Anthony's Film Review
Star Wars - Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
A worthy sequel to a classic with real conflicts in development...
Whenever a film is successful, there is generally a demand for a sequel to continue bringing the same characters to the screen while putting them in new situations. A good sequel is one that not only puts the same characters on screen once again but also involves a plot that is as ingenious, imaginative, and original as the first film. The Empire Strikes Back, the second Star Wars film released but the fifth chronological episode in the six-part Star Wars saga, is just that. It continues the adventures of Luke Skywalker and company in a darker story that focuses more on who the characters really are.
The film begins on the ice planet Hoth where the Rebels find refuge in a hidden base. Darth Vader and the Empire continue their efforts to hunt them down, and when one of their probe droids finds the Rebels, they formulate their attack plan. The resulting attack on the Rebel base with giant four-legged AT-AT Walkers is as exciting as the climactic battle in the first Star Wars. There is also some suspense as the Imperials are close to catching Luke, Leia, and Han. As the title of the film implies, the good guys may not win this time around.
We are also introduced to another memorable character of the Star Wars films. With Obi-Wan Kenobi's death in the previous film, Luke continues his Jedi training with Jedi Master Yoda. The character's short size belies the wisdom acquired from years as a Jedi. It is Yoda who has some of the best lines of the film. For example, Luke says, "I don't believe it," after seeing Yoda lift his crashed X-Wing spacecraft out of the swamp, to which Yoda replies, "That's why you fail." Yoda is also someone who believes strongly in patience as the vital part of a Jedi's path. After all, when Luke meets him, Yoda does not introduce himself right away and instead lets Luke figure it out later.
While Yoda represents the Light Side of the Force, Darth Vader is one with the Dark Side. His agenda involves finding Luke Skywalker in an attempt to lure him to the Dark Side and train him as an ally. Vader's character is more developed here. He was simply an adversary in A New Hope, but in The Empire Strikes Back, he is a menace whom one should not get near. For Luke Skywalker who is destined to face him, it is a real test of good versus evil.
The movie is not a repeat of its predecessor, but everything in the film is still top notch. The special effects are just as spectacular, from the asteroid field chase to the scenery of Cloud City. The cast is absolutely wonderful in each of their roles, including Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian. Topping it all is the musical score by John Williams that is just as sweeping and moving as the score for A New Hope. The film is an example of one that does not end on a very happy note but is still bittersweet and hopeful as a second Star Wars sequel would further continue the story. Overall, the Empire Strikes Back is another George Lucas masterpiece and another triumph in cinematic history.
For more information about Star Wars - Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of the following:
Main Star Wars Films
Other Star Wars Films