Star Wars: Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back

Boba Fett Returns (Warning: Contains adult language, cartoon violence, and images that may not be suitable to children. Parental Discretion is Advised)

Stevennix2001's rating:

10 / 10

Pros:

  • Great script. Excellent foreshadowing of future events, and the plot twist around the end still remains one of the most epic moments in cinematic history itself.
  • The love story between Han Solo and Princess Leia is tastefully done, as they feel like an actual couple by this point.
  • The visual effects are great for it's time period, and you could argue that some of it still holds up well to this day.
  • Sound effects are crisp and clean
  • Pacing is good
  • Cinematography was excellent; especially during the climax between Luke and Darth Vader.
  • Yoda puppet was charming and didn't seem too out of place in this otherwise serious yet whimsical space adventure story.
  • Acting was good.
  • Direction was great.
  • Art direction and costume designs were great.

Cons:

  • Dialogue still feels a bit stilted

Note: Since I know most of you have already seen this movie before, I'm not going to go into much detail about it, as this is more about my general thoughts on the movie itself. However, I should warn readers that this entire review will contain spoilers. Do not read past this point if you don't want to read any spoilers for this particular film.

Mark Hamill scene in "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back"

The Force is strong with you, young Skywalker, but you are not a Jedi yet....

Although George Lucas claims this is probably the worst of the original trilogy, it's ironically hailed by most audiences as being arguably the greatest of the franchise, but is it overrated? Let's discuss. Originally, it was simply titled "The Empire Strikes Back" before the prequels came along, as this latest chapter furthers the journey of Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill, who's also known as the voice of the Joker from "Batman: The Animated Series").

After the death of Obi Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker is instructed by his ghost to seek out his old Jedi master, who happens to be the wise mysterious Yoda. Not much is revealed about his character (if you ignore the prequels that came out years later), but it's heavily implied that he knows all the ways of the force from it's humble beginnings. As Luke continues his training under Yoda to become a Jedi Master, his friends continue the fight against the evil empire. But things take a turn for the worst when Darth Vader imprisons our heroes, which prompts Luke to skip out on the training before he can become a full fledged Jedi.

Before i go on with my review, I should warn you that this entire article will contain spoilers, as I'm just going to assume that most of you already know about the plot twist this film has, as even my ex girlfriend, who ever saw a "Star Wars" movie in her life, has claimed that she knows what the damn plot twist to this movie is, so I'm pretty sure i'm not spoiling it for anyone by mentioning it here. However, if you're one those rare few that's been living under a rock for a few decades, then I'll kindly advise you to stop reading this immediately. But if you don't mind spoilers, or if you've already seen the film, then please read on at your own expense.

As it's revealed, Darth Vader turns out be Luke's father. The very same villain that Luke sought revenge against because he was under the impression that Darth Vader killed him ages ago. In fact, Obi-Wan was the very person who put that idea into his head, but we later learn that he was merely speaking metaphorically. Needless to say, this puts a new perspective on the story that not only changes the dynamic of the characters moving forward, but one could argue it's probably one of the most dramatic moments in cinematic history.

Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader (Warning: Contains Spoiler if you haven't seen this movie)

I remember when I first saw this scene, like most people, I too was shocked. Stricken in awe with only one thought coursing through my mind, and that was, "Is this real?" The way the scene itself was set up was perfect. Darth Vader and Luke battle each other to the death. Darth Vader obviously toying with Luke the whole time, as it seems like he barely gives any effort while fighting him. Meanwhile, Luke is giving it his all, but he's clearly no match for Darth Vader at this point. The two exchange dialogue, as Darth Vader tempts him over to the dark side.

When you watch this scene closely, it's amazing how well Irvin Kershner had it setup. The camera angles for the intense fight scene between Darth Vader and Luke were mesmerizing, as it sets up the fight sequence quite well. Focusing on the characters closely when needed for those emotional moments, while still zooming out for those wide angled shots to allow audiences to see everything that happens during the fight. The actions of the characters themselves never felt too out of place, as you could sense the emotional turmoil that Luke was going through.

In fact, George Lucas once said that "Darth" meant a variation of dark, while "Vader" allegedly meant father. This is interesting in a lot of ways because even before this film came out, Darth Vader's name alone could be argued as a huge foreshadowing of what was to come of his character. But because very little was revealed about him at the time of the first movie, it only makes the big reveal all the more surprising.

Seriously, the emotional impact of Darth Vader telling Luke he was his dad was kind of a big deal. Up to that point, we were rooting against Darth Vader because everyone thought at the time that he was the one that killed Luke's father. That he was the main bad guy that everyone wanted to stop because of how evil he was. Yet to find out that he was Luke's father the whole time was kind of gut wrenching for a lot of people.

I don't think I've ever seen such a clever jaw dropping plot twist done so perfectly, and I doubt we'll ever see one like it again; especially in today's era, where leaks for various films are always floating around on the internet. . And it's because of this fact, i doubt we'll ever see it happen again in our lifetime.

Speaking of foreshadowed events, I loved how Han and Leia's relationship was progressed in this film. Unlike that god awful love story in "Star Wars: Episode II- Attack of the Clones", this one has more of an organic feel to it. Sure, both Leia and Han may not always see eye to eye with each other, but the chemistry between Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher sells you on the relationship. And when Han meets his tragic fate at the end, you can't help but feel sorry for both characters.

"Star Wars: Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back" is one of those rare lightning in a bottle movies that not only managed to set up one of the most jaw dropping plot twists of all time, but it even managed to create a science fiction adventure story that still holds up to this day.

Like the original "Godfather", "Jaws", "Citizen Kane" and etc, "The Empire Strikes Back" is among the all time greats. Because of it's memorable characters and engaging story, this film will continue to survive the test of time. A true masterpiece in cinematic history that deserves every word of praise it gets.

© 2016 Steven Escareno

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