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Star Wars Sucks/Rocks: The Empire Strikes Back
© RevolutionSF Staff
May 17, 2005

The editors of RevolutionSF explore their love/hate relationship with Star Wars. What do you love/hate about it?

Proof that The Empire Strikes Back Sucks

Ice? A planet of ice? Jeez, that's not real bright. . . . (Mark Finn)

"Scruffy-looking nerf-herder." (Shane Ivey)

"Laser-brain." (Shane Ivey)

Wait, I have one that's not lame-ass dialog! How exactly the heck did the inside of a giant asteroid-eating space worm get gravity and a non-toxic atmosphere? (Shane Ivey)

Those Rebel pilots really need to take some lessons in dogfight patter from Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards.

Wedge: “Good shot, Janson. One more pass.”
Janson: “Coming around. Once more. One more. Cable out, let her go!”
Wedge: “Detach cable.”
Janson: “Cable detached.”

Keep in mind that Janson is Wedge’s co-pilot, and, in that last interchange, as far as I can tell, Janson is telling Wedge that, in his opinion they should detach the cable so they don’t get jerked around like a fish on a line and crash, to which Wedge responds by telling Janson that yes, he agrees that, under the circumstances, they should indeed detach the cable, to which Janson responds that, since, after careful consideration, they have both come to the same conclusion, he has, in fact, detached the cable. I know that Wedge is the leader, but, cripes, Janson, be a man. Take some initiative. Some lines cut from the theatrical release, but restored to the Special Edition:

Janson: “Bladder full, let me go!”
Wedge: “Unzip pants!”
Janson: “Pants unzipped!”
Wedge: “Good shot, Janson!” (Jason Myers)

Weird Al Yankovic's "Y-O-D-A" not on the soundtrack. (Joe Crowe)

Smarter than you, he is.
I don't care how good a Jedi Master he's supposed to be. Yoda's still a smug, unhelpful little prick. (Kevin Pezzano)

Should Jedi (even Jedi-in-training) whine this much? (Peggy Hailey)

Chewie can jury-rig an entire pirate freighter, but can't figure out which way Threepio's head attaches? (Peggy Hailey)

Time compression totally screwy throughout the film. (Mark Finn)

No character development on the puffy-sleeved Lobot. I wanted him to hang out with Lando and sip some smooth malt liquor, but no. (Joe Crowe)

“No! That’s not true! That’s impossible!” My feelings on this vary each time I rewatch Empire. Is it the most emotionally painful moment of the series, or is it just plain painful? (Jason Myers)

There is no space battle. Every Star Wars movie should have a dogfight space battle. (Jayme Lynn Blaschke)

"You're not ready. If you face Vader now, you'll screw everything up." Or, you know, not. Whatever. (Peggy Hailey)

After 24 years, I'm STILL not entirely clear on the symbolism of Luke's "failure at the cave" on Dagobah. (Jayme Lynne Blaschke)

Again, the slowness of the lightsaber battle. It's better than the one in A New Hope, but what can I say? The prequels have spoiled me. (Kevin Pezzano)

Boba Fett having fewer lines than Darth Maul. After all the hype about Boba Fett, including the Star Wars Holiday Special and the free action figure giveaway (that didn't actually fire the promised backpack missile because that would be a "choking hazard," darn it) the big bad bounty hunter didn't actually do anything. He just figured out where Han Solo was going and told Darth Vader. He didn't even fight Luke — a couple of shots and that was it. What a rip. (Jayme Lynn Blaschke)

The downer ending. Yes, I know it made perfect sense thematically. Doesn't mean I have to LIKE it. (Kevin Pezzano)

With all that focus on flashy special effects, Empire has little of the classic storytelling (“Thank the maker! This oil bath is going to feel so good”), witty repartee (“Don’t call me a mindless philosopher, you overweight glob of grease!”), character development (“I knew there was more to you than money!”), compelling philosophy (“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid”), and Oscar-worthy acting (“But I was going into Toshi station to pick up some power converters!”) which made the original Star Wars such an enduring classic. The Empire Strikes Back marks George Lucas’s transition from maverick visionary film-making god to bloated style-over-substance no-talent hack who just keeps making the same movie over and over again. (Jason Myers)

Let me take you back to the halcyon days before the Internet. My excursion to see Empire was planned. I'm flipping through TV. A local newscaster whose visage has been burned into my brain appears. He says with a chortle and a grin, "Well, the new Star Wars movie is coming out soon, and guess what? Vader is Luke's father!" NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

The whole, big revelation in the whole, big movie, spoiled.

I honestly had no idea. I watched the movie waiting on the payoff of the spoilage, thinking maybe someone was mistaken. Not because I wanted Vader not to be Luke's daddy. I just wanted to not know any details, even back then, and just let the story wash over me as I watched it. I'm still mad.

Thanks a filking lot, News Guy! (Joe Crowe)

Proof that The Empire Strikes Back Rocks

The color in this film. The intense, lush colors — from the stark whites and blues of Hoth, to the rich earth tones of Dagobah and the asteroid field, to the billowing brightness of Cloud City. The Empire Strikes Back is wall-to-wall eye candy, of the most subtle kind. The hues and shades, especially during Luke's climactic battle with Vader, mirror and amplify the atmosphere and mood of each scene brilliantly. (Jayme Lynn Blaschke)

Nerf-herding laser-brains aside, the dialog and characterization in Empire set a standard that no subsequent Star Wars movie has matched. We felt for these characters. They made sense. The overwhelming danger they faced was that much more real. (Shane Ivey)

The rebellion gets its collective head handed to it. Holy crap! Although I was disturbed by it at the time, I finally understood why the Empire was so feared, and the rebellion was so fearful. (Jayme Lynn Blaschke)

The big setpiece battle coming at the beginning of the movie, instead of the end. It nails you to your seat, and keeps you there until the very end of the movie. (Kevin Pezzano)

AT-ATs. (Jason Myers)

AT-ATs — damn, those things were cool. (Kevin Pezzano)

Tauntauns, stop-motion animated, no less. (Mark Finn)

Hoth, baby. It's all about Hoth. Bad stuff happens in the cold, because that gets ON you. No setting added so many wonderful things to the universe: Wampas, Tauntaun guts, AT/ATs, and sweet, sweet Bacta. (Joe Crowe)

Han: “Don’t get excited.”
Leia: “Captain, being held by you isn’t quite enough to get me excited.”
Han: “Sorry, sweetheart. We don’t have time for anything else.” (Jason Myers)

Yoda. A puppet that's more emotive than some of the actors. (Peggy Hailey)

Thanks to the stellar HUTA abilities of Frank Oz, Yoda is utterly convincing as a dissembling imp (“Mine! Or I shall help you not”), a goose-bump inducing alien (“You will be. You will be.”) and, most importantly, as the wizened spiritual guide we all wish we had. (Jason Myers)

Luke getting in a sabre lick on Vader's shoulder. Sure, old daddy Darth loped off Luke's hand in retaliation, but that one strike showed that Luke was still dangerous even though he was outmatched. And after seeing Attack of the Clones, it's my guess that Luke's blow struck flesh rather than bionics. Ouch! (Jayme Lynn Blaschke)

Luke's death-plunge from Cloud City. That whole Luke / Darth scene. One of the most excitingly staged, well-played scenes in cinema, geek-centric or not. Suck on that, Steel Magnolias. (Joe Crowe)

Spectacular pacing. This thing moves so fast that when the final music plays, you can't believe it's really the end. (Peggy Hailey)

Vader being a totally scheming, evil badass, doing things like luring Luke to him by torturing his friends, jerking around Lando, and not even bothering to get up from his dinner when deflecting the flurry of blaster bolts Han Solo sent blazing uselessly in his direction. (Kevin Pezzano)

Vader assumes his place as primo bad-ass in science fiction. (Mark Finn)

Boba damn Fett. (Shane Ivey)

"I love you." "I know." (Shane Ivey, Joe Crowe, and Peggy Hailey)

Has yet to be surpassed as the best Star Wars movie of all time. (Mark Finn)

He knows.

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