Reviewing one movie at a time…

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)


Trailer: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher  – Directed By: Irvin Kershner

Running Time: 2 hr & 04 mins – Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Big JD (Host)

Synopsis:

After the destruction of the Death Star the rebel alliance has hid on the far side of the galaxy on an ice planet named Hoth.  Meanwhile Darth Vader is searching for young Skywalker using all of his resources to do so.  Remember, he felt the force within him as he was trailing him during the battle on the death star in Episode IV.  Obsessed with finding him he finally locates him with the Rebel Alliance on Hoth and begins an attack to draw them out.

Review:

Out of the six movies this one by far is my favorite.  There are many reasons why this is top of the class for me and I will try to explain that here.  But first, we are starting with the negative aspects.  Don’t worry there aren’t many.

At the battle of Hoth, I noticed that everyone was “human”.  The Rebel Alliance was made up of many different races from all over the galaxy.  Yet, there were only humans inhabiting this rebel base.  I found that to be weird.  Although, at that time (2nd movie of the franchise) a lot of the story specifics had not been planned out.  So, at the time of filming, I’m sure the Rebel Alliance was only comprised of humans.  Also, same battle, the AT-ST’s were just kicking ass and taking names.  Yet Luke was the only one out of the whole group that could take ‘em down.  Damn, he even took one down by himself.  Even after he showed them how to tow-cable them down, nobody followed suit.  The Battle of Hoth could have been more then what it was but I’m ok with what had turned out.

Yoda’s Lazy eye had always given me problems.  I guess you really start to go downhill once 900 years you reach.  880 is ok… just when you turn 900.

The acting, writing, score, was all fantastic for me.  Now, am I biased because this is the first movie that I ever remember watching in a theatre?  I don’t think so.  Is it just because I love the original trilogy? No.  Is it because it’s a beatdown movie?  Yeah, probably.  I don’t know why, but I like to see the protagonist just straight get their ass kicked.  Only to be left at the end of the movie where everyone has a huge uphill battle to face.  This only makes the rise of our hero’s much greater and inexplicably more exciting to watch.  You can watch this movie as a standalone movie and get a wonderful love story and a hero’s battle to step in some very large shoes.  The love story between Han & Leia was probably the best love story in the Star Wars films to date.  And we all know Luke was trying to be more than what he was.  That was the point.  He hurried off to help his friends when he wasn’t ready to confront Vader.  See where that left him?

During the movie my wife asked me “Do you think the reason Darth Vader is searching for Luke so hard is because he loves him deep down?”.  I answered “yes, definitely.  He wanted Luke to see things from his perspective and together they could be dark ruling the galaxy as father and son.  Classic take on any drug addict.  The drug addict doesn’t see anything wrong with his life.  Yet, he wants the ones he loves to share in his ecstasy.  I think Darth Vader was so enthralled with the presence of his Son that he knew way before the Emperor told him of his presence.  I think he was playing dumb there during that conversation.  Then he had to say something to throw off any concerns of the Emperor by saying “He will join us or die”.  Knowing that he would never out rightly kill his own son.  He had already accidently killed his wife.  He wouldn’t make that same mistake twice.

A lot of people that have seen the movie have had problems understanding “The Cave” in dagobah.  “Remember your failure at the cave!”.  Let me explain.  The cave is filled with anger, fear, aggression, and basically it is strong with the dark side.  A person goes in as a test.  How one deals with the dark side of the force.  Luke was presented with a “fear”.  Facing Darth Vader.  He reacted to that fear with aggression and cut his head off.  A Jedi mustn’t be the aggressor.  The lightsabers are meant for defense not attack.  That is why when the mask was blown off the face, it was Luke’s face under the mask.  Meaning that if he continued this path it would lead him directly to the dark side.  He would become a sith.

5 Things I love about this movie:  1. It’s got Hoth, Dagobah, Cloud City 2.  It’s got bounty hunters!  3.  Did I mention that I loved Cloud City?  4.  Han gets frozen in carbonite  5.  The group get’s their ass kicked and Luke’s hand is chopped off.  Now, go watch this movie!

Comic Book Movie Plus:  Billy Dee Williams – Batman,

Nudity Bonus:  N/A

 

5.0‘s

Ran-Dizzle

To me this is one of the greatest of the Star Wars Saga. The story of this movie to me is pretty decent, I think the better of the sub-plots though is the mesh of Han’s Ego and Leia’s stubbornness, To me the romance between those to in this movie really ties together well, like fire and ice. The most important part of the movie is when Luke presents himself to Yoda and goes to learn the ways of the force. If Obi Wan was present when the twins were born (Ep. 3) then how come he didn’t know that Luke wasn’t the only hope? I think the thing that entertained me the most was Vader going through his head officers. After the third one I wondered if he started to realize he was going to eventually run out of Admirals. 

Special Effects for the time were decent, I think honestly they were a little better in the Origianl I noticed alot of clay animation style with the Tauntauns. Yoda was pretty good, obviously he was just shy of showing his strings to realize he was a puppet, Frank Oz did a wonderful role as Yoda even through the years he managed to keep it pretty close to the original voice.
Lando was an interesting character to bring in. To me the only purpose besides possibly giving Han a back story was to just be a subplot for the main story line. Although Billy Dee Williams did a great job playing him, but really he didn’t have much of a major role in this film nor the next one.

This is probably the best film for Han Solo, it shows a little of his past with Lando, and that kind of dabbled into the romance of his ego chauvinistic personality to the slightly emotional side with Leia, who herself was in a turmoil of being in love with Han yet being irritated by the Scruffy looking Nerf herder.

Not really much of a soundtrack or at least a noticeable one other then the Imperial march.

This is a must see actually the Whole Saga is a must see but this one has to be watched.

4.5‘s

Willie Good-Cook

-Appropriately named-

This movie’s title says it all. It is easily the 5th best Star Wars movie ever!(So far) Right in front of episode 1: Phantom Menace, and right behind Episode 2: Clone Wars. (This is my opinion, but I think most of you agree.) Personally, I hate spending two and a half hours watching a movie, only to have no real conclusion and having to wait through another 2 1/2 hour movie to finally get closure.

Now, to the movie itself. I found most of Harrison Fords acting to be sub par. To be honest, the whole cast bothered me at times…except maybe Vader. But how can a plastic suit be a bad actor? The real place the actors shined was as a cast. The banter between the cast members is still very entertaining. I do love the score of the Star Wars series. It is very enjoyable to listen too and they did a pretty good job of setting the mood of scenes with well places musical numbers. The Light Saber is still probably my favorite fictional weapon, I have wanted one since I was young and still do.

The plot of the movie is probably part of the reason I dislike it. The story is good, but it goes unfinished so I can’t really say that the storyis at fault. Part of the problem with this series is that I don’t carry the nostalgia factor into this. I was born way after this. I was watching stuff like Jurassic park and The Matrix growing up. This movie seemed dated to me the first time I ever watched it, and it seems equally dated now. Dated movies can be enjoyable though. I still watch Wizards from time to time and it feels REALLY dated.

This movie did have some great classic “Star Wars” moments. Like when Luke loses his hand and finds out who his father is, Luke’s training with Yoda, or when Lando betrays everyone to save his skin but feels so bad about it that he helps them escape. I know my review sounds negative, but you have to understand, being the 5th best Star wars is still way better than many of the movies we have reviewed. I am just comparing it to 4 other really good movies…and one terrible one. (Sorry phantom menace.) And the ending still pisses me off. I HATE CLIFF HANGERS!!! THEY NEED TO DIE AND GO TO HELL!!! Now I have to go watch Return of the Jedi. Thanks Big JD!

-Suggestions-

Save yourself 2 1/2 hours. Vader is Luke’s father and Han is frozen in Carbonite. The end.

 

4‘s

 

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One response

  1. Pingback: Best Three Reasons to Watch Star Wars (over and over again) | best 3 of everything

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