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post #1 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Solo: A Star Wars Story Ultra HD Blu-ray Review



During an adventure into the criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future co-pilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.



The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

74



Details:

Studio and Year: Disney - 2018
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 135 minutes
Genre: Sci-fi/Adventure

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos7.1.4/TrueHD 7.1, Spanish/French Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Amelia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Paul Bettany, Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Directed by: Ron Howard
Music by: John Powell
Written by: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan
Region Code: A,B,C


Release Date: September 25, 2018


"Never Tell Him the Odds"


My Take:

Young Han Solo finds adventure when he joins a gang of galactic smugglers, including a 196-year-old Wookie named Chewbacca. Indebted to the gangster Dryden Vos, the crew devises a daring plan to travel to the mining planet Kessel to steal a batch of valuable coaxium. In need of a fast ship, Solo meets Lando Calrissian, the suave owner of the perfect vessel for the dangerous mission -- the Millennium Falcon.

Star Wars: A New Hope or Star Wars, as it was called back then, debuted in theaters on my 13th birthday in 1977. I remember sitting in the theater not knowing what to expect but being excited because I sensed that the film was somehow different from anything I had previously seen on the big screen. Little did I realize how right I was as my jaw dropped upon seeing that huge Star Destroyer come into view and fill the screen. I remained captivated as the story unfolded, introducing me to iconic characters and their compelling plight which would evolve into the most talked about and anticipated movie events over the next six years.

I, like many of you reading this am a Star Wars fan, with a particular love of Episodes IV, V, VI. When I saw the trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story I was interested but, not intrigued as it just seemed like another installment, based upon one of the franchises most beloved characters, that had the earmarks of a cash grab. Anyway, I didn’t venture out to the theater to see it, especially given the mixed reviews that I heard from people that had seen it. After sitting down with it I found it rather enjoyable. It’s not a wholly gratifying film experience given the shallowness of its narrative but, it has enough depth to make for an entertaining guilty pleasure that presents us with visual background on the forming of relationships that would later define the early Star Wars films.

I thought that the cast handled their respective roles well enough. I did feel that Donald Glover was the standout, doing a very good job in portraying young Lando, despite trying just a tad too hard to sound like Billy Dee Williams. The action is fair and the production elements support the thematic tone just fine. Solo: A Star Wars probably isn’t a favorite among Star Wars fans but, it’s got a place in my opinion. There is much talk about future films featuring the backstories on iconic characters from the Star Wars mythos. We’ll see lies in store.



Replay Value:


Parental Guide:

The rating is for sequences of sci-fi/action violence.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


UHD Presentation: 78
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution:
  • Visual Impact:



Dolby Atmos Rating: 70
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Level of immersion:
  • Soundstage integration:
  • Audio object placement:
  • Effectiveness:
  • Entertainment factor:



Solo: A Star Wars Story comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Disney featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD, Solo: A Star Wars Story was derived from 6.5K and 3.4K sources and finished on a 4K DI.

Having not seen Solo: A Star Wars Story in the theater I have no frame of reference for its intended look from a cinematographic perspective. Aesthetically speaking this is on odd looking film. It’s adorned in sepia and colors often lean toward neutral. The result is a less than eye-catching appearance which fails to capitalize on Ultra HD ability to deliver striking levels of color.

This is the case with the 1080p transfer as well. This isn’t to suggest that the presentation is devoid of chromatic elements as the film’s varies shades of brown, orange, tan, intermittently rendered primary colors and flesh tones are reproduced quite well. Black levels are a mixed bag and are scene/lighting dependent. Dark sequences mixed with bright elements tend to look solid, with appreciable delineation in shadows. Low-level backgrounds lack deep interstitials and inky depth, sometimes leaving them appearing flat.

Where I did find that the presentation shone was in the application of high dynamic range. The film has a multitude of fiery explosions, streaming/cascading light and mixed light dark elements. They simply look great. The railway heist and the Kessel run are prime examples as the incorporate elements of brilliant light which are reproduced with discernible specular highlights that look terrific. The image isn’t razor sharp and, in some cases comes across as softer than you’d expect from an image rendered from a 4K digital intermediate but, once again this may be owed to creative choices that strove for a specific visual foundation. I didn’t find myself take out of the film by it however it’s worth noting.

It’s difficult to sum up the presentation as there were things about it I liked and disliked but, I will say that Disney’s choices of late when it comes to releasing big ticket films on Blu-ray/Ultra HD Blu-ray is worrisome. Solo: A Stars Story simply lacks the pedigree of the best Ultra HD releases we have seen from the format. I suspect that discerning fans hoping for knockout video quality will be disappointed.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the reserved variety in its use of sounds that emanate from above. Predominantly speaking its use of sounds in the height plane is limited to music score extension, and pointed supplemental object fills during active sequences. During the brief battlefield segment, I was surprised at how little the overhead speakers came into play. The scene sounded fine, but, perhaps not as involving as it may have been otherwise. During the extended railway heist, things pick up but, this is predominantly in the form of overhead bleed to broaden the scope of the music score plus the occasional panning sound object.

Clearly the design here was based on creative decisions that utilized the object-based platform in a way that, in my opinion, adhered closer to an augmented channel derived listening experience. The depth of the soundstage benefited from object-based placement but it never rose to truly involving levels. I have to believe that deeper utilization of the height channels would have sweetened the audio experience. I simply cannot understand the thought process used by the sound mixers at Disney. The potential here is quite obvious and what we wind up with is a lackluster listening experience.




For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:


Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


Blu-ray Video:

Video: 84
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:


Audio: 78
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialog Reproduction:


Solo: A Star Wars Story comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound.

This film has a distinctive visual aesthetic that utilizes sepia, de-saturated colors and high contrast. There are lots of darkened interior sequences/lighting geared toward setting the mood and tone of the subject material. Flesh tones are slightly impacted appearing pallid and lacking tonal divergence. Blacks are respectable but occasionally on the muddy side which can leave them appearing flat. Detail in dark backgrounds and shadow filled areas is fair. Images aren’t razor sharp but do offer excellent subtle detail during close up camera shots. The wide-angle camera pans of the CGI worlds have good dimensional quality and definition that leaves backgrounds appearing resolute. If I had to guess, given what I saw with the Ultra HD rendering, this presentation appears to faithfully represent the original source, which in and of itself, doesn’t make for the most visually compelling viewing experience.

The lossless DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack has detail rich clarity and makes ample use of the entire surround platform in support of the film’s elements. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is present however, I found that for the most part the four surrounds are simply mixed too low. This causes an unevenness in the soundstage which negatively impacts envelopment. I did find that during the railway heist and Kessler Run sequences that this wasn’t nearly as problematic. The low frequency effects channel is active as the subwoofer works in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the bass and impact associated with the film’s action-based sequences (see below). Dialog is firmly planted in the center channel and renders voices and effects well although, I did occasionally detect sibilance with both male and female voices.

** Here is another recent release from Disney that has instances of questionable dynamics as well as the overall mix requiring a 6db to 10db volume increase in order to acquire a modicum of dynamic range. Once turned up the track is listenable and on occasion decent (the aforementioned railway heist and Kessler Run sequences sound solid). Early in the film there are several instances where things sound rather flat and lacking in potency. This film has ample elements that would demand room shuddering dynamics/low frequency effects and the track just doesn’t deliver. Disney needs to reassess their thought processes when it comes to the sound design for home theater releases. Fans are literally begging them to see the light. I would love to see them return to form. Unfortunately, this will leave fans every bit as disgruntled as Disney’s recent offerings. **



Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Solo: A Star Wars Story Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Solo: A Star Wars Story Blu-ray
    Disc 3: Bonus Material
    • Solo: The Director & Cast Roundtable
    Sit down with director Ron Howard and the stars for an intimate and entertaining discussion of the film’s making.
    • Team Chewie
    See what it takes to bring your favorite Wookiee to life in this lighthearted look behind the scenes.
    • Kasdan on Kasdan
    Iconic Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and son Jonathan share what it was like to write the movie’s script together.
    • Remaking the Millennium Falcon
    Track the transformation of the most famous ship in the galaxy, from Lando’s swank and impeccable pride and joy to Han’s stripped-down hot-rod freighter with “special modifications.”
    • Escape from Corellia
    Get behind the wheel for the making of this high-octane chase through the streets of Corellia.
    • The Train Heist
    Explore the challenges and thrills of creating this action-packed sequence, including its remote location and spectacular effects.
    • Becoming a Droid: L3-37
    Meet the newest droid—and the talented actor who helps bring her to life.
    • Scoundrels, Droids, Creatures and Cards: Welcome to Fort Ypso
    Take an in-depth tour of the rough-and-tumble bar where strangers mix and gamblers risk all in the legendary card game, Sabaac.
    • Into the Maelstrom: The Kessel Run
    Join Han and Chewie at the controls of the Millennium Falcon to see how this legendary moment in Star Wars history unfolds.

    • Deleted Scenes
    o Proxima’s Den
    o Corellian Foot Chase
    o Han Solo: Imperial Cadet
    o The Battle of Mimban: Extended
    o Han Versus Chewie: Extended
    o Snowball Fight!
    o Meet Dryden: Extended
    o Coaxium Double-Cross

    • The Millenium Falcon: From Page to Park – An exclusive look at the history of the most famous ship in the galaxy, its origin and development, and how it will translate in one of the most anticipated expansions in Disneyland’s history.
  • Digital Code



Final Thoughts:


Solo: A Star Wars Story exceeded my expectations, delivering an enjoyable, and entertaining Star Wars film experience. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultimate Collector’s Edition from Disney featuring a disappointing overall presentation that leaves me scratching my head experience and, a fan friendly supplemental package that looks behind the scenes. While I enjoyed the film there are some issues associated with the presentation of Solo: A Star Wars Story on Blu-ray that makes it tough to recommend to discerning home theater enthusiasts.












Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


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post #2 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 02:34 PM
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WOW, what a score! thanks Ralph. Is this possibly the lowest rating you've given to any 4k UHD release?

I wonder, if more experienced audio/electrician/consultant could chip in on estimating a best/worst case scenario figure of the amount of extra carbon footprint Disney is contributing with its releases requiring viewers to turn up volume thus consuming more electrical power (I stopped at just figuring out the slew of assumptions one must make ). I figure if yelling at Disney straight up about fixing its audio issues is too niche of a consumer concern, we might attract more eyeballs and support from broader environmentally-conscious people with change.org slogans such as "Stop Disney from destroying Earth (big bold font) - with its products that promote creation of more carbon footprint (in smaller font) - by fixing its god-awful audio mixes in home-movie releases (in even smaller font)" lol
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post #3 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 02:44 PM
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Given his poor rating, I'll rent or stream .... or neither !!
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post #4 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 02:45 PM
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Just watched this last night, I have no comment on the video/audio quality but as far as the movie went, I actually liked it. I think it would have done much better at the box office if disney didnt poo poo it so much leading up to its release and instead just let the word of mouth good or bad take its course.

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post #5 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 03:32 PM
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I have a Trinnov Altitude32 using 31 channels. I won't purchase this. I'll borrow it from a friend so a not to give any money to Disney.
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post #6 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 03:34 PM
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I saw this 4 times in theaters and watched it on iTunes. Yes, the video is supposed to look like that. The DP on this movie is known for dismally looking visuals and this delivers as expected.
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post #7 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 03:42 PM
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This is very very disheartening to see that you gave SOLO such a low rating. I really liked the movie in theater but do remember commenting to my wife that the picture quality was lacking. In. the theater however I do remember that the sound track was good and hoping the same would be for the home theater release. I was hoping that when I saw the "74" in big green numbers you had to many adult beverages before watching the movie LOL. Sadly I am sure that it is not the case and Disney just screwed thing up again. I was starting to think Disney figured out what they were doing wrong after watching infinity wars but it sounds like they just got lucky and Are back to messing up sound tracks again. I hope Disney sells the Star Wars and marvel franchise to somebody who know how to create a great immersive and dynamic sound track because my two favorite movie franchises are getting ruined. Ralph thanks again for your review. I am confident that the rating is not you and most likely Disney because 99% of your reviews are spot on.
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post #8 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 04:25 PM
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Disney are killing it guys. A production budget of $300m and $390m at the box office. With that much budget they can't even get the DP to get the cinematography right, to get awesome looking visuals. At least they got the PQ right with John Carter but sadly not this. Everything about this is a Trainwreck from start to finish

Blu ray review have given similar score for the video. Yeah it is intended to look like that blah blah blah...

Look at The Meg and Hotel Transylvania 3. Both have made $500m at the box office which is nearly 4-5 the production budget

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post #9 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 05:11 PM
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The PQ was directors intent and the Blu/UHD was true to the source. It's frustrating about the audio, I saw this in Atnos at the theater and thought it was pretty immersive.
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post #10 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 05:22 PM
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On top of everything else that I’ve heard about this film, as far as I am concerned this review pretty much relegates it to the dust bin of history. I will not buy it, rent it, and will probably never see it in any format. Let’s just hope that Episode 9 will bring some much needed redemption to the Star Wars franchise.

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post #11 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 05:35 PM
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You are just using the wrong equipment.

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post #12 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post
The PQ was directors intent and the Blu/UHD was true to the source. It's frustrating about the audio, I saw this in Atnos at the theater and thought it was pretty immersive.
When I saw Solo in the theater, I liked the movie itself but was very let down by Ron Howard and his Director of Photography's choices. The image was very murky at times and details were lost in the muddiness. A Star Wars movie deserved better. A home video release can't correct the issues that existed with the theatrical release.
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post #13 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 06:37 PM
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Thanks for the review Ralph , the cinematography wasn't that impressive in the theater, but I liked the film. To those who won't even rent it, your loss. ( And there is no such a thing as being too much like Billy Dee )
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post #14 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 07:15 PM
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look at how he rated the sound quality
i am starting to think maybe Disney does not care about sound period
has Disney even made a reference or killer sound track for any 4k movies period ?
starting to think we are all screwed hate to see what they do to the Fox Movies as well since they mix all there movies at skywalker sound ranch
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post #15 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 07:24 PM
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I have a Trinnov Altitude32 using 31 channels. I won't purchase this. I'll borrow it from a friend so a not to give any money to Disney.
so...are you just trying to brag that you spent $30k on a AV processor? That relates to the movie or the review how? It's funny though...people with that type of equipment aren't bragging about it...just saying.

If you don't want the movie stick to reasons for that. Everything in your post is nonsense.

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post #16 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 07:27 PM
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Still buying it. I own every star wars movie and want to keep my collection complete. Not to mention I saw it already and liked it a lot. No it's not the best looking movie but it was enjoyable.

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post #17 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 08:03 PM
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Thanks for the review!

I have this in my Netflix rental queue. I'll see how much I like it and maybe purchase on a BF deal.

I'm waiting to buy Rogue One when it comes out on UHD. I'm waiting to buy Last Jedi on a BF deal.

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post #18 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 08:24 PM
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When I saw Solo in theaters the first time I saw it in Cinemark's XD theater. I thought it both looked and sounded great. The second time around, I saw it in a regular theater and I just kept wondering if the projector was out of focus but I knew it wasn't because one scene would be crystal clear and the next would be almost out of focus. I was a bit distracted. I don't why that was the case but I remember never having those thoughts the first viewing.

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post #19 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 08:29 PM
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I got the Bluray early and feel like the dynamic range is awful. I set the Black Extension setting on my ST30 to 5, and this appeared to lower the black floor to total black without crushing any shadow detail as far as I could tell in any scene. Whoever mastered this for bluray release did an absolutely awful job.
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post #20 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 08:34 PM
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This might be the most unexpectedly crazy review score I've seen Ralph give. Even when I've thought something was bad I've found him to be generous. So yea, I'm legit scared of this release now. (and I even liked the movie!)
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post #21 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 08:40 PM
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Thanks for the review. I haven't seen Solo yet, but was very excited to watch it at home for the first time.

I can't describe how disappointed I am in the video and audio rating. I'm more disappointed in the audio rating since the director could have been going for a specific look. But to have poor audio in a movie that should be full of great opportunities is sad.

It's going to be hard to bring myself to spend $30+ on a movie that doesn't seem to warrant the price. This may be a movie that I wait until Black Friday for...
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post #22 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 08:50 PM
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Disney obviously isn't catering and doesn't care about A/V enthusiasts like us.

But the kids love it.
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post #23 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Erod View Post
Disney obviously isn't catering and doesn't care about A/V enthusiasts like us.

But the kids love it.
Im not even sure the kids love it, due to the poor showing at the theaters. This is the worst rating I’ve ever seen Ralph give and he’s pretty easy and forgiving to some pretty bad mess ups - Thor Ragnorok and the latest Avengers come to mind. If reviewers and consumers start making a stink about this crap then hopefully the marketplace will do its thing in changing behaviors.
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post #24 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 09:59 PM
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Ralph, thanks for the brutal but fair review. It's about time that someone called Disney out on their lazy irresponsible transfers and sound mixes on UHD and this honestly takes a lot of bravery from the reviewer (since this may threaten their "access" to future review copies).

Solo the movie was okay but my biggest problem is that it is completely unnecessary. Han Solo needed no backstory or explanation. His character, his relationships with Chewie and Lando, and the Falcon itself needs nothing else because Han's character arc in the original trilogy is so great and self explanatory. This was just a naked cash grab by the Mouse and I'm happy that audiences rejected it and Kathleen Kennedy's horrific stewardship of the franchise.
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post #25 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 10:32 PM
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So sad to hear.

I see I can pick up the Blu-ray disc for $12.99. That is probably the route I will go on this one.

Thanks Ralph for the heads up.




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post #26 of 194 Old 09-16-2018, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Cal1981 View Post
When I saw Solo in the theater, I liked the movie itself but was very let down by Ron Howard and his Director of Photography's choices. The image was very murky at times and details were lost in the muddiness. A Star Wars movie deserved better. A home video release can't correct the issues that existed with the theatrical release.
Agree and this movie had a production budget of $300m and they can't get the filming style choice right.

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post #27 of 194 Old 09-17-2018, 02:41 AM
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zzzzzzz

I think your being too nice here Ralph
Replay Value: ***

I'd give it a 1 of 5 for replay.

So-so at the cinema, and saw it on way to Japan and I fell asleep 3 times!!!

I'm the biggest SW geek and can't get myself to watch this .....sorry ....

I never felt for any of the cahracters, there was zero chemistry among them, the pit story of Han and Chewebacca .... fricking really?? what a backslide the writers did there... stupid, silly ... ugh
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post #28 of 194 Old 09-17-2018, 03:36 AM
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Thanks for the brutally honest review Ralph, what a colossal disappointment! This may be the first Star Wars film that I will not buy! And I have bought them in all formats, VHS, Laser disc, DVD, Blu Ray and UHD 4K. After that steaming pile that was The Last Jedi to this movie, what the heck is going on at Disney with this franchise? They're killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.
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post #29 of 194 Old 09-17-2018, 03:50 AM
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Got this early and watched it yesterday. The black levels did look elevated most of the time. The blacks were just a bit better than the regular blu ray which I also watched yesterday. The movie does look a bit dull and the colors overall just didn't have that pop most of the time. The explosions, lasers and light speed segments got really bright and were the only real standouts.
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post #30 of 194 Old 09-17-2018, 04:30 AM
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Thank you for the review Ralph! Disney might get the message if enough reviewers give low scores.

I am thinking about cancelling my BB steel book order. It would be the first SW film I have not purchased.

For the life of me I just don't understand how or why this is happening but it is a sadly dependable trend. The sound engineers at Disney should be ashamed of themselves.
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