By the early '70s Howard starred in "Happy Days", which owed a huge debt to "American Graffiti" (1973), the smash co-starring Howard and directed by a relative newcomer named George Lucas. Lucas couldn't get the rights for a "Flash Gordon" remake so he cooked up a variation. But never for a "Star Wars" movie.
A lot of that first Star Wars movie-A New Hope; you know the one-is actually about one specific mission: Obi-Wan, Luke, Han, Chewie, and the droids head to the Death Star to rescue Princess Leia.
Mid-shoot the Hollywood veteran, whose directorial career has proven hardy enough to handle a few flubs alongside a few hits, replaced directors Chris Lord and Phil Miller, whose penchant for improvisation didn't go down well with the franchise overlords. With Howard at the controls, the movie is a fun-fuelled entertainment. (A character called Rio, voiced by Jon Favreau, bears the unmistakable stamp of Rocket Raccoon from "Guardians of the Galaxy.") Written by "The Empire Strikes Back's" Lawrence Kasdan along with his son, Jonathan, "Solo" has been conceived as a space western, with all the overcomplicated (but also childishly simple) heists and double-crosses the genre entails.
The origin story of Han Solo, the beloved character originated by Harrison Ford, is far from a disaster. We find out in clever, exciting fashion. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and unsafe criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga's most unlikely heroes.
Don't get us wrong.
If you are a Star wars fan, you will be pleased with a number of Easter eggs spread throughout the movie. Here's one of the latest four posters to be added.
Ehrenreich's Han is a handsome scallywag and cute no-goodnik who is oppressed like everyone else on a tyrannised planet. "Solo" tries on a different genre - when it's pausing between chases, it's a full-on gangster movie (Paul Bettany makes for a shrewd, ruthless kingpin, whose eyes glow red when provoked). It was also reported that the lead actor, Alden Ehrenreich, was given an acting coach to improve his performance. We understand why things turn out the way they do, and this manages to imbue the legend of Han Solo himself with a well-earned deeper meaning. Harrellson just looks happy to collect a big budget pay-check, and Clarke once again is unable to translate her Game of Thrones on-screen success into any other franchise. "Are we going somewhere?" This is particularly true in the third act of the movie.
For all the ways Solo could have gone wrong, it wisely aimed for a solid double rather than a grand slam on the first pitch. Here Han (Alden Ehrenreich) is a young criminal in the making who has dreams of escaping from his crime boss, to whom he has some outstanding debts. The script does also- as predicted- contain a number of nearly groan-worthy on-the-nose moments setting up Han's backstory (think a feature-length version of that opening Young Indy sequence from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"), but ultimately it's all in good fun and mostly forgivable. That said, the movie is at its best when it works towards the stylistic influences of the original film, allowing for the idea that new life can be woven into these well-known characters and histories. Only this time, the vehicles really move. At times, working with a small army of digital wizards, he seems to be channeling the spirit of the car-crash pileups of "Grand Theft Auto".