Empire Strikes Back, may favorite Star Wars film. I finished watching this again this morning and took copious notes that I didn’t really need because I have seen this movie two hundreds times or so. You can read my A New Hope Review here and next week will be The Phantom Menace. Lets jump right in!
The opening scroll sets the tone for this movie to me. It boils down to Death Star is gone but now the Empire is really pissed off and the rebels are in trouble. Our first shot is of probe droids being sent out into the galaxy and we see one land on an ice planet, Hoth. Next is our shot of Luke which shows the droid land on Hoth again. I don’t get showing it twice and I don’t like it. Its honestly a flaw I don’t think I ever really noticed until now. Luke and Han converse and Han still calls Luke kid. There is a brotherly feel to these two. Then on a planet with very little life a giant predator attacks Luke. What does it live off of? Anyway Han is back at base unaware that Luke is in trouble and lets the Rebels know he is leaving to pay off Leia. Han and Leia have a confrontation about her feelings for him(and his for her) that Han gets the better of. Though why he can’t go pay off Jabba and come right back is beyond me. Not sure why this is a big deal. Eventually people notice Luke isn’t back yet and when C3PO informs Han he’s both worried and a smart ass. “Impossible man” says C3PO and the way Han speaks to him I can understand why. Han then takes off after Luke despite warnings he will die. Luke is his friend and Han will die for his friends. Luke gets away and we see a new force power and then we see a force ghost right before Han finds him. Yay everyone is safe.
Battle of Hoth
After Luke is recovered we have a little reunion where Han is once again a smart ass but Leia gets the best of the exchange by kissing Luke. This is not weird because the writers did not know they were related at the time, I swear. Han and Chewie investigate the probe droid and the Rebels begin their evacuation. Back with the Empire we see a Super Star destroyer and damn its big. The Admiral is condescending to Vader when Vader says Hoth is where the Rebels are, its like he doesn’t know or believe what he has heard about him. Or thinks he is safe which no one is. When they come out of hyperspace the rebels are ready with a shield up. Vader blames the Admiral and kills him. Vader ain’t playing around. Captain Piett gets a promotion though so that’s nice! The battle of Hoth is visually very cool but for me what makes it great is the music. John Williams takes a good battle and just makes it incredible. We get to see Leia not as a Princess but as a military leader also which is pretty cool. Han has to convince her to leave and ends up taking her off planet himself. Vader just misses out on them. Luke and R2 head out after the battle and instead of meeting up with the rest of the rebels Luke heads toward Dagobah. R2 obviously thinks something is wrong with Luke and offers to take control. R2 is definitely worried Luke has gone crazy.
Han and Leia
I’m going to follow the Character story lines for the rest of this review until they met up. So lets jump into what is going on with Leia and Han! After leaving Hoth they are being chased by Imperials ships. Three Star Destroyers and a bunch of TIE fighters however Han can out maneuver them. When he goes to hit the hyper-drive it fails and C3PO is finally allowed to finish a sentence to inform them he noticed it was busted. Han and Chewie attempt to fix it on the fly but have to head back to cockpit when they encounter an asteroid field. Han does what Han does and enters the asteroid field despite everyone else thinking its crazy. He is able to successfully destroy his pursuers and find them a hiding place to repair the Falcon. Han an leia are left in the cockpit alone and one of my favorite all time scenes happens. (Ends at 1:57)
Han once again gets the better of the exchange. Han and Leia then have a great little flirt/fight scene when they finally kiss. Unfortunately C3PO ruins it. Han really does care and you can see it in his face, Leia looks confused. Han finally gets the Falcon put back together and then realizes they are not in a cave. Leia is a little slow on the pick up though. When the hyper-drive fails again Han pulls a cool little trick out of his pocket and hides ON a star destroyer. This leads to Vader killing yet another Imperial. After this trick its as though Leia realizes how much more to Han there is and she may have been selling him short and they don’t fight again for the rest of the movie. They head to Cloud City unfortunately Boba Fett knew of Han’s trick and was ready to follow.
Once they land at cloud city we meet Lando Calrissian and he seems nice. Honestly I do think Lando is happy to see Han and is in an unenviable position. Lando promises to repair the Falcon and sets up Han and Leia with nice digs and clothes. When he leads Han, Leia and Chewie to Vader he is being honest. Han’s reaction is pure awesome. He puts himself between Vader and Leia immediately and begins firing at Vader, no hesitation. Later Han is tortured and we find out Vader is continuing to worsen the deal Lando made with him. Lando reveals that the deal wasn’t about Han and Leia its about Luke. This doesn’t mitigate him lying to his friends but he obviously didn’t actively give them to Vader and thought they would be left unharmed and in the end free to go. Han and Leia have their moment before Han is put into carbonite. After this Leia is once again slow on the uptake as Lando sets in motion to free them. It makes me wonder if Chewie hadn’t attacked him would they have had a chance to catch up to Boba Fett and free Han. Lando and the rest of them head to the Falcon after not catching up to Boba Fett in time. Once on the Falcon they take off and another aspect of Williams score comes to the front. They strings in unison with the lasers hitting Falcon is just a great shot. They are all set to leave when Leia has Chewie turn around to get Luke. Speaking of Luke lets catch up to what he’s been doing.
After Luke lands on Dagobah he meets Yoda and is quite frankly kind of a petulant child. Rude and dismissive its as though he has spent too much time hanging around Han, which he probably has. Yoda however rolls with it acting like a simple crazy little creature, and its awesome. Finally Yoda speaks to Obi-wan and Luke realizes what a fool he has been. I noticed Yoda’s speech pattern becomes normalized once he stops acting and starts talking to Obi-wan. Anyway Luke does a bunch of training with Yoda and fails in the cave because he took his weapons. Luke’s x-wing sinks further into the swamp and Yoda challenges him to lift it out with the force. Yoda describes what the force really is and how size does not matter. Its quite beautiful. Luke fails and tells Yoda he asks the for impossible. Yoda then lifts the X-wing and Luke is again put in his place and properly ashamed. Luke then has a vision of his friends in trouble and decides to leave. I’m not sure why Yoda doesn’t come with him here. Surely the two of them would easily defeat Vader right? Yoda tells Luke to mind what he gas learned and it will save him. He and Obi-wan speak and he mentions another hope.
Once Luke lands at Cloud City he runs into both Boba Fett and Leia but he does nothing to pursue either which is odd since that’s kind of the reason he is there. In the end he faces Vader in what is easily the best Lightsaber battle in any of the movies. There is emotion in every scene and great dialog. Luke obviously thinks he can handle Vader at first and Vader underestimates Luke. By the end of the battle Vader has stopped holding back and shown who is the better fighter. Then there is the reveal, Vader is Luke’s father and Luke is given the chance to Join him. Luke chooses a possible death instead falls toward the planet. Luke reaches out to Leia and Leia responds getting Chewie to go back for Luke.
Once they rescue Luke they end up meeting with the rest of the Rebellion. Luke gets a new hand and Lando is earning his way in to the fold by tracking down Jabba and the bounty hunter Boba Fett. Things look terrible for the group but there is still hope.