Aliens sitting around a tavern, enjoying drinks and speaking in all sorts of languages. The conclusion, with a lightsaber duel between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, is truly one of the most suspenseful and dramatic scenes in the entire series. The strong characters from the first Han, C3P0 et al are all still good here. The training scenes are many and Yoda talks a great deal of rubbish. The battle scene where the rebels fight the Imperial Walkers on the ice planet is an incredibly well-made battle scene, not only in the way that it was put together so convincingly using models, but that the machines themselves are so creatively made. In the 1977 Star Wars, there is a clear reliance on simplicity in some parts. This sees some startling revelations I won't spoil it in case you've been living under a rock! The Empire Strikes Back remains an extremely powerful and well-made installment in the Star Wars series, not taking even a single step backwards in the sheer breathtaking adventure of the original film.
Yoda is a good addition despite sounding like Fozzie Bear! I have one question about the goofs, though. And the light sabres of the Jedi Knights. If you're one of those few, then believe me: your ignorance is precious enough to be worth guarding until you see the film. It also has eliminated some of the problems that plagued the first: the storyline is tighter, and goes much deeper into character development. Nothing else has been made to compare to them.
The Empire Strikes Back is the best film in the original Star Wars trilogy. In a film like The Empire Strikes Back, especially a few years on the heels of such a mind-bogglingly great film like the original Star Wars, there is something that comes immediately to mind that would at first seem to count against the film, but instead only winds up increasing the respect that it commands. You know, when I was in high school I played football. Is that meant to be Luke? Obviously, I can't discuss this without giving things away to those few who don't know what happens. It is fruitless trying to argue 'which is best' in a trilogy, because the first one, in this case 'Star Wars', starts it all and has to be the 'father'.
It was an appropriate reminder how good these movies are, and still ahead of their time. However what gets added to that is a much darker strand. The two work well together and come together well for a great finale. There is also the addition of a surprisingly fitting love story. Luke's human idealism is vindicated, but his supernatural powers, just this once, are not.
The scenes with Yoda add depth to the film and hint at the truth. George Lucas has also remembered to include a spellbinding battle sequence with the snowspeeder sequence near the beginning of the film. He carries Yoda around this boggy swamp and he gets to be a Jedi! I guess the question of actors would be a formidable one, though. What the hell was up with the Jedi training? Like the recent episode two this follows two strands the more pedestrian scenes with Luke and Yoda and the more action based scenes with Han and company. However the power of the dark side should not be underestimated and many dark truths are revealed as the threat of the Empire looms large.
In fact the ending of this film could not be more different from the end of Star Wars. Nothing before had approached the sheer size of the space ships depicted here, huge cities traveling all over the galaxy. First of all, anyone who has ever read my review of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie will know that I am not the biggest fan of cramming a love story into a movie where it doesn't belong. You'll notice he made precious few changes to episode V. When George Lucas gave his Star Wars trilogy a fresh coat of varnish in 1997 he felt he had to justify the expense by making needless changes. The names themselves would be interesting enough, and if you go back and read the stuff that introduces this film, it's obvious that there's an entire film there just waiting to be made. Meanwhile the other half is a lot more action orientated and has comedy and good new characters such as Bobba Fett.
The performances are terrific, especially by Harrison Ford as Han Solo, and Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian. The bit rate is high, and the picture is nothing short of superb. It is, however, a testament to the quality of a film when such tremendous oversights in editing do nothing to take away from the overall quality of the film. The addition of a dark strand to the film makes it all the better as it can be enjoyed as a story and not just a fun sci-fi film with good effects. Since Lucas was so keen on making changes wherever he could this is obviously a tribute to the tightness of the story and the direction. All the music, characters and things that make Star Wars Star Wars are here and it's simply one of the best of the series to date.
Even so, I would like to express my opinion that Yoda is more realistic and more interesting here as a puppet than in the newer films as a computer generated image. The film is really about the temporary triumph of human impulses over the mystical Force. Some of these guys weighed 100 pounds more than me, and I still almost never saw the field, and here's Luke Skywalker. Indeed, the Imperial Walkers are some of the most recognizable machines from the entire Star Wars saga, right up there with the Millennium Falcon and the Death Star. Our sympathy clearly lies with the entirely non-spiritual concerns of Han, Leia and the adolescent Luke. The very fact that we are so willing to read all this information and forgive our inability to actually see it is a testament to the quality of the series, even at this early stage in its presentation, and we know the story so well from the first film that we are glad to see such a large change in what's happening in the films, not for a second lamenting the fact that we have obviously missed so much action.