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….
As if we needed it, here's another minute that proves why Empire is different and special and all that stuff. Our heroes didn't know how good they had it. Threepio may have been missing and there was an unsettled feeling hanging over the too-good-to-be-true vibe of Cloud City, but they were finally safe, clean and fed for a good ten minutes. Any other movie would have used the Vader-in-dining-room reveal as the starting point of some action sequence to break up the slow build of the serious drama. Or, they would have picked up the pace and rushed head-long into a blowout finale. But Empire Strikes Back isn't an action movie. It's a sequel to one of the biggest adventure movies of all time and it subverts expectations by not following in A New Hope's same structural footsteps. By doing that, it cements Star Wars as its own genre with ideas and tropes that are made to be broken - whether subsequent sequels knew it or not.
One person who seems to know what makes these overblown serials unique is the man behind The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he said, "each new film hopefully recontextualizes what came before it. That’s part of the game. Yes, it’s a continuation of not only The Force Awakens, but also of the legacy leading up to it." That pretty much nails what each movie in the franchise should do for good (i.e. revealing Luke's true parentage) and bad (i.e. revealing midi-chlorians).
After checking back in with Luke and reminding the audience that he's on a collision course with destiny, the film sidesteps any further physical action between the good guys and Vader. Instead, it gives us a quiet character moment of all things...
Alone in a large prison cell/Japanese reading chamber(?), Chewie is left to his own devices. He chooses to get back to work, instead of giving up hope or connecting with the other inmates.
It's here that Chewbacca gets his Hamlet moment...
And you can see where playwright Ian Doescher may have gotten his idea for crafting Shakespearean versions of Star Wars. The operatic story lends itself really well to an Elizabethan translation so, outside the fact that anything with Star Wars could easily become a bestseller, these adaptations are pretty clever. And they sound even better when performed by Shakespearean actors, like the emperor himself, Ian McDiarmid, to crowds that will listen to him growl and hiss about anything:
It's not like he hasn't done this type of thing before.
And although Chewie never gets his own soliloquy, Peter Mayhew did get lines to speak on the set...
Best Performance by a Human: Luke's casual flying skills.
Best Performance by a Non-human: Hamlet, starring Chewbacca.
Best Line: Chewie's roaring at the bars.
Rating: 390 out of 400 years a wookiee can live (imagine how hard life imprisonment must be for those guys).
This was originally posted on Mindctrlaltdel.tumblr.com