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

Empire Strikes Back
MOVIE POSTER Film ‘STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK; STAR WARS: EPISODE V – THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK’ (1980) Directed By IRVIN KERSHNER 21 May 1980 CTS65543 Allstar Collection/LUCASFILM **WARNING** This photograph is the copyright of LUCAS FILM & can only be reproduced by newspaper & magazine TV guides in conjunction with the promotion of the above film. A Mandatory Credit To LUCAS FILM must also be printed. For Printed Editorial Use Only, NO online or internet use. 1109z@yx

Released: 6/20/1980

Holy crap, Darth Vader is Luke’s father!  I guess I already knew that, as does everyone.  Now.  At the time, it was quite the bombshell, however.  The Empire Strikes Back was always my favorite movie of the original trilogy.  I’m not exactly sure why, I think part of it is that it didn’t have a “Hollywood ending” as I like to call it – a forced happy ending where the good guys win.  Life isn’t always like that.  The Empire undeniably wins at the end (the title probably should have given that away) – the rebels are on the run; Han is frozen in carbonite; Luke lost his hand; Yoda believes that by leaving early, Luke has lost all his training and hard work; Luke is hurt that Ben didn’t tell him that Vader is his father.  Things are not so good for our heroes.

I do find it interesting that Luke doesn’t listen to Yoda – he enters the cave with weapons after Yoda telling him he won’t need them; he doesn’t believe that he can use the force to lift his fighter out of the Dagoba muck; he leaves Dagoba before finishing his training.  In each case, Luke was wrong – the cave went poorly for Luke; Yoda had to take his fighter out of the muck; and by going to Cloud City, he endangered himself (lost a hand) and his friends (they escaped, but had to turn around to get a one-handed Luke) but accomplished nothing (Han still frozen in Carbonite).

Speaking of mistakes, could the Empire have botched the invasion of Hoth any worse?  The rebels were well prepared for the evacuation, but the Empire still could have captured someone.  By the time the shield generator was destroyed, the last transport had already left.  Perhaps they should have targeted the Ion Cannon, which was primarily responsible for letting the rebels escape.

From a story-telling perspective, perhaps The Empire Strikes Back wasn’t a masterpiece, but from an enjoyability standpoint it still ranks up there with my all-time favorite films.

WWYT Rating: 9.5

IMDB Rating: 8.8

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