Star Wars movie ‘exceeds expectations’, Hans down

The next Star Wars instalment came to life across Australia this morning, with more than 20 screenings of Solo: A Star Wars Story in WA alone.

Prior to its release, the film was met with low expectations, with fans preparing for disappointment. But movie-goers who spoke to Western Independent said the movie exceeded their expectations across the board.

The film uncovers the backstory behind Star Wars fan-favourite Han Solo. It follows Han as a young, revealing the events which shape the character Star Wars fans know and love today. The film has a strong focus on Han’s relationship with long-time companion Chewbacca.

501st Legion Desert Scorpion Garrison member Bree Liddington (L) and commanding officer Natasha Tex Birt (R) at the Event Cinemas Innaloo midnight screening. Photo: Caelie Jones

One of the members behind Perth-based fan group, 501st Legion Desert Scorpion Garrison, said people were concerned the film wouldn’t work because Harrison Ford wasn’t playing Han Solo.

Instead, Alden Ehrenreich played the role.

“Going into it, a lot of people were just saying it’s not Harrison Ford, it’s not going to work,” legion commanding officer Liz Shord said.

“I was one of those people, I thought it was going to be terrible.”

Long-time Star Wars fan Jack Lewins saw the midnight screening at Hoyts Carousel and said Ford and Solo had always come as a package, which meant it was going to be difficult having someone else in the role.

501st Legion member Toby Cheffins at the Event Cinemas Innaloo midnight screening. Photo: Caelie Jones

“It was always going to be an impossible task to fully live up to the legacy of Harrison Ford in that character,” he said.

“Whenever you have an iconic character being recast and being played by someone new, you’ve got to be wary, especially when Harrison has been playing Han for 40 years.”

It wasn’t just a new actor that had fans in a spin prior to the film’s release.

Star Walking director Chris Brennan, whose group was created as an appreciation society, said the change in directors close to the end of the film’s production meant fans were concerned the film would be a series of mismatched scenes slapped together.

“There was a lot of controversy about the directors of the film. We started off with two directors who were trying to make it a slapstick comedy,” he said.

“When Disney got rid of those two directors and brought in Ron Howard, Ron had to change a lot. He had to reshoot scenes and I think fans were a bit worried the film wasn’t going to run fluidly.”

The preconceptions by fans were wrong.

Star Wars fans at the Event Cinemas Innaloo midnight screening with LucasFilm accredited artist Mark Raats (middle). Photo supplied by: Anthony Scafetta

Mr Brennan said he shut the negative press out of his mind and let the movie speak for itself.

“It treated the classic characters with respect and answered all the questions we had about Han’s background and his relationship with Chewy,” he said.

Ms Shord went as far to say it was her favourite Star Wars film since Disney took control of the franchise.

“It’s surprising, it’s interesting. It fills in so much about Han that we’ve been wanting to know for all these years,” she said.

501st Legion member Glen Rhodes has 21 Star Wars costumes to choose from. At the Event Cinemas Innaloo midnight screening, he dressed as a stormtrooper. Photo: Caelie Jones

Film critic and writer Cameron Williams said the film told the story of Han Solo in exceptional fashion.

“I was pleasantly surprised and it caught me off guard in terms of what it’s actually about and the way it makes Star Wars feel adventurous and youthful,” he said.

Ramsay Bogunovich attended the midnight screening of Solo at Event Cinemas Innaloo and said he loved the storyline.

“There were different Easter egg treatments to Han Solo and how he became the man he was in The New Hope and onwards, which paid tribute to Harrison Ford’s character,” he said.

“It absolutely exceeded my expectations.”

Ms Shord said viewers should make up their own mind about the film instead of allowing their preconceptions do it for them.

“It’s so much better that what you expect it to be. I’ve seen so many reviews saying it’s going to be the worst Star Wars movie so far, and it’s not. It’s far from it,” she said.