Monday, September 13, 2010

Episode V: The Fan Favorite

This weekend was fun.  I went to Pride Night at Kings Island on Friday night with some friends and had a blast.  I hadn't been to Kings Island since I was in single digits, so it was almost like going for the first time.  I loved riding the rides and not having to wait in line.  It was amazing, we pretty much just walked onto everything, and some we even rode twice (in the dark!).  Then Saturday I made Bouef Bourginion again for Bond, who came to visit.  We ate and watched The Godfather Part III and Simone.  I guess it was just an Al Pacino kind of evening.  Then on Sunday, I rested.  The only thing I regret is not sleeping more...I just couldn't stop tossing and turning.  I never was tired though, so perhaps I just didn't need all that sleep.  At any rate, I survived to see another work week.  We're in week 4 now, and that means there are just 32 to go until next summer.  Haha, I'm not really that anxious to get to the end of the year, but it is a nice carrot to look forward to.  Speaking of summer, lets think back to a summer 20 years ago in that magical year of 1980.  The 70s had ended and ushered in a new era of filmmaking that was all about the telling of epic and fantastic tales of other worlds.  What better time then, to release the long awaited sequel to Star Wars.  Fans had clamored for it for years and George Lucas and 20th Century Fox were finally ready to unleash a new tale on the world where new characters would be introduced, secrets would be revealed, and a successful franchise's fate would be forever sealed.  So lets get Dark Side as we watch The Empire Strikes Back.

It has been some time since the destruction of the Death Star and the Rebel Alliance, while growing in power, has had to go into hiding once again while it is pursued by the evil Darth Vader.  Vader has become obsessed with finding Luke Skywalker, Leia, and Han Solo and has already ravaged many systems looking for them.  Meanwhile, on the ice planet of Hoth, Luke receives a vision from Obi-Wan Kenobi telling him that he must train with Jedi Master Yoda on Dagobah.  So when Vader's Super Star Destroyer attacks the planet, he splits off from the group with Artoo to seek Yoda while Han, Leia, Chewie, and Threepio are relentlessly perused by the Empire in a Millunium Falcon with no working hyperspace drive.  While Luke trains with Yoda, the group on the Falcon finds that they must take refuge on Bespin with Solo's old friend Lando Calrissian in his Cloud City.  Soon after their arrival, it is revealed that the whole thing is a trap set for them by Vader who plans to use them as bait to capture Luke with.  Luke, receiving a vision of them in pain, sets off to save them and ignoring Yoda and Obi-Wan's warnings to the contrary.  Soon Luke is locked in a life and death battle with Vader where an important secret is revealed and the fate of the galaxy rests on Luke's survival.

If A New Hope is good, then The Empire Strikes Back is great.  It expands on the story already set up in the original and then pushes it forward towards its conclusion in the next film.  Several staples of the series are also revealed in this installment, such as the love between Han and Leia and the true identity of Darth Vader (which, if you watch the prequels first you already know).  Plus, we have the first appearance of Yoda as the most awesome Jedi Muppet ever (once again, if you watch the prequels first, then its really his fourth appearance) and fan favorite Lando Calrissian played by Billy Dee Williams (what ever happened to him?).  Oh, and it has Boba Fett in it...who's popularity I still don't get.  I mean, the guy doesn't do ANYTHING between this film and the next and yet he's one of the most popular action figures and characters in the Star Wars series.  I suppose some of that comes from his appearance in the Star Wars Holiday Special and the books and comics that followed...but still.  He's so...dull.  There are characters who are far more interesting.  Anyway, there are other marvelous bits in this film such as the giant asteroid worm and the Wampa.  Oh, and lets not forget Han Solo's freezing in carbonite...the scene that was originally planned as a death scene because Harrison Ford didn't know if he wanted to continue playing Solo.  But really, there's little more I can say about this film that hasn't already been said.  It is definitely the best of the original trilogy, but not my favorite (that honor belongs to Return of the Jedi).  Go see it again, you'll be surprised at how well it still holds up even now.

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