On the Way to Episode VII: The Empire Strikes Back is Awesome

Crowdfunding is complete for my debut novel PEAK CROSSER (EMPIRE OF THE PEAKS BOOK 1), tentatively scheduled to be published in March 2016.

Find out more about PEAK CROSSER

Read the others in this series:
The Phantom Menace
Attack of the Clones
> Revenge of the Sith
> A New Hope

It's been a couple of years since I've seen the Star Wars movies, and Empire is the one I always get done with and say: "Wow. That's one of the best movies ever."

I wrote last time about why the original Star Wars is my favorite, and I'm not changing that stance. But Empire is a spectacular movie. The first 30 minutes contain the excellent sequence on Hoth, and then the story diverges into Han/Leia in an asteroid field and then Cloud City, and Luke training with Yoda on Dagobah.  Expertly written and acted, and intense action throughout.

Here are some of my observations from watching Empire this time around:

  • The romance works. In Episode IV, there's a hint of romance between Han and Leia, and a little between Luke and Leia (gross!). There are two scenes which seal the deal in this one: the "Why are you following me" scene, and their first kiss on the Falcon. As I said in a previous blog post, the prequels fail trying to get you to care about Anakin and Padme's love story; the reverse of that is that Han and Leia give us one of cinema's most iconic love stories.
  • Darth Vader is awesome. In the first film we get an intimidating Darth Vader who chokes people, but he spends most of the time on the Death Star until getting in a fighter to take on the Rebels. This time, Vader is everywhere: on Hoth, tracking down the Falcon, and then in Cloud City trying to trap Luke. This movie cements him as the greatest villain ever.
  • Luke is a whiner. As a kid, I didn't pick up on this. Luke comes off as really immature, which totally works since it contrasts so well with his newfound maturity in ROTJ. I just want Yoda to smack him on the head with his cane. 
  • The battle on Hoth was awesome. That battle feels like a war movie but with SW tech. The trenches, the lines, the retreat, it all works really well. Contrast that with the battle on Geonosis in AOTC which felt like a battle in a videogame, not real war.

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These movies are so good. I know my critical lens is tainted by nostalgia, but that's fine with me. Watching these movies every few years fills me with optimism and fun, and very few films do that in the same way. If JJ Abrams can bottle even half of that awesomeness of Empire for TFA, I will be a very happy man WHEN I WATCH THE NEW STAR WARS MOVIE NEXT WEEK!