A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…
Here we are again into my second entry of remembering Star Wars. A New Hope was all about beginning an adventure that would last for generations. Empire is all about making one of the most beloved movies of all time. It’s pretty known that Empire Strike Back is everyone favourite Star Wars movie. It’s number 13 on IMDB’s top 250 movies of all time, and it has a 8.7 rating. You’ve got to admit that’s pretty impressive for a movie featuring Kermit the frog teaching Luke Skywalker how to fly. Also yes before we get into this, Empire is my favourite of the entire saga for a multitude of reasons. I’ll walk you through some of them soon.
Being a sequel to our first movie ‘Star Wars’ we have an established crew of Luke, Leia and Han. However one thing I’ve only just realised this week is that the trilogy only spend 1 Minute together in the entire movie. I mean what the heck right!? For most of the movie our heroes go on a separate journey. Luke knows from the beginning that he most go to Dagobah to learn the ways of the force from Yoda. Han and Leia have a rebellion to support and have the empire chasing them down throughout the movie. Luke will go to be challenged spiritually and mentally. While Han and Leia will adapt to the fight and fall in love with each other. One of the interesting things about this movie is how much it follows the ‘Heroes Journey’
For those who don’t know what the heroes journey is, I recommend a google search. But to summarise it is the path our main character takes from normality, through the hardships of adventure to a final state as a changed person. Luke starts off in an established role as a rebel solider fighting on Hoth. He is hit with the call to adventure in the form of Ben telling him to find Yoda. Through the rest of the movie he goes through the expected actions of meeting the mentor, being tested, taking on his conflict only to finish the movie with a changed mind set and new quest.
While I do love watching Luke take on the path of the Jedi, I can still very much enjoy the other half of the movie. Han and Leia lead their own half of the movie together, dodging lasers through asteroid fields and blasting stormtroopers as a pair. Despite the fact these two started off bickering at each other, they begin to fall in love naturally in the falcon. The way these two fall in love feels much more natural than the way Anakin and Padme roll around in the fields of Naboo. Despite being all over each other they never stop being themselves. One of the most iconic lines of the movie comes from Harrison Ford improvising a response. When Leia says goodbye to him by saying “I love you” he comes back quickly with a simple “I know.” Classic move Ford… Classic move…
A lot of people also regarded this film as the “dark edgy” film of the original trio. While I can get that in a few places I’d argue it’s not exactly an edgy film. The movie reverses a lot of movie rules for these types of typical sci-fi adventures. At the end of the film our heroes have lost their battle and failed in their own individual adventures. Luke was reckless and was punished with the loss of a limb. Leia wasn’t able to save Han and now they have been separated for the immediate future. It leaves the future of heroes in complete mystery which is what I think helps set Return up to be a huge finale of the trio’s adventure.
Now of course I have to mention that one specific part of pop culture history which people will be thinking when they see the main image for this piece. While I still don’t remember the exact first time I watched Empire, I still see this final scene between Luke and Vader as one of the most shocking moments of my childhood. “No, I am your father.” I still get a bunch of enjoyment seeing teens reacting to this for the first time on YouTube. Just because the movie is getting older by the minute doesn’t mean that it still cant be a shock. Although it still annoys me to this day when people say “Luke, I am your father.” Because you’re saying it wrong for gods sake!
At the end of the day, Empire continues to evolve our characters in a much more personal way than A New Hope allowed. We’ve become more invested in the ways of the force, investing us into this world even more. Watching Episode 4 allows you to have fun with what you’ve got. Empire makes you want to become a Jedi and see our characters get back together safely. I really love this movie, it’s the one that got me into the stuff behind the scenes and become obsessed with every little detail. I hope you’ve enjoyed remembering Empire, next week I’ll be closing up the original trilogy with Return of the Jedi. So stick around, and may the force be with you.