In the aftermath of Star Wars: A New Hope’s massive acclaim and box office success. George Lucas began to write a follow up called The Empire Strikes Back. Beginning a three year gap on constructing. The Cast reprise their roles to continue Luke Skywalker’s journey into becoming a Jedi like his father, Anakin Skywalker.
The Empire Strikes Back was released in 1980. At the time of it’s release, the follow up received mixed reviews from critics, (not joking) and unlike it’s predecessor, it didn’t surpass A New Hope’s box office record, though Empire was a money making hit, it just didn’t make a milestone. Overtime, Empire went on to become a groundbreaking cinematic masterpiece and the majority of a bunch of fans consider Empire, as the Magnum Opus of the entire series.
Like I said in my previous reviews related to Star Wars, I’ve decided to share my real thoughts about Empire before The Last Jedi comes out this December, in order to spread the word of mouth for everyone who’s a die hard fan of Star Wars.
I’ll have you know that this article is filled with SPOILERS. Because us Star Wars fans, have seen the films countless times. If your kids never ever ever ever seen The Original Trilogy, start with this, not The Prequels. If I were you, start with the old school basics.
Balanced & Unbalanced Qualities
Balanced: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Alec Guinness, & James Earl Jones, all did a spectacular job on their iconic performances.
Action Sequences were awesome including The Battle On Hoth against The AT-ATs, The Empire chasing Han, Leia, Chewbacca, & C-3PO on board the Millennium Falcon. Luke Vs. Vader in Cloud City, and Escaping Cloud City from The Empire.
Character Development involving Luke, as goes from an inpatient beginner, to a more weary individual after he learns the horrifying truth about his father.
Practical Effects were heavily used to bring several starships to life, Animatronics orchestrated Taun-Tauns, AT-ATs, Yoda using The Force to lift Luke’s X-Wing, Darth Vader using The Force by attacking Luke with the environment surrounding them.
Cinematography felt normal without any problems.
Empire contains a bunch of memorable quotes from each character. I think The Best Line in my opinion is, “Do or do not, there is not try.” It’s a quote from Yoda that shows us size doesn’t matter, or in his own way of saying it backwards, “Size matters not.”
Empire is considered the first Star Wars movie to enter a darker tone, making Luke’s heritage more personal to his connection to Darth Vader. Lando’s betrayal towards Han, Leia becoming separated with Han, after being frozen in Carbonite.
At the time when Empire first came out in theaters, the movie was filled with Twists & Turns, shocking every single audience member with pivotal moments such as Lando’s betrayal on Han, Yoda revealing himself to Luke, Leia’s ability to sense Luke’s presence, and of course, Vader’s big reveal to Luke that he’s his daddy.
Fan Favorite, Boba Fett, makes his first appearance in The Original Trilogy. Originally he first appeared in that embarrassing Star Wars Holiday Special. George, himself despises this so called “Christmas Special.”
I’ll have to give The Prequels credit for retconning on how Anakin lost his hand in Attack Of The Clones, and his other limbs in Revenge Of The Sith. The reason why Vader decided to retaliate at Luke by cutting his hand off, is based on how much Vader has gone through and to demonstrate what it’s like to loose something in life, like a hand, two legs, another hand, burning alive, and the death of Padmè. Loss is one of the Central Themes in the Star Wars franchise.
After the main characters leave Hoth, it becomes three storylines in one film with Luke training on Dagobah, The Empire pursuing the Millennium Falcon & Darth Vader’s ongoing search for Luke, because we all know why.
John Williams’ Musical Score, continues to spread unforgettable music, including Han & Leia’s Theme. The Imperial March, (Vader’s Theme) and Yoda’s Theme.
Han tells Leia on how he obtained his spaceship by winning some kind of bet against Lando. I would definitely be interested in the upcoming Han Solo origin story if they show us on what kind of gambling or dangerous bet they’ve endured on one another.
When Luke enters the cave that shows him a vision of his deepest darkest fear. He sees Darth Vader. After Luke chops “Vader’s” head off, the helmet explodes as it reveals Luke himself. This scene foreshadows the truth on Luke’s heritage as well as a possibility on what will happen if he turns to The Dark Side of The Force.
Han & Leia’s chemistry was one of the main highlights. They’ve known each other since he & Luke rescued her. During a three gap before Empire starts, they would often argue at times, due to the fact that Han is still associated with Jabba The Hutt, while Leia tries to convince him to stay and help them fight The Empire, but deep down they care for each other. Unlike Anakin’s creepy stalker phase & Padmè acting like a bimbo, Han’s very likable when it comes to using his masculine charms/wits and Leia is capable on taking care of herself, as well as her no nonsense personality. Admit it, you know they’re perfect for each other.
Harrison Ford ad-libbed Han’s line, “I Know,” to Leia. In the original script, he was supposed to say, “I love you too.” Ford decided to bend the rules by attempting to replicate natural chemistry to make Carrie Fisher’s reaction seem believable. I’ll have to give Harrison, Bonus Points for coming with something that Han would actually say.
You think Admiral Ackbar was the first character to say “IT’S A TRAP!” You’ll be surpised that Leia said it first before Luke confronts Vader.
Unbalanced: Now that we’re all fully aware of Luke & Leia are related. Remember that part when they kissed each other on the lips? It’s incredibly disgusting in hindsight. I’ll give this con a pass because they weren’t fully aware that they’re brother and sister and us movie goers didn’t know that until Return Of The Jedi reveals their lineage. Even Family Guy pokes fun at this scene in their parody of all three original Star Wars movies.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
The Empire Strikes Back, still holds up, as it remains a true masterpiece in cinematic history next to A New Hope, and Return Of The Jedi, and I consider Empire, as my personal favorite (my 2nd favorite movie of all time) out of all of the Star Wars movies. Bravo George for keeping us fans entertained with your beloved franchise that you’ve created for many generations.
I hope Han Solo’s new actor from the upcoming spin-off, doesn’t end up like Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader. Please Disney, don’t give him a ridiculous phobia like Anakin’s fear of sand. I beg you not to disgrace Han’s image because he’s my favorite Star Wars character.