Director: Irvin Kershner
Writer: Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas
A new Jedi knight has emerged and the Death Star has been destroyed, but the Rebels’ quest is far from over. The Empire still stands strong and they’ve discovered the Rebels’ latest secret base on the remote ice world of Hoth. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and the freedom fighters will have to survive the attack of the Imperial walkers (impressive but not very practical big ass mammoth-like units) and evacuate the planet before more Empire troops arrive. They’re supposed to meet at a rendezvous point, but Luke has his own agenda. He takes off with his easily scared trashcan R2D2 to a swampy planet to meet with Yoda, a very old, very small green mutant who’s the last great Jedi master. He’d like to train Skywalker, but the young pilot is not very patient and disciplined, so it won’t be easy. Meanwhile, Luke’s friends have problems of their own aboard the Millennium Falcon, which has to cope with technical difficulties and constant attacks from Darth Vader’s troops. Macho and arrogant Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and strong-minded Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) still find time to fall in love with each other on their way to the City in the clouds. They’re supposed to be safe there with Han’s old card buddy Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), but that would be forgetting tireless bounty hunter Boba Fett. Skywalker would love to save his pals, but first he’ll have to confront Darth Vader and his revelations…
While all three original “Star Wars” films are classics, “The Empire Strikes Back” is the one often called the best. It’s the most dramatic episode of the trilogy, and being the middle one, it doesn’t have to introduce everything through exposition like the first film nor resolve loose ends and conclude the story like the third one. You’re left with all that was good in the original film and none of the less interesting stuff. Visually, the film is amazing. Director Irvin Kershner pumped up the special effects and took George Lucas’ vision even further. The movie takes us from the endless icy landscapes of Hoth to the breath-taking city floating in the skies, with a stop in very textured swamps.
The characters we love are as enjoyable as ever. Luke is getting braver, Han Solo and Leia have great chemistry together (it’s fun how they’re in love and hate each other at the same time) and the droids are pretty funny, especially C3P0 when he’s blown to pieces. I’ve always loved Darth Vader, and his climactic showdown with Luke is riveting. The new additions are also interesting. Yoda is a wonderful creation from Muppet puppeteer Frank Oz; he’s as expressive (if not more) as the human leads. The hardly trustable Lando is cool too, and it’s nice to see a Black cat in this galaxy. And what about Boba Fett, who’s little seen but leaves a great impression. “The Empire Strikes Back” is not only as mind-blowing as the first film, it’s also more assured, smarter and much bleaker. It’s the best film of the series, and one of the greatest sci-fi flicks ever made.