Solo: A Star Wars Story Has Lots to Show, Nothing to Say

Solo: A Star Wars Story Has Lots to Show, Nothing to Say

Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca in Solo: A Star Wars Story

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Solo: A Star Wars Story is out in theatres
  • It’s set before the events of 1977’s Star Wars
  • Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke star in Solo

Last year, George R.R. Martin – the author of A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels that have been adapted at HBO – said that of the several Game of Thrones spin-off ideas in development, not even one touched upon the period immediately prior to the current saga. “There would be no surprises or revelations left in such a show, just the acting out of conflicts whose resolutions you already know,” he added. Instead, Martin wants them to show parts of his universe that haven’t already been talked about.

On the other hand, the powers that-be at Lucasfilm – under Disney’s ownership – are more than happy to take the safer route and expand on events and characters we already know about, as it guarantees a financial windfall by drawing most if not all existing fans of the franchise. Partly thanks to Harrison Ford, Han Solo is one of the most famous characters in pop culture, let alone Star Wars. Telling his origin story, as the new standalone Star Wars film – Solo, out May 25 worldwide – does, is the definition of low-hanging fruit.

What makes that problem worse is that even before it starts, the big pieces of the puzzle are already in place. Owing to the original trilogy – now retroactively titled Episode IV, V and VI – that ran from 1977-1983, we know Han will meet Chewbacca, the two will then encounter Lando Calrissian, from whom Han will win the Millennium Falcon in a bet, with which he’ll make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. That’s not a lot of room to create a meaningful story – written by Star Wars veteran Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jonathan – in addition to the fact there’s no stakes for our heroes.

 

On top of that, Solo: A Star Wars Story is also dealing with a limited arc for a young Han, since he has to end up as the cocky and overpromising guy Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi meet in the Mos Eisley cantina. And that means the film can’t attribute qualities to him that you wouldn’t normally associate with him, even though he’s about a decade younger in this than in the original trilogy. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t try; Solo has moments where it pokes fun at his ill-advised bravado, but it’s still filling in the portrait of a guy who thinks he can do everything himself.

Solo: A Star Wars Story begins by introducing the pair of Han (Alden Ehrenreich, from Hail, Caesar!) and Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke, from Game of Thrones) on their homeworld of Corellia, who are in love and languishing in slum-like conditions. Years later, Han enlists in the Imperial forces, meets a criminal of dubious morals named Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson, from War for the Planet of the Apes), and then takes on a job for crime lord Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany, from Avengers: Infinity War). That sets Soloin motion and brings other characters into the picture.

What unfolds from there is a part heist and part Western film, as Han and Co. go about achieving their mission – it involves stealing something ultra-valuable and getting it somewhere else as quickly as possible – while making new friends and new enemies along the way. The former involves Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), the captain and original owner of the Millennium Falcon, and his first mate, a hilarious and outspoken droid called L3-37 (voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, from Fleabag). There are bit part roles for Westworld’s Thandie Newton and director Jon Favreau (Iron Man) as well.

solo star wars lando calrissian Solo A Star Wars Story

Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story
Photo Credit: Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm

 

Like the previous standalone chapter Rogue One, there’s nothing about the Jedi and lightsabers here, and even less about the Empire or the Force. Similarly, all the new characters Solo: A Star Wars Story introduces are ultimately dispensable too, since none of them can show up in later entries. But unlike Rogue One, the film, seemingly with an eye on potential sequels – Ehrenreich has a three-picture deal in his contract – creates subplots that aren’t tied up properly by the end. It’s here that Solo even connects to the prequel trilogy from 1999-2005.

Unfortunately, there’s little justification for a second visit, when the first is rather unimaginative. Save for a few scattered moments, the film doesn’t grab you until an hour in. And though it’s got the makings of some unique action set-pieces, they aren’t handled in a way that would make them memorable. Even when the Millennium Falcon is being attacked by TIE fighters late-game, there’s no sense of the excitement that was apparent in J.J. Abrams’ 2015 soft reboot The Force Awakens, and Rian Johnson’s 2017 follow-up The Last Jedi.

Part of this stems from the botched handling of the production. The original directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie), were fired over four months into filming, after clashing with Lucasfilm execs including Kasdan over their directorial approach. They thought they were hired to bring their comedic flavour to Star Wars, but their heavy improvisational technique – the duo sometimes shot a dozen takes that weren’t always in line with what the script said – didn’t sit well with Kasdan, and they were replaced by Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind), who’s seen as a safe choice.

It’s a testament to Howard’s experience that he not only managed to keep the film on track for its scheduled release, but that Solo: A Star Wars Story feels cohesive despite being the product of two entirely different visions: according to a behind-the-scenes report, 70 percent of the finished film is Howard’s, with the rest being the work of Lord and Miller. But because Howard was hired last minute to simply bring the script to life, the film lacks an authoritative touch and ends up feeling like a by-the-numbers bland heist film.

solo star wars qira Solo A Star Wars Story

Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm

 

Moreover, less than six months after Star Wars took some of its boldest steps courtesy Johnson – including a welcome dressing down of why trigger-happy hotshots can cause more harm than good – Solo is happy to play it easy. A few unexpected twists towards the end, and the work of its top-notch cast – Waller-Bridge is excellent and powers some of the film’s best moments, Glover is instantly charismatic and a scene-stealer as the trailers promised, and Clarke lands the note she’s asked to play, that of an intriguing yet enigmatic female lead – simply aren’t enough.

Despite how damning the preceding paragraphs may sound, Solo isn’t a bad movie per se. It’s just fine. The film will help buff up the encyclopaedia pages in a certain period, give Disney another chance to sell more Star Wars merchandise, and lays the groundwork for sequels leading up to Episode IV – A New Hope (“Star Wars” for the purists). But it never takes off in a fashion that would please its titular hero – John Williams’ iconic soundtrack is also on a leash for the longest time, unfortunately – mainly because it’s too predictable to make any wild manoeuvres.

We’ll never know what Lord and Miller would’ve done with Solo: A Star Wars Story, even as the underlying story would’ve been the same. It’s also possible their version would have been horrible, and that Lucasfilm was right in removing them before it was too late. But if Star Wars is going to keep swinging the pendulum back even as its world expands – reports abound of more standalone chapters with Obi-Wan and others, alongside all-new stories from Johnson, Favreau, and Game of Thrones creators – the least it can do is not be borderline cynical about it.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

OnePlus 5T Star Wars Limited Edition Set to Launch in India Today

OnePlus 5T Star Wars Limited Edition Set to Launch in India Today

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Launch event to be followed by screening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • OnePlus 5T Star Wars edition to be available from December 15
  • Sports a white back panel, Star Wars logo, and red Alert Slider

Announced earlier this month, the OnePlus 5T Star Wars Limited Edition, will be released at an event in Mumbai on December 14 at 7pm. OnePlus, in collaboration with the Star Wars: The Last Jedi, will showcase the smartphone at a special event at IMAX Wadala in Mumbai. After the launch event, a special screening of the movie will be held for fans that bought the tickets last week.

The OnePlus 5T Star Wars Limited Edition will go on sale on Amazon.in, OnePlusStore.in, and at various offline OnePlus experience stores in Bengaluru and Noida from December 15, the same date as the India release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Apart from a white back panel, a Star Wars logo on the back, and a red-coloured Alert Slider, there are no other cosmetic hardware changes on the OnePlus 5T Star Wars Limited Edition. The smartphone does include a Stormtrooper wallpaper that matches the deep black front of the limited edition OnePlus 5T.

Specifications of the new phone are expected to be identical to the OnePlus 5T launched in India last month. The OnePlus 5T sports a 6.01-inch Optic AMOLED full-HD+ display with a resolution of 1080×2160 pixels and an 18:9 aspect ratio. It is powered by a 2.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, coupled with up to 8GB RAM and 128GB inbuilt storage that’s not expandable.

In the camera department, the OnePlus 5T has a dual-camera setup with a 16-megapixel IMX398 sensor and a 20-megapixel Sony IMX350 sensor along with f/1.7 aperture lenses. On the front is a 16-megapixel Sony IMX371 sensor for selfies and video calls. It packs a 3300mAh non-removable battery that supports fast charging through the company’s Dash Charge technology. The OnePlus 5T was recently updated with OxygenOS 4.7.4 that brings camera and system improvements to the smartphone.

A ‘Lava Red’ variant of the OnePlus 5T was launched recently in China.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

OnePlus 5T

OnePlus 5T

Rs.32,999
Buy
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
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  • Good
  • Large, bright and clear screen
  • Great battery life
  • Useful software features
  • Very good performance
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  • Photo quality in daylight could be better
  • No weatherproofing or wireless charging
  • Android 8.0 update will take months
BUY AT
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  • OnePlus 5T (Midnight Black, 128GB, 8GB RAM) –
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[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

BBC Two “Robot Wars” by BBC Creative

  • Advertiser

    BBC and  BBC Two

  • Agency

    BBC Creative

  • Sector

    Media / Entertainment Brands and  Television brands

  • Exposure

    United Kingdom

Robot Wars’ brutal house robots put on an impressive show of strength in a trailer for the new series of the BBC Two TV show.

Led by Sir Killalot, arguably the toughest of the bunch, the robots gang up on and destroy a vehicle in a car park.

The trailer was created by the BBC Creative team, which has previously made spots for BBC Sport’s “Six Nations” campaign and the BBC+ app, a film which featured two naturalists on a hike.

[“Source-campaignlive”]

 

Halo Wars 2 Release Date, Editions, and Open Beta Revealed

Halo Wars 2 Release Date, Editions, and Open Beta Revealed

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Halo Wars 2 will have Standard and Deluxe Editions.
  • The game will also have a season pass.
  • There will be an open beta from June 13 to June 20.

With a few hours to go before Microsoft’s big E3 2016conference, information has been trickling in on what to expect. Aside from the Xbox One S – a slimmer variant of the company’s Xbox One console with some new added functionality like 4K video which was leaked, there are games. And a whole lot of them. One in particular is Halo Wars 2.

Announced at Gamescom 2015, it merges real-time strategy (RTS) with the Halo universe. Earlier due for a Fall 2016 release, it has been shifted to February 21, 2017. And it will come with a season pass. There will be two editions of the game, Standard and Deluxe, with the latter being priced at $80 (around Rs. 5,368) and could include the season pass. Don’t expect this version to come to India, due to the high price. Rather we should see just the Standard Edition similarly priced to Quantum Break at Rs. 3,999. There will be an beta though, from June 13 to June 20.

The news comes from popular gaming forum NeoGAF, via users who were able to access Microsoft’s site which were accessible publicly. In fact there are hints of more to come.

“Actually I am surprised someone didn’t leak all the vids and other screens from games since all was hosted on public access MS site (talking about the screens/gifs I posted),” claims a forum goer by the handle of Gwyn on NeoGAF, who went on to say that Microsoft had finally pulled the plug on access.

The first Halo Wars game got more attention for being the last game from Ensemble Studios, the legendary Age of Empires studio, and comparatively little interest for its fairly unique take on the RTS genre that’s never been popular on consoles. When Microsoft shut Ensemble soon after Halo Wars was released, many fans felt cheated. Nonetheless, with studio Creative Assembly at the helm , it will be interesting to see how the developer behind Total War: Warhammer take the genre forward in Halo Wars 2.

Wondering which were the best games announced at E3 2016? You can listen to our podcast via iTunesor just hit the play button below to find out.

 

[“Source-Gadgets”]