Straight From a Movie

Pensive Thoughts on Paper | Movie Reviews and Quotes Website

Tag: George Lucas

Solo A Star Wars Story Review (2018) | An Entertaining But Unnecessary Spin-off

Totally unnecessary! We all knew what was going through our minds when we first heard the news about Solo A Star Wars Story. You cannot put a face to a legend while he is still alive and breathing. Hell, we are not over it yet! In comes the spinoff, totally uncalled for, and completely unnecessary that tries to cast a young actor, nay, more importantly, a look-alike, to carry on the legacy for years to come. Don’t really see the point? Do you?

Anyways as a Star Wars aficionado, more Star Wars stuff the better, right? So we went along with it when Ron Howard announced that he was making a spinoff of the legendary Han Solo to tell, nay fabricate, his part of the story before he ever made it to the first part like what was he doing all this time? What all adventures he embarked on? How did he meet Chewie? Why is his name Solo?

All these prying questions about interesting people’s lives often intrigue us, but it is better to leave that part to mere imagination. When you put a story in someone’s past, there is a 50% chance that it might not justify a person’s awesomeness. But then there is that 50% chance that might make you revere him/her even more.

Luckily Solo A Star Wars Story edges itself precariously in between. It is at times good, at times fun and at times outright stupid. But is it good for the popularity for the character? Yes! Because that’s when people compare versions. That’s how Gods are made.

Plot of Solo A Star Wars Story (Spoilers)

Lovers Han (Alden Ehrenreich) and Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) are trying to escape a local gang from Corellia by bribing an Imperial officer using a coaxium sample when Qi’ra is left behind. With a promise to get back to her and a dream to become the best pilot in the galaxy, Han joins Imperial navy as a flight cadet. Expelled 3 years later, he joins the infantry on Mimban.

I am gonna be a pilot. Best in the galaxy.

Alden Ehrenreich in Solo A Star Wars Story

There he comes across Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and his team and sees through their cover. He tries to blackmail them but is outsmarted and thrown into a pit to be fed to a Wookie.

Let me give you some advice. Assume everyone will betray you. And you will never be disappointed.

Chewbacca

That’s where he meets Chewbacca. With his ability to speak the Wookie language, he befriends Chewie and escapes the pit. Coming on to the good side of Beckett, he and Chewie join them in their mission to retrieve coaxium shipment from Vandor – I.

The mission begins to go awry as Cloud Riders show up headed by Enfys Nest. Two of the crewmates die and all of the coaxium gets destroyed. To make amends with Beckett who reveals that the shipment was actually meant for Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) the crime boss of a Crimson Dawn syndicate, Solo accompanies Beckett volunteering to help him steal another coaxium shipment. On reaching Vos’ yacht he comes across Qi’ra and finds out that she has joined hands with Vos and is one of their top lieutenants.

Qi’Ra: What should we drink to?

Han Solo: Let’s drink two and see where it goes.

Tobias Beckett in Solo A Star Wars Story

Presenting a risky plan to steal coaxium before it is processed from the mines of Kessel, Solo manages to wheedle Vos. Vos agrees asking Qi’ra to join them on their mission. (Like really? What kind of a boss knowingly leaves his prized possession with an old lover?)

You think everything sounds like a bad idea.

Lando Calrissian

Qi’ra brings the team to Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) with hopes to retrieve his ship. Solo defies him for a game of sabbac with the wager being on each other’s ship (with Solo bluffing to be having one). Lando cheats to win however agrees to help them for profits. Entry! *drum rolls* Millenium Falcon!

Just did the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs!

The newly formed team reaches Kessel riding the Falcon. Lando’s droid L3-37 sparks a droid revolt and under that diversion Solo manages to steal the unrefined coaxium. However, L3 fails to make it. Using her navigational computer to map an escape route, Han pilots the Millenium Falcon for the first time piloting it like a pro to escape Imperial assault. Then they land on Savareen to process the coaxium.

That’s when Enfys shows up once again.

You happen to notice that freighter down there? You know what’s on it? About 30 hired guns. All I gotta do is give ’em the signal, you are surrounded.

Lando flies away with his Falcon.

The Final Showdown

Enfys (Erin Kellyman) reveals that she and her crew were all rebels trying to fight the Syndicate and the Empire. Sympathetic to their cause, Solo decides to help them by tricking Vos, but ends up getting double-crossed by Beckett. Vos sends his men to capture Cloud Riders but the latter overpowers them. Outsmarting Vos, Solo tries to take the coaxium but Beckett takes it instead. He takes Chewie as hostage too.

Qi’ra kills Vos sending Han after Beckett. When she is alone she speaks to none other than Darth Maul about what happened claiming Beckett to be responsible. She demands Vos’s position and is directed to return to Maul.

Solo catches up to Beckett and shoots him. Then he and Chewie deliver the coaxium to Enfys. On being asked to join the rebellion Han declines, although is offered a coaxium vial to buy him his own ship. They go straight to Lando where Han steals the card Lando used to cheat with, and wins the Falcon off his hand. Before the curtain falls, they are on their way to Tatooine where a big shot gangster (wink at Jabba the Hut) is hiring for a job.

You can order Solo: A Star Wars Story with bonus content from here:

The Missing Chemistry

The most frustrating thing in Solo A Star Wars Story is the chemistry between Alden Ehrenreich and Emilia Clarke which is entirely missing. Primarily because Alden is too busy nailing his expressions to match them with Harrison Ford‘s. You can’t see him getting serious about his acting. He is just too busy putting on a mask. The intensity in his acts is missing by light years.

Solo Qi'ra A Star Wars Story

Even the music doesn’t do its job. It is like two robots interacting even though they see each other in forever. Dramatic bits are simply absent.

Then there is a point where it all becomes really insipid. The discussion between L3 and Qi’ra about men. You almost feel like shouting out loud, “Oh! C’mon!” That just ends up making the writing all the more shoddy.  Love ends up becoming almost instantly something repulsive.

The naming ceremony of Han as Solo doesn’t feel well written.

Moments to Cherish

For a guy watching a movie first time in 4DX, the experience of watching Solo A Star Wars Story was simply outstanding. All the props the theatre carried only supplemented in the storytelling. There were plenty of moments in the movie that literally defined the word “joyride”. The best part was when Han Solo piloted Millenium Falcon. That’s when its real import was felt. It was as if I was flying it since the seats moved based on the action onscreen.

That being said, there is action galore. Only a few moments where Solo A Star Wars Story movie stands silent. All the other parts are engaging and entertaining. The meeting of Chewie and Solo was well written, and of Solo and Millenium Falcon felt like destiny aligning itself to assist the inevitable.

Solo A Star Wars Story also scores well in the Visual Effects and Cinematography department. It is visually very attractive. Scenes chosen at Savareen look extremely brilliant. Then you can’t undermine the roles played by Woody Harrelson and Paul Bettany. They are intensely powerful and well executed.

The Final Verdict

Overall the movie is very entertaining if you are not bothered by facts like the chemistry or the acting for that to matter. It does not justify the character that we grew up revering. But it does help in weaving a backstory and in days to come one might remember it as such.

At the end of it all, you cannot help but wonder why it was created in the first place. Was the spin-off really required? If so, there are plenty of characters in Star Wars that could thread out into their own universe. Are we then supposed to simply keep creating new non-existing timelines for each one of them? Or let things be for a while and focus on the actual story and strand it out instead. That’s a million dollar question.

Check out our other movie reviews from 2018.

Star Wars The Last Jedi Review (2017) | Epicness Continues

One word. Epic! Star Wars The Last Jedi promises goosebumps and it delivers exactly that on a silver platter. Episode VIII in the Star Wars saga has an extremely well-written story that gambols on different storylines to keep viewers interested. It has so many awe-inspiring moments in it to leave you wonderstruck, nay, starstruck with each scene that follows. Whether it be the inclusion of new characters or species, Star Wars The Last Jedi movie aces them all in a plot that’s simply befitting.

Direction of Star Wars The Last Jedi

You might know Rian Johnson from Looper fame. He is a fantastic director who carries a gradual enthralling pace when it comes to depicting frames. While others choose to run towards action, he lets it come of its own accord. That being said, Star Wars The Last Jedi movie has plenty of action but there’s not a single moment in it where you feel it has been rushed. Every section has a proper build-up which Rian creates to rope you in until it reaches fruition. When everything sieves in, it feels like as if each story meets its perfect end.

Yoda: The greatest teacher, failure is.

In terms of presentation, he scores the highest when he chooses to depict decimation in a light that lets things stand out. Yes, a nod to that final Crait fight in red and white. Simply spectacular!

Rian breaks free from all standards and conventions of cinema. He obliterates those customary fetters that we have become so accustomed to – seeing things happen the way they are supposed to happen. He toys with parallel storylines wherein an expected course of action doesn’t generally work as planned. To be honest, it all feels like life itself. How many times have you felt that way? Like when you expect something to happen and things don’t go as planned. There’s always Plan B for failures. Rian Johnson presses on that living and extant nerve.

You cannot overlook Rian’s genius even when portraying the force ‘connection’. Never for a second does he get into the eyes of the characters to show us what they were seeing, primarily because it is a notion intangible that binds them. You cannot depict them seeing each other in a crystal clear light. It’s a feeling to be felt.

Rey and Luke Skywalker

Reprising her role as Rey, Daisy Ridley once again proves why she was a perfect choice for a protagonist when she was signed for one of the most brilliant and successful running franchises of all times. To take the legacy forward Rey leaves no stones unturned and fits in her storyline that follows the events of The Force Awakens like a glove.

Rey and Luke in Star Wars The Last Jedi

I need someone to show me my place in all of this.

We find Rey learning ways of the Jedi from a reluctant Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). It is a relentless struggle to bring Luke to train her and the director makes sure you understand the struggle really well. It is quite palpable when you look inside Luke’s brain and find out as to why he had decided to call it quits. The tension runs for a while, and though exhausting at times, it all builds up for its epic showdown.

The Balance between the Dark and the Light

The Last Jedi teases you more than once to make you truly believe the story that’s painted on the screen, forcing that layer of credibility, making you actually think that inclining to the Dark or the Light is only a thought away. And it builds itself around that quotient intelligibly. You get to know what Force is all about and what it all means through what Rey actually sees and feels.

Luke Skywalker: Breathe. Just breathe. Now reach out. What do you see?

Rey: Light. Darkness. A balance.

Luke Skywalker: It’s so much bigger.

That montage of frames Rian Johnson decided to go with, goes on to show how he wishes us all to have a glimpse of what we have been only registering in our thoughts for decades. That popular symbolic energy that permeates us has a form to be felt. Rian makes it all very tangible for us.

Kylo’s Tussle (Spoilers)

Whilst Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is busy walking on the precipice of the forces, occasionally gleaming with that good guy spark, you realize it’s something Darth Vader was struggling with too in the past prequels. But Adam Driver simply nails it! With all the right expressions, the brawl in his head oozes out like a real struggle.

The Empire, your parents, the Resistance, the Sith, the Jedi…let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you are meant to be.

You can taste defeat in Rey’s hopeful face when she makes a theatrical broken heart sound real. It is as if you are rooting for Kylo for a second, counting on him to turn towards Light, and then your heart gets broken too. Rey and Ren make it all very relatable transporting you into their world.

To break Rey, Kylo does what any villain would do. Plucking that parentage card and playing it. Giving her hope, a darker one to coax her into joining hands with someone that connects.

You come from nothing. You are nothing. But not to me.

It is amazing how the creators have always managed to create dark as a tempting alternative to light. It feels so right and yet it is so wrong. Like a perfect balance! It’s good to see The Last Jedi milking it again.

The Resistance in Distress

You might think that’s the only story in the plot, but it expands as it oscillates between the one that’s holed up in the beginning frames. While Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) is incapacitated, Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) takes command.

With Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) confined indoors the rebels rebel amongst themselves as he takes charge of the situation. There’s a Plan A still under wraps headed by Finn (John Boyega) which Poe wishes to see through.

I was raised to fight. For the first time I have something to fight for.

Finn finds a pleasant company in Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) who by the way is just perfect for him.

Rose Tico in Star Wars The Last Jedi

That’s how we are going to win. Not fighting what we hate, but saving what we love.

It is brilliant what Rian does with the story when he chooses to confuse the audience by showing Holdo in a bad light, (letting us watch her from Poe’s perspective) and then resuscitates her as the one who was actually trying to help.  She was the Plan B that was playing in the backdrop all along. Watch out for her badass assault on First Order! That was out of the blue!

The Epic Showdown

Whilst at a point you feel that the movie is about to end, you realize the action is just getting started. Everything takes us and prepares us for one final showdown that’s as epic as it gets. Not only does it do justice to the title but it also does justice to Luke, the protagonist of prequels, paying as much homage to him as one could by giving him a single shot at fame in a limited time.

He shows up like a true Jedi he is, finally overcoming his recalcitrance to face the First Order’s suicidal onslaught. What follows is an eye-boggling moment to be witnessed only in theatres for true mirth.

Every word of what you just said was wrong.

You cannot also overlook what Resistance does in desperate times. Whatever limited resources they had in their hands they use it nevertheless. By heading to an old base in Crait, they revive the old. Despite surrounded by obsolete and battered stuff, they still give it a shot, fighting with what little they had, but fighting nevertheless.

The Final Verdict

Star Wars The Last Jedi is a brilliant addition to one of the most venerated series of all times. It does the franchise the most justice a movie could possibly do.

The flick also pays tribute to titular characters and goes on to include more, literally aiming the gun at impending sequels. It reprises Falcon, Chewbacca, the AT-ST, Yoda, and lets us relive a lost era. New additions are great too. Porgs are simply the cutest!

Here you can order your own life-sized porg:

There are plenty of epic moments in Star Wars The Last Jedi that you cannot simply forget.

Snoke: You are no Vader. You are just a child in a mask.

The most impressive one is hands down the way Snoke gets slaughtered. Not to mention the final showdown where Luke shows up like a one-man army. Despite the teary end to Luke’s bit, his passing away doesn’t feel painful. It was in a way fulfilling as if he was waiting for a purpose all this time, to slide the torch to his posterity before he left.

See you around kid.

Star Wars The Last Jedi is a beautiful movie that shouldn’t be missed.

Go ahead and watch this one at once if you haven’t still. May the force be with you.

Rogue One A Star Wars Story Review (2016) | Darth Vader Lives Again!

Rogue One A Star Wars Story resuscitates on screen’s biggest and most badass villain. Darth Vader gets to live once again as Gareth Edwards presents us with a stunning story that’s squeezed precisely betwixt Episode III and IV of the Star Wars saga. His take introduces us with the legacy of an unsung squad that helps in giving the original franchise an intriguing angle.

Star Wars Reverie

Remember how as kids we used to dream of possibilities, of ways to tackle an on-screen pickle? Movies were real for us. All elements we saw were real too. So growing up watching Star Wars was no different. We would be constantly swaying under its wraps, capering around its mesmerizing reality, thinking what if we get to walk those streets filled with aliens?

What if an AT-AT walker showed up all of a sudden from nowhere? What would we do then? How would a Jedi-less world appear to be? What would it mean to normal people? If a doomy scene homed in our heads we would try to think of possibilities to escape it.

Well, the good news is Gareth Edwards was just one of those children. And a child knows a fellow child better. He directs the movie with exactly that set of mind creating a stellar prequel out of thin air.  All those imaginative fantasies of how we would have played the streets if we were there, literally comes alive.

Plot of Rogue One A Star Wars Story (Spoilers Ahead)

To comprise the plot of Rogue One it is the story we had all often wondered about. How did it reach there, the point where Darth Vader invades Princess Leia‘s ship killing everyone before capturing her. It is a very thoughtful winding tale that completes all the dots beautifully.

image of Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso in Rogue One A Star Wars Story movie

We are introduced to new characters here starting with Galen Erso portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen, the mind behind the creation of the formidable planet destroyer Death Star. He is hiding on a planet named Lah’mu with his family after discovering the true motive behind the creation of the deadly weapon.

The prologue wraps with an Imperial leader Orson Krennic portrayed superbly by Ben Mendelsohn invading Galen Erso’s abode killing his wife in the process, taking Galen away with him for finishing the creation of Death Star. Galen’s daughter Jyn Erso however escapes the onslaught and is later discovered by Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) the rebel leader.

The Main Mission

When the main course is served we find Bodhi Rook an imperial defector, played by Riz Ahmed, trying to contact Saw in order to deliver a message from Galen. Meanwhile a captured Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is released from her captivity by Rebel Alliance only to slap her on a mission to rescue her father. However, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) who is supposed to accompany her, has been secretly briefed by the Alliance to kill her father instead.

The path of their mission crosses with the discovery of Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus who end up accompanying them to overthrow Imperial plans. We also have a worked up Imperial droid K-2SO, who accompanies Cassian at all times. Watch out for his Choke Slam in the beginning!

The fate of the Death Star lies in all of their hands. It is up to them to deliver it to Rebels so as to stop the dark side of the force from taking over.

Recreating Characters with CGI

It goes without saying we already knew how the movie was going to end. Since, we were galloping towards meeting Episode IV: A New Hope, Gareth chose to kill the whole squad directing us towards the colossal sacrifice the team made in order to retrieve schematics to destroy Death Star.

In order to make sure the thrill factor hopped aplenty, Gareth Edwards chose to bring back three pivotal characters from the original. Governor Tarkin was brought to life by CGI. Even though you could feel that it was a tad unnatural, it was still a commendable job to linger him for that long. It was more of a cameo but long enough to successfully re-create his perversion.

Then the most epic scene of the movie ensued with Darth Vader hogging the screen with his demonic shenanigans. Vader was easy since all we needed was a helmet and a heavy gasping voice to bring him back.

still of darth vader in rogue one movie

Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director!

The final showdown which could have been easily the epilogue, finds Vader storming in from the dark to a platoon of waiting Rebellions. When you see him rampage past rebellions choking and killing them one by one, you realize how monstrous, intimidating and huge Darth Vader really was. Hands down one of the finest and memorable scenes from the movie!

It was soon followed by an enchanting glimpse of Princess Leia as she receives schematics in her hands by a fellow rebel. She was created with painstaking detailing too, and it almost sends you back in time as you watch her smile.

You can pre-order Rogue One A Star Wars Story from here:

Screenplay and Music

What was equally beautiful was the fact that the screenplay of Rogue One A Star Wars Story doesn’t get compromised either. There were plenty of good one liners enough to send you into a pensive mode. Like the time Cassian responds to this by Jyn

I am not used to people sticking around when things go bad.

by saying “Welcome Home!”.

Or when Jyn Erso puts the idea of a revolt in heads of Rebellions with a:

We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope.

It makes you wonder if it were not for her, may be they wouldn’t have really ever stood up.

Rogue one has that whiff of original Star Wars music. It constantly caters your repressed memory bringing elements of nostalgia. Be it be Darth Vader’s stylish entry or a constant turmoil in the heads of the Rebellion. It has Michael Giacchino‘s apt music to complement it with.

Rogue One has references galore from Stars Wars franchise to make you instantly euphoric. Easter Eggs are strewn all across to make you feel all gooey. You get to see R2-D2 and C-3PO too at one point. They are subtly put.

The Final Verdict

The beauty of Rogue One movie lies in how everything unfurls into a plausible course of action. It has the gravitas of storytelling and it promises to keep you riveted. Rogue One A Star Wars Story banks on surprises galore. They are inscribed in its frames as it takes you off guard with plenty of Stormtroopers and Walkers. Thrill of a laser gun fight, (only this time Stormtroopers can hit the target), of plotting a covert mission, executing it as planned, watching Rebellion spaceships come to the rescue, reliving A New Hope moments all over again give you immense pleasure.

I say you watch this movie right now if you are a Star Wars fanatic. You are going to love it.

May the Force be with us.

You can check out the trailer of Rogue One A Star Wars Story here:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review (2015)

“I know all about waiting.”

Behold y’awl! The Force has finally awakened! Star Wars: The Force Awakens is everything you wanted the Star Wars sequel to be.

After spending almost a decade devoid of force, J.J. Abrams walks in with the next big installment of the immortal saga with a brilliant plot in his baggage. Star Wars: The Force Awakens does the franchise justice it deserves. The sequel series has once again commenced and it has one of the most pragmatic plots in its vanguard. It at once gallops to answer ‘what could have happened next’ with three young actors to take the ‘new’ story-line forward.

Here we get a new perspective altogether for the first time, unlike previous installments, of a sentient Stormtrooper who doesn’t wish to be evil. John Boyega might have played a clumsy character for the better half but he is onto something big. Finn is scared but there is something good in him that compels him to do the right thing. Also, he brings an element of humour to the tale.

Daisy Ridley’s Rey wears an endearing personality throughout the flick and plays a crucial role whilst packing a fair protagonist punch trying to figure out her connection with the force. To watch Adam Driver play the badass antagonist was awesome. His voice was heavy like Vader’s, his deeds terrifying, and his anger destructive.

Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron can’t be ignored either. His flying capabilities remind you of Luke’s bad-ass runs from the prequels. There is one single shot where Po flies the X-Wing and performs so many thrilling take-downs. It was brilliantly taken from Finn’s vantage. Snoke braces us with a cameo that clears the dust for an impending doom. Andy Serkis hammers another CGI to perfection.

The flick has elements that will haul you back in time with nostalgia. Reminiscent references, images, and characters from the previous parts cloud the screen quite often and you just can’t help pointing them out like Easter eggs. Be it be the badass Vader music in just a mere glimpse, or a circular frame-changer like the one used in previous parts, it has every element shoehorned in to call it a definite Star Wars movie.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a brilliant tribute to the most revered tale in the whole universe. If you haven’t watched it yet, just run to the theatres already! May the force be with you!