film review

Review | Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back – 1980

The second film in the Star Wars Saga is episode five: The Empire Strikes Back. The fans back then had to wait three long years for the sequel to hit cinemas, but I don’t think they were disappointed with what George Lucas and his crew brought to the fandom. The film is again a masterpiece with the familiar characters and score, and some new locations. Episode four, A New Hope, ends with Luke and the other rebels destroying the Death Star. For Darth Vader, who was at that moment in his spinning space shuttle, there was not much he could do.

In the three years that have passed the rebels have found a new planet – Hoth – for their base, Luke learned things about the Force, Jabba the Hutt has put a price on Han’s head, and something has happened between Han and Leia. In the mean time Darth Vader and his followers are searching the galaxy for any sign of the rebels, and in particularly Luke Skywalker – since the Force is strong with him. When Darth Vader finally finds them at Hoth, most of the rebels escape. While Han, Leia, Chewie and C3PO escape in the Millenium Falcon, Luke and R2D2 go another way. Luke Skywalker takes advanced Jedi training with Master Yoda, but when he learns about his friends faith he starts a rescue mission. Not knowing they are pursued by Darth Vader as part of his plan to capture the Jedi in training.

the empire strikes back luke yoda the empire strikes back

All the stars from the first film are back in The Empire Strikes Back. Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker follows his own plan and goes to the Dagobah System where he hopes to find Yoda, the Jedi master. Frank Oz is the voice of this funny little green man, who talks about the Force as it’s some kind of meditation. You think it’s coincidence the name Yoda sounds like yoga? Yoda is such an adorable creature with his wise words: “Do or don’t. there’s no try.” Luke eventually learns more about his connection with Darth Vader and he is warned by Yoda and Obi-Wan for the Dark Side of the Force. Because Luke has a lot of anger inside him and we all know where that might lead to.. Because Luke has his own mission, he misses all the fun with Han and Leia. But the storyline of Han and Leia doesn’t need Luke’s appearance to make it funny and interesting. Luke isn’t a funny character anyways, since he’s a bit boring and according to Yoda too impatient and restless to become a great Jedi warrior. If you aske me, he doesn’t even have a true Jedi appearance.

Harrison Ford is back as Han Solo, who is the most hilarious person along with his buddy Chewie (Peter Mayhew). We might not hear Chewie actually talk, but most of the time we know what he means and the reactions he gets from Han makes it even more clear. Chewie can be very sweet as well. Think of the scenes between him and a broken C3PO and when Luke says his goodbyes. Together with Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and C3PO (Anthony Daniels) these five are on the run for the Empire and Darth Vader, but their spaceship – the Millenium Falcon – is not the best ship at the moment. From an asteroid belt to a very interesting and weird cave, they set course to Cloud City where Han’s old friend Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) is in charge. At first Lando looks the typical ladies man: smooth, charismatic and very affectionate towards Leia. He is actually Han Solo 2.0 and the first owner of the Millenium Falcon. Unfortunately, Landon made a deal with the devil which isn’t any good for Han, who ends up in carbonite.

the empire strikes back millenium falcon the empire strikes back 1

Darth Vader makes his entrance in Cloud City and hands Han Solo over to Boba Fett, the bounty hunter who works for Jabba the Hutt. His plan to use Han and the other as bait to catch Luke Skywalker’s attention worked and an epic fight between the two starts. Luke is stronger than before, but learns a terrible secret. With Luke’s return the droid duo is reunited as well. It’s very funny to see R2D2 and C3PO back together again, they are way more fun as a duo. In the meantime Lando wants to make things right and helps Leia, Chewie and the droids escape in the Millenium Falcon. An interesting moment is when Leia ‘hears’ Luke’s call for help. Because why can she hear him and know where he is? Questions to be answered in the next chapter.

The setting looks again very impressive. The snowy planet Hoth, Cloud City and the scenes in space. But just like the first film, the special effects fall short. The enormous robots in Hoth look good but their lasershots are less impressive. The presence of Yeti the snowman is a fun addition to the story. The scenes in space and in the cage of the fascinating asteroid are again very well made. Cloud City is a very interesting city as well, I never understood why they would live in the clouds and not just on land? It gives the city a more exciting vibe though. Of course John Williams’ score is used again, and like I mentioned in my review on episode IV. A Star Wars film without Williams’ famous soundtrack is no true Star Wars film.

Now there’s only one film to go before I go to the cinema. You can read my review on Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi in a few days!


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