With the production of movies disrupted by the plague, the Saw Mill Theaters is showing a great movie from times gone by.
Many “Star Wars” enthusiasts call “The Empire Strikes Back” the finest of all the many “Star Wars” films. I am not sure I buy that, but I can understand the enthusiasm for Episode V, which is the second of the movies to appear. George Lucas began the series with Episode IV for reasons apparent only to him. But he is George Lucas, so I guess it is OK.
For the guy who has not seen this movie six times, this is the one where Han Solo (Harrison Ford) goes to the city in the sky. There he meets his old acquaintance, Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams). Han Solo ends up having a hard time in this episode. Carry Fisher again plays Princess Leia. Having one of the leaders of the republic titled as an actual, no fooling princess takes some getting used to. Still, all the rough edges get smoothed out eventually. Mark Hamill returns to his classic role as Luke Skywalker. (There is nothing subtle about Georg Lucas. He wants us to get the message.)
Memorable scenes include Luke discovering how to use the force under Yoda’s tutelage, one of the few Jedi Masters left alive. In another great scene, Luke and the super evil Darth Vader have the best light-saber duel of all time.
Remember, at the end of “Episode IV,” we didn’t know who the yummy princess liked, Han or Luke? We find out.
To see this again on the big screen is just a treat. A treat not to be denied.
We also see or are aware of under the costumes, Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, Kenny Baker as R2D2, and Anthony Daniels as 3-CPO. Of all the cast members, only Anthony Daniels as 3-CPO has appeared in every “Star Wars” film.
George Lucas picked his professor from film school as his director. Irvin Kershner also directed the Bond film “Never Say Never Again” and 35 episodes of “The Rebel,” a popular TV western starring Nick Adams. Picking Kershner worked too. The film had a budget of a tiny by modern standards $33 million but brought in $550 million at the box office. Lucas Films has picked up a lot more over the years in TV rights, DVDs and the huge toy spin off. I can remember when an action figure of rebel pilot Wedge, a fan favorite, went for good money. Watch for the mailman from “Cheers” John Ratzenberger as rebel Major Delin.
“Star Wars: Episode V, the Empire Strikes Back” runs for a good strong two hours and four minutes. It has a mild PG rating, so bring the kiddies. It earns five spinning galaxies. This is great movie entertainment.
This one won an Oscar too, for the best sound. Go figure.