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

When a person starts a re-watching the Star Wars movies marathon, the one they usually look forward to most is this one.  It’s easily the best of the Original Trilogy, and therefore best overall.  Numerous movies and pop culture references exist that lend credence to my feelings, and if you disagree with me, you’re either wrong or a child who was raised on the Prequel Trilogy.  Either way, I pity you.

There are many reasons why it’s the best one, and first and foremost is that the director – the late Irvin Kershner – was not George Lucas.  It was the first Star Wars movie not to be directed by Lucas, which wasn’t that lofty of a claim back in 1980 since there had only been one movie before it.  Kershner wanted more humanization in the characters, and less emphasis placed on the special effects.  Who knows what would have happened if Lucas hadn’t sought out his former teacher to helm the project?  Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) might have had remarkably banal and wooden conversations much like Anakin and Amidala did in the Prequels, for one.

As well, Empire was – for the longest time – the darkest movie in the series, having only been eclipsed in that regard by Revenge of the Sith.  At least in my estimation it was.  Empire was also a storytelling movie, the middle part of the Original Trilogy, getting us from the triumph of A New Hope to the conclusion of Return of the Jedi by providing numerous obstacles for the characters to overcome.  Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is just becoming trained as a Jedi by the elderly Master Yoda (Frank Oz).  Han and Leia are feeling things for one another, and then bam! SPOILER ALERT Han is captured by Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones, played by David Prowse) and encased in frozen carbonite to be delivered to Jabba the Hutt.

It has one of the most surprising endings of any movie, and it leaves almost all of the characters in a state of despair.  Still, it’s an amazingly hopeful movie, as the characters deal with adversity and become determined to overcome the odds in what clearly will be the next movie.  Pretty much everything that I’ve written here is just words, because duh, it’s The Empire Strikes Back, one of the greatest movies of all time, nerd or otherwise.

5 / 5

About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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