We’re slowly improving.
“Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back” is assuredly a better film than the original. There’s a better rapport between the characters, more fascinating ideological quandaries and the action sequences are better scripted and put together.
With that said, the first 30 minutes of the movie are useless. We have to watch Han and Leia make googly eyes at each other, whilst the abominable snowman from “Monster’s Inc.” that makes snow cones attacks Luke.
The brunt of this film truly begins when Luke meets Yoda, which is the most interesting teaching dynamic I’ve ever seen in the movies. Yoda trusts the spirit of Obi-Wan’s faith in Luke’s eventual greatness, yet he doesn’t see it himself. By the way, I still don’t understand Obi-Wan the Ghost. Is he just a figment of Luke’s imagination or just the original version of Nearly Headless Nick. I’m sure that’ll be sorted out in one of the next four movies, but it doesn’t make any sense right now.
Also while we’re on subjects that I dislike, now’s as good a time as ever for me to vent about my C-3P0 hatred. I’ve seen the action figures before but never got the impression that he was the most infuriating character in filmography. He disagrees with every reasonable action and tries to get in the way of all of the other characters. Even Princess Leia just shuts him off during one of his diatribes. Here’s a fictional dialogue between him and R2-D2.
C-3P0: “Hey, R2-D2. I don’t think you should do that thing you’re about to do.”
C-3P0: “You’re just a piece of junk. Stop getting in the way.”
R2-D2: “Beep-boop.” *Accomplishes thing that C-3P0 says he can’t do*
C-3P0: “Well, you got lucky. Don’t try that again.”
Even with all of these nuisances, the last half-hour of this movie is as gripping as anything in modern cinema. Taking place on Lando Calrissian’s Cloud City, the climactic duel between Luke and his father (gasp) is well-scripted and acted by both parties. I knew all of the basic beats but it was still exhilarating to see it for the first time.
The second half of this movie is an “A.” It’s just too bad the first half was so drawn out and insipid.
Hopefully, the ending’s success will carry over into the subsequent film.
I’m now just one film away from completing the original trilogy.
Only 30 years behind.