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

Movie Title: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

Year Released: 1980

Rated: PG

Runtime: 2h 7min

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

Director: Irvin Kershner

Writer: Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas

Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz, James Earl Jones

Review: The adventure continues in this "Star Wars" sequel. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) face attack by the Imperial forces and its AT-AT walkers on the ice planet Hoth. While Han and Leia escape in the Millennium Falcon, Luke travels to Dagobah in search of Yoda (Frank Oz). Only with the Jedi master's help will Luke survive when the dark side of the Force beckons him into the ultimate duel with Darth Vader (David Prowse).

In my opinion, the best film in the illustrious Star Wars saga is none other than Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. This film takes everything established in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and builds off of it to make one of the most enjoyable films I've ever had the pleasure of viewing.

Luke Skywalker heads off to the planet of Dagobah, where we get our first look at the famous Jedi master, Yoda. It is here, on this swamp-like planet that Luke begins to hone his skills and become in touch with the force. These scenes are a lot of fun, as Luke's youthful eagerness and impatience doesn't exactly mesh well with Yoda's wisdom and calculated tactics. Meanwhile, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca are on a mission of their own as they attempt to evade the Imperial fleet, eventually coming in contact with the exuberant and brash, Lando Calrissian. Lando and Han's relationship is both tumultuous and friendly. It's clear that these two have a lot of history (which is further explained in Solo: A Star Wars Story), and their dynamic is a lot of fun to watch unfold. All of this culminates with Luke finally coming face to face with Darth Vader in a duel for the ages. With a darker tone than its predecessor, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back still possesses all of the galactic flair that make Episode IV fun. I cannot recommend this film enough, as it is one of my favorite films of all time, and one that should be commended for its success as a sequel to a wildly popular film. Get to a TV and watch this movie now! "Do or do not. There is no try." But seriously. Do. I promise you won't regret it!

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: When shooting on-location in Finse, Norway, a fierce snowstorm hit the hotel where the cast and crew were staying. This would have normally halted filming, but director Irvin Kershner thought these weather conditions were an excellent opportunity to film the scene where Luke wanders through the snow after escaping the Wampa cave. He did this by sending Mark Hamill outside into the cold, while he and the cameraman stayed and filmed inside the hotel's front hall.


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