The Empire Strikes Back
The Empire Strikes Back, also known as Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, is a 1980 epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner, produced by Gary Kurtz and written by George Lucas, Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan. It is the second film in the original Star Wars trilogy.
Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca are on the run from the Galactic Empire after the Rebel Alliance suffers a crushing defeat on the ice planet Hoth. While Han, Leia and Chewbacca head to Bespin in the Millennium Falcon, seeking help from Han's old friend Lando Calrissian, Luke travels to the backwater world of Dagobah in search of the legendary Jedi master Yoda. Only with his help will Luke be able to survive when the dark side of the Force draws him into a fateful duel with Darth Vader.
Why It Rocks
- It's an amazing follow-up to the first (or fourth, depending on what order you're watching them in) movie, with a groundbreaking story that brings about major changes in the Star Wars universe.
- Amazing acting, especially by Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Frank Oz.
- Lots of memorable action and thriller scenes, such as the Battle of Hoth with a squadron of Rebel snowspeeders going up against waves of Imperial AT-ATs, the Millennium Falcon getting chased by tons of TIE Fighters and Star Destroyers through an asteroid field, and the climactic lightsaber duel between Luke and Darth Vader.
- In addition, there are some scary moments, such as a scene where the group onboard the Millennium Falcon realize that it's not a cave and it's actually the inside of a giant space slug.
- This movie introduces us to some brand-new characters in the Star Wars universe:
- Yoda is a small, green humanoid alien who is powerful with the Force. He is among the most powerful members of the Jedi Order and a general of clone troopers during the Clone Wars. He also trains all Jedi children before they are assigned a Jedi master.
- Lando Calrissian (Baron Landonis Balthazar "Lando" Calrissian III) is the Baron Administrator of Cloud City on the gas planet Bespin. Before the events of TESB, Lando made a career as a gambler, con artist, playboy, mining engineer and businessman, and was the original owner of the Millennium Falcon until he lost the ship to Han in a bet.
- Emperor Palpatine (AKA Darth Sidious) is the emperor of the Galactic Empire and the master of Darth Vader. He is portrayed as a cunning individual who uses Machiavellian tactics to bring the entire galaxy under his iron rule.
- There are a lot of scenes where Yoda teaches Luke Skywalker how to be stronger in the light side of the force on Dagobah, such as floating stuff around and trying to raise his X-Wing out of the dirty swamp.
- The soundtrack, performed by John Williams, is still amazing and unforgettable to this day, especially with tons of exciting, suspense and scary soundtrack moments throughout the movie.
- Excellent cinematography by Peter Suschitzky.
- The Wampa is a terrifying monster.
- Most of the special effects in the movie still hold up well to this day.
- Iconic dialogue, especially the scene near the end where Darth Vader reveals that he is Luke Skywalker's thought-dead father, Anakin Skywalker.
- That scene gave us one of the most iconic plot twists in cinema history, and is so iconic that movies and TV shows continue to parody this moment to this day.
- In what was a huge shock at the time, the heroes actually lose. Han is frozen in carbonite and captured by the ruthless bounty hunter Boba Fett, while Luke loses a hand and suffers a lot of emotional trauma after finding out that Darth Vader is his father.
- This scene:
- "I love you"
- "I know"
- "I love you"
- In 1997, George Lucas created the Star Wars "Special Editions", which included unnecessary additions to the original cuts of the movies, most notably an excess amount of CGI and recasting some of the characters. Lucas kept making more changes to them until Disney bought out Lucasfilm in 2012. Since then, they have never officially released the original theatrical cuts of the films on DVD, Blu-Ray or digitally, except for the bonus discs for a 2006 DVD release, which were sourced from the 1993 Laserdisc releases.
- On the topic of re-releases and remasters, they make it too obvious that Yoda is a puppet and it quickly becomes distracting due to the higher image resolution.
- Qui-Gon Jinn was established to be the master of Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace, but in The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda is framed as Obi-Wan's actual master.
- R2-D2 was revealed to have the ability to fly in Attack Of The Clones, was shown in the sequence in the factory Geonosis, for example R2-D2 should've flown out of the swamp, but chose not to do so for some reason.
- Funny moments feel very unnecessary for a Star Wars movie, including:
- The Millennium Falcon's hyperdrive acting up.
- "Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder!"
- "Who's scruffy-looking?"
- Darth Vader force-choking the incompetent Admiral Ozzel to death and then promoting his second-in-command Captain Piett on the spot qualifies in a "black comedy" sort of way.
- "You're lucky you don't taste very good!
The film received acclaim from both critics and fans of the Star Wars series alike, and is hailed as one of the greatest sequels of all-time. It has a 94% critical rating and a 97% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, a 82% critical rating and a 9.0/10 audience rating on Metacritic, a 4.4/5 on Letterboxd and an 8.7/10 on IMDb.
In 2010, the film was selected for preservation in the United States' National Film Registry by The Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant".
- Surprisingly, when James Earl Jones (Darth Vader's voice actor) first read the "I am your father" line in the script, he actually thought that Darth Vader was lying to Luke.