the films after "A New Hope" was that of the Western film genre.

If you watch "A New Hope," the Western influence can be seen in almost every moment on Tatooine. The Mos Eisley Cantina especially leans heavily on Western tropes, such as saloon gunfights between outlaws and bounty hunters. Most of these tropes were embodied by the character Han Solo, who acted as the gunslinger and mercenary with a heart of gold, so it would make sense that a movie about this character would dive headfirst into the conventions of a Western film.

The film follows a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and his childhood friend, now lover, Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) as they grow up as orphaned thieves on the rough streets of Corellia. When the two attempt to escape their lives of crime by going off-world, they end up separated and Han is forced to join the Imperial Military to escape Corellia. Years later, Han finds himself fighting on Mimban when he runs into a gunslinger named Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and his crew of bandits.

Han learns that they plan to rob a shipment of coaxium, a special fuel, and wishes to join them. After liberating an enslaved Wookie named Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), the two join forces with Beckett to steal the coaxium. After they fail the mission, due to the interference of the pirate Enfys Nest (Erin Kellyman) and her Cloud Rider gang, they must answer to the ruthless crime lord Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany).

In order to save their skins, they must rob unrefined coaxium from Kessel, which is a near-impossible task. They recruit smooth talker and gambler Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) and his navigation droid L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) so they can use his ship, the Millennium Falcon. They are also joined by Qi'ra, who acts as Vos' personal second-in-command. Together they attempt to pull off the heist of the century and hopefully survive to tell the tale.

This film leans harder on the Western angle than any "Star Wars" film before. Where other films in the franchise took elements from Westerns, such as the Luke and Kylo showdown at the end of "The Last Jedi," this film basically is a western. The film features a great action scene involving the "Star Wars" equivalent of a train robbery, frontier expansion, saloons with thieves and gangs gambling, gang members discussing plans at night over an open campfire and gunslingers doing fancy tricks with their weapons.

This style helps the film stand out among the rest of the "Star Wars" films in the same way that "Rogue One" stood out by focusing on being a War film. While the film lacks major stakes to get you invested in, it makes up for in that by presenting a fun little adventure that focuses on entertaining and well-acted characters.

The two standouts in the acting department are Ehrenreich and Glover. Ehrenreich does a great job portraying a young Han Solo who has all of the overconfident bravado and swagger of old Han Solo but lacks the experience and some of the skill to back it up. Glover does such a perfect recreation of Billy Dee Williams' mannerisms, behavior, voice and speech pattern that it's almost scary. An extra shout out has to go to Phoebe Waller-Bridge who plays a snarky droid who loves to express her outrage over the mistreatment of droids.

While the film's sets and costumes fit within the "Star Wars" universe, you can definitely see the Western influence with things such as dusters, fur coats and building that vaguely resemble frontier log cabins and Native American settlements. The film also borrowed a few elements from Noir films when it came to Dryden Vos and his yacht. The yacht is heavily influenced by the art deco movement of the 1920s. The film also uses a few Noir tropes such as the "femme fatale" and the man who finds himself in over his head.

The film does have a few flaws though. It may have been the theater I was in, but the film appeared under lit in many places. It doesn't help that a few scenes take place in a dark mine or at night. While the film is fun, as I've said before, it does lack a major reason for being. Saying the film is pointless feels a little unnecessary and cruel, but coming out of the film I thought to myself, "that was a lot of fun, but why did this need to exist?"

It doesn't really develop Han as a character or reveal anything major about his past, it's just about a moment in the life of Han. Granted, there are some major developments, such as how he met Chewie and Lando, how he got the Millennium Falcon and what the Kessel Run was; but we didn't really "need" to see any of that.

Despite this, I had a lot of fun watching this film. It's like the film knows it doesn't really have an overarching thematic propose, so it stays content focusing on a fun little adventure. As a "Star Wars" fan it's always fun to see what new things they add to the canon. While this film didn't exactly deliver on things such as character development and themes, like "The Last Jedi" did, it did leave a fun smile on my face and a great thirst for adventure.

Score: 8.5 out of 10

Han Shot First!

Cover Image Credit: YouTube.com

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11 Things You Understand If You Hate Physical Contact

Please keep your hands and feet away from me at all times.
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We currently live in a world where EVERYONE LIKES TO TOUCH EACH OTHER. People enjoy hugs, high fives, tapping others on the shoulder, pokes, ect. For someone like you and me (I'm assuming you too since you clicked on this article), this is the WORST thing in the world. Whenever I think of someone touching me (even just a poke) without my permission my reaction is like Sofia Vergara in Modern Family.

I mean, when I take that love languages quiz, physical touch is always on the bottom of my preferences. So I thought to my self, you know I can't be the only person in the world that hates physical touching. So here are 11 things every person who hates physical touch will understand:


1. When people tickle you

I don't care that it's just for fun and jokes; I'm not laughing because I want to, you are literally forcing me to laugh. I hate you, get your greasy hands off of me before I make you get them off of me.


2. When people think they need to tap your shoulder to get your attention

As if simply saying "Hey" followed by my name wasn't enough. I don't need your grubby little fingers touching me. Now I'm annoyed with you before this conversation even started, what do you want?


3. When someone you barely know reaches in for a hug

I don't know who the heck you're thinking you're about to hug because it sure isn't going to be me. Hugs are reserved for people I know well and like, not you. Okay release me now, I am not enjoying this. LET ME GO.


4. When people tell you that you aren't an affectionate person

Are you aware there are ways to show my affection without constantly being all over you like a koala bear? Yes, I'm affectionate, hop off.


5. When someone is in your personal space

We could be best friends, we could be complete strangers. We could be lovers, I could hate your guts. We could be in private, we could be in public. I don't care what the situation is, if you're in my personal space uninvited GET OUT. There is no reason to be so close to me unwarranted.


6. You don't know how to comfort people

When you see an upset loved one, most people think they you should comfort then by pulling them into a long lasting hug. But, that's the kind of things that your nightmares are literally made out of. So, you stand there confused how you should comfort your friend/relative while also not sacrificing your touch moral code.


7. When people say you "look like you could use a hug"

Um no. I never could use one, get off of me. I will let you know when I want one.


8. When you're hugging someone wondering how soon you can release

Please end my suffering.


9. When you arrive at a social gathering and people rush to greet you with hugs

Let's not.

10. When you try to leave a social gathering by just waving to get out of goodbye hugs

Please no one make me hug you.


11. That one person who is allowed to hug you/touch you

This person, typically a significant other or best friend, gets to break all the "no touch" rules and we gladly accept their hugs and cuddles and public displays of affection. But only them, no one can copy them.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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12 Classics That All College Students Should Read

Reading is important — yet many people forget about books.

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These are the classics that I think all college students should read.

1. "Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

This classic by J.D. Salinger is a staple for many high school kids. Yet, I believe college students should revisit this novel, as it's a great portrayal of adolescence.

2. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Love him or hate him, Jay Gatsby is one of literature's most recognizable characters. "The Great Gatsby" is a tragic story of a man stuck in the past, and a grim warning of the empty happiness money buys.

3. "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells

H.G. Wells was far beyond his time. His novel, "The Time Machine," explores what would happen if time-travelling could happen. It's both an evocative and frightening tale, full of important philosophical questions.

4. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde 

This novel is about the degradation of Dorian Gray, and his descent into depravity. It showcases one of the greatest character declines in literature. By the end, Dorian Gray finds his life to be empty, his hedonistic lifestyle pointless.

5. "Norwegian Wood" by Haruki Murakami 

Haruki Murakami is famous for his surreal novels. "Norwegian Wood" follows a college student in Japan, as he navigates life after a tragedy. It's both beautiful yet melancholy. If nothing else, it'll get you listening to the Beatles' Norwegian Wood.

6. "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte 

I consider "Jane Eyre" to be one of the first feminist novels. It's a fantastic Gothic novel about an independent and strong woman — Jane Eyre — who meets the mysterious Mr. Rochester. It's more than a romance — it's a commentary on Victorian societal expectations of women, with Jane representing objection to it.

7. "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

This novel is a beautiful story about a girl in Nazi Germany. Liesel Meminger knows the importance of books, and uses her knowledge and kindness to save a Jewish refugee. It's a poignant novel that expresses the importance of literature and books.

8. Any Sherlock Holmes mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

If you've watched the Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch, then you should definitely give the novels a go. The mysteries are exciting and intriguing, despite their old age.

9. "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens

This is one of my absolute favorites novels. It follows a young boy named Pip, who befriends a beggar, meets the depraved Miss Havisham, and falls in love with unattainable Estella. This novel is at once a bildungsroman and a tragedy.

10.  "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov 

This controversial novel by Vladimir Nobokov follows the perspective of Humbert Humbert, a depraved man who falls in love with 12-year-old Lolita. Nobokov showcases his mastery of the English language, while writing a depraved and tragic story following two terrible people.

11.  "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

Perhaps one of the most famous novels of all time, "Pride and Prejudice" stands the test of time by showing how two outwardly opposite and contrary people can come together and form an amazing love. It's about accepting one's flaws and getting to know people beyond surface level.

12.  "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque

This is a fantastic novel that depicts the absolute horrors of war, particularly World War I. If this doesn't enlighten you about the realities and horrors of war, then no book will.

Reading is important as it broadens one's horizon. Literature is one of the greatest inventions of mankind.

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