Thursday, May 31, 2018

Solo: or How To Ruin The Most Beloved Film Franchise In Four Movies Or Less

(As promised. And no spoilers. Other than it being a total disappointment.)

Solo isn't a bad movie. It's certainly not anything like the worst movie of this, or any, year.
What it also isn't is...good.

To be fair, I give it a B-/C+. It's just that given the budget, hype, time to develop it, and general expectations, it was so much less than anyone should have done, that it deserves the lower grade.

When you're deliberately writing the official backstory of the most-beloved character in one of the top three (if not Number One, outright) iconic franchises in cinematic history, you have one job: Don't Screw The Pooch.

Unfortunately, this pooch was screwed before they got as far as casting. And then the screenwriters showed up to make it a proper gangbang. Then the producers dropped by. Then the studio executives joined in. And nobody called the ASPCA, nor the UN High Commission on Crimes Against Humanity. More's the pity. If Harvey Weinstein goes to jail and these people walk, there's simply no justice in the world.

The be specific, the story is weak, the dialogue blows rather than sizzles, the actor looks like a young Jack Black, not a young Han Solo (whose cinematic essence is conveyed at no time in the film in question), and you wonder why, if this was the best they could do, anyone even bothered. This film should have been red-lighted, not green-lighted. Then given a breathalyzer test, and thrown in jail until it sobered up.

Then you remember the decades-long "F**K The Fans!" jihad originally begun by sour-grapes George Lucas all the way back to Return Of The Jedi, turned up to 11 in the atrocious prequels, and then not just fornicating the fans, but actually anally raping the entire franchise from top to bottom (you should excuse the unintentional pun) in the last three Disney-sponsored outings, and you can understand the fan backlash against possibly the least awful and obnoxious litterbox nugget of the four worthy-of-burial-in-Fluffy's-poopie-box films squeezed out by Disney thus far, and in all likelihood via a feline's alimentary processes.

They took a movie tentpole franchise that had literally millions of people from 6 to 60 waiting in lines hundreds of yards long and three times around the theater, and turned it into something that most people couldn't stay home enough from fast enough on the biggest opening weekend there is. The last captain that talented went down on the bridge of the Titanic.

This monumental and excremental effort belongs to Jar Jar Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy (who was only made an associate producer by Steven Spielberg back in the day because she was absolutely the World's Worst Personal Assistant, but he liked her too much to fire her outright, so instead he put her in the only job in Hollywood with zero apprenticeship or talent required to perform: producer), and the monumentally culturally tone-deaf PC droids currently running Disney films (right into the ground, and then jumping up and down on them until brains come out the corpse's earholes - so far).

Picture Jabba the Hut doing a bellyflop from the high diving board onto a baby Ewok in an empty swimming pool - over and over, all day long - and you've got the right metaphor for what they've done to this entire franchise.

If you've never seen another Star Wars movie, this one is fairly inoffensive.
If it was the only one that had ever been made, it would be the only one ever made.
But as the tenth outing from the pedigree of the original Star Wars, the only fitting way to describe a film this disappointingly doomed would be to remind people of when Warner Brothers cast George Clooney as Batman, multiplied by giving Kevin Costner full budget authority for a script requiring jet skis.

If you want an exquisite two-hour geek rant on the forensic details of all the details on how the franchise pooch was abused beyond canine endurance, take a peek at this week's Stratosphere Lounge with Bill Whittle. Once he got rolling on the topic, I realized I was watching a virtual film school masterclass on How Not To Write Screenplays, and I almost saluted. He nails everything you've probably hated about the films going back 20 years, in depth and detail. For sport, in the equivalent of hunting poodles with a bazooka.

If instead you want to burn up your money and two hours and fifteen minutes of your life on a moderately entertaining but ultimately wasted trip, go see Solo. For those hoping that this flick would finally re-capture and rekindle the magic gleefully and deliberately burned down with malice aforethought by the previously named suspects, the other best way to describe its consistently disappointing failure to launch is the scene in Dragnet, where Tom Hanks' Det. Streebeck explains the basics of old school interrogation procedure to arrestee Muzz.

If two hours and change of that is what you go to the movies for, this one won't disappoint you a bit. And with the Craigslist and Backpages personal ads long gone, it's probably the easiest way for people into that particular flavor of kink to find it. Just remember there's no safeword in the movie theater except running for the exit.

The only thing that even remotely cheers me up about these simply awful betrayals of the franchise is that, if Seth Green and Co. simply keep showing up to work, the next two or three Robot Chicken Claymation send-ups of Star Wars should be side-splittingly epic.


Anonymous said...

Saw the first one, first run. Saw one of the others (don't remember which one) and haven't bothered since. The mystery to me is that I have presumably "adult" colleagues who are obsessed with this stuff. Bill's right in that we should look in to see what the people who are going to inherit are paying attention to; but I gotta say I'm dismayed and perplexed by this phenomenon.

loren said...

The franchise forgot or more likely ignored their fan base; teenage boys. Guys don't give flying fuck about diversity, feminism or the PC crap that Ms Kennedy thinks is so important.
All they needed is a wise cracking hero to do some shoot-em-ups, chases and a fondle a couple of bare titties and they are good to go for a billion box office.
At least Star Wars just messed up a lame juvenile story line in the first pace. It would have really sucked if they had gotten a hold of some good SF.

Aesop said...

It's much simpler than all that. The franchise forgot the cardinal rule:
Luke and Han rescued the princess. Over and over again.
Leia led them into the garbage masher and nearly got them all killed.

That's everything you need to know about movie-making in ten seconds.

And Star Wars has always been science fantasy, not science fiction.
That's why Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury, and Michael Crichton were millionaires, while George Lucas is a billionaire.

"One fantasy is more powerful than a hundred realities" was the poster tagline to the animated version of Lord Of The Rings.

Ask Peter Jackson how the accounting math on that works out for your bank account.

loren said...

Nope, SF is adventure in a setting of science, hardware or psychology.
Think Red October using space ships instead of submarines.
Fantasy (my sister was a published fantasy writer) is magic and science doesn't come into it.
Star Wars is a classic adventure tale and most definitely SF.
I'll see your Lord of the Rings and raise you one Avatar, which did a reasonable box office if you recall.

Aesop said...

Fantasy requires Magic?
You mean like "the Force"?

Avatar was visually stunning, and content-bankrupt. It was so god-awful that there's never been another thing in the same vein.
It was Disney's SJW-reeking Pocohantas with VFX, and was tagged properly as such at the time.
Google Avatar/Pocohantas and see the plot dissected piece by piece as total rip-off. Probably by a precocious tenth-grader of the type that thought the Emperor was naked, once upon a time.

If you look closely at it, you might also notice James Cameron's former career wrecked upon its shoals, and after a hiatus of doing nothing for a decade-plus (which is two career lifetimes in Hollywood, or 77 in dog years), he's trying desperately to make a last-gasp comeback by doubling down on the original pail of pig vomit for a sequel.

Kind of like doing Han Solo's backstory, forty years later, which even Lucas himself wasn't willing to milk.

Avatar was neither science fiction nor science fantasy, it was simply tripe with a CGI budget. Any trailers for the project should properly be described as "warnings".

Anonymous said...

Before I even started watching Bill Whittle, I noticed he linked to Anthony Ingruber. Ingruber was THE fan's choice if this thing had to be made, hands down. When they cast this other Jack Black guy the yelling could be heard from all around the world. Yes Disney, sometimes fans DO know best. I had some industry insiders try to pat me on the head and tell me that I didn't know what I was talking about and that "Disney knows what they're doing". Ok then. Enjoy the flatlined box office.

I'll be watching in a bit to see if Whittle nails Rey for being so STUPIDLY overpowered, and I don't see an out since The Last Jedi blew all of everything straight to hell. I'd rather read the Darth Bane trilogy again than watch the garbage they're putting on screen. The Thrawn trilogy by Zahn as a sequel was better than what Disney is putting out. This is BS, and as a lifelong Star Wars fan, I say screw Disney.

Hoping and praying they don't fuck up the Wheel of Time (they probably will, strong male lead, you know, can't have that), and if they so much as TOUCH Drizzt in this political climate, it's going to fail. I can rest easy knowing they'll leave him alone. Some heroes should stay in books and as far away from Hollywood as possible. "A Wrinkle in Time" and what they're done to Star Wars is the final nail. Jackson's LOTR and GoT are complete anomalies as far as I can tell. Oh, and Outlander, and that's because Gabaldon won't let them screw her books or she pulls the rights (smart lady).

Andrew said...

The series was dead to me when Han didn't shoot first.

Lucas screwed the pooch most royally over that fiasco. Come on, the whole redemption of the rogue story, bad man done good, was such an essential part of the original story, extending into the next two movies.

And then Lucas gave us... Darth Maul (Fracking Awesome. Come on, why did he have to die) and that pond salamander thingy (who should have died) and super kid (who I wanted to have tossed out an airlock.) I actively cheered when whatever Jinn got buzz-cut by Maul. Which peeved the braindead viewers. And those damned stupid robots, geez, Huey, Dewey and Louie coulda kicked the Trade Fed's asses. Come on, dude!

Best thing was Episode III when all the kids died. Yay, no more sanctimonious kimono-wearing hippy asswipes.

Oh, well. I guess if Spielberg could frack up "ET" by removing the evil guns, then Lucas had to say, "Here, hold my Soy Latte..."

loren said...

Yeah I knew you'd bring up the "Force". It's much the same as Dune or "Mote in God's Eye" or "Lensman" series by E.E.Doc Smith, all SF.
Stop by a used bookstore sometime and check out the SF & Fantasy section. It'll be immediately obvious what's what.
As to Avatar, I was referencing the box office not the script but yes, it is a SF movie and nothing else. I personally enjoyed it although I didn't put any thought into the story line. Can't really think of any movie that I have.
Did like "South Pacific". A movie, cartoon and popcorn for 40 cents Course I was 9. Movies now, and perhaps, then are just about the tribe putting money in their pockets and getting the occasional BJ on the office couch.

Anonymous said...


"Stop me before I sub-reference again."

Aesop, why don't you tell us what you REALLY thought of Solo :)

Anonymous said...

This kind of crap was inevitable when Disney took over the franchise. _revjen45