'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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To the guy that shot my brother...

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To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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23 Things That ~Barely~ Run Through A Girl's Mind During Her First Workout In, Like, Forever

Why did I do this to myself?

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It's the beginning of the semester and that means half of the students on campus have decided that we are going to go back to the gym after their workout routine fell through last semester. It's been months since we've stepped foot in the gym, but we are ready to attack it and get fit. That is until we get there and start going.

1. How did I get to the gym? Didn't I walk here? That should count as exercise

2. Why am I here?

3. Are these clothes tighter than they were last time?

4. Why is every single machine full? What am I supposed to do?

5. Is everyone looking at me?

6. I can't remember where anything is here

7. Okay, I am going to set this at the easiest level

8. Can I go home yet?

9. Is 3 minutes long enough? No, darn it.

10. How many calories have I burned? Only 10 are you kidding me!

11. Why is everyone else here going so hard? I look like a slacker

12. I am so sweaty right now

13. Maybe I should get a smoothie as a reward for working out

14. I am literally dying right now. I am about to drop dead

15. Only 5 more minutes to go. I've got this!

16. I don't got this

17. Why do people come here every day?

18. Last minute I'm going to go so hard right now

19. Just kidding that two seconds was good enough. I'm going to cool down for the last 58

20. Hallelujah, praise Jesus, I am done!

21. I am so tired

22. My body is so sore

23. I can't believe I have to walk home now. I've already done my exercising for the day

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