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    1. Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      Spoilers for Solo follow - you have been warned.

      So a year after it's release and months after it went up on netflix, I finally got around to watching Solo.

      For context: for most of my childhood, I was a huge Star Wars buff. I played Star Wars: Galaxies growing up, I was in the massive crowd that saw The Force Awakens opening night, I spent the better part of 2 years as part of a prerelease community for Star Wars: The Old Republic. There was a time where I could name nearly every planet of consequence in the canon and knew most of the expanded universe's timeline.

      But the new trilogy has been... well, nothing. I found it to be a mediocre, hole-filled mess most of the time, too busy being Disney's Star Wars^tm politically correct safe-kid to actually be good movies on their own. Rogue One was an enjoyable exception, but still not particularly amazing... but the point I'm driving at is, the last couple of years, I've pretty thoroughly come down from the Star Wars high.

      When Solo came out, I assumed it would be more of the same - panned by critics, it was presumably going to be another politically correct, lackluster, rehashed or nonsense story, this time using Han Solo's name as a marketing tactic. No desire to see a childhood hero Anakin Skywalker'd, I skipped it, and didn't even care to watch it when it popped up on Netflix.

      Tonight, out of pure boredom, I decided to give it a watch and was surprised to learn that I couldn't have been more wrong. Which is to say, I enjoyed the crap out of it!

      It had romance! Snappy writing! Memorable, enjoyable, non-trope characters (mostly!) Although it had some of the same flaws as Rogue One (namely that it started to drag on), it also had something that Star Wars hasn't truly seen since the original trilogy: heart and soul.

      More importantly, it did something that no movie in the franchise has done since the original trilogy, and actually engaged me with the story. And this is where the spoilers come in.

      First, credit where it's due: although the story tended to go on and on, at no point did I feel like any of it was unnecessary - it just felt like it was too constrained by being a single movie.

      I was invested in seeing an actual romance in the story (since apparently ONLY Han Solo can do that), which saw a satisfying, and rather complex resolution. The dirty, street-level setting and story was an awesome break from the epic, world-shaking conflicts that the movies have clung to until this point (or whatever the hell The Last Jedi was). It was powered by characters, and I appreciated that.

      To top it off, the reveal of Maul at the end of the movie was totally intriguing, and (IMO) beats any other reveal in the series hands-down. I was a fan of his appearances in the cartoons, and seeing him on the villain's throne in a movie, I think, would've made for a much spicier and more intriguing story than whatever/wherever/whoever Snoke was. From getting his ass kicked by the Emperor for the plot, to getting beat down by ol' Ben (for the plot), the guy's a damn competent villain that still hasn't had a real shot.

      Don't get me wrong, it had its flaws: as mentioned, it was REALLY long, and I don't mean to imply that every character was perfect, or that the plot wasn't totally ridiculous in places. But the story was good enough, and the movie enjoyable enough, that I could overlook it, and that's more than I could say about the movies that caused me to not see it in the first place...

      Which, to my final point, is the greatest disappointment: with the cancellation of all the non-trilogy entries in the series, it's safe to assume that Disney's learned all the wrong lessons from Solo.

      Rather than attributing it's A- performance to the point that people just haven't much enjoyed their epics, remembered what happened the last time someone tried to do an origin story in the series, or were feeling Star Wars fatigue, and didn't go to see it as a result, they'll blame the format, the story, the stakes, the setting, the characters - all the things that made the movie worth watching at all.

      So, with Episode 9 coming out sometime this year and us presumably going to see a mediocre conclusion to what has at this point been a completely mediocre and forgettable trilogy (with lightsabers!), all I can say is, Solo sadly will stand out in my mind as the only movie in this era that carries on the legacy of the originals. I'm disappointed, more by circumstance than anything. I think, had Solo come out 5 years ago, it would've been hailed as the proper return to the franchise that it deserved to be, far more than any of the other franchise entries have succeeded in doing since.

      What'd you think of Solo, Tildes? Am I stark raving mad?

      18 votes
    2. I've realised that when people discuss film, I've missed out. There are so many influential and important films that I haven't watched. Could you please recommend a (or more) films that you think...

      I've realised that when people discuss film, I've missed out. There are so many influential and important films that I haven't watched.

      Could you please recommend a (or more) films that you think is essential for an educated person to have watched? It can be a classic, or something less known.

      24 votes
    3. Apollo 11 is a limited IMAX only engagement, at least for now, and I don't know how long it'll be in theaters. But while it is, I implore everyone to go see it.This movie left me speechless, and...

      Apollo 11 is a limited IMAX only engagement, at least for now, and I don't know how long it'll be in theaters. But while it is, I implore everyone to go see it.This movie left me speechless, and not just in the sense of the footage being so incredible as to leave me without words, though that's certainly a factor. It's restored footage and audio of the Apollo 11 mission, for anyone that doesn't know, and it covers the launch, moon landing, and re-entry.

      It's so easy for historical events to be looked back on and be seen as just that: events. Like a natural disaster or the existence of a waterfall or a canyon, so many battles, inventions, and human triumphs are stripped of humanity, remembered only as things that happened, not things people did. Apollo 11 has staggering to witness footage, yes, but it weaves that footage together with the human moments wonderfully. The scenes of the launch countdown or the lander making its descent are intercut and splitscreened with the footage of the NASA control centers, with names of all the teams, as audio of their conversations with the astronauts and recaps of what has happened and is going to play over the incredibly restored launch footage. Cuts to the crowd overlooking the Apollo 11 launch are also common in the beginning.

      This is not an educational video, one to be seen for great understanding of the finer details of the mission. Apollo 11 instead acts as history in motion, with a perspective to the individuals and the event simultaneously. It's about the people that accomplished the amazing things you see. A display of the triumph of human spirit over the perceived rules of the world and the desire for understanding out world and breaking the limits that we thought were imposed on us. And yet, we as the viewers have a perspective that the people who actually accomplished the great things we see never did. The splitscreening helps to assign human beings to the awe inspiring footage in front of the viewer, yes, but at the same time it offers 2 entirely separated perspectives framed as one, one that the human beings being assigned to the footage never truly experienced in the moment. We have an intimate view of the control center with a simultaneous omnipotent-esque view of the mission in all of its glory. The viewer as the omnipotent being is true of most films to some degree, but the way in which the movie frames its central event, small and big at the same time, really highlights an omnipresent view that even those who lived through the launch never experienced in real time. It's a film of contrast between the individuals and the accomplishment of the collective, but in its control center voiceovers and constant splitscreens, it's really a movie that bridges the two contrasts.

      Basically, I loved it in ways that, despite my extensive best efforts, I find difficult to describe. This line sounds corny, I know, but you owe it to yourself to see it on the biggest screen that you can, and I implore everyone to try to make time for it and find a true IMAX showing, if possible. The visuals alone may not have been the biggest thing that awed me, but they were certainly a huge part of it. And for anyone that's also seen it, what'd you think? I'd love to see other perspectives on this doc.

      11 votes
    4. I really enjoyed his character in the movie and found his story arc to be way more interesting than the actual movie itself. I think they should remake League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with his...

      I really enjoyed his character in the movie and found his story arc to be way more interesting than the actual movie itself. I think they should remake League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with his Hyde/Jekyll.

      Even a follow up film about his character and maybe he tracks down “the mummy” again.

      4 votes