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…
We usually don’t get this kind of jump cross-fade but in Minute 117:00, Star Wars really goes for it. While his giant angular warship pursues Luke’s tiny cruiser, Vader sends Luke a surprise psychic DM like the guy at work who messages you for a favor but has to ask how your day is going first. It’s unwelcome but the socially awkward, personality-disordered Imperial executive doesn’t get social cues and he’s not pleasant about it either. He interrupts Luke’s thoughts without any small talk, no “how you holding up?” or “did you catch your hand on the way down?” - just the usual “join me or die” from a demanding father who expects too much from his son.
The juxtaposed images of these two characters perfectly shows where their relationship stands in this movie’s final minutes. Vader stands triumphantly on his bridge while Luke lays bruised and beaten on a ratty mattress. Between Han, Chewie, and Lando, we can only imagine what this dorm-sized bed has been through...
But back to the scene’s editing... we never really see this type of transitional cutting between two locations elsewhere in Star Wars, but Empire’s always subtly subverting expectations. The crossfade between Luke and Vader is so quick it’s barely noticeable, but if you thought Vader was lying about being Luke’s dad, this sequence seems to say otherwise.
A minute ago, Leia, Lando and Chewie were steering the Falcon away from the star destroyer but the giant metal arrowhead-shaped ship cuts off their exit. Vader’s capital ship, the Executor, is aptly named because, according to FindLaw.com, an executor is someone who’s always...
And that’s Vader in a nutshell. He’s the Empire’s head executor and dammit if he isn’t great at his job. When he christened the ship, do you think he hit it with a glass of champagne or just flew it through a Jedi orphanage? I’ve always wondered...
Despite his villainy, a recent poll by Morning Consult measured the likability of each Star Wars character among different social groups. Vader scores a 49% while Anakin was liked by 55% of the population (which is ok, I guess, if you’re talking about Sebastian Shaw from the end of ROTJ). Leia scores highest with 73%, while the lowest rating did not go to Jar Jar Binks, of all people/gungans. That distinction went to Snoke, surprisingly... Jar Jar actually rated in the low 30’s and the demographic that favored him the most? Republican men.
So, yes, Vader fights for the will of the Empire and at 49% he has a higher approval rating than Donald Trump. But the Empire’s will is not the only testament enforced in this galaxy. If anyone remembers the children’s book, Zorba the Hutt’s Revenge, there we meet Jabba’s (Greek?) daddy who is the executor of his son’s estate and looking to get revenge against his baby slug’s strangling. Star Wars truly is a story of fathers and sons...
And escape from Witch Mountain, I mean, Mount Yoda... which I imagine is Dagobah’s Mount Rushmore because I haven’t read it since I was a child and I don’t have the heart to ruin my current image with whatever is actually listed in Wikipedia/Wookieepedia.
So even though Luke feels like a sack of mashed potatoes, he picks himself up, trudges over to the cockpit and gives us his best tortured expression. Like he doesn’t want you to ask what’s going on, but he wants you to ask what’s going on...
Best Performance by a Human: Luke wandering around in a daze as the painful truth sets in.
Best Performance by a Non-human: The giant model of the Executor passing by like an intergalactic freight train.
Best Line: from Luke who, only minutes ago, was a disbeliever. Now he accepting Vader’s revelation, he aims his anger at Kenobi with, "Ben, why didn't you tell me?
Rating: 47 out of 50 for the 50/50 inheritance that Luke and Leia will split upon Vader's death. Which, by the end of it all, is really just Vader’s bad reputation.
And before we go, let's mourn the loss of all those AT-AT's from the first act of Empire... We'll never have to forget, thanks to the Unipiper.
This was originally posted on Mindctrlaltdel.tumblr.com