OK, so I know I usually get these up on Friday. Now I’m 2 days late, and 2 dollars short, but I’m here to give you another review as part of our lead up the The Force Awakens! If you haven’t, check out my review of A New Hope, or our other reviews here at SpoiledBlueMilk, including my review of the prequels.
Although I’m not a prequel hater, I am very much an OT lover. There was a long time in my life when Star Wars was just the trilogy. No OT, no PT, just “the trilogy”. The Star Wars Trilogy. And Empire has always stood at the top. It’s the darkest of the OT, and widely viewed as the best Star Wars movie around. In fact, there are some that rate it as the best movie ever.
The High Points
The Imperial March. Empire is the first movie that had the famous Imperial March, and the first scene when that music is played is absolutely epic. The Star Destroyers flying around Vader’s Super Star Destroyer, and then you go straight to the “lead in the Hoth System” when the Captain Piett vs Admiral Ozzel confrontation begins. When Vader says with such certainty “That’s it. The Rebels are there” is one of my favorite moments. Vader kicks so much ass in this film! And it’s the little things, like the look that Ozzel gives Piett and this little spat between them is one of the many little things that makes this movie so great to rewatch. You can easily forget about those characters, but each to time you watch it it’s so good.
Luke pulling the saber out of the ice. This is such a good scene because in the release order, this is the first time Luke ever uses the Force to move something. When we first saw this movie back in 1980, it was like “whoa the Force can do that?” It’s easy to take this for granted. Vader had a Force choke, but nothing else really involved such controlled telekinesis. Obi Wan made those Stormtroopers hear something, but it isn’t clear how he did it and if it wasn’t some sort of a mind trick. This moment with the sword in the ice is sort of supposed to be an homage to King Arthur pulling Excalibur out of the stone according to some theories. Who knows what it means, but it’s definitely cool.
The Bounty Hunters scene. I know this is a common one, but you gotta love this motley crew of bounty hunters. Still pretty cool after all these years. Even cooler with the knowledge of the significance of these guys for the story later on.
Luke upside-down and Yoda. This scene with Luke upside down levitating rocks is the first scene when there is a really controlled use of the Force and to me is one of the most significant uses of the Force. That is, until Yoda…
One of my most favorite of all time scenes in any Star Wars production ever is the scene were Yoda lifts Luke’s X-wing out of the swamp. The whole thing. From the beginning when Luke tries to lift it out the the end where this exchange happens:
Luke: I don’t believe it.
Yoda: That is why you fail.
So amazing even on the kaggillionth viewing. I think this is so true of real life. If you want something to happen and to accomplish some difficult task; if you don’t go in believing you can do it, it won’t happen. This moment, when the Yoda’s theme and the movie for that matter hit a crescendo, when Yoda lifts the X-wing out of the swamp is kind of the one-two punch with the introduction of the Imperial March. This is when you know there is no ordinary movie.
The thing about Empire, is it was still that point in the OT when everything looked “real”. What made Star Wars, A New Hope and subsequently Empire so great was that they were all so real looking compared to anything that happened before. That is, until the not-so-real CGI Jabba was put in ANH. The thing that makes Empire so great is it doesn’t try and do anything with the special effects that is overly ambitious. It does all the special effects for the most part with technology established in ANH. The thing that made it great is it was about telling a good story using established technology. It feels like it is pushing cinema and content rather than special effects. The effects are great, don’t get my wrong, but it doesn’t try and pull some special effects feat that doesn’t work.
Of course the “I am your father” and the “I love you. I know” moments. Also, “I’m altering the deal”. I won’t bother saying anything else on these. Hard to say anything that hasn’t been said many times before about these scenes.
The Low Points
Are there any low points? There is no scene in this movie that I have issues with. None that I can think of or that come up in the movie. Some complain about Leia kissing Luke being gross, but to me it was an innocent mistake. Neither of them knew, and it was just a kiss.
No annoying characters. No sub-par special effects. No bad scenes. This movie has it all.
It’s really hard to criticize this film. I’m pretty sure this is my favorite of all of them!
Excellent! 5 out of 5 stars.