The Empire Strikes Back (Special Edition) (1997) – Review

4 Stars

It’s generally accepted amongst even the most casual Star Wars fans that The Empire Strikes Back is the best film in the entire series. When I was a kid Return of the Jedi was my favorite, but as I grew older Empire slowly took over the top spot in my personal ordering of the original trilogy.

The rebel alliance is in retreat after the destruction of the Death Star that concluded the previous film. Nestled on the snowy plains of the ice planet Hoth, Luke (Mark Hamill), Han (Harrison Ford) and Leia (Carrie Fisher) must outwit Darth Vader and his stormtroppers working under commands directly from the Emperor. The ghost of Obi-Wan instructs Luke to seek out the Jedi master Yoda in order to complete his training with the force. Meanwhile Han, Chewbacca. Leia, C-3P0 and R2D2 are hiding under the care of Lando (Billy Dee Williams) on Cloud City.

The Empire Strikes Back is the seminal entry in the series. Revealing dark secrets of the Skywalker family and introducing fantastic new creatures and characters, the film never slows down as it heads to it’s surprising conclusion.

Once again this version has been digitally refreshed with both minor and major additions implemented. This thematically dark entry would set the template for nearly every second-chapter in blockbuster trilogies for years to come. Not only is The Empire Strikes Back the best Star Wars film ever produced its also one of the best sequels ever made.

Director: Irvin Kershner
Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

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