Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Empire Strikes Back


Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back; science-fiction, USA, 1980; D: Irvin Kershner, S: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, James Earl Jones (voice), Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Billy Dee Williams, Alec Guinness

The evil Galactic Empire has discovered the secret base of the rebels on the ice planet Hoth, where there are also Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Leia. When the invasion starts, they have to separate: Luke goes to train on a different planet at the old Jedi master Yoda, while Han and the others flee in the Millennium Falcon and hide in an asteroid belt from Darth Vader. But he still captures them in the city on the clouds in order to get Luke into a trap. Lando releases them, but Luke gets into a direct confrontation with Vader, who reveals him he is his father.

The original "Star Wars" trilogy revolutionized special effects and became extremely influential - almost every second scene seems to be iconic in pop culture - but it is still a little bit overrated. There is something in the opening "athwart" scrawl titles in space that describe the story set "a long time ago, in a Galaxy far away", suggesting how its past may be our future, implying how the forces of democracy and dictatorship may fight even in space, yet the stiff execution somehow watered-down the magic: only Han Solo is a truly fleshed out character, the two robots are cute, but Luke, Lea and Chewbacca lack spark, charm and versatillity, ending up one-dimensional too often. Still, one film in that series, "The Empire Strikes Back", deserves praise which also confirms the site Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics gave it a very high average grade of 8.6/10. "The Empire" is a very dark sequel in which the characters are not idealised and offers exciting events. The 40 minute long opening sequence on the ice planet Hoth intrigues with ease - especially fascinating are giant robot-tanks on four legs that slowly approach and attack the generator of the rebels - as well as the one where the spectacular chase of Millennium Falcon flying through the asteroid field, whereas the segment in which Luke is trained by the absurd alien Yoda is very monotone on the other hand. The highlight is obviously the duel between Luke and Darth Vader, which culminates in the famous family "plot twist". That's why it is a pity that there are still typical flaws, like the irritating humor of android R2D2, and too much action oriented scenes, even though they were executed wonderfully.

Grade:+++

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