Action, Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi

Star Wars episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 1980


Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” was a colossal success, like cinema had never seen before. The movie was responsible for launching Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford into ultimate stardom, as their names would be known around the world, for the next 40 years. After the unexpected huge success of ‘A New Hope , George Lucas and the LucasFilm team knew that they had to go above and beyond for their second movie. The team hit the nail right on the head with their vision, as it is widely agreed that ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, is the most popular out of the original trilogy (which is saying a lot, considering the trilogy became the most popular movie franchise of all time). 

 Empire strikes back  

For audiences across the world, “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”, was going to be bigger and better than anything they had ever seen before. This was an incredibly exciting time for audiences; the 1980’s had just begun and the world of Science-Fiction was beginning to leap into hyperspace. George Lucas and LucasFilm were now an internationally known ‘Force’  to be reckoned with in the movie industry and the crowds of people lining up outside cinemas for The Empire Strikes Back’, were no longer just boys of all ages! 

Han, Old Buddy. Do You Read Me? 

Once again, the audience are blasted into a “galaxy far far away”, with the iconic opening sequence, as the lines disappear deeper into outer-space. The audience learns that “Luke Skywalker has established a new secret base on the remote ice world of Hoth”. However, all is not safe for Luke Skywalker, as the evil Darth Vader is searching tirelessly for him, reaching every part of the galaxy. As the Death Star was blown to pieces by the Rebellion at the end of ‘A New Hope’, the Empire is now terrorising the galaxy in the enormous Super Star Destroyer with their star-destroyer fleet. The planet of Hoth provides the audience with scenes of snow-deserts and thrilling new creatures. As Luke bravely battles a Wampa in the caves of Hoth, the audience sees that he has remained a skilled Jedi. The iconic TaunTaun helps Luke Skywalker trek across the snowstorm on the planet Hoth, however, it ends sadly for the fluffy creature, as he gets eaten by a Wampa. Han Solo slices open his own TaunTaun for warmth when finding Luke passed out in the snow, saving both of them from the snowstorm.

Han Old Buddy Do you read me

The AT-AT battle scene is definitely one of the most underrated parts of “The Empire Strikes Back”. The AT-AT’s (All Terrain Armoured Transport) were combat machines that appeared as though they were huge metal-animals. As the Empire discovered the location of Luke Skywalker and the rebellion, they charged a heavy-duty attack on their snowy base. The scene is filled with exciting high-tech special-effects that in 1980 would have blown you right out of your cinema seat. The large AT-AT Walkers storm the snowy terrain to attack the defending rebels, creating a scene of swerving, laser-blasting snowspeeders led by Luke Skywalker, as they battle the evil Empire. The rebels flee Hoth, as the Empire moves in on their base and the audience is once again met with treacherous Darth Vader!

Trust In The Force, You Must

The audience are once again thrown into a new exciting landscape as Luke Skywalker travels to Dagobah with R2D2, in search of a Jedi Master called Yoda. It is this little green creature with a walking-stick that brought the movie so much critical acclaim. As Yoda gives Luke Skywalker first-class training in the way of the Jedi, he shares with the audience his all-knowing wisdom with lines like “do or do not, there is no try” and size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?”, which are quotes that many motivational speakers have used in their own speeches. Yoda’s infinite wisdom and guidance ultimately transforms Luke Skywalker into a true Jedi Knight and leads him in the direction of his destiny. 

Trust In The Force You Must

I’d Rather Kiss A Wookie!

One of the major side-plots for “The Empire Strikes Back”, was the evolving romance between the “scruffy looking” Han Solo and Princess Leia. Although “A New Hope” saw a turbulent beginning for the two, there always seemed to be a sense of tension, but it was difficult to grasp whether this was sexual tension or merely just a genuine dislike for each other. George Lucas decided to expand the adventures of Han Solo and Princess Leia, by having the headstrong twosome gradually show their true feelings for eachother. Han Solo teases Princess Leia excessively throughout the movie, with lines like “you like me because I’m a scoundrel. There aren’t enough scoundrels in your life.” This clearly shows his strong affection for her, without letting down his ‘only caring about number-one’ bravado. Although this story was created in the 1970’s, the character of Princess Leia is incredibly progressive for it’s time. For this reason, although Leia Organa may be a Princess, she is not as graceful and diplomatic throughout ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, as she was in ‘A New Hope’. She puts Han Solo in his place by calling him a “stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking, Nerfherder!”, but Han Solo has a good point, she does like him because he’s a scoundrel! 

I’d Rather Kiss A Wookie!

As Chewie, C3PO, Princess Leia and Han Solo make their way to Cloud City to get help from Lando Calrissian (Han’s untrustworthy yet long-time friend), the audience watch as the bond between the two soon-to-be lovebirds builds aboard the Millennium Falcon. It is not until the scene where Han Solo is frozen in carbonite, at the hand of Darth Vader, that Princess Leia’s true feelings come forward. The audience watches in despair as Princess Leia shouts to Han Solo, “I love you!”, as he descends into the carbonite tanker. Even more notable is Han Solo’s iconic response of “I know”. It shows the audience that although Princess Leia declares her love for him, Han Solo is still not prepared to let his guard down in front of his enemies and still controls his ‘rogue’ lifestyle. 

There Is A Great Disturbance In The Force

The Star Wars franchise is known for its epic plot-twists! The audience was shown how creative George Lucas can be in 1977 when learning that good old Ben Kenobi, a rural loner living on Tatooine, was really the incredible Jedi Master; Obi-Wan Kenobi! With this in mind, it’s a good rule of thumb to know that not everyone is who they seem in the Star Wars Universe. This is more than evident in one of the most thrilling pieces of cinema that the world has ever seen; the epic scene between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’.  The audience watch in awe, as Luke Skywalker heroically battles the evil Darth Vader, as the war between good and evil seems to be evenly matched. 

There Is A Great Disturbance In The Force

The scene causes many questions; Luke Skywalker is merely a young Jedi Apprentice, surely he is no match for pure evil and seasoned Sith Lord, Darth Vader? There must be a reason that he is so powerful already? “Your destiny lies with me, young Skywalker” Darth Vader says as he tries to lure Luke to join the “Dark Side”, a hint at what’s to come for the audience; although nobody could have ever imagined what George Lucas really had in store. As though the explosive lightsaber battle was not thrilling enough, the audience were about to learn of the biggest plot-twist in cinema history. Luke Skywalker cries his hatred for Darth Vader, furiously spewing at the Sith Lord, “you killed my father”. As Darth Vader is about to end Luke Skywalker and the Jedi legacy forever, the iconic scene comes to light; “No, Luke…I am your father!”. The most quoted line from the entire Star Wars franchise, and possibly all of cinema, was born right in front of it’s 1980 audience. 

Naturally, Mark Hamill has spoken of this iconic piece of cinema history with interviewers throughout the years. During these interviews, he has recalled how the director on-set pulled him aside just moments before they shot the scene, to tell him what was really going to be said. As David Prowse was scripted to say “No LukeObi-Wan killed your father”, to keep the set crew or editors from finding out about the real line, it wasn’t until James Earl Jones came in to record the voice of Darth Vader, that the famous words were said aloud. It was at the first public screening of “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”, that the actors, crew and diehard fans, all saw the iconic scene for the very first time. Without question, this is one of the best movies of all time, and if you don’t believe me, then “search your feelings, you know it to be true!”. 


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I've always had a deep love and fascination for movies, being an especially strong advocate for the weird, foreign, underrated, under-budgeted and unfairly NC17 rated films of our world. Cinesister is the embodiment of this passion (which some might call an obsession).

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