Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – Encore Review


empire“Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless.” – Yoda

Number of Times Seen – At least 30 times  (Cable, Video, DVD, 19 Jan 2014 and 17 Apr 2015)

Link to original reviewHere

Brief Synopsis – As the Empire continues to try and find the Rebel base, Luke, Han and Leia help set up a secret hideout on a frozen planet.

My Take on it – Empire is one of my favorite movies in the series (yes, I DO love them all) and I think it’s because we are given a story that acknowledges that it’s part of a grander story and that not everything needs to be tidied up by the end.

In true 1930’s cliffhanger fashion, Lucas leaves us with so many questions by the end, that we crave even more to see the continuation of the storyline.

Once again, the characters are memorable here and despite not introducing too many new main characters, we still get to meet Lando, Boba Fett and of course Yoda who have all become integral parts of the entire Star Wars universe.

Lucas also gives us new terrain besides a desert planet that we visited in the original; this time, we venture to an ice planet, a swamp planet and even a planet in the clouds which gives the entire Star Wars universe an even better feeling of planetary diversity.

ILM outdid themselves again here and give us unbelievable special effects that were completely unheard of back then.

The dialogue is still a bit cheesy, but the storyline compensates perfectly for it.

I’ve always been a huge fan of John Williams’ music in any film, but in this movie, he gives us one of his best soundtracks and I can honestly say that I have listened to it hundreds of times over and over and I never get bored of it.  The Imperial March, which is integrated into many of the song tracks stands out so boldly here.

The fact that this movie has a darker tone in its theme than the original only adds to the genius of Lucas and gives us a movie that works in just about every aspect because of it.

This is by far one of the best sequels every made and easily surpasses the original in every facet possible because it was able to build on the success of the original to create a more encompassing fantasy world for us to get immersed into.

I had the pleasure of watching this now with my two sons and I can see that they are starting to get into the storyline and I know that they can’t wait to see Jedi because all they keep asking me is what happens next.

I guess Lucas has perhaps gained another two fans!

Bottom Line – One of the best of the entire series because it acknowledges that it is just a small part of a larger storyline.  Great characters, exotic locations and amazing special effects help make this story succeed despite some really cheesy dialogue along the way.  Williams does his best work IMHO on the soundtrack and I can listen to the music from this movie over and over.  The movie is darker than the original and works even better for the viewer.  One of the best sequels ever made!! Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia –  The carbon freezing chamber is the only time in the original trilogy that Darth Vader and C3PO can be seen on screen together. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (no change from original review)

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7 thoughts on “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – Encore Review

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