Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, James Earl Jones, Frank Oz, and Alec Guinness
Directed by Irvin Kershner
1:30am - A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
1:31 - Ooh...a remote ice world of Hoth is being promised in the opening scroll!
1:34 - Yetis!
1:36 - Yay! Our first transitional wipe!
1:40 - And we have our first light saber amputation in this film...
1:42 - Diagonal wipe? So many different kinds of transitions!
1:43 - It didn't even dawn on me that I hadn't seen Yoda yet, but ghost Obi Wan reminded me of his existence.
1:55 - What a difference three years (and presumably a lot more money) can make in terms of special effects and production design. This film looks so much crisper and richly detailed.
1:59 - And the giant walking enemy weapon thing falls because of getting tangled in wire...I knew they should've just used regular tanks...
2:02 - C3PO's nervous hands-up shaking thing makes me chuckle...
2:10 - This asteroid chase scene is a tad bit too visually reminiscent of the Death Star action scene that ended A New Hope.
2:18 - Yoda and his broken English finally make an appearance. And after a minute, I find myself pleasantly approving of the Muppet-like creature.
2:19 - Although, it's tough not to hear Fozzie Bear sometimes when Frank Oz speaks as the little green guy...
2:22- Han to Leia - "There aren't enough scoundrels in your life..." I kinda dig that line...
2:31 - Hamill trying to do his best Tarzan impression as he swings on vines...
2:39 - "You must unlearn what you have unlearned." That's some deep sh*t from Yoda.
2:41 - I understand that the film is trying to show us the trials of Luke learning how to control the Force within him, but I feel like the past thirty minutes of the film have been rather lethargic in terms of trying to move any type of story along. I mean, what is exactly happening? Vader is searching for Han and Leia, but he's not really doing anything except killing members of his fleet who fail him. Han and Leia are feeling each other up, but beyond that they're not really doing much. We're sort of at a dramatic impasse here.
2:50 - Black people do exist in space!!!
2:52 - Lando - single-handedly bringing back the Cape as a fashion statement! (I mean, Vader has one too, but it's not nearly as stylish.)
2:57 - The guys tossing around C3PO in the junk pile kind of remind me of the ogreish bankers from Harry Potter.
2:58 - Billy Dee with the sabotage!
3:06 - "I love you." "I know." - Is it wrong that I wanted this exploration of Han and Leia's romance and their coy repartee explored a little more before they baked Han in carbonite?
3:18 - So far this conclusion is less entertaining than the original's. Leia, Chewbacca, and Lando running around and shooting lasers and not doing much else. Vader and Luke just swinging their light sabers around...blah...
3:20 - This series loves its amputations! Luke is obviously using the Force to stop his arm from bleeding.
3:21 - And the pivotal "Luke, I am your father" moment. I imagine the impact was quite strong in 1980 upon release. For me, admittedly, the reveal was a foregone conclusion -- I just wasn't sure what film it was in.
3:22 - How did Luke survive that fall? And where's the blood from his arm? The heat from the lightsaber obviously cauterized the wound.
3:29 - It just dawned on me that there hasn't been a transitional wipe in over 90 minutes. Bummer.
Isn't The Empire Strikes Back regarded as a better film than Star Wars? Maybe I'm not thinking correctly, but despite a much more impressive look to the film, some significantly better written dialog, and actors who honed their craft a little better than in the original, the film itself doesn't really go anywhere and feels repetitive in parts. I'm aware I'm hindered greatly by the fact that I knew the line "Luke, I am your father," and it's dramatic impact was certainly negatively affected, but Empire lacks a really engaging story. Part of that, I assume is due to the fact that it's the "middle" piece of a trilogy, but after they left Hoth my interest gradually lessened only perking up in certain spots -- Yoda, Lando's sabotage. Whereas I would watch Star Wars again, I wouldn't necessarily be rushing to watch The Empire Strikes Back.
The RyMickey Rating: C