You don't have to be a fan of Star Wars in order to enjoy this movie. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is the 5th movie in the Star Wars trilogy (Chronologically). This movie starts off with the Rebels hiding on the ice planet of Hoth showing that once again the rebellion are running from The Empire and that they are weaker. The cinematography in the scene where Luke is in the ice cave and the way the introduce him is amazing. The start out showing the bones of some creature stuck in the ice of the cave, and then the camera pans to Luke hanging by his feet from the roof of the cave. This great cinematography by Peter Suschitzky immediately shows how dire of a situation Luke is in. I like how the shot started by showing the bones first, those instantly sent a shiver through my body and that makes the viewer realize that things have died in the exact same cave the Luke is being held in and that the same thing could happen to him. However when watching this film for the first time I already knew that Luke wasn’t going to die because of how early in the film we were and the fact that there will be another film released later.
In this movie we also see that Darth Vader has become darker and much harsher. He will kill his own men if they fail or anger him. The actors for the Imperial officers do a great job of this by having an intense look of fear on their face if they have to confront Vader after something failed. John Williams (the composer behind all of the star wars films) also introduced Darth Vader’s theme in this movie. The piece of music known as The Imperial March now is one of the most famous pieces of music ever composed. Whenever Vader is portrayed with this music in the movie it gives everyone viewing it that The Empire is not a force to be messed with. In the ensuing battle on Hoth we finally get to see all of the characters involved in a battle and the focus being on them rather than it being on the ships. This makes the viewers care more about the characters because we fear for their lives. We also get to see an obedient side of Vader when he is having a conversation with the Emperor and he is down on one knee when speaking to him. This is the first time in the original trilogy that we have seen Darth Vader answer to someone, before this I had the idea that he was the top power and everyone answered to him but this scene proved that to be not true.
In the next act of the film we get to see Luke go to the Dagobah system to find Yoda and be trained as a Jedi. The set for when Luke crash lands on the planet is incredible, I felt as if they were actually on a swampy planet in another galaxy. Some of Yoda’s teaching to Luke are so powerful that I even use some of them in my life as motivation. Afterwards there is a scene where Luke is trying to lift his crashed x-wing from the swamp and he is unable to do it. I like that they made it to where he couldn’t lift it because it shows that he is still not a master of the force and that he is still learning the ways of the force. However afterwards Yoda (who is a master of the force) comes up and is able to lift Luke’s x-wing from the swamp and he places it on the ground next to him.
Next Luke leaves his training before it is complete and goes to the cloud city against Obi Wan and Yoda’s advice to save Han and Leia from a vision that he has seen of them getting tortured by Darth Vader. When Luke finally enters the room to confront Vader the filmmaking is surreal, the lack of music and the mist act as a build up to the battle between Luke and Vader. The cinematography for the fight is once again very well done, there is a good mixture of wide shots and close-ups. This scene also blended in the use of shadows to show the conflict that Luke is going through by covering half his face in shade (the dark side) and half in the light (the light side). Luke comes into the fight over confident and is quickly overpowered by Vader because he is more in-tune with the force. Another great piece of filmmaking occurs after Vader reveals to Luke that he is his father the music is increased and there is a long pause to let what was just said sink in. Most people when they see this scene for the first time are shocked as this is one of the greatest twists in cinema history and the pause in dialogue shows the significance of what was said. Luke then looks down below him at a giant pit and lets go of the pole he is holding onto and falls into attempting to commit suicide as there is nothing left to live for in his mind.
The film ends of a brilliant piece of writing that leaves the viewer on a cliff hanger, they are discussing a rendezvous on tatooine and we have no idea what or where that is. In conclusion Star wars: The Empire Strikes Back does a great job serving its purpose as a film that is supposed to continue the themes from the previous movie while at the same time setting up for episode 6. I believe that this film is one of the best shot and edited films ever. I would recommend this film to anyone who is a fan of sci-fi/action films, it has a very compelling story that kept me hooked.