Running Commentary – Star Wars Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

Now we’re talking! Anime Reporter gives my blow by blow account of what pointless thoughts I had while watching Empire Strikes Back. If there are fewer posts on this film, or if I comment less frequently, that’s probably because I got pretty caught up the whole time I was watching this one. I hadn’t seen this movie since I was about 10 years old, so, while I, of course, knew a lot of what was going to happen, I also felt like I was experiencing this film for the first time. It did not disappoint.

00:00 – Here it is! The big one!

02:45 – So here we are on Hoth, hopefully there won’t be too much needless CGI thrown in just yet.

04:10 – Puppet yeti takes out the last great hope for the Jedi in the galaxy.

05:50 – Han gives his notice to the rebel military fairly abruptly. You’d think it’d be harder to leave on good terms.

08:15 – Han Solo seems to command an awful lot of respect among the troops for a smuggler who just quit the rebellion.

09:00 – I think that wampa’s brother was in Labyrinth.

09:30 – Luke’s go-to move upon waking up upside-down suspended from the ceiling of an ice cave wasn’t to use the force? Why would that not always be the go-to move?

10:55 – C3PO is a dick.

12:20 – C3PO delivers the news that Luke and Han will probably freeze to death, like the dick he is.

13:30 – Obi Wan waits until Luke is freezing to death to give him entirely irrelevant news about finding a Jedi teacher, instead of, say, advice on not dying in this frozen wasteland.

17:00 – The visuals on this film hold up incredibly well.

18:00 – Leia makes out with her brother in order to annoy the boy she likes. This whole family is due a whole heap of therapy once they learn what’s what.

19:45 – Scary music… Darth Vader time!

23:00 – Is that thing Darth Vader’s bedroom or a private bathroom stall?

23:45 – Darth Vader chokes out an employee over space-skype, or takes advantage of fortuitous timing to impress this other subordinates. Either way, both impressive and clear evidence that the Death Star is lacking in proper HR management.

26:10 – Imperial walkers are badass in all their stop-motion glory.

28:00 – This fight scene flying against the walkers has far more tension and momentum than every single of the prequels.

29:25 – Whoa, apparently walkers’ impressive shields become worthless once they’ve tripped up and are lying in the snow at a 45-degree angle.

30:00 – C3PO doesn’t act like a dick, for once.

32:45 – the future Joker uses his grappling gun, again not realising the irony involved in his Batman-like equipment.

34:45 – Darth Vader’s outfit looks cool but doesn’t exactly seem tactical on an ice-planet.

36:30 – Luke ignores military orders to follow the advice of a possible frostbite-hallucination.

39:00 – Phrases like “Never tell me the odds” may explain exactly why Han Solo is in enough debt to have bounty hunters after him.

41:00 – Given that Luke was only told what system to go to, I feel like he’s still probably going to stumble across Yoda astonishingly quickly. Guess we should chalk that one up to the force?

47:30 – Yoda’s years of solitary exile have slightly improved his ability to speak in order. He’s definitely gone senile though. Much more prone to the giggles now.

49:20 – Yoda’s cries of “mine” as he steals Luke’s flashlight or whatever seem out of character. Dude has gotten selfish in his old age. This is why people should have friends, or pets.

50-:45 – Han is a dick to C3PO, which I’m fine with.

51:55 – Han’s courtship of Leia is evidence of the lack of the lack of a reliable HR representative in the Rebel Alliance. This whole interaction is screaming for a sexual harassment seminar.

53:15 – The emperor has aged surprisingly well. Much better than Obi Wan managed to, and without the shrill giggliness of Yoda.

53:35 – The emperor very casually reveals to Darth Vader that his son is alive after decades of carrying the lie that Vader actually killed his children.

55:15 – The Yoda puppet works so much better in scenes than the CGI version did.

58:55 – Han and Leia step onto an asteroid using oxygen masks. I really don’t think that’s how outer space works.

1:02:25 – Like Obi Wan, Yoda favours the “lie and hide important information” approach to discussing Luke’s father.

1:09:40 – “Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda’s gotten harsh with age,

1:13:50 – With the rate Darth Vader manages his next in commands, promotion must feel like a bit of a bitter-sweet event in the organisation.

1:21:30 – Lando might be the first black person I’ve seen in the original trilogy.

1:29:45 – It was nice of Darth Vader to have C3PO’s dismembered body brought to Chewbacca’s cell after capturing them all.

1:32:00 – C3PO is a dick to the wookie repairing him. C3PO is very stupid.

1:36:00 – “I love you.” “I know.”- Han decides to make his potential last words be as smug as possible.

1:38:10 – Carbonite actually looks like a pretty fashionable way to go.

1:41:30 – This lightsaber fight is great. It’s simple and it’s human and that makes it so much more meaningful and interesting to watch than all of the CGI nonsense. How did Lucas lose his way so much? Also, I just realised something. “Luke Skywalker”. “Luke S.”. “Lucas”. I’m positive that was done on purpose.

1:48:10 – C3PO is a dick.

1:50:30 – Here it comes, any minute now…

1:51:30 – Dun dun dunnnnn! He’s your whaaaaaaat?

1:57:00 – “It’s not my fault.” Lando and Han have the same catchphrase.

2:01:00 – Okay, now that Luke knows who his father is, someone really needs to tell him about Leia. Actually, it was pretty messed up that Obi Wan still hasn’t mentioned it.

Okay, so that was Empire. I get it now. I get why these movies have the following they have. Until now, Phantom Menace was just a terrible movie in a series that I knew was a big deal. Now I can really see just how far it missed the mark, just how much it strayed from the path. Between Jar Jar Binks and pointless cameos and medichlorians, this series lost its soul the second that first prequel came out. This was a great film, though. This is worthy of the fanbase that Star Wars has amassed and I’m glad that I decided to watch them all in this order, because watching them this way feels a lot more like redemption than the reality of what Lucas did.

Main impressions: This is an awesome movie, C3PO is a dick and someone really needs to talk to everyone in this Galaxy about proper workplace conduct.

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Anime Reporter brings you reviews and insights on anime, manga and whatever else I feel like! Welcome!

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Posted in American Film, Reviews, Running Commentary

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