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Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

The 1980 Irvin Kershner-directed sequel to the original Star Wars film.

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"Your ruining my movie!"

  • Sep 26, 2009
We need to have more movies out now "ruined."

How ironic is it that the best of all Star Wars movies is the one that elicited a tantrum from George Lucas and how he thought the movie was awful with the way others in charge put it together and turned it into one of the finest pieces of sci fi ever?

What else is ironic is that ESB was initially panned when released and is now looked back on as a masterpiece.  People I've talked to continually point this out to me when my disdain for Attack of the Clones, the middle movie of the prequel triilogy comes up in conversation.  If Attack of the Clones gets the same kind of love that Empire does one day is when I hang up my belt as a Star Wars fan.  Watch Luke and Yoda actually have conversations about the Force during Lukes training and compare and contrast Obi Wan handling Anakin in ATOC and tell me theres the same kind of resonance in the lines or the feelings being conveyed.

A darker movie over the original Star Wars that keeps the familiar trappings and brings some new ones along that fit in nicely.  The pulp novel comic book feel is diminished a bit with more drama added in since most of the layout was established and Empire doesn't have that much new elements but greatly expands upon the stories set up, such as Lukes quest to be a Jedi, Han and Leia's relationship together and the plight of the Rebellion.  Darth Vader's role is opened up considerablly and it snow balls to the end his place in Star Wars history with an earth shattering line that will never be forgotten.

Empire is the one movie that suffered the least in terms of it's Special Edition, but it's more proof that again, whats added isn't all that special.  The wampa snow monsters gets shown chowing down and slobbering on a big piece of carcass.  It's a cool suit and it looks nice but honestly it was far scarier as a little seen creature.  Bespin's Cloud City is the nicest of the additions with more open city shots and windows to show it's size and scope which is good but the stinker is a scene badly dubbed in of Vader asking for his shuttle and shoing it docking in what is obviously reused footage from Return of the Jedi.  Look close enough and I think you can see the commander from Return of the Jedi in the background too.  Yeah, this could have been left out.  Like I said, it suffers the least of the original three movies, but the original is still superior.

Empire really has stood the test of time and along with the first Star Wars remains the best of the series.  Lucas would say later after Phantom Menace that he finally got to make the movie "he" wanted to make since from the begining, Star Wars was plagued with studio heads sticking their nose in and having many rewrites and outside influences but the result is a classic and loved trilogy and are timeless, and the prequels, while entertaining are pretty hollow at times.  Lucas if he still plans on making a 7, 8 and 9 better let them get ruined is all I have to say.  Bill Hicks made a remark in his act once about the more drugs Keith Richards did the better the songs got.  The more outside influence Lucas has, the better his movies can be.
Luke is trapped by the evil Lord Vader The Rebellion's new hideout, frozen planet Hoth Bounty Hunters are called in to search for Solo Luke's training with Yoda C-3PO and R2-D2 look for Luke Han tries to outrun the Empire

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August 24, 2010
I heard about Lucas & Campbell's monomyth perhaps simultaneously. In teaching intro to lit to college students, it's the natural example I use. I find as I get older (I saw SW at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood at 16 when it debuted quietly, and perhaps it was one of the few places it opened?) that fewer of my students have seen the film, and its impact oddly seems to be diminishing. I always figured "everyone" knew it, but as with the Bard and the Bible, it appears that we have not as many cultural touchstones which "everyone's" seen. That makes the monomyth's impact all the more diffuse, perhaps, as I suppose it gets deflected into other media such as reality TV contests and the narrative arc of video games?
August 24, 2010
John loved the review, check mine out at http://www.lunch.com/Reviews/movie/Star_Wars....html?cid=13#rid:131635?gat=review I wonder if you knew this angle on the story?
August 24, 2010
MN, I realize I replied above to this comment, more on SW than Empire. I saw that one by contrast amid a squall of kids and babies at a shoebox multiplex and never appreciated it as much as it deserved until the re-releases in the late-90s of the originals when I saw them at a proper old-time big-screen barn. I liked Empire's intensity and grittier, gloomier feel, By "Return" the cutesiness of some of the "franchise" tie-ins seemed to erode the excitement of the trilogy.
September 26, 2009
I'm one who believes that The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie out there.  Attack of the Clones (which will eventually be renamed, "The movie about that whining kid") can never hold a candle up (I also happen to believe Attack of the Clones was the worst of the saga).  I'm still in awe that Lucas didn't like it.  Is that why he got a different crew for Return of the Jedi?
September 26, 2009
Could be. Then the movie (ROTJ) really did have a problem with it, not that it was bad but Return is the weakest of the original three movies. Attack is awful in my opinion and was the first thing I wrote about here on Lunch. I think I've sat through it maybe 3 times and all the others I skipped to the couple of good parts.
More Star Wars: Episode V - The Emp... reviews
review by . May 02, 2011
This is the best of the bunch people, admit it. I love it, personally, when a great movie is followed up by an equivalent or better sequel, and Empire Strikes Back is definitely better than A New Hope, which was still a masterpiece of science fiction all the same. Empire Strikes back still has the entertaining chase scenes (unlike the consensus says), but its also a tad bit darker than the first one with the same visuals and the same sense of wonder and excitement, of course with that legendary …
review by . August 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Learn about the inspiration for George Lucas'
I was a freshman in college when I took my new girlfriend, (now married for over 30 yrs.) to see George Lucas’ 1977 film “Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.”  This movie literally blew our minds!!!  Audiences were not used to the great special effects this film introduced to the world!  Even more compelling for me was the story.  The movie had a visceral magnetism that took hold of me.  It was only years later when I found out why that was, and the answer …
review by . July 06, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
After the unprecedented success of Star Wars, it only made sense for there to be a sequel.  George Lucas himself had stated there would be three films.  The second film in the trilogy: "The Empire Strikes Back," is often considered the best Star Wars film.  It is also one of the darkest and most character driven of the entire saga.  George Lucas, however, opted not to direct.  Rather he hired a director named Irvin Kershner to direct the Star Wars sequel. …
Quick Tip by . September 25, 2010
posted in Awesomeness
The most awesome thing with "Star Wars" on the label. Time has proven it to be a classic.
Quick Tip by . August 08, 2010
Nice foreshadowing, good twists, immersive world. This is what Star Wars is meant to be---not the prequels and new Lucas-schlock.
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
Darth Vader is out to capture Luke Skywalker and corrupt him and drive him to the dark side. Takes what the first movie had and made it run deeper and turns up the drama. A great sequel. Also has the benefit of being the one of the original series to not suck completely by it's special edition.
review by . January 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
What I love about The Empire Strikes Back is that it's such an original sequel to A New Hope. Also, unlike the other episodes of the original trilogy, all of the revisions/alterations to Empire I think make it better. The ships look much better and more realistic (no more grey boxes around TIE Fighters). Cloud City on Bespin evokes more beauty. This is as close as we'll ever get to seeing a restored version of the original movie.
review by . January 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
What I love about The Empire Strikes Back is that it's such an original sequel to A New Hope. Also, unlike the other episodes of the original trilogy, all of the revisions/alterations to Empire I think make it better. The ships look much better and more realistic (no more grey boxes around TIE Fighters). Cloud City on Bespin evokes more beauty. This is as close as we'll ever get to seeing a restored version of the original movie.
Quick Tip by . January 07, 2010
Finest Star Wars outing expands more on it's characters and has plenty of eye candy and drama for fantastic sci fi entertainment.
Quick Tip by . December 04, 2009
Not only the greatest "Star Wars" film ever, but also one of the most triumphant sequels ever. Intelligent sci-fi with a heart and soul. : )
About the reviewer
John Nelson ()
Ranked #8
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. The screenplay, based on a story by George Lucas, was written by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan. It was the second film released in the Star Wars saga, being followed by Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, and the fifth in terms of internal chronology.

The film is set three years after the destruction of the Death Star. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa, and the rest of the Rebel Alliance are being pursued by Darth Vader and the elite forces of the Galactic Empire. While Han and Leia are chased across the galaxy by the Empire, Luke studies the Force under Jedi Master Yoda. Vader is secretly plotting a trap for Luke that will lead to a fierce confrontation and a shocking revelation.

Following a difficult production, The Empire Strikes Back was released on May 21, 1980, and received mixed reviews from critics, although it has since grown in esteem to become one of the most well-regarded chapters of the saga and one of the most highly rated films in history.[3][4][5] It earned more than US$538 million worldwide over the original run and several re-releases, making it the highest grossing film of 1980. When adjusted for inflation, it is the 12th highest grossing film of all time in the United States.

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