Star Wars Episode VII comes out next week. NEXT. WEEK. After all the anticipation, we’re finally going to see the continuation of this saga, and nothing I’ve seen or heard gives me anything but hope. The film Episode VII will be measured against – the gold standard for Star Wars – is Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (and if you don’t believe me, remember you guys voted it #1 on our poll a few months back).
Empire is a perfect movie, and probably the greatest sequel of all-time (I can only think of The Godfather Part II or The Dark Knight as competition). When I make my personal favorite movie lists, I cheat and count franchises as a whole because there are so many, but if I had to single out films, Empire would be in the top three just by itself. Everything that was right about Episode IV was made better by Empire. George Lucas didn’t direct the film (Irvin Kershner did) or write the script (Episode VII co-writer Lawrence Kasdan did) so the dialogue was the most memorable of any film in the series.
We got three completely different and totally fantastic new planets with Hoth, Dagobah and Bespin. We got Boba Fett, Emperor Palpatine, Lando and Yoda added to our already-stellar cast. The film has the Rebels getting the snot knocked out of them from beginning to end, establishing so much more than A New Hope did Darth Vader and the extent of his power. Then if all that wasn’t enough, the film has one of the greatest plot twists in movie history and one of the best cliffhanger endings in movie history.
I’m so glad that this film is coming up soon in our IMDB Top Movies feature so we can dissect it there and it takes a little of the pressure off of picking one scene, because I know I can pick four more soon. I’m going to go with the obvious. Again, it’s a duel, but contained in that duel is SO much character development. Of the OT duels, this is the best fight choreography and Vader, after initially underestimating his son, pretty much beats him to death with the saber and the Force. THEN, THEN comes the moment that sets the entire saga on its head. This is why the films should still be watched in the order they were released. No one, should ever be robbed of the moment when Luke realizes that it’s Anakin in that armor. So brilliant. You build up this character of pure evil and another of innocence and good and all of a sudden they’re one in the same. I wonder, in the theater, if anyone guessed the twist after Luke’s test in the cave. I was mastering base motor skills at the time, so I unfortunately didn’t get that theater experience. If you did, I’d love to hear about it.
One more week! Next week we’ll look at the final film from the original trilogy and review the first film from the third trilogy! Keep breathing, people, we’re almost there!