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Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

05 Jul

Today is Independence Day: the day when, 236 years ago, our forefathers signed a Declaration of Independence from their evil overlords, the English.  I thought it appropriate and, also, slightly ironic to choose this night as the night I watch the tale of another rebellion.  Sadly, their tale ends (temporarily) in defeat, doled out by the hands of an evil lord.

[Hands — because one gets cut off!  Right?  Guys?]

One more thing before I hit play: Empire magazine, way back in 2008, said that this was the Third Best Movie of All Time, behind The Godfather as number one, and Raiders of the Lost Ark as number two.  That is pretty steep for me – I LOVE Raiders of the Lost Ark.  So much so, I almost want to make business cards that proclaim me to be an Obtainer of Rare Antiquities.  Because how awesome would that be?

Okay – now I’ll push play.  Right after I pour a gin and tonic.  (What?  It’s the Fourth of July and I don’t like beer.)

Okay, I get why Star Wars began with “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …”, but shouldn’t Empire begin “A long time ago {but not as long as the last movie}” yada yada?  No?  Am I being too picky?  Okay, fine, I’ll shut up.

ROLLING CREDIT THINGY TRANSCRIPTION!:
[Wow, my TV is super loud.] 

Episode V
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
It is a dark time for the Rebellion.  Although the Death Star has been destroyed, Imperial troops have driven the Revel forces from their hidden base and purused thema cross the galaxy.

Eveading the dreaded Imperaial starfeleed, awoijfaerawgokjwerg;lkj GIVE UP PATTERSON

Apparently, the Rebel Base is located on Hoth [but where’s the Revel Base?  Can I go to there?], and Darth Vader has sent a shitload of probes into the galaxy to find Luke, in order to punish him for blowing up his Death Star. 

Hey it’s Luke!  And he’s riding — yes, I know it’s a Tauntaun, but can I just play dumb for another thirty seconds and make a Huge Kangaroo joke?

NEVER MIND BETTER JOKES AHEAD so Luke’s talking to his best friend Han on their super-cool wrist communicators, and Luke’s Tauntaun rears its head, and Luke asks it if it smelled something, and I was about to make a “He who smelt it dealt it” joke when LUKE GETS SIDESWIPED BY A FUCKING YETI

Note to self: Tauntauns can smell Yetis, but apparently not hear their approach or warn anyone about the Yeti’s proximity to its rider.  Good to know.  Meanwhile, the Yeti has knocked Luke unconscious and is dragging him away to somewhere.

Han returns to the rebel base and is calling for his other best friend, Chewie.  Han is deserting the rebels because Boba Fett is still looking for him to collect the debt he owes to Jabba the Hut.  As he’s saying his goodbyes, he gets pissed at Leia for not making a bigger scene, and dares her to tell him to stay for her, and not for the rebel alliance.  Hm…

My hmm stems from: that’s not how a typical hero acts towards his woman.  I mean — oh man, I’m not going to explain this right, am I?  Look, guys?  Pardon me while I try and work out some feels over here.  Han Solo is the typical, brutish, strong hero – witty, quick on his feet, battle-weary yet still battle-ready.  Good at his job (best pilot in this ‘verse, at least).  And he’s telling Leia that he knows how she feels and he wants her to admit it.  Why?  Does Han reciprocate the feelings, and wants to know he won’t be rejected first (which, in itself betrays some vulnerability in Han)?  Does he suspect but isn’t sure?  Or, much like Paul Varjak did in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, is he trying to show Leia how oblivious she is to the love he has for her?  I — I have seen too many movies, yet not enough, that I am pleasantly surprised at this characterization.

It also makes me wonder what the hell happened to George Lucas in the interim.  Because seriously, ten minutes into this movie and I’m waxing philosophical on it, whereas Phantom Menace had me napping during the Pod race.  Twice.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA  I’m sorry, I’m sorry — I’m a horrible person.  Luke’s strapped to the ceiling, and he’s doing his Jedi Mind Trick to grab his lightsabre,, and ALL I CAN SEE IN MY HEAD is Silent Bob, using his own version of the Jedi Mind Trick to get the videotape of Shannon and Trish.  I knew what the Mallrats scene was referencing all these years, but even so — it took me by surprise. 

I really feel the need to watch Mallrats now.

Was that the Yeti’s right hand?  Jeez, George Lucas — or should I call you Freddie Foreshadowing?  But seriously, do you have some mental block when it comes to always wanting to cut peoples’ right arms off?

Okay wow – nothing to snark at, nothing to joke about.  This is totally engrossing me.  So I’m at the part where Han is getting Leia and Chewie and 3P0 out on the Falcon — so yeah, I’ve skipped a lot, but again, not too much to talk about, which is good — but here’s my question: why are the Storm Troopers wearing those cape thingies?  Because you know what they look like?  Klan members.  And that’s not a good look for anyone, even idiots that can’t hit the side of a barn with their blasters.

And then Han goes through the asteroid field and tells C-3P0 to never tell him the odds, and now Luke is crash-landing on Dagobah. 

Yoda’s a little hellraiser, ain’t he?  I kinda like this Yoda.  The Prequel!Yoda was way too stuffy.

I am like Princess Leia in that I, too, need more scoundrels in my life.

Dear Ben Kenobi: I have watched the prequels.  And, granted, I did not see you in your training period.  But when the fuck were you ever reckless?  I mean, sure, you broke with the Jedi to go and rescue Amidala or whatever happened in Attack of the Clones, but — you were the one always reining Ani back from the brink.  You calling yourself reckless is not a good selling point for me.

And look, that’s not a knock to Obi Wan’s character – that’s a knock on George Lucas’s shitty writing.

Holy shit the cave was a sandworm?  [That’s a very stupid sentence I just wrote.]

Okay, COOLEST THING EVER — Luke just fuckin lightsaber’d Darth Vader’s head off in his Dagobah hallucination fight scene, and at the same time in REAL LIFE, a crack of heat lightening (or, now that I hear the thunder, real lightening) shot through the sky.  It was AWESOME and I swear I am NOT MAKING THAT UP.

Now, is this the part where Yoda says that he has done the impossible, and that makes him mighty?  Because that would be awesome.

[Forty minutes of awesomeness later]
I think that says it all.  All the jokes, references — a lot of literature, to be honest — they all make sense now.  I was pleased that I was aware of 90% of the story before actually watching it, which only goes to prove my theory that I don’t actually have to watch any of these movies — that the plots and references are imprinted in my brain, like some cultural brain sludge, and we all know all of this and it’s only when we watch the source material do they resonate. 

Honestly, I kind of wish that I had sent back A New Hope sooner, because that would mean I could watch Return of the Jedi later.  But in a way, it’s good that I have to wait.  For one thing, I’m almost falling asleep while typing these paragraphs, and I never did finish my gin and tonic.

Grade for The Empire Strikes Back: Awesome.

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Posted by on July 5, 2012 in Star Wars

 

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