Rakesh's movie talk
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

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Directed by Irvin Kershner
Written by Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan (based on story by George Lucas)
Starring: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and the voice of James Earl Jones


Many fans and critics alike agreed that this is the best, by far, of all Star Wars film. You got to watch it to know why. Alright, you must be saying, "Why the heck am I reading this, then?"

The Empire Strikes Back (TESB) is not a remake of Star Wars, like most sequels. It takes off where Star Wars left. It begins with a quick succession of action scenes, untill Luke arrives at The Dagobah and Han, Leia, Chewbacca and C3PO settles down in some asteroid.

From here onwards, TESB takes a breather and examines the characters. We learn more about Luke, his new mentor, Yoda, and we also smile with content on the development of romance between Leia and Han. Plenty of humourous interplay that will remind you of those comedies of the thirties and forties, with usually Katherine Hepburn on the heroine side.

Most claim that this is the darkest in the entry and this will not be a spoiler if I mention Vader as Luke's father. It is one of the most famous revelation in the cinema world. You get many of such claims in Tamil films that this might not be a surprise for a regular Tamil film viewers. To me, it still is a surprise, basically to learn how everything seems to fit and fall into place. This makes going back to the movie an interesting experience. Okay, it is also an excuse for repeating viewing.

What makes this film the best of the lot? I guess the improvisation on Star Wars. Lucas had more budget for this film and at the same time. And the results: the scenes and more scenes that will long be remembered by us fans.

The Imperial Walker: The war involving this magnificent Camel/tank thingy is brilliantly conceived and shot. Many civilisation of weaponry and army technology is meshed beautifully in this scene. Of course, it helped with the merchandising (I'd always longed to get my hands on one of those toys), but it helps to give this movie a complete look of a different world. Great!

The encounter in the cave: Luke, under training from Yoda, goes into a cave and sees Vader. A short light saber duel ensues and he beheads Vader. The fallen head reveals Luke's own face. Shocking! Both to Luke and the audience.Okay, not all, but it did for me, who got immersed this far. It is brilliantly directed, very dreamy and a trifle scary.

The asteroid scene: I use this scene instead of those freakin' sheeps jumping over the fence. Its beautiful, imaginative. The Millenium Falcon proves its worthiness in this scene, running away from the bad guys and evading asteroids at the same time. Most of the time it doesn't work in putting me to sleep. Keep banging on those rocks.

The duel: The deul between Vader and Luke before and after Vader reveals that he is Luke's father. Luke's surprise, anguish and extreme sadness is something we could definitely relate to. It's too much for Luke and us to bear. 'Noooooooo!' cries Luke. We can only watch when he lets himself fall off the abyss-less chute rather than join the dark side. Yesssss...

The Cloud City: This is where Hans finds his friend Lando Carlisson. This is one heck of an imagination. I don't know whether it is Lucas or his art director. Of course, both. But Lucas takes the majority of the credit.

The training: When I first saw this scene, where Yoda mouths endless disarranged sentences about the force and Zen-like stuff, I felt bored. But as you get to know more about Anakin Skywalker, in the future and the past of Star Wars (come on we all know what will happen in Episode 3), this scene becomes very very intriguing. The above-mentioned encounter in the cave is inserted in between the training.

Honestly, there are too many wonderful scenes. Unlike Star Wars which was very busy, TESB took time to relax, in the midst of all the chaos and take a look at itself, and also sets itself up for the third movie. The ending is a real cliff-hanger. I don't think there had been an ending that actually make you look forward for the next movie.

Check out my other Star Wars comments:

Star Wars Episode IV : A New Hope (1977)
Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi (1983)
Star Wars Episode I: The Panthom Menace (1999)
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)