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Film Review - Empire Strikes Back, The
It's Star Wars II. No, it's Star Wars Episode 5! Huh? OK, OK, OK. They re-numbered all the movies ... both of them. Well, if you know what's going on, it makes sense.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, George Lucas sold a movie to 20th Century Fox. But he really had nine of those flicks, and the one he sold was Episode 4! OK, so now that you know that the sequel is No. 5, otherwise you'd really be wondering about the new math.
No. 5, The Empire Strikes Back, well it's actually Act 2 of The Adventures of Luke Skywalker. Huh? OK, there's really three trilogies. The first two are single stories divided into three acts. Each act is a movie. Why the hell am I telling you this? Because it explains why a lot of people were dissatisfied with this movie.
Personally, I love this movie. It's my favorite of the three Star Wars movies that have been released. Why? Because Act 2 is where all the really good stuff is in a three-act play. It's where all the character development happens. We learn why the bad guy is so evil. We learn why the good guy is so pure. But Act 2 never ends like an action movie should and that's what people hate about Empire.
Now, if you have all three movies, this isn't a big deal. You can always plop in Episode 6, Act 3, Return of The Jedi. But in 1980, you had to wait three years! That was just too long to see what happened next.
Empire picks up and runs like a bat out of Hell from where Star Wars I, Episode 4, Act 1, A New Hope ended. Empire is all about how the machine which is the Empire still exists, even after the Death Star was destroyed. Darth Vader is there and as evil as possible. Now Luke will lose his innocence, as he learns the way of the Jedi.
But again, at the end of Empire we are reminded that this is Act 2. The finale is tragic, and sad. As Act 2, it's beautiful; as a stand-alone movie, this aspect fails.
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Released in 1980
MPAA Rating: PG
Reviewed by Mongo