Favorite Movies #2
The Empire Strikes Back
In 1977, George Lucas made a movie that changed special effects and cinema and marketing and science fiction for the next twenty years. We all know it was called Star Wars, and then it was so huge that he realized he could make more, so he made it part of a trilogy and called it Star Wars, Episode IV, A New Hope. Star Wars swept the world and made movie history.
Then came the daunting task of finishing what he started, or trying to. Lucas did what most movie makers cannot … he made a better movie.
Now, I don’t mean better just because the special effects improved, although they did. I don’t mean better as in better action scenes, although it had that, too. I mean better in every sense of the word. Empire gave us everything we wanted out of the sequel and then gave us one thing more … a cliffhanger. It didn’t all work out in the end. You knew there would be a third one.
The story was more complex. The writing was equal, if not better. The developing romance between Solo and Leia took a few scenes at best, and it worked. The characters were more developed. We got to see how a Jedi trains and a fight between Luke and Vader! And the direction was much better by Lucas’ mentor, Kershner. Lucas also had help with the screenplay, which explains a lot.
This movie should have been the template for following Star Wars movies, but alas, Lucas is too much of a control freak to actually let that happen. As he proved through Return of the Jedi, Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith, he should have let experts do their job while he did his.
And yes, even for a sci fi movie, this is one of the greatest movies of all time and one I will always love …