Starring: Alden ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Paul Bettany, Donald Glover, Thandiwe Newton, Phoebe Waller Bridge, and jon Faverau.
Directed By: Ron Howard
Where i Watched It: Disney Plus
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
Description Provided By: Deluxe
Narration By: Martin Bellamy
The Plot: The origin story of Han Solo, before he was ever hired to take Obi Wan and Luke to Alderaan. Remember that Kessel Run he’s always bragging about? That’s in here. The beginning of his friendship with Lando is here. And a bunch of other characters who won’t make it into A New Hope. Oh, and… It’s Chewie!
What Works: As this is technically also my first review of this film, though second time through, I figured I’d actually break this down. Originally, I wasn’t as excited for this fim because I felt like Alden ehrenreich wasn’t remotely what he needed to be. But, after going into it a second time, he annoyed me less, and I could just enjoy the film more. As far as the structure and story, while it doesn’t feel like anything we really needed, being rounded out by such a talented cast really helps this film, and Donald Glover is an absolutely perfect Lando.
What Doesn’t Work: Honestly? Alden. Even though I was was put into perspective after having sat through Hayden playing Anakin, and it became obvious that he was better than that, Alden still just is not Han. I followed this with A New Hope, where I immediately got Harrison Ford’s Han Solo, so i know how far Alden really is. I would love to see the test screenings from some of the other actors, as it feels like one of them must have come closer. I’m not sure which one, as some of the closest that almost got this weren’t right either. Jack Reynor and Chandler Riggs both lack what makes Ford so instantly likable and charming, and that he brought with him into his Solo. But,I’m sure there’s a Harrison Ford alternative out there that’s not Chris Pratt.
It’s hard, because do you choose an actor who looks like Ford, or acts like Solo? They somehow grabbed lightning in a bottle with Donald Glover. It’s a shame they couldn’t grab it with Alden. but overall, he’s a much better actor than Hayden, and the script is better than the prequel films (at least in terms of the dialogue).
The Blind Perspective: So on my Star Wars journey, I’ve been noticing who gets character description, and who gets announced on arrival, like “you must know who this is, and if you don’t, we don’t care.” In this film, there’s a rather hilarious introduction to Chewbacca, as Han is thrown into a pit where he assumes, and the audience does, that he’s about to face some kind of beast that will eat him. But once the beast is revealed, the narrator gleefully explodes with “It’s Chewey!”, breaking the rule that many narrators follow about not using a character’s name until it’s revealed. This bonkers moe leads to an even more hilarious realization of how inappropriate and impatient this was, since 5 minutes later, once Han and “the wookie” reach the ship, Han asks him what his name is, to which he responds with his usual wookie cry, and Han responds with “Chewbacca? We’re going to need to come up with a nickname.”
So, not only was “It’s Chewie!” Hilarious and rule breaking, but it also spoiled the big reveal that this wookie was indeed Chewbacca. For the blind, most Wookie’s look almost exactly the same. Chewbacca usually is wearing some gear, which helps people figure out which is him when there are others around. So, this could have been a different wookie, perhaps Chewbacca’s brother, who then leads us to Chewbacca. But instead of letting us have the reveal as intended by Ron Howard, we got “It’s Chewie!”, which made the subsequent dialogue exchange unnecessary and less impactful.
After the shenanigans surrounding Disney’s refusal to name characters in Rescue Rangers, it’s funny to see what they’re willing to tolerate in terms of names being revealed. Like, they are 100% OK with this, but God forbid we know who some of those characters are in Rescue Rangers. it might ruin our experience.
Final Thoughts: I enjoyed this more on the second go around. To be fair, the first time I watched this, I wasn’t really familiar with audio description, so i was also trying to get through this without audio description. It was rough. Now, I feel like I’ve had the whole experience.
Final Grade: B