<< Newer Article #49 Older >>

The Empire Strikes Back

This should be fun. Having grown up in the Star Wars era (I was 7 when the original came out and I saw it multiple times like every good little kid), it was my bounded duty to pick up the Star Wars Trilogy box set when it was finally released on DVD. But after picking it up, I felt strangely reluctant to watch the movies. Not so much because I was concerned about the various tweaks and alterations that had been made -- I could care less, really -- but because, quite frankly, I was a bit Star Wars-ed out.

As many of you know, I used to work for The Man Himself at the gaming arm of the empire, LucasArts Entertainment Company. And what was best about the job and the company when I first started working there was the commitment to only do 50% Star Wars games; the other half of the games would be original unlicensed titles. But as my three-and-a-half year tenure at LucasArts came to a close, I found that the company had seriously shifted focus and had turned into a primarily Star Wars-licensed games shop. And there were quite a lot of crap Star Wars titles that were being released, which I was quite frankly not that interested in. The only plus side was being able to see an animatic version of Episode I well before its release.

But I digress. The main point is that I've been kind of sick of Star Wars, and so I've been hesitant to revisit the Original Trilogy for fear that I would not really enjoy them as much as I once had. I did break down and watch the original Star Wars when I first got the DVDs, and was quite amazed at how beautiful the transfer looked for a 1977 movie.

So now, many months later, I finally sat down to watch The Empire Strikes Back. As with the first movie, I was blown away at the video quality on the DVD. For many fans, this is considered the best of the Original Trilogy.

I would have to agree. This is the most "grown up" of all the Star Wars movies. The Hoth battle has some of the feel of a real attack and actually kind of sucks you in. I still smile at seeing the Wampa attack because I know it was added to mask Mark Hammill's scars from his motorcycle accident. The romance between Han and Leia is at its most amusing and believeable. The betrayal in Bespin still makes for a great turn of events. Luke leaving his training with Yoda and flying off to confront Vader, and the twist ending (twisty at the time anyway) all add up to really form the quintessential moments in the series.

And at the same time, I found myself dozing off a few times during the last hour of the movie, in spite of the blaring surround sound. I guess I have just seen the movies too many damn times for them to hold my attention for another 2 hours.

Still, I think this is the one Star Wars movie that I still believe gets 4/4 stars.