Solo: A Blu-ray Review

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People hated this movie, but I didn’t, I didn’t hate it. I think the hate was partially a spill over from the previous Star Wars movie. I think if you view this movie just on its own merits, it’s a good movie. It’s an okay movie. Just an okay slash good movie. But with your own Blu-ray copy you get some extras.

First if you have a good surround sound system this is a great movie to test it out on. Wooo! Those Skywalker sound people know what they’re doing. In the Blu-ray extras, the Foley design was my favourite. They really do go the extra mile to create new sounds for effects and creatures to really immerse you in this far, far away galaxy. It’s interesting that this part of movie making is still so old school and yet it’s so good. It’s creative, unique. It’s fun, going out into the world to find objects and bang them together, and different animals to record then bring it all back and mix it in different ways. It’s a beautiful thing and it’s so effective. If they only just followed that philosophy for the rest of the movie making process.

I guess you can say it’s coming back, in a way, with visual effects. The Blu-ray extras really try and show off all the sets they built what with audiences voicing their displeasure at too much CG. Actually, in a way, I think they went too far with realism. The lighting design was often just so dark and dimly lit. The new realism renaissance certainly hasn’t yet reached the writing part of mainstream movie production. The need to shoehorn character’s personalities and speech into the current social and political liberal movements is still running over movies like Star Wars. Really interesting and thought-provoking plots and personas come at a distant second to all that.

In a way, one of the special features shows this. It’s an actor round table discussion lead by Ron Howard. They are all seated around a game table invented for the movie (but visually borrowing heavily from poker). Woody Harrelson was so bored half way through the back-patting special he had built a tower of chips and cards right in front of himself. It had the main actor who played Han, Aldren Ehrenreich and it seemed as though he just played himself. Just some boring guy. Mirrored by Emillia Clarke who was just as ordinary. Phoebe Waller-Bridge who played L3-37 was the most memorable character of the movie. She played a robot with an attitude. It was the one character they took a chance with and it paid off. She even got to act in a green suit to use her comic timing and attitude. She was memorable, quotable and funny. But it just highlighted how boring everyone else was.

The deleted scenes were telling in what they didn’t show. Ron Howard came in after the original directors were fired. There would be tonnes of deleted material as Ron reshot most of the movie. So, the few that were in the deleted scenes make you think, “well that should have been dropped because it was boring.” My conspiracy theory is this, is probably exactly what they want you to think which means they were specifically chosen to whitewash any problems they had during filming. No mention of any problems in the round table discussion either just actors telling Ron to his face how awesome his is. So glad Woody didn’t do that. Keep building that tower man! It’s a monument of victory and self respect!

To me it just all highlights the fact that the best story wasn’t told. All these bits and pieces of character and story that they felt were important for whatever reason , and some social critique on the side. We just want a good story. And that should have been the one of how Chewie became so loyal to Han. There were a few moments in Solo to explain why, but they were just footnotes… Buried under the landslide of the bland and the beautiful. It could have been great, is the frustration. And watching the extras on this Blu-ray just backs that up. When you watch the behind-the-scenes you see a mountain of talent. I think the bottle neck is right up at the top with a focus on ‘midterm elections’ and share prices.

Movie: 6/10 – beautiful but bland.
Blu-ray 6.5/10 – talented yet telling.

– Nick Holder




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