' ' Cinema Romantico: Solo: A Star Wars Story, Best Case Scenario

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story, Best Case Scenario

Han Solo was not really always my favorite “Star Wars” character. When I was first falling in love with George Lucas’s space opera, Luke Skywalker was my favorite character. It was easier as a precocious adolescent to identify with a kid who hadn’t been further than Anchorhead than a grouchmaster gruff who had seen it all. Over time, however, Han Solo’s charms worked on me, which is to say that Harrison Ford’s I-Wish-I-Was-A-Carpenter anti-charm worked on me. If as a little kid I understood on some non-cognitive level that there was something innately cool about the spice smuggler propping his feet up on the table shooting Greedo first, it didn’t really begin to hit home until reality begin intruding as I tried, desperately, to come of age, striking MTV-influenced disaffected poses while on vacation with my parents to make it seem like I wasn’t with my parents. I was trying to leave Luke Skywalker behind, in other words, to become Han Solo, which is impossible but the compulsory De-Leon-ish teenage quest nonetheless. All that is to say, if you had told me in the early 90s that there was going to be a Han Solo standalone movie, oh my God, I would have flipped my lid. Back then we only had three “Star Wars” movies, after all, and at that time maybe Harrison Ford still would have been spinoff Solo, even if he would have sabotaged all his lines like the “Blade Runner” voiceover, which would have been just right. A Han Solo spinoff anchored by a disinterested Ford would have been the tops.


Once upon a time a Steven Seagal thriller was as commonplace during the movie season as a superhero movie is in the present. Seagal’s movies were interchangeable entertainment, reflected not merely in their gunplay and kung-fu but in titles like “Out for Justice” and “Marked for Death” that seemed to come straight from some Hollywood brainstorming session overseen by risk management experts who prefer Bud Light at the bar and their fish served very plain. The quasi-snappy three words, in fact, are a hallmark of Seagal movie titles, where even the ones that are not three words sound like they are, whether it’s “Under Siege” blowing two words out to three syllables or “Fire Down Below” sounding less like four syllables than roughly 3.5. The essential sameness of these names correlates directly to their analogous adventures. I have seen some of these movies, but I could not necessarily tell you which ones I have seen and which ones I have not. I have seen “Hard to Kill”, I think, and not “Above the Law”, but it could be, I suspect, that I have seen “Above the Law” and not “Hard to Kill.” This is entirely appropriate. Steven Seagal Three Word Title Movies are not intended for rumination, which is why I always found it funny that he tried to jam environmental issues into “On Deadly Ground” (which I have seen…maybe). This blog supports protecting the environment, sure, but A Steven Seagal Three Word Title Movie is designed to go in one ear and out the other and left with your empty Junior Mints box on the theater floor, experienced in the moment, enjoyed in a mindless sort of way, and never thought of again.


“Solo: A Star Wars Story” doesn’t sound like a Steven Seagal Three Word Movie Title. It sounds more like “The Path Beyond Thought”, a documentary about Steven Seagal’s time as a sensei in Japan, which I have not seen and which might be really, really good, but is nevertheless a title a few leagues apart from, say, the expository glory of “Half Past Dead.” “The Hutt Gambit”, which was the second book in a series concering Han Solo written by A.C. Crisp, is more indicative of the eponymous ring I wish Ron Howard’s movie was going for, less a Memorial Day weekend event than a late April or late September release. “Solo: A Star Wars Story” makes it sound determined to fit squarely into the franchise, meaning it will become fodder for endless conversations about its place in the canon. And whereas long ago, in a lifetime far, far away, I would have been ripe for those conversations, these days I find myself exhausted with them, a little burned out on this franchise that once meant so much to me. I have, I realize, become, finally, all these years later, in a way, Han Solo, just as I always dreamed, meeting his own movie on his level, less excited than indifferent, wishing that “Solo: A Star Wars Story” was nothing more than a Steven Seagal Three Word Movie, watched and forgotten, destined to be followed a little while later by an eminently forgettable movie too.

No comments: