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….
In Minute 27:00 we get our first up-close shot of the AT-AT walkers and the stop motion still holds up. It's incredibly that so many sequences in the film rely on this stop motion technique - the full-body running shots of the Tauntauns, some wide angle shots of the probe droids and now the giant walkers. Because these vehicles are heavy machinery stomping through the snow, their herky jerky motion masks how these shots were painstakingly molded in the studio, frame by frame.
As cool as they look and as much damage as they inflict, why doesn't the Empire use hover tanks? The Trade Federation defeated the Gungans with droid-operated tanks over 30 years prior! What, did the Empire spend all its invasion budget on guns and ammo? All they need to do is roll their own ion cannon past the shields at ground level, blow up the Rebel shield generator and send in the troops. Whoever planned this invasion should get fired...
But how did they make this walker footage look photorealistic? Check out this excellent behind the scenes documentary from the Empire Strikes Back laserdisc!
Luke leads the speeders on Attack Pattern Delta, which we can only assume means attacking them from the sides. He hasn't yet realized the armor's too strong for blasters. Doesn't he know these walkers are so powerful that the toy version from 1981, which originally cost $49.99, is now worth up to $975.00?!
If only Lucasfilm could charge 1000 bucks for toys in the late 70's. Then they could have afforded to not have transparent cockpits.
As explained in the Special Edition VHS documentary that everybody bought in 1997, Industrial Light and Magic decided not to merge the images of the snow background and the cockpit foreground at "their full opacity." This was done so a thick black outline wouldn't show on the cockpit when it was superimposed into the shot. This also meant that you could see through the solid metal of Luke's speeder. Watch an ILM apologist try to talk his way out of this offense!
Despite the Rebels having vaguely invisible jets, they're fighting a losing battle against the Empire. How does it shake out? Will they get out alive?!
...Yes. But it's not the outcome that's interesting, it's all about the journey. And they don't lose without a fight.
Best Performance by a Human: Luke multi-tasking - flying, giving orders, keeping his cool.
Best Performance by a Non-human: All Terrain Armored Transports.
Best Line: There aren't too many in this minute but let's go with Luke's "Steady, Dack..." Poor Dack, he's too green.
Rating: $46.50 out of original $49.99 price of 1981 AT-AT Playset.
This was originally posted on Mindctrlaltdel.tumblr.com