SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY — Review by Susan Granger

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If you’ve ever wondered who Han Solo was and where he came from before joining Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and the Rebel Alliance on Tatooine, this adventurous prequel supplies the answers. Since Harrison Ford cannot go back to his youth, his sassy, sardonic scoundrel role is played by Alden Ehrenreich (Tetro, Hail, Caesar!), which may or may not have been a mistake. You’ll have to judge. Continue reading…

Han’s story begins on his dismally oppressive home planet, Corellia, from which he and his girlfriend, Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones), want to escape. While fleeing, they’re separated.

Three years later, Han Solo has become a rogue pilot, working with pragmatic Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and his cohort Val (Thandie Newton), mercenaries for a crime syndicate called Crimson Dawn. They’re trying to steal an explosive energy source called Coaxium that serves as some kind of galactic currency.

Along the way, Han befriends the Wookiee Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and wins the Millennium Falcon in Sabacc, a card game with notorious gambler/smuggler Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover, filling in for Billy Dee Williams).

There are several new characters: Lando’s crusading droid L3-37 (voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge), evil Lady Proxima (voiced by Linda Hunt), and the gangster Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany). Plus some surprises.

Scripted by the father/son duo of Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan, it’s helmed by Ron Howard, who took over after the departure of directors Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (“Lego Movie”) due to irreconcilable “creative differences.” Unfortunately, this unevenly paced, hybrid endeavor looks too murky and muddy – both in 2D and 3D.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is a scruffy, sci-fi 7, filled with hyper-drive action sequences that signify very little.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.