aka: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, The Empire Strikes Back
Director: Irvin Kershner
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels
The adventure continues…
The intergalactic war is still going on three years after the destruction of the Death Star. After receiving a message from the spirit of his former mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi, young Luke Skywalker travels to the planet Dagobah to find the ancient Jedi Master Yoda to learn and become a true Jedi.
Darth Vader has hired several bounty hunters, including Boba Fett to hunt down Han Solo and Princess Leia and finally captures them while they are at the planet Bespin, visiting Han’s old friend Lando Cairissian. It’s now up to Luke to rescue them and also stand face to face against Darth Vader.
The Empire Strikes back is the highest rated Star Wars movie and I can easily see why. It’s got the legendary scene between Luke and Darth Vader that ends with those few words of cinema history “No, I am your father”. The fight scene is done perfect, lighting is excellent, its intense, emotional and also fun. It’s perhaps the greatest scene of the entire Star Wars saga.
That being said, the first half of the film isn’t that great for me. It is filled with bickering between Han Solo and Princess Leia, who are developing a romantic relationship and that gets too much screentime for my taste. There is also way to much Chewbacca for me. He was basically just a visual addition to the cast of the first one, but in this one he gets to roar every fifth minute and it gets annoying very quickly.
Even though the effects are even bigger and mostly better this time around, there are some questionable choices here. The puppet they made for master Yoda is not very good, regardless of how iconic the character has become over time. I also wonder what they were thinking when they made those Snow Walker vehicles since it must be the dumbest war vehicles ever made. It’s also becoming very clear that a normal piece of gun with bullets could do more damage than these cool laser guns that they use in this war.
That being nitpicked on though, the mood is darker in this film and the last hour is great. Luke is great to watch in this film since we can see his transformation from a local nobody in the first film to now being the most important piece in the entire war. We get to see other characters fleshed out a little more, including Darth Vader who we learn used to be a normal man called Anakin before he turned to the dark side. The dialogue is also perhaps the best in this film out of all the Star Wars movies.
Surprisingly enough, George Lucas did not direct this one but gave the job over to his old film school professor Irvin Kershner, who had not done any big film like this before but he had plenty of film experience and horror fans might notice that he did Eyes of Laura Mars, a film that was co-written by John Carpenter. Even though there was a different director, Lucas was of course involved in every step of the film and because of their previous history together, it was probably easier for him to trust Kershner than some other new guy.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is a fine movie. Most put it above the first one, I have to say that I think the magic of the original puts it slightly above this because it has lesser stuff I didn’t care for. On the other hand, the best scenes in this one is perhaps a little bit above the ones in the first film. Regardless, this is another great piece of science fictions that fans adore and love.