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…
With a super star destroyer to the left of them and TIE Fighters to the right, here they are, stuck in not-hyperspace with us. It begs the question, if they’re in such a pickle, how come no one’s firing at the fighters with the turrets on the top and bottom of the ship? It's not important to the story?
Instead, Chewie “punches it,” but the Falcon’s motor poops out like an old Correllian jalopey. Leia and Chewie give the equivalent of a spit take with their angry glance at Lando. In turn, Lando defensively yells about his traitorous Bespin pit crew, “they told me they fixed it!” The princess and the wookiee's look is a nice break from the high drama that’s been stinking up the final act of this movie. They basically get in a solid, meme-worthy “could 2017 get any worse?!”-face before we cut to Vader back on his bridge.
In the 1997 Special Edition, we see Vader land in his capital ship’s docking bay (which is actually an unused shot from the original Return of the Jedi). Ultimately, it’s a pointless addition, here just for atmosphere. Yet, we only really need to see Vader, back on his ship, ordering his frightened underlings around. And it’s here that we witness Vader in his element. Early drafts of the screenplay showed the Sith Lord’s home, a brutalist obsidian castle in a sea of lava. It ended up appearing in a fun scene in Rogue One, but it wasn’t necessary here. Vader doesn’t need residence, he doesn’t need an escape, this is his home. We don’t need to see what he does in his spare time because he has none. He’s a career-soldier who's only occupied with the mission at hand - to destroy the opposition. And maybe that’s why the prequels don’t work. We don’t need to see why Vader became Vader. We just want to see him be Vader. Answering the riddle of the dark lord is like touring the behind the scenes of Disney World: it takes away the magic.
Don’t get me wrong. I think there’s a way to make the prequels work, it’s just that the Episode I - III answered the wrong questions. I mean, just look at Darth Vader. Is this a guy who, in his darkest depth of hell, wearing his shiny black armor, would utter the question: “where is Padme?” NO! To have him scream “NOOO!” practically gives away his capacity to be turned and and makes it seem like his turn to the dark side was a series of unfortunate events rather than a terrible but decisive choice made by a man who chose the quickest and easiest path. By the time he’s swimming in lava in Episode III, he should be over Padme. He should be filled with a sense of dark purpose and driven to dominate any opposition without the slightest shred of remorse or nostalgia. He should be more machine now than man, twisted and evil!
This is a freaking guy who sets a dinner table on Bespin just to see the look on Han and Leia’s face when they open the door! This is the guy who looks forward to capturing the Falcon - the ship carrying his CHILDREN - and torturing everyone on board. Just try telling me he isn’t the slightest bit turned on when he commands his underlings to “prepare a boarding party. And set your weapons for stun.”
While Chewie rushes to repair the ship before the tractor beams start a-comin’, Statler and Waldbot just bicker at each other like an old married couple. And since they’ve spent most of the movie apart, it’s nice to see them together again. But what will become of them with the Empire so close to capturing their ship. Will they get captured and smashed into who knows what? Will they manage to get away?
Best Performance by a Human: James Earl Jones as Lord Vader, never diminishing Vader’s power while still imbuing different levels into the performance.
Best Performance by a Non-human: Chewie, slapping his forehead.
Best Line: Vader's ominous order, "Good. Prepare the boarding party. And set your weapons for stun."
Rating: 0.94 out of the 1 week Anakin really knew Padme before they had their shotblaster wedding.
This was originally posted on Mindctrlaltdel.tumblr.com