Written by Richie Pepio
During the 124 days before the release of The Last Jedi, I’m reviewing all 124 minutes of the theatrical version of
The Empire Strikes Back. Join me and together we will watch Star Wars….
The 10th Minute of Empire Strikes Back focuses entirely on Luke’s struggle to leave the Wampa cave. Here’s a sample of test footage that the creative team assembled prior to putting together the final theatrical cut:
It’s an intense moment, told through Luke’s fearful eyes and his intent to summon his lightsaber, just out of reach. The Wampa costume doesn’t look as clumsy as it does in the behind the scenes footage or deleted Echo Base sequences, but that’s probably because it has hands covering its face. We never see the full body shot of the Wampa, like we do in the re-edited 1997 Special Editions and that’s for the best. A full body shot probably would have betrayed the suspense.
John Williams’ “Skywalker Theme” comes in slowly with some bass and drum crashes for added intensity and a “Star Wars” motif flourishes once he can grab his lightsaber, cut off the Abominable Wampa’s arm and make a break for it.
This sequence had a big impact on me personally. As a little kid, what better way was there to spend a snow day than by rolling through the snow like an injured and rambling Luke Skywalker? Also, who wouldn't want to pretend your annoying friend was a Wampa so you could hit them with a stick?
Speaking of friends, I knew this kid who once bragged about having a Star Wars game I'd never heard of. Although I wasn’t lucky enough to have a Super Nintendo and missed out on the goodness of all the Super Star Wars 16-bit masterpieces, I was able to spend many hours of quality time tapping “Up-down-up-down-A-B-A-B-START” and “WAMPASTOMPA” and “DEADDACK” into the password screens for LucasArt’s Nintendo64 installments. But this guy I knew got an unknown new title straight off the rack at Blockbuster. Browsing the VHS titles in the aisles of my nearest video rental store was a favorite Friday night pastime for pre-teen me, and I'd never even seen this before. Apparently, this special edition Star Wars game just followed the adventures of the main characters of the Star Wars trilogy – not Dash Rendar of Shadows of the Empire fame, nor the pilots of Rogue Squadron in N64’s game of the same name. The adventures of the original trilogy with 64-bit graphics? It was too good to be true?! I freaked out, had my parents take me to the nearest Blockbuster, Best Buy, Radio Shack, Gamespot and Hollywood Video to secure this home gaming experience which ultimately didn’t exist. I should’ve been tipped off when this friend said that the entire first level is just you playing as Luke, hanging upside down in the Wampa cave and the objective is to stop hanging so all the blood doesn’t rush to your head. Would Lucasfilm invest a ton of money on a game with that lame? Probably. But still, I was so needy of any and all Star Wars merchandise that I would’ve played a computer game where you watch the Millennium Falcon's new coat of paint dry.
Congratulations to Luke for surviving his encounter with the Wampa. As a reward his efforts, he gets this beautiful trophy rug…
As a reward for our efforts, we get another minute of The Empire Strikes Back under our holsters.
Best Performance by a Human: Luke reaching desperately for his lightsaber.
Best Performance by a Non-human: That Wampa as it rushes in for the kill.
Best Line: “RRRREEEEAAAAWWWWWRRRR!!!”
Rating: 0.97 out of 1 severed Wampa arm.
Stay tuned tomorrow for Minute 11:00, in which Han revenants his way into a Tauntaun.
This was originally posted on Mindctrlaltdel.tumblr.com