Friday, December 18, 2015

Star Wars Revisited: Episode 5- The Empire Strikes Back


Considered the best by most critics and viewers, the original sequel has everything a science fiction movie and a gripping drama require: romance, beautiful, exotic locales, battles, spaceship chases, a lightsaber battle, and the awesome puppetry that makes the Jedi Master Yoda.

Luke Skywalker continues his training. The force is further explored, things can be moved and ghosts can be manifested and communicated with. This movie gets right into it. A giant ice monster followed by the ice battle with crawling metal troop carriers and snow speeders on the frozen planet of Hoth. 

Han and Leia advance their flirtations. Han is antagonistic and Leia is incredulous but throughout their daring escape from the empire, they grow closer. The Millenium Falcon gets to show off its moves but the hyperdrive keeps screwing up. C-3PO does not stop whining and providing the comedic relief despite the trouble of the situation. 

Some of my favorite characters are introduced in this episode. Boba Fett and the bounty hunters, Lando Calrissian, and Yoda. Luke is guided by Obi-Wan's ghost to the Dagobah system for a great training sequence and some very quotable lines. I forgot how entertaining Yoda is when he first appears and acts all silly to fool Luke. Once his training accelerates, he has to leave to follow his vision.

The glimpse of the Emperor and what happened to Darth Vader's skin was always such a mystery to me until the next prequel came out. 

The story is split into dual stories following Han, Leia, and Chewbacca in the other. Han recalls his old friend Lando who is now a miner in Cloud City. It is here where things go dark because Lando betrays the crew and Han ends up getting frozen in carbonite. More quotable lines solidifying this as the epic saga it is none as today.

Finally, there is the epic twist that Darth Vader is in fact Anakin Skywalker, Luke's father, probably the most quotable line of the series. Their lightsaber fight is drastically improved from the slower fight of A New Hope. Luke even loses his hand before falling down to be rescued. 

This movie ends with a hopeful scene but the good guys are defeated and will have to rally back in the finale. A great film, nearly perfect, one of my favorite of all time. 

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