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 73:00, Yoda finishes raising Luke's X-Wing from the water. It's the most magical moment in the most cynical Star Wars film and while it wrings all of the wonder it possibly can from this situation, Yoda still uses it as teachable moment. When the X-Wing lands gently on the banks of the swamp, Luke walks up to his vehicle and touches it, amazed. Then he turns to Yoda and says, "I don't believe it." Then like he's Edward James freakin' Olmos in Stand and Deliver, he responds - "that is why you fail."
Look we're all shocked and amazed by this magical X-Wing floating trick, but it's not like Yoda RAISED THE TITANIC!
And Obi Wan Kenobi is in this movie too!
This is the closest Empire gets to a religious experience. In Star Wars' documentary style of filmmaking, shots don't usually dwell on overly emotional character interactions, it just shows us the events as they are. But this sequence seems like it's a clip from Yoda's PR campaign for sainthood.
But the Church of the Force, like the Catholic Church, probably has some strict rules before someone like Yoda can get sainted.
1. You must be a devoted [Force-sensitive] person/alien. (Yoda practically oozes Force teachings.)
2. You must be selfless and giving. (Yoda was willing to take a hit from some senate podiums when fighting Darth Sidious.)
3. You must be responsible for a couple of miracles. (Yoda raised the X-Wing and turned into CGI when he had to fight Count Dooku.)
4. You must still seem worthy 5 years after your death. (Yoda was still a ghost 5 years after his death in Return of the Jedi, so he's good.)
5. You must be canonized. (Since there's no Pope in Star Wars, Yoda needs to figure this one out himself.)
Speaking of religious experiences...
I had the honor of seeing The Empire Strikes Back In Concert with the New York Philharmonic. Performed at the cavernous David Geffen Hall in Lincoln Center, the orchestra played the score in it's entirety, with the movie playing on the screen above them. Hearing the regal trumpets and strings boosts the viewing experience to a whole new level. Look - with the larger-than-life special effects, humor, adventure, romance, and the lack of an opening credits - Star Wars already felt like more than any old movie. With the heightened emotions elicited by the instruments onstage, the audience reactions are boosted too. There's more laughs at what you forgot was supposed to be funny and applause at every characters' entrance. I'd seen Star Wars themes played by an orchestra before, but never a complete, musically accompanied movie. There's nothing like it.
Although they didn't play any of the many deleted musical cues John Williams scored for Empire, they did sneak in the concert-version of the Imperial March and the snippet of the Yoda theme that was cut from Luke's duel with Darth Vader. These were played as we segue'ed into and out of intermission....
And that's why I bring this up. The organizers of the concert chose this particular moment - Yoda raising Luke's X-Wing - as the emotional climax of Empire's first half. They called intermission here and took us into our ten minute break by blowing the harsh notes of Vader's theme in our face. People have been calling Star Wars a "space opera" since it originally came out, but for your next marathon, go for the true operatic experience. Hire a 50 piece orchestra.
Unlike the music hall's intermission treatment, Lucas and Kirshner keep the film's merciless pace by wiping from the inspirational moment on Dagobah to a dread-filled shot of Vader's command ship. The Star Destroyer hovering above it drops a deuce of a spaceship. It's Captain Needa's shuttle, and since this split-second is the only time we see it onscreen, that's probably why ILM just re-used an old model for this shot. Yep, this tiny cruiser is actually just a modified TIE Bomber. With the TIE/sh VIP Shuttle, we see that even though captain's are considered "VIP's," they're just as expendable as the assembly-line fighters populating the Imperial Navy.
Plus, we all know the only VIP in the Star Wars galaxy is whoever wins a backstage pass to meet Sy Snootles.
Best Performance by a Human: Luke - Hamill's performance sells Yoda's unbelievable power.
Best Performance by a Non-human: Yoda - able to show concentration and disappointment all at once.
Best Line: Yoda's response to Luke's "I don't believe it..." - "That is why you fail."
Rating: 10,000 out of 10,000 saints.
This was originally posted on Mindctrlaltdel.tumblr.com