Thanks to Walt Disney Home Entertainment for supplying a review copy of this release for the purposes of review.
When initially reviewing the film back in May for its theatrical release, I found myself having an enjoyable time even though there are a fair number of blemishes, specifically describing it as “a fun experience that succeeds on excellent performances from namely Woody Harrelson and Donald Glover, however due to a loosely written script, it ultimately can’t become nothing more than a meekly above average Star Wars adventure.” Ultimately, when viewing the film for the second time, many of these attributes are still in play and thanks to a stylized home video release, featuring special featurettes and a cohesive technical remaster. However, even with Solo on home video serving as a moderate keepsake for the film and its legacy, the recurring notions of what this release could have provided and been still leaves a devastating mark on this release that is unfortunately nothing more than a standard release.
In terms of the actual film itself, upon second or even multiple viewings for some fans, it retains what made the original theatrical release both divisive and clumsy. However, there are some notable differences that I noted personally. Upon viewing the film, some of the more catastrophic issues began to fall by the wayside, letting the story and plot to unravel naturally. But with such a lack of attention towards one scene leads to an overabundance for another. Indeed, I found myself both rolling my eyes and shaking my head in disbelief as ludicrous events continued to flash across the screen in its brilliant technical remaster. But for fans of the original theatrical cut and for the legions of audiences that have never even seen Solo, having the experience to relive or experience it for the first time will prove to be a fun, if flawed time.
As with any other home video release, there are certainly clear differences between the theatrical release and the home video release no matter how much tinkering with both sound and picture quality is done. Solo: A Star Wars Story fortunately does the best with such a limiting expectation. It features the same technical set-up as any other Disney release and with no aspect ratio-changing sequences present in the film, unlike the recently released Avengers: Infinity War, there is no room for compromising the visual set-up of the film. However, while the differences could be considered muted, it’s ultimately the film itself that makes the picture feel off-putting. In Ron Howard’s film, there is a very minor color spectrum with little flairs of excitement other than in intense CGI sequences. It creates a duller image for the audience, an addition that this release could have improved on.
To complement the supplementary home video remastering of the film are special features, ranging from scenes left on the editing floor to fully-fledged documentaries between director Ron Howard and his star-studded cast. Unfortunately, nothing of what Solo: A Star Wars Story provides for its special features feels remotely fresh or personalized for this film. The behind-the-scenes documentaries, while informative, feel nothing more than a lackluster interview centered around one scene. None of the documentaries leave a lasting impact with many of them serving as devastating disappointments, especially with the documentary entitled “Solo: The Director & Cast Roundtable,” a promising concept that implements both the dynamics and experiences of both Ron Howard and his cast but unfortunately ends up coming across off as laughable and generic. If a fully-fledged documentary were to be provided for the production of the film and the issues encountered, it could have easily justified the suggested retail price of $24.99, a number that somewhat seems ludicrous in hindsight.
As for the deleted scenes, they once again do not contain any scenes that can truly provoke any real discussion. Many of the included sequences are extended portions of critical battle sequences, making the release feel all the hollower and even processed. There are only 8 deleted scenes included and with such a troubled production even involving the firing of its two executive producers as directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, it feels clumsy on Disney’s behalf that the proper thought and care was not applied to this release.
Ultimately, this home video release of Solo: A Star Wars Story is a fitting tribute to a fun if flawed ride in the iconic Star Wars universe. It may not convert any critics of the film to supporters of it, due to some lacking special features. But it still mostly retains the dry B-movie flair of the original theatrical release, creating an experience that is faithful but contains all the warts of the original.
Score: 6.8 out of 10