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 Rebels say goodbye. The Empire says hello.
Han and Luke bid each other farewell and they won’t reunite onscreen again until 1983’s Return of the Jedi. Much is left unsaid, and even Chewbacca expects a more straightforward parting from them. Han, perched on the hood of the Falcon, wishes Luke luck and Luke smiles, offering him the same. But then he pauses, as if he’s about to say something else before turning off to the battle ahead of him.
But any issues they may have are never really addressed. Unlike Han’s relationship with the princess, they don’t air out dirty laundry in public, despite having spent three full years on the run together and it's a shame. If I had to bet my sabacc winnings on any unsaid thoughts, it would be about their mutual feelings toward Leia. Although Luke doesn’t necessarily know she's his sister, Han senses a competing affection there and the final shot of their exchange is a view of Han’s conflicted face as he watches Luke go. If only he knew the truth!
Following this personal interplay, we get a technical assessment of the situation in the control room, lit much darker now that it's in code red mode. General Rieekan assesses the situation and it’s bleak. The Empire’s just come out of hyper space and the Rebels will have to consider a ground war against the superior Imperial forces. Although Rieekan is a much more pragmatic side character – character actor Bruce Boa portrays him with just enough warmth befitting a leader for the good guy Rebels. With bit parts in Octopussy, Full Metal Jacket and Fawlty Towers under his belt (he was friends with John Cleese), his appearance on the televised version of the play Come Back, Little Sheba might have had an influence on his scenes with Princess Leia. Filmed in 1977, the top billing for Come Back, Little Sheba went to Laurence Olivier and Joanne Woodward, but the supporting heavy was played by Carrie Fisher. While Mark Hamill added a summer comedy (Corvette Summer) under his belt between filming the original Star Wars and the 1980 sequel, Carrie Fisher was able to try her hand at more dramatic work.
“And featuring Bruce Boa as the Axe!”
As if things couldn’t get bleaker, the minute lasts long enough for us to come upon Vader squatting in his meditation-egg. It shouldn’t be bad ass but it is. He looks like he’s sitting inside a mega throne and it makes me wish I could sleep inside my own iron-lung-with-rotating-chair ($299.99 at Brookstone).
Best Performance by a Human: Luke holding back something deeper in his conversation with Han: either his true feelings or his lunch.
Best Performance by a Non-human: Chewie waiting for Luke and Han to say what’s on their mind.
Best Line: General Rieekan’s preview of the action to come: “Prepare for ground assault.”
Rating: 5.1 out of the 6th planet in the Hoth System.
This was originally posted on Mindctrlaltdel.tumblr.com