Thoughts & Observations: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

  • This week in “TL;DR”: something something Death Star blown up…something something….Hoth…something something…okay we’re caught up.
  • In a world coated with powdered sugar, Luke is attacked by the Yeti from Ski Free.
  • Yeti_SkiFree

The resemblance is truly uncanny.

  • Han ditches the rest of the main characters because of course he does. Han and commitment don’t get along very well.
  • Uh-oh. Han thinks Leia has the hots for him because of that whole kiss thing the previous movie.
  • C3PO: “It’s Princess Leia, sir. She has been trying to reach you on the communicator.”
  • Han: “I turned it off. I don’t want to talk to her.”
  • George Lucas has predicted cell phone snubbing thirty years early.
  • The Leia/Han thing continues:
  • Han: “Then why are you following me? To give me a goodbye kiss?”
  • Leia: “I’d just as soon as a Wookie.”
  • I can arrange that.”
  • This is the Star Wars equivalent of ‘friend-zoning’ and the butthurt macho man super concerned about it.
  • OMG Luke lightsabers the arm right off that Yeti. You ARE a Star Wars movie!
  • The beasts they ride (bantha?) alternate from retconned CGI, puppetry, and stop motion.
  • Yay Ben Kenobi’s ghost. Yoda mention!
  • Ah man, the gutted bantha scene! Recognizable Pop Culture Reference #1
  • Luke and Han are Commander and Captain, respectively. Main characters can’t possibly be just regular soldiers. Always a leader. Training not included.
  • Han to Leia: “Looks like you managed to keep me around a little longer.”
  • Really? Back to this? Can’t believe Han is one of those guys.
  • Angled cross wipe. For when a regular wipe just won’t do.
  • Vader can Force choke through video chat. ….maybe he should just call Luke? Problem solved. #Boss.
  • Dak the Pilot to Luke: “I feel like I could take on the whole Empire myself.” You are sooo dead.
  • The Walker things are cool and iconic but why in a universe of flying spaceship battles would you ever design this thing? It can be defeated by TRIPPING! Bart Simpson could take on this thing!AT AT

Expected Conversation between AT-AT designer and apprentice:

AT-AT Designer: Man. Just look at this thing. There’s no way this could go wrong.

Apprentice: Uh, sir. This thing is extremely top heavy and might be out-matched by a taut line stretched across it’s feet. So…what do we do?

AT-AT Designer:….I suggest you polish up your resume.

  • Oh look, Dak is dead. Called it.
  • The little CGI walkers are distracting in every shot they are in, especially since they doesn’t appear in the other wide shots where they should be. Why retcon such silly things?
  • When the Millenium Falcon won’t start, Leia suggests: “Would it help if I got out and pushed?” Oh Leia. Never change.
  • Han says they can still out maneuver the bad guys, and with a funky little twist actually does some maneuvers.
  • George Lucas never missed an opportunity to throw a monster in whatever mire the characters are currently in. This time, something in the swamp Luke and R2D2 land in. Nothing really happens, though. Sorta just filler.
  • Ooh, glimpse of Vader’s real head when Whats-His-Face sees the helmet being lowered. Recognizable Pop Culture Reference #2.
  • Leia: Let go. Please.
  • Han: Don’t get excited!
  • This whole Han/Leia saga is playing out like an abusive relationship.
  • Puppet Yoda is pretty excellent, although it does somehow play into his nuisance personality when he first meets Luke. It’s all a play though, we know he’s being a jerk on purpose. Testing Luke n stuff.
  • The series of beeps and whistles let out by R2 when told to watch the camp can only be translated as expletives.
  • The Han and Leia Saga crops up again. “You like me because I’m a scoundrel.” How not to Woo a Woman. This shouldn’t have worked on Leia. I feel like this pairing is a square peg being forced into a round hole.
  • The Emperor from the prequels look amazingly similar. Excellent job, makeup artists. And amazing that the actor could pull off the same performance many years after the fact.
  • The bat-like creatures, Whynocks?– make the same sound that will later be heard in Jurassic Park.
  • I have a bad feeling about this.” Natural precursor to doom.
  • Lucas must have realized light speed makes it too easy for his characters to escape danger, so he made sure it was broken in the Falcon for the entirety of the movie.
  • Do or do not. There is no try.” Recognizable Pop Culture Reference #3.Yoda
  • Luke to Yoda: “You want the impossible!” He sulks off. You know, I thought we’d gone too long without Luke whining.
  • Guess that Captain Nita apology didn’t fly so well with the Big Boss. I mean really, in that earlier scene when he said he’d apologize to Vader, I knew he was slated for death.
  • The Millenium Falcon is going to wait until the bad guy’s ship releases the trash so they can “float away with the garbage.” Not a bad strategy (though of course, you gotta hope nobody notices a ship-sized piece of garbage out there) but what is Star Wars’ obsession with garbage chutes? More on this later.
  • Obi-Wan’s Ghost: “That boy is our last hope.”
  • Yoda: “No. There is another.” Leia? He’s talking about Leia, right? Can she spearhead the third movie?
  • Not much setup of Lando before he betrays the others. This is why the internet hates you. Recognizable Pop Culture Reference #4.
  • Leia (sappy eyes): I love you.
  • Han: I know.
  • Could he be any more of a jerk?
  • Maybe Han’s asshat nature in this movie is due to the actor not wanting to continue on with the Star Wars movies.
  • I love the Cloud City design. White, sterile yet friendly looking spaces that secretly hide the dirty dealings done by Lando.
  • Ending battle between Luke and Darth Vader is an immediate switch from the bright cheery interiors of Cloud City to this dungeon like area, all dark shadows and red and blue smoky lighting. It’s a nice visual surprise and beautifully rendered, especially with all the leading lines in the scenery visually separating Luke and Vader.
  • Vader to Luke: “You are not a Jedi yet.” (Exactly. We need at least one more movie)
  • Lando=good? Calrissian spends the rest of the movie redeeming himself. Pop culture seems to forget that.
  • Luke had one too many hands for this movie.
  • Luke is disposed of via a chute…like garbage. Seriously, what is with these movies and garbage? You’ve got that sludgy garbage compactor that they were all escaped into in A  New Hope and Han escapes notice from the Empire by mingling amongst the garbage and now Luke escapes via what can only be a garbage chute. Is there a theme here? Is this like all the de-armed bodies that exist in the Star Wars universe, or am I reading too much into it?

Only one more classic film before I get to Rey. Tally-ho.

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