Saturday 10 October 2009

59: Twelve Movies - The Empire Strikes Back

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

12 Days: 12 Movies – Special Edition
Day Three: The Empire Strikes Back
(1980, 122mins, Dir. Irvin Kershner)

And so we come to what many consider to be the best installment of the Star Wars saga. Darker, more intense and the quintessential cliffhanger ending. tESB follows the ‘sequel is better than the original’ formula, in fleshing out the main characters in ways that just weren’t viable in A New Hope due to time restraints.

For many years I didn’t see the appeal of this one, as it’s reliant on A New Hope and Return of the Jedi for plot coherence. Everything’s a lot tighter this time around, but the viewer certainly needs to have seen ANH (to be fair, not unusual with a sequel), and the cliffhanger ending almost seems forced to me, like the movie ran out of time. In recent years, I have come to realise the greatness of the film, but I still can’t place it above A New Hope.

Puppet-Yoda is fantastic, as is Harrison Ford’s hair. Darth Vader speaks like a pirate for the entire film, and apparently snogging your sister doesn’t cause a disturbance in the Force...

The Good: Character development. In particular, when Han Solo hears that Luke still hasn’t been found in the Hoth wilderness, there’s no question in his mind that he has to brave the elements himself and look for him. Also, the ambiguous traits of Lando and Lobot; a beautifully grey area for such a ‘goody/baddy’ film.

The Bad: The “dead” Captain Needa giving his post mortem escort a helping hand in dragging his body off the deck. By basically standing up. Also, the Stormtrooper’s helmet being hauled off by Han Solo, and him not straightening it as he leaves the room.

The Ugly: Never mind “where did the handcuffs go?”, Han Solo’s shirt seems to change style completely during the freezing process. Beforehand it was a fold-across collar, but thirty seconds later it’s a straight-up-the-middle shirt. Sort it out.

Best Line: “That... is why you fail”,

My biased rating: 8/10
As much as I love it, I still think it has weak starting and ending points, and it loses a point for Solo’s shirt.

Tomorrow: Return of the Jedi

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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