Monday, July 24, 2017

Sci Fi Top 100, #10: "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980)

Movie Stats:
Released 1980 (USA)
American, in English (non-translated made-up alien & droid languages)
Director - Irvin Kershner
Stars - Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and many others

Plot Summary:
In the second installment of the original Star Wars trilogy, Luke Skywalker (Hamill) continues his training as a Jedi knight while his friends, including Princess Leia (Fisher) & Han Solo (Ford), flee from both bounty hunters & the evil Darth Vader (played by David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones).

Warnings:
Violence; gore.

Bad Stuff:
I continue to feel that the Star Wars films are bad at showing the passage of time. Han & Leia’s story line, for example, seems to happen over the course of one or two days. Luke’s concurrent storyline with Yoda (Frank Oz) seems to happen over the course of weeks or perhaps even months. Which is it? We’ll never know for sure.

As usual, I wish that C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) would shut the hell up already. I find his character so annoying.

I don’t condone non-consensual kissing, even if the kiss-ee appears to be pleased after the fact. [SPOILER] Also, it really sticks in my craw that writer/executive producer George Lucas claims that he intended Luke & Leia to be siblings all along. Either that’s a lie or he wanted his characters to unknowingly flirt with incest, which is eww. [SPOILER]

Good Stuff:
The cinematography and set design are amazing. This is a very pretty film.

Of the original series, this one does the best job of showcasing the characters’ relationships & establishing that they deeply care for one another. My favorite instances of this are when Han risks his life for Luke & the famous “I love you/I know” scene.

I love the score.

The Verdict:
This film is my favorite of the original series. I guess that makes it my overall favorite thus far, as I didn’t like any of the prequels & I’m lukewarm on the more recent movies. It has the best story, the best character development & the best cinematography. It also has the best reveals & practically all the best quotes. I don’t typically care for the portion of stories where the bad guys seem like they’re going to win. It makes me uncomfortable. But there’s something about “Empire” that’s incredibly compelling (I feel the same way about “The Two Towers,” the second of the LOTR trilogy, my favorite of that series). Here, I don’t feel the same tension. Instead, I find it exciting. I do think the portion of the film with Luke & Yoda is boring. However, I would still recommend the original series to anyone & suggest they watch them in order.

I give it 4 stars.

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