So once again we have survived.

Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back (No Baggage Review)

tn_empirenobaggageSTAR WARS PART 5… okay, admittedly you’re stretching it by the time you get to a part 5 that doesn’t have a “FAST” in the title. Even a prestigious series like DEATH WISH is gonna be a little goofy in part 5, it’s gonna have a part with a remote controlled exploding soccer ball. FRIDAY THE 13TH had to be “A New Beginning” because they claimed they were gonna stop at 4. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET had to get a baby involved, but STAR WARS sorta already did that in part 4. It had Luke “A New Hope” Skywalker using The Force and the lessons of Ben O.W. Kenobi to blow up the Death Star and defeat Darth Vader and the Empire, a great ending.

But oh, great, now the fucking Empire strikes back. How convenient.

mp_starwars5When you watch it it seems to make sense, though. You notice that the end of part 4 was not conclusive, they did strategically leave a loose thread in the form of Emperor D. Sidious Palpatine, the humble Senator from Naboo who used dark Sith arts and phantom menacery to plunge the entire universe into war and cease control of the Republic and turn it into an Empire. That rat soup eating motherfucker wasn’t even mentioned in part 4, but here he shows up as a hologram warning Mr. Vader that this Luke kid who blew up the Death Star (he got famous enough that they know his name now) is “the son of Skywalker.”

I gotta say, I’m disappointed in Vader for not looking into that possibility as soon as he heard the name. If Skywalker is supposed to be a common name like Smith or Tyraunus they sure didn’t establish that in the previous movies.

When the story begins Luke and the “freedom fighter” Rebels have ditched their old secret base for a new one on the snowy planet of Hoth. Vader’s sending spy drones (zombie droids?) out to all the planets and just found their location. To make matters worse Luke and Han and their pet kangaroos have been locked out of the base during a cold front and attacked by one of these Yeti type monsters they have on Hoth – I’ll call them Snow People.

But they escape and within the first 30 minutes of the movie there’s already a huge battle scene as the Empire attacks the base. This is ingenious because instead of fighting in space yet again it’s down near the ground, low-flying space ships shooting at these huge “Imperial Walkers” that are like four legged robots. Actually this is kind of a sequel to the fight on dusty Geonosis in part 2. Some of the clones had smaller vehicles that walked on legs. Those have apparently evolved into this model – the Empire believing “bigger is better” and being too dumb to notice their obvious weakness (Luke defeats one of them basically by tying its shoe laces together).

This definitely has a MATRIX RELOADED or THE HOBBIT MEETS SMAUG type of vibe where it’s comfortable with its role as a middle part and not trying to wrap everything up. Therefore it has no qualms about keeping Luke separate from his gang for almost the entire movie. Kenobi has increased his ghost powers (he has a high spookychlorian count) so now he’s not just a voice, he can even appear in a transparent form in front of Luke. I think that’s a good idea because what if Luke was just thinking about something Ben might say and then thought it was an actual message (or ForceMail)? When there are apparitions involved its more checks and balances. Anyway the old spectre sends him to “the Dagobah System” to be instructed by Yoda. So last time R2 led him to one old Jedi in exile, now the other one.

This is a low key part of the story, and one of the best stretches in the series so far. Yoda looks a little older, with vastly improved special effects, and when we first see him he’s acting like a total goofball! Luke doesn’t know this is the guy he’s looking for and treats him kind of condescendingly, like a mild annoyance he’s willing to put up with for now. R2 looks at him like “Oh shit, this motherfucker’s gone loopy from living alone in the swamp.” But it’s a test.

This is what has become of the old master: stripped of the Jedi Council, the Jedi Temple, the Jedi Library, the Grand Army of the Republic and the Segway® brand floating platform; bereft of human-like contact (not counting ghosts), lacking a leadership position (unless he bosses around those snakes and lizards that are crawling around), living in a small hut… I believe he has been reduced to his essence, and made more powerful than ever. Before we saw him teaching whole classrooms full of younglings, here the student-teacher ratio is much better. Sure, Luke is too old, too impatient, so impatient he takes off in the middle of the training to do something Yoda specifically told him not to do (just like his dad). But Yoda is able to teach him one-on-one about vine-swinging, flips, hand stands, no-contact object lifting, seeing the future, facing his fears and other philosophy type shit. He sends him on a brief vision quest where we get a topnotch symbolic nightmare sequence. There is an actual training montage (sorry, no Survivor type inspiration-rock song).

Look, America. I agree. Yoda is awesome. But let’s face it, the Clone Wars happened on his watch. The Empire happened on his watch. After his great failure in parts 1-3 he has as much to prove as Luke does, and as much self doubt to overcome (“I cannot teach him”). He keeps mentioning Luke’s lack of patience, his anger, his father’s anger, that his father chose “the quick and easy path” (the path Padme could not follow). He’s putting it on Luke but I think he’s scared too, of repeating his failure with another god damn Skywalker. Like we need two of ’em.

I mean, he can’t live that down. He does a great job of helping Luke cram to be a Jedi, but are we sure he’s not fuckin up again? I gotta question his judgment ’cause here he is telling Luke not to go save his friends (like Pa Kent telling Superman maybe stop rescuing so many people until he gets older) but as soon as Luke ignores him Yoda tells Obi-Ghost it’s okay because “there is another hope.” That’s gotta be Leia, right? i.e. one of the friends he just told Luke not to save. If Yoda Used The Force a little more attentively maybe he’d figure that out and make a plan to get both of these Midichlorian pots back in the bog for training.

By the way, R2 gets the shaft in this whole thing. He’s a heroic veteran, but Yoda doesn’t give him the time of day. Total droid racist. Plus, R2 asks if it’s safe for droids down there, and Luke says he’s “sure” it is, then dumps him off on like 2 feet of mud surrounded by water. This planet is not droid accessible. Then he falls in the water and gets eaten by a beast. He’s safely coughed up, but Luke never apologizes. Bad manners is the Dark Side, right? Must be. Foreshadowing.

Meanwhile, R2’s long time roommate 3.P.O. is with the Leia and Hans contingent. Bummer for him, because those two are insufferable. They want down each other’s pants so bad but the way they flirt is to act grumpy and hateful toward each other. What a couple of assholes.

Hans keeps trying to quit and leave to take care of his financial troubles, but attacks and shit keep happening. So he resists resisting the call. They get chased by Boba Fett, now grown up and working in his old man’s trade of bounty hunting, wearing Pops Fett’s clothes and driving his car. At one point they land on an asteroid and get attacked by space bat things.

Keep it real, represent what?

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They end up hiding out at Cloud City, a swinger’s club run by Hans’s old co-scoundrel (and previous owner of his vehicle) Lando Calrissian, played by HIT!‘s Billy Dee Williams. And, just as Luke predicted in one of those Jedi dreams, Vader actually leaves his Japanese capsule hotel or whatever…

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…and shows up there at the resort. So Luke heads him off and they fight and in the heat of the moment Vader lets it slip that he’s his old man. Real uncomfortable but a good fight scene.

(Now, does Luke get that Darth Vader is saying he’s Anakin Skywalker, or does he think Vader is claiming to be, like, a milkman or something who snuck in there when Anakin was at star war? I’m not sure.)

I was a little worried because this is the first STAR WARS movie not directed by George Lucas. He left to do other things and merely had his name on it as producer, creator, story writer and overseer of every single aspect other than standing on set directing actors. For that they got Irvin Kershner, director of THE RETURN OF A MAN CALLED HORSE, THE EYES OF LAURA MARS, ROBOCOP 2 and an episode of SeaQuest. That’s not much to brag about but more significantly he directed NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, on which pre-fame Steven Seagal worked as Sean Connery’s martial arts instructor, and then appeared in ON DEADLY GROUND as the director of the corny propaganda commercial for Aegis Oil. I once saw somebody claim Kershner ghost-directed ON DEADLY GROUND for Seagal, but this is not supported by anything else I’ve heard.

Lucas also handed over writing duties. That credit went to veteran screenwriter and sci-fi novelist Leigh Brackett (THE BIG SLEEP, RIO BRAVO), though she actually died of cancer after writing an early unused draft, and first timer Lawrence Kasdan (before BODY HEAT and THE BIG CHILL).

One of these new people must’ve hated the character of 3pio, because he gets the Jar Jar cold shoulder in this one. Nobody wants to listen to his prissy jibber jabber. Hans calls him “the Professor,” puts his hand over his mouth when he’s talking. Leia tells him to shut up and actually turns him off mid-sentence. Lando just completely ignores him, turns around and walks away from him while he’s talking. Another droid tells him to eat choota, and then he gets blown to pieces just for walking into a room looking like a chump.

There’s also a good running joke about how shitty it is to work for Vader (he can even strangle people over a satellite link!) and they continue the old gag where everybody keeps pronouncing “Leia” different.

I like how the settings are a real change in this one. Snow instead of sand, a city in the sky instead of on the ground. I gotta give credit to cinematographer Peter Suchitzky, who gives the movie a very natural overcast type of look. I would say it has the best lighting of the series so far. He only did this one Star Wars, and has since become David Cronenberg’s main cinematographer.

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This chapter also gets points for introducing Lando, a suave motherfucker in a dope cape, the Youngblood Priest of the stars, played as only Billy Dee could play him.

Plus we get the traditional STAR WARS implied detail about his operation. He has a personal secretary with a Bluetooth built right into his head. He off-handedly mentions “labor difficulties,” then later we see that his machinery is operated by little Oompa Loompa type guys. His engineers wanted a raise so he replaced them with slaves! He is a scoundrel!

The ending is kind of a cliffhanger that references part 2, ATTACK OF THE CLONES. Like Anakin, Luke loses his hand in an inconclusive duel with a Sith and gets it replaced by a robot hand. Ironically it’s Anakin that chops it off. But the robot hand technology is much better than it was in his day, so joke’s on him.

I feel a little weird about Lando at the end. I understand that he feels bad for selling them out to Vader and is gonna help them to redeem himself. And it makes sense to let him fly the Millennium Falcon since it used to belong to him. But is it really okay for him to put on Solo’s clothes? Seems in poor taste to me.

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The next to last shot is reminiscent of the very last shot of CLONES.

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In that one, Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidal-Skywalker (along with R2 and C3) look ambiguously into the sunset – they’ve just been married, they’re feeling romantic, but there is an air of doom since this is a secret, forbidden marriage that they’ve already predicted will lead to terrible things. STRIKES reverses it, it has the children of that marriage looking off into a starscape, (also with R2 and C3) and though they are facing a bunch of setbacks (their base got blown up, Luke pussied out and left his training before becoming a Jedi, Hans has been frozen and kidnapped, Vader beat Luke in a light saber battle, chopped off his hand and said mean things that made him cry) they seem to be looking optimistically into the future where they plan to rescue their friend and pull up their bootstraps and what not.

This is one of the better Star Warses in my opinion. Definitely worth checking out if you are a star wars fan. just my 2 cents

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 at 1:48 am and is filed under Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

37 Responses to “Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back (No Baggage Review)”

  1. I see that some young revishionist muthas want to take this entry down a peg or two, but it IS still the best of the six. I also have to mention that all the snow in this one is Norwegian and that the rebel fighters are Norwegian actors.

  2. Six movies? What they hell are you talking about? As of now there are only five. Only time will tell if another film gets made, since the sluggish pace and downbeat ending obviously alienated most viewers and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK will be remembered as the film that completely killed the franchise.

  3. The Original Paul

    May 22nd, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Pegsman: “I see that some young revishionist muthas want to take this entry down a peg or two, but it IS still the best of the six.”

    Well count me in as a non-revishionist[sic] mutha, because I completely agree with you. It’s astonishing how much better this movie still looks than… never mind.

    But we need to talk about this:

    “Look, America. I agree. Yoda is awesome.”

    Does anybody still think that? Did they ever? And if so, can somebody please, for the love of God, explain to me WHY? I mean, this is one case where I’m not only at odds with the fans, I simply cannot understand their point of view. Is it because of the Frank Oz factor? Are people willing to give puppets a “pass” for being condescending assholes, when they’d probably hate human characters with the same characterstics?

    And what about his effect on Luke? Am I the only person who has a pretty huge problem with the fact that Luke, who up until this point has been taking down giant alien robots, stormtroopers, and (let’s not forget this one, it’s kinda pertinent) the FREAKING DEATH STAR, now appears as an incompetent novice? Does that not bother anybody else? Why is this scene even here? It takes place over, what, a day or two of movie-time? Was it THAT necessary to give Luke this “extra training” to use the Force, when up until now he’s been doing just fine with Obi-Wan’s training/ghostly help?

    I hated the whole training scene immediately after I first saw it. Since seeing “Empire” again, I’ve changed my mind on that one. There are some pretty awesome parts to it, even though it absolutely doesn’t work as a whole. Hell, it’s the worst part of the film by a country mile. Even saying that… that bit where Darth Vader suddenly appears in the cave… that’s a total mindfuck and pretty much blew my mind. There are a couple of moments like this – the problem being that Yoda isn’t in any of them. Yep, it literally takes seconds of Yoda not being there for this film to become awesome again. Then he appears, and we’re straight back to the suck.

    So… yeah. I hate Yoda, and I hate *the* Yoda. The religious character who has to “instruct” the hero and, in doing so, just neuters him. He’s always annoying, he’s always condescending, and he’s always totally superfluous to whatever more interesting story is happening around him. In my opinion it’s the absolute worst stereotype in films, and I’ve never yet seen it in a film where it didn’t just drag it down. The original in “Empire” is no exception – and “Empire” is a really, really good film. I hated it here. I hated it in “Serenity” (the Yoda there was a really awesome character in the TV series, by the way, which just made it that much worse when they did what they did with him in the film). I hated it most in “The Tournament”, a film that had everything it needed to be genuinely great – fantastic action, some awesome actors – but instead decided to focus the entire way through on a sulky annoying teenager and her tame priest (poor Robert Carlyle!)

    Anyway, “Empire”… great film, snot-Jedi not withstanding (thankfully he’s only in it for ten minutes or so). Great scoring, some fantastic visuals, great characters, and a helluva lot of imagination. Definitely the best “Star Wars” film for me.

  4. Shoot, buddy – there are rumours floating around in Variety magazine about a production called BLUE HARVEST which could be Part 6. It has NOT been confirmed. Me, I think it’s total bullshit. A very reliable source told me BLUE HARVEST is the first feature length film of THE SMURFS cartoon, about their early days on the Smurf farm. Don’t believe everything Vern says ok mate?

  5. Shoot, what did we say about that European humour thing?

  6. What humour?

  7. (addit. sorry, it was pegsman with the 6 film theory. I was responding to Verns comment about Empire being “a middle part and not trying to wrap everything up.”)

    Shoot, I think we’re on the same page, in keeping with the spirit of the ‘no baggage’. Just trying to have fun.

    Part 5, people, part 5….

    In closing for this evening, please allow me to sing you a few lines from one of my favourite Queen songs –

    “Open up your mind and let me step inside, rest your weary head and let your heart decide,
    It’s so easy, when you know the rules,
    It’s so easy, all you have to do is fall in love,
    Play the game, everybody play the gaaaame!”

    (best Elvis voice) Thank you, thank you very much.

    Sheesh, I need more sleep….

  8. Was hoping for a thorough breakdown-comparison of the vision quest sequences in ON DEADLY GROUND and STAR WARS 5.

    But I get it, Vern doesn’t want to sully Seagal’s most Seagalian work by spilling ink suggesting it owes part of its greatness to some lesser filmatic forebear like EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

  9. I heard that Lucas took most of his payoff from Episode IV (I guess it was a substantial amount) and plowed it right back into Episode V.

    IV was a good movie (let’s just say it – an instant classic) and I was looking forward to V when I heard about it but, as in any business, you never know what’s going to happen. That took a lot of guts to basically risk it all rather than just cash out. I hope it works out for him. Actually I heard he self-financed Episode I as well, maybe his parents had money?

    Story-wise, having Luke take off in this one to fight Vader before his training was complete is presented as a really risky move. I wonder what other training he requires before he would be ready to confront Vader? I hope they make another so I can find out. Must be some real important training as Yoda was practically apoplectic at the idea of Luke running off without that extra training.

  10. This was great. Much darker than the previous one, but somehow more effective than the even darker episode 3 in bumming you out a bit. You even realise that the big duel in it is kinda futile because you can tell Vader could kill Luke any time he wants (and there’s even a few glaring openings). Couple of questions though:
    -Aren’t Luke and Han a bit too important to be doing Patrol Duty? They got medals for blowing up The Death Star, after all. Did something happen between the films that caused them to get busted down in rank as punishment? If so, it’s not mentioned.
    -What’s up with Leia kissing Luke at one point? That’s fucking weird. I mean, I’d get it if the fact their twins was meant to be a big twist, but it’s not. We already know, from the other movies. I mean, it’s not like anybody’s going to watch this one before episodes 1-3, are they? So is Lucas just making a sick joke on the audience?
    -Hey, was that the guy who plays Pycelle in GAME OF THRONES as the commander of one the Imperial Walkers? They must really have some good old age make up on that show, as he looks at least 34 years younger.
    -How does Luke actually learn how to swordfight? I mean, he’s got no sparring partner, and it’s more a matter of technique and form than just being good with the Force, isn’t it?
    -They were pretty nonchalant about a spacecraft being left in a swamp for days, weren’t they? Are those things really so well made there wouldn’t be any mechanical failure to worry about from that?

  11. I don´t have a lot to say about this one. It´s like… perfect. I´m pretty excited to se how Lucas is gonna resolve all this in STAR WARS 6: BLUE HARVEST. Is the cycle of emotional abuse gonna continue? Luke finally realises that everybody has been lying to him. Is the revaluation that he wanna poke his sister gonna push him over the edge? Is Lucas´regression into old fashioned effects gonna end up with claymation, cardboard cut-outs or hand puppets?

    I like how this epic political drama is being boiled down to the essence of the cause of most problems; bad parenting and repressed sexual frustration. I like that Lucas is as ambiguous about sex as Peckinpah is about violence. There is no clearcut message here. Just a giant penis with teeth.

    Best scene was Yoda hitting R2D2 with a stick. That was hilarious.

  12. Silly me who didn’t get the joke. This is fun!

  13. I was kind of ambivalent about this one, but when I read Pegsman’s comment that the rebels were Norwegian I had to check it out, I mean those guys are the ninjas and troll hunters. Gladly threw down the 4 bucks. I thought it was great, Williams really outdid himself with that Darth Vader theme. Loved Luke hanging underneath the city in the clouds and reaching out to Leia with the force. Lando pulling up in the Falcon and rescuing him, crowd I saw it with went nuts for that part.

  14. Mouth: You know I would’ve done that if I thought of it.

  15. Michael – yeah, that part was a good THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS homage

    Paul – ha ha, you hate Yoda! I love it!

    What is your stance on ice cream?

  16. Vern, just gotta give props for the L. Calrissian Real Talk clip. I haven’t laughed that hard in weeks.

  17. This one has an interesting ending because it invites comparison to part II. The movie ends on a much darker note than Part II did, but it’s hard to feel too confident about it because we know how things turned out for Anakin and Padme. This whole movie won’t stop with the parallels between Luke and Anakin’s stories — Yoda even makes them explicitly. And although we;re glad Luke saves (some of) his friends, Yoda seems utterly convinced that in doing so, he’s gonna end up just like Anakin, driven to evil by his attachments. J\

    Jeez, is this whole series just gonna end up the same as the first trilogy, with us gradually coming around to liking Luke just in time for him to ruin his life and become a villain, just like his old man? Because I don’t think I can do that a second time.

  18. That L. Calrissian Real Talk clip leaves me dumbfounded. I played it for my friend, to share in the confusion. I said to her, “I don’t get it. He’s not singing. He’s not rapping. He’s just sort of…talking.” To which my friend looked at me with a completely straight face and said, “Real talking.” After I finished laughing I pinched her.

  19. The Original Paul

    May 22nd, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Vern – it’s because he’s a puppet, isn’t it?

    Goddamn Frank Oz. He has a lot to answer for.

    Look, give me some credit here. The whole point of this series was to look at each of the Star Wars films (wait, films? Are there other films?!!) in isolation, right? Well, I didn’t grow up with them like others did. I didn’t see my first one (which unfortunately was “The Phantom Menace”) until I was well into my twenties, I believe, except for the unfortunate hospital incident (which might have put me off for life. I mean, YOU try being forced to watch the same movie forty-nine times while people are coming along sticking pins into your legs. When you’re four years old.)

    So imagine that, rather than having grown up with “Star Wars” as part of your childhood, which apparently every American under the age of forty has, you’d seen it for the first time fairly recently. Could you honestly say that you’d LIKE Yoda? I get that he had novelty value back in the 1980s or whenever the heck this came out, but… man… it’s 2014 now. We’ve seen puppets vomit, we’ve seen them have projectile diarrhoea, we’ve seen them have kinky sex in just about every position possible. Hell, “Avenue Q” and “Team America” between them covered all that and much, much more. There’s no more novelty about puppets now. Standards are higher. We expect them to do more than just look like cute little snotballs now. (And I have to admit, Yoda is a VERY cute little snotball. Damn you Frank Oz!)

    He’s still worse than Jar Jar, by the way. Maybe not in and of himself, but in terms of the effect he had on movies – definitely. At least nobody ever tried to copy Jar Jar.

    I am, however, in favour of ice-cream. Unless it’s the cheap raspberry ripple stuff they sell in Tesco’s that tastes like pure undiluted chemical cleaner. Bleugh.

  20. The Original Paul

    May 22nd, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Oh, and I didn’t even click on that Lando clip when I first read the review. Remedied that now. And all I can say is, what the unholy fuck was that?!

  21. grimgrinningchris

    May 22nd, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Jeffries-
    Thank you for bringing that up and in such a way. I have been wanting to air out that little dirty bit of plot fondue but figured I’d have to wait till the ep VI thread.
    I know exactly what you’re referring to and it’s always bugged the crap out of me. But any time I try to explain to someone why it makes no damn sense, I just get “huh?”

  22. I heard a rumour that Episode Six (supposedly called REVENGE OF THE JEDI) is gonna feature a return to Chewbacca’s home planet for the final battle. If true, can you imagine how awesome that’ll be? Seeing these 7 foot tall hairy monsters rip those stormtroopers apart?

  23. Billy Dee Williams looked really good in this movie, I wonder why he looks so old just a few years later? too much Colt 45?

  24. I mean did you see him on Dancing With The Stars? guy looks like he’s aged 30 years in just a few

  25. grimgrinningchris-
    I get the same thing. My friends have no idea what I’m talking about and just shrug.

    But this is no baggage and I also shrug. Like when a MUTO is so sensitive to radiation it finds and plucks a submarine from under the water and takes it into the jungle to snack. When there’s already a perfectly fine nuclear-powered aircraft carrier floating around. Oh well! (Shrugs).

    Also I forgot to mention before, the asteroid chase is still awesome and holds up extremely well. Is there anything better in the movies than watching the Millennium Falcon maneuver around asteroids and ships and so on? That basic disc shape is so fun to watch fly around. Other ships look great on their own (the Enterprise, for example, is some kind of magic golden ratio for a spaceship and looks great from pretty much any angle) but while the Falcon might look like a piece of junk at rest, it always shows it’s got it where it counts whenever it’s in motion. Love it.

  26. Paul ― I don’t get why you think Lucas invented this “wise but crotchety mentor” trope. You’ve never seen a kung-fu movie?

  27. The Original Paul

    May 23rd, 2014 at 3:05 am

    Matthew B – it’s not so much the crotchety thing. Mr Miyagi was fine, after all, in Karate Kid 1. (Not so much in #3… honestly he’s the reason why that movie has such a bad reputation in my opinion. He’s such a giant dickbag in it.) It’s the combination of the character being completely redundant (which, again, Mr Miyagi wasn’t) and his always having the effect of “pussifying” the hero (Mr Miyagi did the exact opposite).

    Look, I have no problems whatsoever with the “mentor” who teaches the hero everything he knows. That’s not what we’re talking about here. Yoda comes along to teach Luke, who’s already done more to stop the Empire than Yoda has, ever, in this movie or any hypothetical prequels that don’t exist, all about the force. He already KNOWS about the force. Or did I hallucinate Kenobi’s ghost advising him to “Use the force, Luke?” when he blew up the damn Death Star? That to me is a pretty effective use of it.

    And I don’t know if Yoda was the FIRST of his type, but he sure as hell popularized it in mainstream cinema. I’m sick to the back teeth of condescending always-correct religious characters who “teach” the hero shit that they should already know anyway, being shoehorned into films that they have nothing whatsoever to contribute to. Kenobi was supposed to have been at least watching over this kid for most of his life. Yoda had him for two days, maximum. What the heck is he supposed to teach Luke in that time?

    Look – I sound as if I hate this film, and I don’t. Barring that one character, who is in it for maybe ten minutes anyway, I think it’s a great film that always has me gripped from start to finish. The entire “Star Wars” franchise has been massively influential, for better or for worse. Unfortunately this is one instance where it’s definitely been for “worse”. Doesn’t mean I don’t like the film as a whole.

  28. The Original Paul

    May 23rd, 2014 at 3:35 am

    “Did I hallucinate… Kenobi’s… ghost?”

    Yeah I just realised how that sounds. Should stop popping the purple pills.

  29. I was pleasantly surprised by the return of Yoda to the series in this one. I figured they’d just forget about him in these sequels since he was completely ignored in part 4. That was unexpected but when force ghost obi-wan told Luke about him I was as happy as a schoolboy in a candy store because we’re finally going to see what he’s been up to.

    Also still surprised that he also didn’t go by a more familiar alias like ‘Joe’ while in exile similar to Obi-Wan’s ‘Ben’ to help him fit back into society. Then again living out in the swamps maybe he doesn’t have to worry about anybody recognizing his name out there since it’s mostly just him and non talking swamp creatures laying about.

    It was also humorous to see Luke prejudge him based on his appearance just like some of us did in the original trilogy and then boom Lucas had him fight Dooku and shit got real. We understood why he was a master jedi.

    The scene where Anakin finally confronts his son with the truth was pretty effective even if as audience members we already knew Vader’s backstory. Just the raw emotion in Luke’s reaction alone makes it a very classic scene. I have a feeling that one will be quoted for many years to come.

    Also give credit to Lucas in finally introducing another black character to this galaxy in Lando Calrissian. It was overdue. I also like that he made him slicker and cooler than Mace Windu since he wasn’t a jedi. Then again I like that a lot of the characters in these sequels are more vibrant and full or personality than the characters in the original movies in general.

    Lando is a smooth talking charisma machine like the coolest players from chitown and that was totally up my alley of awesome. The only thing I had an issue with was making him traitorous and someone who would sell his people out to “the man” with no problem. At first I thought it was kinda racist because that’s such an overused stereotype but then they sideswipe us and let us know it’s all a ruse to trick those totalitarian dickheads. Lando is a true man of revolution.

    It’s interesting that Lucas sat this one out because his fingerprints are still all over it. We have familiar tropes that date back all the way to the original trilogy (Ie: characters stating “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”) and we have a balance of the whimsy and fun from part 4 and even part 2 with the darker elements and themes from part 3. It’s an interesting amalgamation of everything that has come before in the series and makes for a pretty engaging flick with lots of interesting plot threads seeded on the ground to make a part 6 something truly worth watching.

    I can’t think of another series that actually got better as the sequels went along. Let alone reached this level of quality with a part 5. I guess the FAST & FURIOUS series qualifies but it’s and interesting thing to see cause not even POLICE ACADEMY could accomplish that.

    I look forward to a part 6. Don’t like the rumored REVENGE OF THE JEDI title much though. On the one hand it gives it symmetry with the movie title of part 3. It’s almost poetic to have the end points of both trilogies have similar titles with slight inversions. On the other hand the Jedi just don’t seem like the type to actively seek revenge like the sith. So I hope they rethink that title eventually.

  30. Broddie, I’ve heard David Lynch and Paul Verhoeven are actually on the shortlist for REVENGE OF THE JEDI, so who knows what Lucas is up to?

  31. Jeffries and grimgrinningchris –I have a theory about the whole “didn’t finish the training” thing, but we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out in the next episode to determine if I’m right or not .

  32. This is easily the best of the series so far, in my opinion. It has the best series of planets: Hoth, Degobah, and whatever planet Cloud City is on. These locations create a wonderful sense of atmosphere and dread that’s fitting for a film with such a downbeat ending.

    Jeffried and GrimGrinningChris — I too think there’s an obvious explanation for what kind of training Yoda wants to provide Luke (think back to the foreboding images in the cave). But I’ll save my explanation for if/when Lucas makes Episode 6, so long as Mr. Subtlety doesn’t get to it first. I also like how by betraying Yoda’s commands he doesn’t actually save his friends. They appear to escape on their own, and if anything by having to turn back towards the end to rescue Luke, he almost gets them into worse trouble.

  33. CJ Holden – “Broddie, I’ve heard David Lynch and Paul Verhoeven are actually on the shortlist for REVENGE OF THE JEDI, so who knows what Lucas is up to?”

    Oh man in that case being that that’s the type of filmatist Lucas is looking at it will probably end up being the darkest yet. The jedi will give into revenge after all and a lot of chaos will befall the galaxy. I certainly won’t be expecting to see cute teddy bear like creatures in it or anything like that.

  34. Nice Kool Keith reference there, Vern.

  35. Build for iOS, Android (including Android TV), Kindle and Windows
    Phone 8 with a single codebase and at the touch of a button.

  36. I love coming back to the comment section on 2 year old reviews…

    Empire is my favorite film of all time. I never get tired of it, and I still remember how it felt to see it the first time in the theater. It still give me goose bumps.

    That being said, one thing that I don’t feel gets enough commentary is how great Mark Hamill is in this movie. He basically spends two thirds of the movie acting with a robot, a puppet, and a Darth Vader mask. His last spoken line to a live person is with the guy who has his back to him in the Snowspeeder (I know, it’s Dak). Some people may roll their eyes at this thought, but that has to be very tough to do. Just go back and watch Space Jam. It’s tough to act with nothing there.

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