Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Sequel Spotlight: The Empire Strikes Back

Welcome to a weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. In this series, I’ll be taking a look at some famous (and infamous) sequels to see how they compare to the original. I'll do my best to alternate between the greats and the best forgotten. Leave your thoughts or a suggestion for a spotlight in the comments!

The Empire Strikes Back
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Released May 21, 1980

Here’s a sequel that almost everyone likes. Objectively, this was quite the feat, since the first “Star Wars” film in 1977 was immensely popular. After a failed TV “Star Wars Holiday Special” the year after, the franchise returned to the big screen with a new director, Irvin Kershner, and an exciting premise. The major new characters were Yoda, Boba Fett, and Lando Calrissian, and the film was full of memorable scenes, including the big reveal at the end about the truth identity of Luke Skywalker’s father. Most actually consider this to be the best film in the series, since it’s not quite as campy as the first and doesn’t feature the Ewoks that many didn’t love in the third film. Its opening on the ice planet of Hoth with the giant AT-AT walkers scouring the place was formidable, and Luke’s training on Dagobah was rather legendary. Han Solo being frozen in carbonite and that final sequence with the Millennium Falcon rescuing a now-handless Luke Skywalker were both classic as well. The third film provided a fitting conclusion to the saga, but as everyone knows, that wasn’t the end of this particular universe. Unadvisedly, George Lucas returned to direct the prequels himself, and while I’m of the opinion that Episode I and Episode II are decent films, I know I’m in the minority. Rebooting a franchise two decades later with entirely new characters isn’t a smart move, and I imagine that at least ninety-nine percent of avid fans will tell you things would have been better off without Jar Jar Binks. Enjoy the fan-made trailer for this one above.

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