7/20/2010


One of the most imitated images in movie history is seeing Harrison Ford (Han Solo) frozen in a block of Carbonite from the science-fiction film Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. He's on everything from soap to furniture. You could probably decorate your house with Solo if you wanted to. Here's why:

1. We Love Han Solo
Han Solo was the quintessential bad boy. He's handsome, bold, lives by his own rules and has a vaguely criminal job. It was at the high point in his transformation from self-centered jerk to a bold, selfless hero that he was frozen in Carbonite.
Note: Part of the reason the scene exists is that Harrison Ford asked George Lucas to kill off his character and hadn't signed on for the third film. He felt his character had outlived its usefulness. George Lucas disagreed.
2. The Scene Was Heart-wrenching
His last words before being frozen were after his true love expressed her feelings t him. The audience was waiting on baited breath as he was subjected to a life-threatening freezing. Would he survive? What would happen to him? Where was he going? The tension made the scene memorable.
Note: In the original script Han Solo says "I love you too" in response to Princess Leia's proclamation of love. Harrison Ford improvised a bunch of lines before he hit on the perfect response of "I know." What a scoundrel.

3. Its Funny
As tragic as the scene is, the sight of Han Solo frozen in Carbonite is hilarious. His mouth twisted to the side drooling who knows what. His hands suspended in the air curled like a chipmunk. Harrison Ford's hair still perfectly preserved in its trademark quaff. It makes us laugh inside every time.
Note: Carbonite sounds real because it is real. You wouldn't want to make a candy bar from it because the real thing is, among other things, an explosive. It sounds cool though.

4. Its Triumphant
The only thing more moving than seeing him get frozen, was seeing him get unfrozen. Luke and Princess Leia braved certain death by saving him from Jabba the Hutt. He stumbled around cold and blind and still managed to be a hero. You can't keep a good smuggler down. The relief we felt knowing he was alive took away the pain of seeing him frozen.
Note: The sound effect of Solo being freed from Carbonite in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi is of walnut shells cracking.This is the same sound used when Darth Vader crushes Captain Antilles neck in Star Wars IV.

5. Its Easy To Reproduce
All you need is a rectangle. If you add a face, a couple of hands and a knee sticking out, and you've got Han Solo in Carbonite. Compare this with Indiana Jones getting chased by a rolling rock. No one will turn that into a wedding cake.

Han Solo in Carbonite is the most enduring image from Star Wars. We've loved it for decades, and we'll love it for decades more. So, bring on the sneakers, guacamole dip and chocolate bars. We'll still be wanting more.

Why do you love Han Solo in Carbonite? What's your favorite Han Solo replica?
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4 comments:

monkeymigraine said...

That Lucas-in-Carbonite pic is hilarious. I wish it were real. I do like the Solo Carbonite theme, although I always had a nitpick. When Solo gets put into the freezer, his hands are bound. When he comes out, his hands are unbound and up. Did the carbonite melt his handcuffs or what?

Paul said...

Good thing they didn't make a mistake and freeze Hans in corbomite instead of carbonite - he would have come out with an unnaturally strong craving for tronya

Maurice Mitchell said...

Chemistry humor. Love it!

William Braylen said...

This is a thoughtful look at the power of words - the spoken word as well as written. Written after a lifetime of consideration on the subject from a first-hand witness to both the healing and devastating nature of what we let slip from our mouths daily.http://www.mordocrosswords.com/2016/08/word-before-ship-or-tongue.html

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