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Never tell me the odds.


Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 
(1980)

The result of Irvin Kershner crafting (by Lucas' own admission) a film far more nuanced and artful than the series' creator would have produced seems to be that the special edition additions mostly don't draw attention to themselves. The only one I'd really get uppity over with is changing Boba Fett's voice, partly because it sounded so cool in its original incarnation and partly because it just throws up greater inconsistencies (why wasn't Temuera Morrison brought in to dub all the Stormtroopers if Lucas is being that needlessly anal?)

The reputation of The Empire Strikes Back has justifiably grown since its initial reception (which included complaints about it being front-loaded, lacking a proper ending and a strong structure - all of which are valid, as ironically one of it's greatest strengths is that it is willing to be its own animal). 

Kershner makes sure no character went short of attention, but Han and Leia are the heart of the piece, and it's such a peak for Ford's character (he gets to shoot at Darth Vader!) that you kind of wish he died in freezing rather than being disinterred as a comic buffoon in Return of the Jedi. Hamill is served meaty philosophy to chew on (the tree scene on Dagobah is masterful) before giving it his all in the showdown on Bespin (his "No! That's impossible!" will never have the same impact for the current generation). 

Visually, it's utterly gorgeous, the only film in the series where you feel there's consummate care taken with every shot. And, it features John Hollis as Lobot (only "Lando's aide" on the credits, I notice). Sondergaard rocks!

*****

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