The Empire Strikes Back

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★★★★

After the destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars: Episode IV, the Empire continues to hunt for rebel armies. A ground assault is orchestrated on the ice planet Hoth where Luke and the rebels are hiding.  The resistance are overwhelmed but Han, Chewbacca, Princess Lea, and the two droids R2D2 and C3P0 are able to escape. Luke escapes too but parts ways and flies to the Dagobah planet instead.

At the Dagobah swamps, Luke (Mark Hamil) meets Yoda who trains him to be a Jedi. His physical skills improve and his mind is adjusted. He is taught about the force, a supernatural power. But although Luke is unable to master it, he decides to end the training and seek Han and Lea in the cloud city. Han and Lea are in trouble and have been betrayed by a leader named Lando Calrissian. Yoda warns Luke about Vader’s presence in Cloud City. But Luke ignores the risk.

The film is spellbinding. Illusions of the Ice planet, Dagobah jungles, and cloud city are fantastic creations of a habitat. The special effects succeed not only in imagining locations but also in action sequences. These include a light saber battle over a deep air tunnel and a space ship that flies out of a gigantic worm.

Accompanying the imagery is a memorable character. Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz)is a spiritual and profound green elf like creature. His presence is a puppet creation but with human like behaviors like exhaustion and subtle expressions. Then there is chemisyry between Han (Harrison Ford) and Lea(Carrie Fisher) who become effectively romantic amidst all the action and chaos. And on the side are the humorous observations of C3p0 (Anthony Daniels).

This is a more serious movie than Episode IV. It’s directed by Irvin Kershner from a screenplay by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan. It’s exciting and fun but also emotional.

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