The Conflicted Musings of a Pseudo-Fan.
Forty some-odd years ago, Han Solo was introduced as a lovable rogue. We’ll find out this July if the character remains true to itself.
Star Wars itself took a lot of it’s inspiration from 19th century French history with the “far, far away” galaxy vacillating back and forth between Empire and Republic. Is Emperor Palpatine a Napoleonic archetype? Eh. Yes, but asserting that Ewoks are an analogy for Spanish guerillas during the French Army’s occupation of the Iberian Peninsula is a bit of a stretch. Recall that it took the combined armies of the rest of Europe to defeat Napoleon. I doubt very much he would have had too much trouble with a tribe of slingshot-wielding teddy bears.
Full disclosure: I went to a Halloween Party when I was 19 as Han Solo. No one was impressed. I would have preferred to go as Spock, but that would have required actually purchasing a Star Fleet uniform, and during the internet-less 80’s you really needed to plan ahead. But dressing up as the the galaxy’s favorite smuggler? I could to that with what I already had in my closet and a borrowed toy blaster.
Can’t Change The Laws Of Physics…
…but for enough money, you can ignore them.
Devotees of Star Wars have a lot to forgive, not the least of which are the franchise’s complete disregard for the laws of motion and thermodynamics. It’s one of the reasons why I preferred Star Trek.
I have not seen The Force Awakens and could barely finish Rogue One. I’m not a fan. I might have been at one time, but then life happened. These days, I don’t think I’m a fan of anything. My daughter and son-in-law on the other hand are a different story, which makes Christmas shopping relatively simple. I took her so see the prequels during her formative years, so that might offer a partial explanation.
I do have an appreciation for Star Wars as art. The landscapes, the vistas, and all of the special effects – even with the overreliance on CGI – are still magnificent.
We saw The Last Jedi with our son right before he left for school at the end of Winter Break. Unwatchable. Mary Sue Daisy Ridley? Unwatchable. Carrie Fisher choking out her lines past that 5,000th cigarette? Unwatchable. Mark Hamill squirting milk from a giant manatee into his Yeti cup? The same. Purple haired Laura Dern? You get the idea.
True fans of Star Wars having put up with infinite plot holes over the years were presented with this huge, steaming turd: The Empire, clearly went bankrupt after pouring all it’s resources into two planet-cracker weapons. Now theatergoers are asked to believe the remnants of that empire, reconstituted as the First Order, (so this is what, the Holy Roman Empire? The Byzantines?) maintaining control of the remaining imperial cruisers, somehow scrape together enough cash to build a super-duper planet-cracker and continue to prosecute a civil war. Somehow, the destruction of that weapon didn’t finish them for good. Whatever. Disney, you owe me for sitting through the most boring chase sequence in movie history.
I guess Chivalry really is dead in Lucasville.
The Jedi Order originally paid homage to the Knights Templar. Stalwart, resolute, special agents, and advisors to kings and lords. Now we have Luke Skywalker contemplating murdering his nephew in his sleep. The story arc has clearly lost its way. The problem is that one wants these movies to be good. One is rooting for them to be good. Sigh.
So – Han Solo.
Past performance may not guarantee future results, but they do help us to manage our expectations.
The trailer received mixed reviews. Me? I liked it. A lot. As an origin story, the trailer promises a good, solid narrative of one of Pop-Culture’s iconic characters. The trailer leads us to believe that Solo, orphaned at an early age lived by his wits as a street urchin. Self-educated, and clearly gifted, he survives what was surely a brutal childhood and sidles his way next to some powerful people.
Alden Ehrenreich (Beautiful Creatures, Hail, Caesar!) appears to have a good handle on the role without doing a Harrison Ford impersonation.
I have one reservation and that is the snippet where Qi’ra, played by Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) says to Solo, “I may be the only person [here?] who knows what you really are.” The exchange stops short of being hostile and confrontational, but we see Solo’s usual cockiness falter. How should we, the audience take this?
If canon can be changed so easily, is it still canon?
I have mixed impressions of Qi’ra. Apparently she is a recent addition to the ever-changing Star Wars Cannon, since I don’t recall Solo’s character ever mentioning her. Someone let me know if I’m wrong about this. (Possible Spoiler) Likely she does not survive the movie, which we can presume blasts the boyish panache right out of Solo. This is the man we meet in A New Hope, a cynic at peace with the horrors of the world.
This is what the trailer promises, and I don’t believe a word of it. And for good, multiple reasons: Slaves saying “Yipee,” Jar-Jar Binks, 2-headed announcers spouting 80’s clichés, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy (seriously?) Smits, killing off the only interesting new character (Darth Maul), Midi-chlorians, elected queens, The Viceroy, “Roger-roger,” droid armies, 10-year olds building robots, immaculate conception of future Sith-Lords, bad Yoda impressions… by Yoda, prophecies without prophets, Gungans, field promotions to general officer rank for civilians, “we’ll take the long way,” “poodoo,” creepy Anakin, whiney Anakin, robots with Tuberculosis, lava-raft fighting, and infanticide.
Astonishingly, all this occurred before, before Mickey Mouse got his four-fingered white-gloved hands on the franchise. Going by how the story arc devolved in The Last Jedi, there’s very little cause for optimism. Disney has thoroughly subverted Star Wars’ original story.
If 21st century movie-making tells us anything, it’s that today’s studios and directors love to thumb their noses at the audience. This is particularly true with science fiction. J.J. Abrams (Star Trek), and Alan Taylor (Terminator Genisys) are two of the more bizarre examples. Ridley Scott (Prometheus) of all people took the Aliens series, his creation no less, in a baffling direction.
Disney, not to be out done, has replaced the Napoleonic/Templar leitmotif with obsessive political correctness and a pathetic consecration of Social Justice Warfare. So no, I don’t trust them to leave Han Solo be with all his glorious arrogance intact.