It was “One Zoom To Rule Them All” as more than a dozen main cast members of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003), including the director himself and writer Philippa Boyens, had an epic Zoom reunion on Josh Gad’s brilliant Youtube series, Reunited Apart.
From the hobbit foursome of Elijah Wood (Frodo), Sean Astin (Sam), Dominic Monaghan (Merry) and Billy Boyd (Pippin), to Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) and Orlando Bloom (Legolas), to Liv Tyler (Arwen) and Miranda Otto (Eowyn), almost every participant has a fascinating filming experience to tell on the almost hour-long but thoroughly entertaining episode hosted by actor Gad (a.k.a voice of snowman Olaf in the Frozen franchise, and creator/star of the new animated musical series, Central Park).
One Meme To Rule Them All Arguably the funniest story is when Jackson reveals how the script for Boromir’s speech at the Council of Elrond–and which contains the line, “One does not simply walk into Mordor”, which has since became a popular Internet meme–was written only the night before. Actor Sean Bean (a.k.a the honorable Ned Stark on Game of Thrones) was handed the rather long script only on the morning of the shoot, and so he had it “cleverly taped to his knee” while delivering his lines. As Jackson indicates, if you watch the scene now (pictured below), you can see each time Bean had to look down and check his script!
Another funny moment is when Monaghan impersonated the great late Christopher Lee (Saruman) throwing a little hissy fit during filming in which he complained to Jackson that he was unable to climb a flight of stairs fluently for one scene. And then there was the hilarious second when McKellen gifted pretty boy Bloom with the nickname, “Easy Boy Recliner”. Not forgetting the time when almost every cast member–including Andy Serkis (Gollum), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), and Karl Urban (Eomer)–reveal with glee the special props they had taken as souvenirs from the Lord of the Rings films which were shot back-to-back.
Reunion Raises Loads of $ for Charity There is so much to love about “One Zoom To Rule Them All” especially if you are a Lord of the Rings fan or simply a lover of good films. The episode has since chalked up over 2.5 million views in just two days. Add to that, Gad later announced on his Instagram account that over US$42,000 were raised in the first two hours of the episode’s release for the organization No Kid Hungry, which aims to end child hunger in America. (Two days later, the figure went up to US$115,000 and is still rising.)
You can watch the full Reunited Apart‘s Lord of the Rings episode below, which features more behind-the-scenes stories including how The Beatles attempted to adapt the J.R.R. Tolkien epic fantasy novels to star themselves in the ’60s, as well as other enjoyable moments such as when the cast reenact scenes from the films. (And oh, watch till the end for a cameo appearance…)
Check out the other equally fun “Reunited Apart” episodes featuring the casts from The Goonies, Back To The Future, and Splash on Josh Gad’s Youtube channel.
It’s a sign o’ the times when Star Wars “May the Fourth” greetings need to include safety messages.
As our planet continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, a local government agency posted the ingenious e-card above on Star Wars Day (May 4th), reminding one and all to wear a mask when one goes out and to practise social distancing, at least a good lightsaber length apart from a fellow human being.
During times like this, truly appreciate the sprinkling of humor every now and then, so kudos to Singapore’s Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) for the nice touch!
Stay Home, Stay Safe
Another cute Star Wars pandemic graphic seen online recently is this T-shirt design, showing popular characters with masks on and encouraging everyone to “Stay Home and Watch Star Wars“. Which is a cool idea especially if you have Disney+ or Fox Movies (or other cable/streaming channels, depending on your country) as all 11 Star Wars movies including the two standalone Star Wars Stories, Rogue One (2016) and Solo (2018), will be available for streaming/telecast from May 4th.
Also on Disney+, you can also catch up on the other great Star Wars offerings such as The Mandalorian and its 8-part documentary series, Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, as well as the acclaimed Star Wars animated series including Star Wars: The Clone Wars (all seven seasons), Star Wars Rebels (four seasons), and Star Wars Resistance (two seasons).
So Stay Home (as much as possible), Stay Safe and May the Fourth Be With You.
From actors reading storybooks, musicians performing online concerts, to footballers sharing their workout sessions. These are but a few things that entertainers have been doing in their homes for our enjoyment as we #stayhome for the safety of ourselves and others during this global Covid-19 pandemic.
Being a big fan of animation especially Disney’s Frozen though, the Disney Animation digital series, At Home with Olaf, easily won my heart and my vote for “Best Entertainment Series That Sparks Joy” during this quarantine period.
Featuring the adorable snowman from the blockbuster animated franchise—of which the sequel, Frozen 2, is now officially the highest-grossing animated film of all-time with a staggering global intake of $1.45 billion (S$2.07b)—the series shows a mostly isolated Olaf embracing ordinary things in life such as watching leaves fall, sitting on a swing, admiring a sunrise, etc, and radiating nothing but pure joy.
Frozen Charm Created At Home No longer than a minute, each short was lovingly created at home by Olaf artist Hyrum Osmond, voiced from home by Olaf actor Josh Gad, and worked on by a host of Disney animators also from their respective homes. Since the series began on April 6, 2020, there has been at least a dozen episodes released, all absolutely cute and charming with a subtle underlying message that we should enjoy the mundane things around us—which we often take for granted—while we can.
Next to “Alone In The Forest” (where Olaf elegantly dances to ‘The Sugar Plum Fairy Theme” from The Nutcracker) and “Gymnastics” (self-explanatory), my favorite episode so far is “Sunrise” where we see the cool snowman greeting the morning sun in Arendelle (and not melting thanks to his new Frozen 2 permafrost from Elsa). Check it out below.
At Home with Olaf can be viewed on all Disney Animation’s social media platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. New shorts are usually released daily, if not every other day. Enjoy! #athomewitholaf #DisneyMagicMoments
Update (May 14, 2020): On May 2, fans were reasonably sad to learn that “Sounds” will be the 20th and last instalment of the adorable “At Home With Olaf” series, created entirely at home by the people behind the very successful Frozen franchise.
Well, there was still one last surprise: on May 13, a 3-minute music video that has Olaf, after looking out on an Arendelle with empty streets, writing and singing a heartwarming song entitled “I Am With You”, written no less by Frozen and Frozen 2‘s Oscar-winning songwriting team of Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. Olaf then asked Gale the wind spirit to deliver the lyrics as a letter to one and all, adding “I’ll see you soon”.
Including scenes from various Disney animated classics, you can watch the lovely video below:
When in Japan: If you are a huge fan of Studio Ghibli or animation in general, visiting the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo is a must.
The brainchild of Hayao Miyazaki, renowned Japanese animator and co-founder of animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli, the one-of-its-kind museum is dedicated to all things Ghibli and the art of animation. Being a longtime Studio Ghibli fan—from My Neighbor Totoro to Spirited Away, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea to The Red Turtle—visiting Ghibli Museum was hence my top priority whilst I was in Tokyo last November.
By Advance Reservation Only Opened in October 2001 and located in Mitaka, a short train ride from Shinjuku Station, the Ghibli Museum is so exclusive that no tickets are sold at the venue. They can only be purchased online with authorized dealers which you can find on the museum’s website. As it is a very popular destination, tickets get sold out as soon as they are available. Thus, to avoid disappointment, I simply left it to my travel planner, Joey of Atlas Travelz, to book tickets for me and my travel mate after providing her with our preferred date and time of visit. It was with joy when she confirmed the purchase prior to our leaving for Japan!
From Mitaka Station, it’s a 15-20 minute walk to the museum which is located in the west of lush Inokashira Park, but we decided to take the shuttle bus instead—which alas is not a Cat Bus but a vehicle gaily painted with Studio Ghibli characters—that goes from the station to the museum (round-trip ¥320/SGD4).
We chose the 2pm entry time slot as my BFF, who had visited before, said more than two hours will be needed to thoroughly cover every nook and corner including the museum’s exteriors. (Thus 4pm is too tight as the museum closes at 6pm). Besides tickets, a passport for identification purposes is also required for entry, so do remember to bring yours along if you have a ticket for visiting the museum.
For Your Eyes Only – No Photography Allowed Indoors
Just seeing the brightly colored, European-styled building, bedecked with leafy coverings, from the outside already made you feel like you are on the magical setting of a Studio Ghibli film. The glee of finally being there was halted somewhat when we were told at the entrance that no photography was allowed indoors. Sob! However, what awaited us within more than made up for that slight disappointment…
A Museum Where Those Seeking Enjoyment Can Enjoy
In a museum souvenir program filled with his original concept illustrations, sketches and notes, Miyazaki stated the kind of museum that he wanted to make is one “that is interesting and relaxes the soul… where those seeking enjoyment can enjoy… and a museum that makes you feel more enriched when you leave than when you entered!” Well, it’s definitely all these and then some.
Upon entering you will be greeted by colorful flora and fauna, as well as recognizable Ghibli characters such as Totoro, Satsuki and Mei, painted on the ceiling and walls, as well as on the stained-glass windows. At the reception, a museum ticket in the form of a 35mm film strip is handed to every visitor in exchange for the ticket voucher. (Mine I think is a strip from Castle In The Sky but I have to re-watch the film to be sure!)
Fascinating Rooms and Spaces
From the reception, we went down a flight of stairs which brought us to the Central Hall in the basement, whilst its domed glass ceiling (with images of Ponyo and her sea friends) is way above the second floor. Here you will have a fish-eye view of the number of spaces you can explore – a spiral staircase, a cast-iron elevator, a bridged passage, intricately designed restrooms, etc. This floor also houses the Saturn Theater, a small but vibrantly decorated screening room that screens Studio Ghibli original short films made exclusively for the museum including Miyazaki’s last known work, Boro The Catepillar (2018).
Exclusive Screenings of Studio Ghibli Short Films
During our visit, we first got to watch Imaginary Flying Machines (2002), which features director Hayao Miyazaki himself in the form of a humanoid pig akin to the main character in 1992’s Porco Russo, narrating the history of aviation. The second was the charming and heartwarming tale of Mr Dough and the Egg Princess (2010) which tells of a tiny egg girl who decides to run away with her new dough friend, so to escape the clutches of her evil witch mistress. Both were equally delightful, well worth the 25-30 minute wait to get into the 80-seat theater.
Insightful Look Into The Art & Processes of Animation
One of the museum’s highlights are the rooms with exhibits devoted to the art of animation. In “The Beginning of Movement”, visitors get to see many original artworks from different Studio Ghibli films, including an amazing 3D Zoetrope “Bouncing Totoro” display showing how animators made Satsuki and Mei dance with a grinning Totoro in My Neighbour Totoro. In “Where a Film is Born”, rooms are bedecked with things you will find in the working spaces of an animator — from storyteller to background artist, staging to inker and painter.
There are also temporary exhibits that will change from time to time. For instance, the special exhibition we saw, “Sketch, Flash, Spark! — From the Ghibli Forest Sketchbook” —showing how the museum was designed and built—will run till May 2021 (tentative).
As photography is allowed outdoors, needless to say, the Robot Soldier from Castle in the Sky (1986)—who many mistook for the Iron Giant from 1999’s The Iron Giant (including us)—on the rooftop garden was a very popular selfie / wefie target. To get up here, one has to climb a towering iron-cast spiral staircase located outside the Cat Bus Room.
In the premises, there’s also has a library-cum-book shop, cafe (with indoor and al fresco areas, selling ice cream, hotdogs, etc), children’s play area, garden patio and an extremely popular gift shop named Mamma Aiuto! (Italian for “Mama, help me”.) Named after the sky pirates in Porco Russo, the shop has everything Studio Ghibli you would love to own, from pins to handicraft sets to adorable plushies. As we are not super rich, we found the pricing rather expensive sadly. But if you can control your must-buy urges, there’s a store within Tokyo Station that sells official merchandise at slightly more affordable prices. But of course, the museum gift shop also have more exclusive stuff.
In the end, I decided to go for this set of two Ghibli Museum souvenir programs which cost only ¥1000 and also came with a complimentary, almost 4-foot long poster of a cross-section illustration of the museum (pictured midway in this post). The booklet top left is filled with Miyazaki’s original concept sketches of the museum as well as his thoughts of what he wanted for it, while the one on the right is filled with well-shot photos of the museum’s key features. And oh, I also bought a key-chain with a mini Totoro plushie ‘cos you just can’t leave here without a memento of the iconic creature. (Especially when it seems we missed seeing the giant Totoro figure that was supposed to be housed in the museum’s old reception!)
All in all, it was a totally worthwhile trip to the Ghibli Museum for this animation and Studio Ghibli fan. Do consider going if you are one too and planning a trip to Tokyo, Japan in the near future. You won’t regret it!
Ghibli Museum is in Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan. Closed on Tuesdays, special holidays, and often for periodic maintenance, so do check its website at http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/ for its calendar, ticketing details, and other information.
If you or your kids are big fans of Disney’s Frozen 2, do make your way down to Singapore Changi Airport where there are loads of fun Instagram-worthy opportunities with the lovable characters from the blockbuster animated film, which has since grossed over US$1 billion (S$1.36b) at the global box office.
The main highlight of A Frozen Wonderland At Changi is located at the airport’s Terminal 3 Departure Hall (in front of Departure Immigration). Here you will find a handful of life-sized sets inspired by the enchanting film featuring key characters namely Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, Sven, and Grand Pabbie.
Every night till Jan 5, 2020, there will be an entralling light, sound and snow show at 7.30pm, 8pm, 8.30pm and 9pm, which primarily tells the story of Frozen 2, in which Queen Elsa and company go in search of a mystery voice she’s been hearing that or who may save the kingdom of Arendelle from grave danger. Needless to say, spoilers galore at the attraction (and this blog post) if you have yet to see the film!
Grand Pabbie, the wise old troll, should be the first figure you see if you approach the set from the front as he’s extremely well lit.
Over to the right, you will find Anna and Olaf in a boat, depicting the scene when Elsa sent them away for their safety.
At a lovely autumn-inspired spot, and besides four elemental pillars, you will find macho Kristoff and his faithful reindeer, Sven, in the midst of life-like looking trees and plants and in a great rush to find his beloved Anna.
Last but not least, on the biggest structure, you will find the getting-more-powerful Queen Elsa tackling Nokk, the mythical water horse spirit, in stormy seas. This set has a big part to play during the daily show, so make sure you have a good view of it during the performance!
LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW
Each show will end with a dramatic snowfall scenario that everyone of all ages thoroughly enjoyed! It’s mainly soap suds in case you are wondering!
This moment lasted quite long and, have to say, my pal and I had great fun taking wefies and being covered in “snow”, as did everyone around us!
OTHER FROZEN 2 SIGHTINGS…
Elsewhere in T3 Departure Hall, you will find an Enchanted Forest as well as an Arendelle Castle, where you can pose with cardboard cut-outs of Elsa and Anna, or check out these utterly cute 1-metre-tall plushies of Olaf and Sven.
These sections have areas and activities primarily designed for kids, but you would require a pass (and probably need to spend some money on a single receipt that kind of thing.) Visit https://frozenwonderland.changiairport.com/ for more information on how one can participate.
Over at Jewel, there is also some Frozen 2 content. At the Cloud9 Piazza on Level 5, there is an Arendelle-inspired festival market with a few stalls selling Frozen 2 merchandise. But the draw is definitely these life-sized models of Princess Anna and Queen Elsa. An Olaf figure can also be found at one of the festival’s gates.
For a great shot of the lovable snowman though, you have to pop to Terminal 2 for this larger-than-life, 3-metre-tall, spinning Olaf which is easily a big draw. Don’t miss it!
If you are a fan of Disney’s Aladdin, 2019 has been a good year.
On the week that the 2019 live-action adaptation of the beloved 1992 animated film crossed the magical US$1 billion (S$1.36b) mark at the global box office, the hit Broadway adaptation made its debut in Singapore and is entertaining audiences in a whole new way.
Boasting energizing song-and-dance sequences, amazing sets and effects, and stunning costumes, Aladdin the musical—which is based on the 1992 Oscar-winning film—premiered on Broadway in 2014 with book by playwright Chad Beguelin, music by Alan Menken, and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Beguelin. Singapore will be the only Asian stop and final run for this Aladdin tour.
Musings on the M49 was chuffed to be invited to the official opening night at Sands Theatre in Marina Bay Sands. Here are eight reasons why Aladdin the musical is a must-see, especially if you are a fan of the Disney films or musicals in general. (Aladdin Photos Credit: Base Entertainment Asia)
1. “Friend Like Me”
The Genie’s signature song in the treasure-hoarding Cave of Wonders is a spectacular 14-minute showstopper comprising breath-taking choreography and cool magical effects. The scene-stealer was without question Gareth Jacobs whose creative genius as the Genie made the vibrant and pulsating sequence an absolute joy to watch.
2. “A Whole New World”
The Oscar-winning song is a timeless classic and watching Aladdin (Graeme Isaako) and Princess Jasmine (Shubshri Kandiah) singing it while seemingly flying on a magic carpet for real on stage is simply a thrill – even though you know it is manoeuvred by a special albeit well-hidden contraption. Easily the show’s second top highlight, drawing lots of oohs and aahs from the audience.
3.A Genie Like No Other
He’s not blue (except for his costume) and does not appear vaporizing from a lamp, but Gareth Jacobs’ Genie totally stole the show from the word go. He sang and danced with gusto, and his wisecracking had the audiences in stitches. His shout-outs to Singapore at appropriate times was a nice touch as well.
4. Classic And New Tunes Combo Besides the unforgettable tunes from the 1992 film such as “Arabian Nights”, “One Jump Ahead” and “Prince Ali”, fans can savor seven new songs in the musical. Menken and Beguelin wrote four tunes specially for the stage production and these are “These Palace Walls”, “A Million Miles Away”, “Diamond in the Rough” and “Somebody’s Got Your Back”. Also included are three songs by Menken and Ashman that were cut from the original film – “Proud of Your Boy”, “Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim” and “High Adventure”. Let’s hope for future productions, they will consider adding “Speechless”, Princess Jasmine’s empowering anthem from the 2019 megahit, too!
5. Stunning Set Design
From the colorful mythical city of Agrabah, to the Sultan and Princess Jasmine’s luxurious palace, to the gold-glittering Cave of Wonders, the show’s 500 captivating sets, props and backdrops are to be lauded. The audience is easily transported to every location in a blink of an eye, whether it is a Middle Eastern-influenced marketplace or a cave in a dark, isolated desert.
6. Shining, Shimmering, Splendid Costumes
The costumes in Aladdin have to be one of the most vibrant and sparkling set of outfits I’ve ever seen in a musical. And this is thanks to some 1000 fabrics and half a million Swarovski crystals that were used to make and decorate the 300+ costumes in the show. There was so much sparkle, they should have warned us to wear shades…
7. Incredible Special Effects Besides a believable flying magic carpet, the show also employs a great number of whoa-inducing magical effects on stage such as slide of hand tricks, disappearing box acts, and quick change illusions, some of which were even executed effortlessly during song sequences.
8. Funny Bytes Galore Thanks to some great one-liners and hilarious ad-libs, there were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments that didn’t just materializes out of the Genie, but also from supporting characters such as Jafar (Patrick R Brown) and his scheming sidekick, Iago (Doron Chester). I would arguably say there were more laughs generated from the musical than from the cinematic version!
All in all, Aladdin the musical is great fun, a spectacular that is easily enjoyed by both young and old. Though the first half felt a tad draggy (though understandably having to introduce every key character), the show nonetheless does present a whole new world of Disney’s Aladdin that is truly worth a watch.
Rewind: At the Aladdin Red Carpet Attending stage shows, it is always fun to see people dress up for the occasion or are game to participate in entertaining activities. Prior to the show’s start on opening night, we witnessed a few folks who shook a tail feather or two on the “purple” carpet! (Photos by Marguerita Tan)
For starters, you always want to give a thumb’s up when theatre goers take the trouble to dress up according to the theme of the show!
And from the young to the young-at-heart, a few were sporting enough to sing ‘A Whole New World’ in front of cameras!
And here’s some of the famous faces spotted: 2009 Singapore Idol Sezairi Sazali (left) and author/humor writer Sylvia Toh Paik Choo (far right)
Aladdin the Broadway musical plays at the Sands Theatre in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore till Sept 1, 2019. Performances: Tue to Fri, 7.30pm; Sat 2pm & 7.30pm; and Sun 1pm & 6.30pm. Tickets from $68++ fromwww.sistic.com andwww.marinabaysands.com/ticketing.
Being a longtime TV and movie fan, I don’t recall if ever there was a single month in a single year that touts TV returns and new film releases that have my interests at heart as much as this coming April.
From the final season of the fantasy epic series Game of Thrones, to the brilliant TV spy thriller Killing Eve, to cool anime productions from Japan, here are five highlights to look out for come April 2019:
1. Killing Eve Season 2
Voted and awarded as one of 2018’s best TV shows by many big-name media outlets, Killing Eve is one of the most ingenious series to be seen on TV for quite some time. Focusing on an intriguing cat-and-mouse chase between jaded M16 agent Eve Polastri and psychopathic assassin Villanelle, performances are outstanding with Sandra Oh rightfully sweeping most of the best TV drama actress awards, although co-star Jodie Comer deserved the accolades just as much. Season 2 promises to be just as sharp and intense (and funny) as it was for Season 1, even though show-runner Phoebe Waller-Bridge did not do any writing (but a good writer friend of hers did). Can’t wait! Killing Eve Season 2 premieres on Sunday, April 7, BBC America.
Winter seriously took a long time in coming if you are a Game of Thrones fan. With an almost 18-month gap between Season 7 and its upcoming final season, it’s arguably the second longest hiatus period in TV history (The Sopranos holds the record if I’m not mistaken; and not counting series reboots.) But David Benioff and Dan Weiss promised that the wait will be worth it, with each of the six episodes almost feature-length and with big battles galore. What most fans care about though is who dies, who lives, and most importantly, who gets to sit on the Iron Throne. George RR Martin says it will be a “bittersweet victory”, but victory for whom? The Night King? Queen Cersei? Brrrr, the thought of it. Game of Thrones’ Season 8 premieres on Sunday, April 14, HBO.
If you are a Studio Ghibli fan like me, you’ll be glad to know that animators who have left the famed Hayao Miyazaki studio are doing their part to produce adorable Studio-Ghibli-like films for film lovers to enjoy. This year, Kitaro Kosaka, a key animator on many of Studio Ghibli’s box office hits, brings us Okko’s Inn, a story of a young girl who, while training to be the junior innkeeper of her grandma’s traditional Japanese inn, discovers that she can see the spirits that live in the building. The supernatural beings have to be put on the back-burner however as a string of guests arrive who will test Okko’s mantle to be a gracious host. Will she prevail? We bet our Totoro stuffed toys that she will! Okko’s Inn opens in selected U.S. theaters on Monday, April 22, 2019.
Half of the universe, including many of our heroes, vaporized into thin air by super villain Thanos at the end of 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. Can the remaining Avengers—Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, et al —do damage control? Or can they do the impossible and turn back time to before the Mad Titan snapped his fingers? Either way, Endgame marks the end of the Infinity Stones story arc in the MCU. And I’m guessing that most of our heroes who we think have bite the dust will make it back alive considering—SPOILER—young Peter Parker, to name but one, will be back for more adventures in Spider-Man: Far from Home (23rd MCU film due out July 2019), which reportedly takes place after events in Endgame… Avengers: Endgame is in U.S. theaters from Thursday, April 26, 2019.
Based on the best-selling Japanese manga, Attack on Titan is one of the most exciting anime series in recent times thanks to its captivating animation style, intriguing plot-lines and gripping action. Story tells of a remnant of humanity who lives behind walled cities to protect themselves against giant humanoid creatures that eat humans. By Season 3, the Survey Corps, led by their charismatic captain, Levi Ackerman, has discovered that the humanoids are actually created by the ruling royal family to keep citizens in check. Part 1 sees the Corps including Eren Yeager—the only Titan helping to protect humanity—tackling these human enemies; while Part II will see them take on former comrades Reiner Braun (Armored Titan) and Bertholdt Hoover (Colossal Titan), and their “chief”, the Beast Titan, who may have a shocking secret to reveal… Attack on Titan Season 3 returns Sunday, April 29, 2019, various anime channels.
Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca in Solo: A Star Wars Story [Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm]
Solo: A Star Wars Story will become a cult classic. Despite the haters, naysayers and boycotters, majority who saw the young Han Solo standalone film unanimously declared it being the best Star Wars film since George Lucas’ Original Trilogy (1977-1983).
And since end September when Solo was available in various in-house formats, people who skipped it at the theaters for one reason or another have been giving the film the thumbs-up as well and regretting not catching it on the big screen.
Most agreed that the film is pure fun with exhilarating action, and which gets better with each repeated viewing. With Alden Ehrenreich impressive as the titular character, Solo embodies the spirit and feel of a classic Star Wars film even though it does not feature the Force or a single Jedi.
A silhouette of a young Han in Solo: A Star Wars Story [Disney/Lucasfilm]
The Ron Howard-directed film also boasts a stirring original and adapted soundtrack by John Powell (the best since The Phantom Menace), stunning cinematography by Bradford Young, and exquisite overall design from costumes to sets to space creatures. Not forgetting a great supporting cast comprising Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca (in his most physical performance as the beloved Wookiee).
Lastly, as with all the best Star Wars films, Solo is filled with great quotes. Penned by Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens) and his self-confessed Star Wars geek son Jonathan, Solo is filled with loads of Star Wars nuances and lore.
Memorable Quotes from Solo: A Star Wars Story (Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watch the movie.)
So without further ado, here’s but 20 of the most memorable quotes:
1. “I have no people. I’m alone.”
– Han, informing the Imperial recruiting officer on Corellia who eventually gives him “Solo” as a last name.
2.“I’m telling you. You’ll never have a deeper sleep than when you’re curled up in a Wookiee’s lap.” – Rio Durant, telling Tobias Beckett why he should let Han and Chewbacca join their crew at Mimbun.
Ardennian pilot Rio Durant is voiced by Jon Favreau in Solo: A Star Wars Story. [Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm]
3. “We couldn’t have done this like maybe one at a time?” – Han to Chewbacca when the Wookiee joins him in the shower on board Beckett and crew’s stolen AT-hauler.
4. “It’s no good to die alone, kid.”
– Rio’s last words to Han which made the latter more determined than ever to return to Corellia and rescue his childhood love, Qi’ra.
Thandie Newton as no-nonsense Val in Solo: A Star Wars Story. [Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm]
5. “It’s been a ride, babe. Wouldn’t trade it for anything.” – Val’s last words to Beckett before sacrificing herself during the conveyex train heist in Vandor.
6. “You look good. A bit rough around the edges, but good.” – Qi’ra, upon reuniting with Han on board Dryden Vos’ yacht, three years after they were cruelly separated on Corellia.
Emilia Clarke is the enigmatic Qi’ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story. [Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm]
7. “Everything you’ve heard about me is true.” – Lando Calrissian, telling Han to believe every story about the self-made smuggler-gambler.
8. “I don’t like it. I don’t agree with it. But I accept it.”
– Lando to Beckett after the latter cut his share to 20 per cent in exchange for lifting the restraining bolts off the Millennium Falcon.
Donald Glover is the suave Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story. [Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm]
9. “Oh, why? Because you’re my organic overlord?” – Self-made droid L3-37 to Lando when her co-pilot insists that she follows his orders.
10. “You might want to buckle up, baby.”
– Lando to Han, as they prepare to jump into hyperspace on the Falcon.
Woody Harrelson as world-weary Tobias Beckett in Solo: A Star Wars Story. [Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm]
11. “Trust no one. Assume everyone will betray you and you’ll never be disappointed.” – Beckett warning Han that Qi’ra doesn’t fit into their plans.
12. “That brand says you’re committed, but that human male’s heart palpitations indicate that he’s in love withyou.” – L3 to Qi’ra when the latter, who has a Crimson Dawn logo branded on her wrist, denies she has a “little problem” with Han.
Feisty L3-37 is played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Solo: A Star Wars Story. [Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm]
13. “I found my true purpose, Lando! So glad we took this job!” – L3 to Lando, after she triggered a mass droid breakout in the Kessel mines.
14. “I’ve got a really good feeling about this!” – Han, as he’s about to steer the Millennium Falcon through the Kessel Run.
Qi’ra to Han: “You’re the good guy.” [Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm]
15. “I might be the only person who knows what you really are… You’re the good guy.” – Qi’ra to Han after he claims he’s officially an outlaw who is neither afraid of Dryden Vos nor Crimson Dawn.
16. “Not if you round down, buddy!” – Han to Chewbacca after the Wookiee disagrees that they completed the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs.
Paul Bettany plays the ice-cold gangster Dryden Vos to perfection in Solo: A Star Wars Story. [Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm]
17. “I never ask for anything twice, Han.”
– Dryden Vos to Han when the latter tells the Crimson Dawn boss that it is wise of him to handle a rack of volatile coaxium vials.
18. “You and I will be working much more closely from now on.” – Maul, the real boss of Crimson Dawn, to Qi’ra after the top lieutenant is handed the late Dryden Vos’ position and instructed to fly to Dathomir to meet with him.
19. “Smart move, kid. For once. I would’ve killed you.”
– Beckett to Han after the latter shoots the old-timer first to prevent him from walking away with the refined coaxium.
20. “It’s the blood that brings life to something new… A rebellion.”
– Enfys Nest, informing Han what 60 million credits’ worth of refined coaxium will be funding – the start of the resistance against the Empire.
Emilia Clarke and Alden Ehrenreich as young lovers Qi’ra and Han Solo in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ [Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm]
The moment we were introduced to young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and fellow scrumrat Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) at the start of Solo: A Star Wars Story, the industrious pair were already planning to leave wretched lives on their home planet of Corellia by running away from their nasty White Worm gang masters.
Thanks to USA Today, fans of the second Star Wars Anthology film have the chance to see an exclusive deleted scene which not only shows an extended version of the young lovers on the run in Corellia, but also how they manage to steal a moment of respite by getting wet in a tank of eel-like creatures.
Entitled “Corellian Foot Chase”, the sequence sees Han and Qi’ra running for dear life from White Worms Molock and Rebolt with their ferocious Corellian hounds. At one point, Qi’ra insists that they hide in the vat of slithering space eels. The ruse works and despite the fishy pickle they are in, a rather relieved Han attempts to shower his affection on Qi’ra only to discover that a frisky eel has the same idea for him and the future smuggler has to frantically leap out of the tank to fish the slimy critter out of his pants.
The clip is but one of eight deleted scenes that come with the home release out this month in the U.S.A. According to starwars.com, the bonus content includes behind the scenes footage, animated discussions with the cast and screenwriters Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan, a revealing feature on Chewbacca and his enduring friendship with Han, as well as extended scenes. (Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer).
Qi’ra and Han facing the wrath of Molock (left) and Lady Proxima in the White Worms lair. [Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm]
Am seriously looking forward to seeing Solo: A Star Wars Story again (and again) in the comfort of my home, although if truth be told, the film-which has great cinematography- is best seen on a mega screen. Despite not having a Jedi in sight, the Ron Howard-directed production has all the heart and feels of a classic Star Wars movie, not to mention the best soundtrack since 1999’s The Phantom Menace.
Besides Alden Ehrenreich, who delivers a strong performance as the beloved scoundrel and Emilia Clarke as the enigmatic Qi’ra, Solo: A Star Wars Story also stars Donald Glover as suave gambler Lando Calrissian, Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca (arguably the Wookiee’s best showing in a Star Wars film), Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett, Thandie Newton as Val, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge as the self-made droid L3-37.
Emilia Clark as Qira in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ [Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm]
There has been more than a dozen trailers and teasers released for the much-anticipated Solo: A Star Wars Story. The cutest thus far however is arguably the one featuring the effervescent Emilia Clarke helping viewers to understand Chewbacca’s growls and grunts or, in other words, the “Wookiee” language or Shyriiwook to use the proper term.
In the video, the Game of Thrones star – who plays the mysterious Qi’ra in the second installment of the Star Wars Anthology series – is seen explaining the different sounds that Han Solo’s co-pilot and best bud uses to convey happy, sad, skeptical and angry emotions as the Wookiee himself demonstrates on the side.
Clarke has earlier appeared with Chewie (played by Joonas Suotamo, taking over from Peter Mayhew) – along with Alden Ehrenreich (playing the titular role of Han Solo, originated by Harrison Ford) and Donald Glover (Lando Calrissian, originated by Billy Dee Williams) – in an exclusive Solo trailer for IMAX. In it, the two have a short banter in which the British actress demonstrated that she has since added Shyriiwook to the number of fictional languages she has learnt and mastered which of course include Dothraki and High Valyrian for Game of Thrones.
You can watch the IMAX teaser here:
Directed by Ron Howard(Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind) – who replaced original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller – Solo: A Star Wars Story held its world premiere in Los Angeles on May 10 and so far early reviews have been mostly positive, with many proclaiming the Star Wars standalone film as a real fun adventure epic with pulsating action sequences and loads of humor.
Solo‘s worldwide release is on May 25, 2018, the 41st anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope (1977), the first film by George Lucas that began all these wonderful adventures in a galaxy far, far away.