The Empire Strikes Back (Star Wars: Episode V) Review
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In the second installment of George Lucas’s epic space saga, Star Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back follows the continuing story of Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in his quest for the Rebellion. We join our heroes as they are once more evading Darth Vader's Force on the ice planet Hoth. As Luke is struggling to balance the Force, the Rebellion is sliding further more into the grips of the Empire. Unable to win this battle, the Rebellion fleet leaves Hoth, and the adventure begins. Getting separated from the Rebellion by his own choice, Luke pushes on with his own personal quest with the help of R2-D2, while Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewie (Peter Mayhew), and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) embark on an intergalactic space game of Cat and Mouse with the Imperial Forces, causing them to run into Han's old smuggling buddy, Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams).

From the opening scenes in this film, it's breathtaking. The Imperial AT-AT walkers and the full-scale Hoth battle scenes between Rebellion and Imperials are amazing. This film blew away all special effects barriers and created new ones of its own. If the first Star Wars film (see the review) appealed to you, this one will take you totally by surprise. Lucas thought long and hard about this second installment before the cameras rolled, and that's clear from the intensity of the film. I was taken aback when I saw this film. I wasn't old enough to see it at the cinema back in 1980, but when I did see it at home on video at the tender age of eight, I was as amazed as all other eight-year-olds who saw this film.

As in every film, there's always a personal grumble, and mine is the Yoda scenes with Luke. Luke meets Jedi Master Yoda, who furthers his knowledge of the Force. The concept of the meeting is fine, and Yoda's humour is much needed. It's the length of these scenes that gets on my nerves. It makes up half the film, and I always find myself fast forwarding because it’s just too much. But with that aside, The Empire Strikes Back is otherwise a fantastic film. The light saber duels in the film are fantastic and mesmerizing. And Darth Vader's final dialogue with Luke is unforgettable—there's a twist about to evolve here, and even the actors who portrayed these characters didn't know themselves until the day of filming.

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