Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

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Luke Skywalker begins training as a Jedi under a new master and learns the biggest secret of the saga in this exciting fifth episode.

On the planet of Hoth, a new base is being set up by Princess Leia, along with Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. The Galactic Empire, led by Darth Vader, have been relentless in tracking the trio down. When Luke is nearly killed after being captured by one of the planet’s creatures, Han Solo comes to his aid. However, just before Han arrives, Luke hears the voice of his late mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, who advises Luke to seek the Jedi master Yoda in the Dagobah system. When the Empire finds the rebels, a battle ensues but Han and Leia are able to escape using the Millennium Falcon.

Meanwhile, a recovered Luke goes to Dagobah with R2-D2 to find Yoda. At first reluctant, Yoda takes Luke in as a student and begins to train him to master the Force and the ways of the Jedi. Han and Leia go to Cloud City to find an old friend of Han’s, Lando Calrissian. However, the Falcon is being tracked by a notorious mercenary named Boba Fett. When Luke gets a premonition of Han and Leia suffering, he makes a decision that will change his life forever.

Set three years after A New Hope, George Lucas brings us the next chapter of the saga but only as executive producer and coming up with the story. However, he has brought in capable hands in director Irwin Kershner and screenwriters Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan to unleash this truly second act of the original trilogy.

Mark Hamill becomes more mature as Luke Skywalker, the young Jedi trainee who after the death of his master Obi-Wan Kenobi, finds himself a new master in Yoda but forced to make a decision that changes the course of the war and his life forever. Harrison Ford’s Han Solo and Carrie Fisher’s Leia slowly begin their romance but still come out as times as an already married bickering couple. Alec Guinness returns in ghost form as Obi-Wan Kenobi, who advises Luke to find Yoda in the first place. Frank Oz provides the voice of Yoda, here using more puppeteer effects rather than the CGI use of the prequel trilogy, and serves as a true mentor type. Meanwhile, Billy Dee Williams rounds out the cast as new saga member Lando Calrissian, who may not be all he seems to be.

This is the film where we begin to see the climactic lightsaber duel that would appear in every subsequent film of the saga, including the prequels and the recently released The Force Awakens. It is also in this duel, where a certain famous line is spoken, one that still holds the tests to time as it is in fact, one of the lines almost everyone who has seen movies knows. And if this is your first time seeing this film, this line will make your mouth drop or even have the same reaction as the person who hears the line gives.

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is the best follow-up to the original saga with the climactic lightsaber battle that drops the bomb, one that changes everything.

WFG RATING: A+

20th Century Fox presents a LucasFilm Ltd. production. Director: Irwin Kershner. Producer: Gary Kurtz.  Writers: Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan; story by George Lucas. Cinematography: Peter Suschitzky. Editing: Paul Hirsch.

Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Alec Guinness, David Prowse, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz, Elaine Baker, Jeremy Bulloch.

 

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