I know what you’re thinking: “Oh my god, another think piece on the state of movies?!”
Yeah, sadly…kind of. I apologize in advance.
First and foremost, I am a film enthusiast. When I go to the movie theater, I don’t want to leave with a list of critiques and complaints about how the movie business is failing and how it’s lost its creativity. I rolled my eyes at Dustin Hoffman’s remarks over how film is at the worst it’s been in the 50 years he’s been making them, because it seemed largely ignorant and likely due to his lack of interesting roles of late. Sure, Hollywood head honchos are frustratingly sequel and remake happy, but that doesn’t mean the overall quality of film has dipped–it just means that a viewer is going to need to look further than the next blockbuster.
For every Insidious 3 there are horror movies such as The Babadook, It Follows, and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. For every Ted 2 there are comedies like Obvious Child, Birdman, and Spy. Hell, for every The Avengers: Age of Ultron there is a Guardians of the Galaxy. There are some amazing films being released on a yearly basis, even if the summer months seem jam packed with familiar faces and storylines.
I ignore the repeats and I look for what interests me, whether that be summer 2014 favorites of mine such as Calvary, The Congress, and Starred Up or remakes such as this year’s Mad Max: Fury Road. No one is being forced into seeing a movie, so pick what interests you and seek it out, be it a small, independent film being released on VOD or a mega summer blowout such as Jurassic World.
My point being (and I know I’ve taken the longest way to get there) is that I tend not to take concerns about the deteriorating authenticity of movie making at face value.
That being said…
This whole young and hip Han Solo spin-off nonsense is trying my patience.
The fact is this: Harrison Ford is synonymous with Han Solo in ways that can’t be rebooted or recast like other action contemporaries such as James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, or ever Captain Kirk. The swagger, the effortless charm, the bumbling action plights with a touch of persistent exasperation–that’s all Ford. This isn’t Spider-Man or Batman that’s being recast for the gazillionth time but a character who is considered by many to be one of the very best. Characters such as Holmes or Spider-Man can go through multiple actors because, due to existing novels or comic books, they’ve already been shown to have multiple facets or stories to be explored. Han Solo, on the other hand, is a singular presence, and is already interesting and charismatic enough without having stories separated from the main narrative.
When he’s introduced to us, he’s immediately a fleshed-out character, so much so that he became an instant fan favorite and by the end of the trilogy has had his own character arc. There’s intrigue about his past, sure, but part of his compelling nature came from the little we knew about him and then the amount we got to learn over the course of three films.
It feels cheap. As a fan of Chris Miller and Phil Lord, I simply don’t see the necessity beyond corporate need and exploitation of a popular character in pop culture. They are the only two reasons I’m willing to hold out an ounce of hope for the film, considering they have a history of defying expectations. I want this to be good, and there’s a part of me that’s amused by how this must be causing a hellish amount of stress in casting departments, but there’s also the small, very small, cynic in me that’s saying this seems like a bad idea.
No matter what, it’s happening, however, so here’s hoping that that any concerns are for nothing and that they cast an actor who is talented enough and charming enough to fill some very big shoes.
Prove me wrong, filmmakers and fans!