‘The Empire Strikes Back’ Turns 38: Is It The Best ‘Star Wars’ Film?
Search your feelings. You know it to be true. The Empire Strikes Back is the father of all Star Wars films.
On May 21st, 1980 Star Wars: Episode V aka The Empire Strikes Back was released to theaters worldwide. With the enormous success of the first film three years earlier the buzz around Empire was just as enormous. Kids wanted to see it. Adults wanted to see it. Teenagers wanted to see it. Hell, even the family dog couldn't wait to see the film. They had a huge crush on Chewbacca you understand. When all was said and done the movie pulled in over $530 million at the box office.
Why was it such a huge success? Let's start with the obvious - The Daddy Darth angle. That may be the biggest reason why I think The Empire Strikes Back is the best of all the Star Wars films. I was 7 going on 8 at the time and that's pretty much all every kid in my classroom talked about for the rest of the school year and throughout summer break. It was a HUGE deal. That final scene when Vader reveals the truth to Luke? Wow. Hearing the booming voice of James Earl Jones as Darth Vader say "I am your father" over that amazing John Williams music followed by Luke's painful denial was Earth shattering. Keep in mind, this was way before the internet. Movie plot secrets were much easier to keep. Nobody, I mean NOBODY, saw this coming.
While the final reveal can be considered the high point of the film there is so much more to The Empire Strikes Back. Being a fan of all things gothic this movie pushes all of my entertainment buttons. The dark, brooding tone of the film starts immediately after the opening crawl and it takes place on the ice planet Hoth. It's frigid cold, cloudy and extremely windy. The sense of dread fills the arctic air. The viewer immediately feels a sense of danger coming and that edge-of-seat suspense is held throughout the entire film.
Although The Empire Strikes Back was a sequel to the Star Wars franchise there are some memorable debuts in this movie. This is the first time we get to see one of the greatest inventions in the Star Wars series - The AT-ATs:
Another first from Empire was a character who has gained a cult following among Star Wars fans over the years - Boba Fett.
...and how could we forget the city that is guaranteed to give every Star Wars fan a high - Cloud City?:
Speaking of Cloud City, that's where we first meet the smooth-talking smuggler Lando Calrissian:
There's another first in The Empire Strikes Back that I'm trying to think of. Hmmmm. Oh yeah, that little green fella named Yoda! Where would the Star Wars franchise be without our beloved Jedi Master?:
I could go on and on but I think you get the point. Besides, I think TNT is about to run Empire right now so I'm gonna go watch it for the millionth time. In the meantime, I wanna know what you think. Is The Empire Strikes Back the best of all the Star Wars films? Post your comments below or at i95's Facebook page.
You can listen to Eric Senich live on Saturdays from 10am to 3pm on 95.1 FM. You can also listen online by clicking here or by downloading the i95 ROCK Mobile App.