Recently I checked out Star Wars I – VI from my friendly neighborhood library. I thought I’d brush up as preparation for the December release of The Force Awakens. Since it’s been awhile since I watched the movies, I noticed things that I’m almost ashamed to admit I’d never noticed before. So, in the interest of pointing out what others have already picked up on, I give you my observations from rewatching Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back.
- The ice monster on the planet Hoth that attacks Luke bears a striking resemblance to the Abominable Snowman from the claymation Rudolph movie. “Bumbles bounce!”
- “A death mark’s not an easy thing to live with.”
Ummm,kind of an asshat thing to say, isn’t it? Guess the Rebels had too many generals already.
- Why do I get the feeling tauntauns are always doomed on Hoth?
- Han is definitely NOT scruffy looking.
- Don’t look so smug, Luke. You just kissed your sister.
- So at this point Vader knows his son, Luke, is with the Rebels. But how did he find out? He sensed someone strong in the Force took out the Death Star with that killer shot, but he didn’t necessarily know it was Luke. Or did he?
- When Vader’s Easter egg shaped meditation chamber opens, it looks suspiciously like he’s decorated the inside with wall stickers. You know the kind. And they look… pink? Is he that starved for a little color?
- Couldn’t Vader use the Force to make his holographic image a little clearer? I mean, he’s trying to communicate with the troops!
- If the Rebels are trying to avoid detection by the Empire by hiding on an ice planet, why do they insist in going around in fluorescent orange everything? Hubs maintains that in the futuristic past of Star Wars, they have so many sensors that color makes no difference, but I say a little white paint never hurt anybody. Unless you count graffiti.
- Dagobah. Daaaaaaaaaay-gobah. Dagobah, and me wanna go hommmmme.
- So, why is Dagobah strong with the Dark Side of the Force? I remember reading something about that being the reason Yoda could hide there, but why exactly? Is that why the Jungland Wastes were a good hiding place for Obi-Wan?
- “Captain, being held by you is quite enough to get me excited.”
Amen, sister. Luke’s sister, I mean. See what I did there?
- “Away with your weapon. I mean you no harm.”
So Yoda doesn’t always talk backwards. Also, Yoda sounds suspiciously like Kermit the Frog. And they’re both green. I wonder…
- Given how pissy Luke is acting, I can’t blame Yoda for worrying about training him as a Jedi. Look what happened last time an angry Skywalker learned to use the Force.
- “You like me because I’m a scoundrel.”
So, first Leia kisses her brother, then she makes out with Han on the Falcon. She’s just all sorts of confused, isn’t she? Guess when you’re the only main female character on set, your dance card fills up pretty quickly.
- When the Emperor says he suspects the Jedi that destroyed the Death Star is the “offspring of Anakin Skywalker”, Vader acts all surprised. Darth was already looking for “Skywalker.” I mean, was he keeping the Emperor in the dark so he could find his son first and protect him?
- Yoda is the wisest muppet EVER.
- “What’s in there?” “Only what you take with you.”
And Luke takes his weapon. I mean, there’s so much meaning in this one tiny scene. It shows he’s not perfect, that he could potentially become evil, and echoes Vader’s fall from the Light. I can’t imagine a more perfect scene. It’s like flash fiction, or a zen koan, compact and powerful in its brevity.
- “Bounty hunters. We don’t need their scum.”
Hey, that bounty hunter…Is that the Metron Captain from Star Trek?
- OK, I admit it. I admire Captain Needa. He knew they lost the Falcon, he told his fellow officer that he was going to Lord Vader to take full responsibility, and I’m sure he knew what that meant. So basically, he felt it was his duty, and he was willing to face death for the sake of that duty. That’s admirable. If only he’d been on the good guys’ side!
- “You do have your moments. Not many of them, but you do have them.”
Leia gives Han a kiss when the Falcon floats away with the Imperial garbage. What is it with them and garbage? Is that their Paris?
- “If you choose the quick and easy path, as Vader did…”
Quick and easy? He massacred his friends and force-choked his pregnant wife in a jealous rage. How was that quick or easy?
- What is it with Leia and braids? Is that something she got from the mother she never knew, because Amidala must have spent hours at the hair salon. Either that or they had wig closets that would make Tammy Faye jealous.
- “I’ve just made a deal that’ll keep the Empire out of here forever.”
Han shoots. First. Then Vader invites him to dinner.
What if all Vader wanted was to have a cup of tea with our beloved heroes? That whole torture thing might have been avoided if they had simply been polite and had dinner with the guy. Let’s face it. He probably doesn’t take rejection well.
- Not only is C-3PO a whiner, he’s an ingrate too! That “overgrown mophead” is the only one who even looked for C-3PO when he went missing. Now C-3PO calls him names because he made a mistake fixing him? No wonder R2’s language is bleeped out all the time. Some best friend.
- Han switches between wearing a jacket and not while being frozen in carbonite. I didn’t know he had time to change his clothes in such dire circumstances, but I guess he didn’t want to be scruffy looking.
- “Calrissian, take the princess and the Wookie to my ship.”
I don’t think Vader knows Leia is his daughter at this time, so why does he care? Why doesn’t he sense the Force in her?
- “The Force is with you, young Skywalker, but you are not a Jedi yet.”
And then Luke draws his lightsaber first. Could this have been a tearful father-son reunion if Luke hadn’t pulled his sword first? Vader set the trap with the carbonite, but this is the first time he’s face to face with his son. Was he considering something else, something less confrontational, maybe confessional?
- “I’m terribly sorry about all this. After all, he’s only a Wookie!”
Shut up, C-3PO.
- So wait, Bobba Fett is a clone of Jango Fett, and Jango Fett was the template for the clone stormtroopers, and twins are clones, and Leia and Luke are twins…I’m starting to see a pattern here.
- “R2, you can tell the computer to override the security systems.”
So, R2D2 is like a computerized skeleton key? He fits anywhere, is compatible with and can override any system? Handy.
- “I am your father.”
And every Dutch person watching this scene says, “Yes! I told you so! In your faces, stupid English-speakers!”**
- Is Luke suicidal when he lets go during the father revelation scene? I mean, I originally thought it was a desperate attempt at escape, but he did just find out his father was space-Hitler.
- Luke doesn’t have any blood on him after losing his hand. I’m guessing lightsabers cauterize wounds.
- I love how Lando echoes Han from the first movie. First, he’s saying how he’s done all he can but he has his own problems, then when he tries to be heroic and the Falcon can’t go into hyperdrive, he yells, “It’s not my fault!”
- “Ben, why didn’t you tell me?”
Because he didn’t want to tell him his father was a psycho and not a Jedi hero. Also, he got killed five minutes after they met, and after he died it just never seemed like the right moment.
- Sure, they’re on the run, but on the bright side Luke gets a robot hand! I know, I know, like cyborg father, like cyborg son, but who wouldn’t want a robot hand?
Empire left off with one hell of a cliffhanger, but it’s still a great movie. The good guys get away, so there’s enough resolution that I don’t feel cheated, yet there’s momentum for the next movie. You know that there’s more coming, and you’re excited about that! That’s the kind of middle movie I can get behind. There’s nothing wrong with cliffhangers, as long as they give you some resolution. That’s the crux. Without any resolution, you just piss off your audience, but with too much there’s no desire to see more. Empire is the perfect cliffhanger.
I hope you enjoyed my incredibly insightful comments, and hopefully I’ll see you next week when I talk about Return of the Jedi!
*My thanks to D Paul Angel for suggesting I create this post and to my husband, Doug, for his insightful comments.
** “Vader” means “Father” in Dutch.
***Though I had originally thought I’d watch the series beginning with Episode I, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. So my observations may change as I remember or misremember things from the prequels.