The Empire Strikes Back

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Due to the unforeseen success of 1977’s epic space adventure ‘Star Wars’, creator George Lucas was able to continue work on what he originally set out to achieve; a ‘Star Wars’ trilogy. Having drafted a 200 page story back in 1974 Lucas had to accept that it would be impossible to make his complete vision into one movie so he split it into three acts. ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ was act 2 and would prove, like most 2nd acts, to be the most intense part of the story as it explores Lucas’ characters with more detail and emotion.

‘Empire’ follows on from its predecessor with the Rebel Alliance hidden from the empire on the remote ice-planet of Hoth. The dark lord of the Sith, Darth Vader, is intent on finding the rebels for two reasons; the official reason is for revenge for the destruction of the Empire’s apparently unstoppable weapon the Death Star, unknown to most is Vader’s ulterior motive, to find Luke Skywalker.

Skywalker, since his heroics during the battle of Yavin, has become an established pilot and Commander of the rebel fleet. Han Solo, again because of his efforts at Yavin, has been appointed Captain. The now popular droids, R2-D2 and C3-PO, along with Chewbacca are also important members of the alliance and are all based at the Hoth hideaway, which is under the supervision of Princess Leia.

The rebel base is eventually discovered by a probe droid despatched by the empire. A large full-scale battle pursues as the rebels are forced to flee by the overwhelming Imperial troops.

After being instructed by Obi-Wan Kenobi to travel to the Dagobah System and begin Jedi training with the great master himself, Yoda, Skywalker begins to sense danger for his friends. Against Yoda’s wishes Skywalker succumbs to his visions of torture, torment and personal anguish, as he leaves his training prematurely to aid his colleagues in their hour of need.

George Lucas decided to step down from the director’s chair for this darker more moody sequel after a rough ride making ‘Star Wars’. This was so he could concentrate all his efforts on both the creative and productive side of ‘Empire’ as well as his company and the funds needed to complete filming. He instead hired Irvin Kershner, friend and former lecturer at Lucas’ film-school USC, to take on the responsibilities of director. With Kershner’s background in character driven films this would prove to be another coupe for Lucas.

Lucas’ overall supervision is evident however as the relentless pace of ‘Empire’ oozes his style and complements his vision impeccably. For that Kershner should be recognised as he successfully captures the emotions of the characters, which is required for this stage of the saga.

To be honest you can’t tell the difference in the action sequences between the direction of ‘Empire’ to that of ‘Star Wars’, which poses the question; Did Lucas actually manage to cut himself off from the films direction altogether, which he originally intended on doing? One would argue that the insistence and controllable nature of Lucas overpowers every aspect of creation on these epic movies, from producing to directing to special effects. Even legendary film-score composer John Williams has to have his work scrutinised and approved by Lucas’ uncontrollable desire for perfection.

Its all for good reason though as Lucas’ creative input and extraordinary vision helped push ‘Empire’ into the same bracket as ‘Star Wars’ tarnishing it with equal excellence and imaginative brilliance, only this time with a sullen twist to finish on.

“The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi” – Emperor Palpatine

Stuart Evans

A system of cells interlinked
Another good review/synopsis...Perhaps you should consolidate all these into one thread, as seems to be the norm around here... Keep them all together ya know?

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Will do, thanks for your comments. Love the gif btw.

Thanks for another great reveiw, I just ordered the Star Wars Boxed set.
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thanks for your comments guys. I caught the 2 hour docu which appears on the DVD box set on the biography channel the other night 'Empire of Dreams' very cool docu, probably one of the most indepth star wars docus I've seen.

I got the DVDs the day they were released and I've watched all the movies with the commentaries, and the Empire of Dreams. AMAZING! But anyway, that was an excellent review!
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