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….
Following the catchup with the other characters in Empire's 30th minute, a quick succession of chaotic shots show how the Rebel's front line has devolved into an explosive frenzy. They never had the upper hand but they appear to be losing the lower hand as well.
As the Imperial machines trudge onward, we get a throwaway glance at a AT-ST "Chicken" Walker (seen in the frame up top). This vehicle is easier for maneuvering and scouting - ideal when taking out any ground threats. It's only one of two times we see the AT-ST over the course of this movie. According to Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays and noted on T-Bone's StarWarz.com, the AT-ST's were supposed to feature more heavily in the action here. Director Joe Johnston, who worked with ILM on many of the effects in the original trilogy, goes into detail about the trials of the chicken walker's stop-motion filming:
"...There was a shot, a POV from one of the snowspeeders; the speeder is attacking the walker and passes right over its head. Unfortunately at the very end, we were under a deadline and were literally up all night shooting this scene. Someone didn’t tighten up the backing of the painted sky, and no one noticed it. The next day in the dailies, you could see the background slip, and it slipped about eight inches half-way through the shot…It just fell, which completely ruined the shot.
But the two-legged walker was never in the script; George had not asked for it. It was just something that I thought: Hey, wouldn’t it be neat to have a little scout walker, like a two-legged thing? I imagined it to be a vehicle that would provide support for the four-legged ones, something that’s quicker and more lightly armed. I built the prototype from model kits just as a desk display, and then the animators took that and cut it apart and attached the pieces to an armature. It happened almost overnight...”
Then Luke goes and makes the worst career decision since George Lucas produced Howard the Duck. With the Rebels outgunned and outmanned, Luke gets his old friend, Rogue 2, to be his right hand man. He leads Rogue 2/Zev in a head-on attack run, flying directly at the approaching walkers. Luke seems so confident that we're confident too - and yet it's the dumbest maneuver he could manage. Why couldn't they spare a couple of seconds and fly at the AT-AT's from the sides? They need to circle them with Rogue 2's tow cables anyway, and why is Rogue 2 backing up Luke when it should be the other way around?
Regardless - Rogue 2/Zev Senesca's allergies are acting up, but before he could wipe up his bloody nose with a Kleenex, he's exploded. The flaming speeder is such a quick shot that the stationary dummies inside the exploding speeder model don't look half bad.
Then Luke gets taken out too. If they wanted to get really risky on us, they could've pulled a Game of Thrones and just killed him off, forcing Wedge to become the hero. Instead, they just electrocute his cockpit - proving that while his limbs don't have the strongest plot armor, nothing can kill our hero outright.
With all the technological advances in this universe, you'd think some engineer would've figured out how to keep a malfunctioning machine from spitting out lightning every time it shorted, but no - if you want to touch a ship's controls or rub elbows with a Sith Lord, you just might get burned.
Long story short, Luke crash lands for the first of two times in this film. Minute 31:00 proves that all the good things Luke accomplished in A New Hope were a fluke and he's not fit to lead. I move for a vote of no confidence in Luke Skywalker's leadership.
Best Performance by a Human: Rogue 2/Zev Senesca's curtain call.
Best Performance by a Non-human: AT-ST Walkers on Ice!
Best Line: Luke's "Hobbie, I've been hit!"
Rating: 1.6 out of 2 AT-ST Walkers on Hoth.
This was originally posted on Mindctrlaltdel.tumblr.com