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The Empire Strikes Back

The “Star Wars” movie with the iconic “No, I Am Your Father” line turns 40.

Movie theaters are slowly starting to reopen their doors to people, while upcoming blockbusters like “Black Widow” and “Wonder Woman 1984” have been pushed back. This weekend, in the meantime, the “Star Wars” masterpiece “The Empire Strikes Back” is returning to theaters to celebrate its 40th anniversary. So, I’ve decided to rewatch this on my Disney+ account, and it was exhilarating and fun to relive the movie’s best moments.

You can start on the ice planet Hoth with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) escaping from a hungry yeti, by slicing off his arm with his lightsaber. And then, there’s that awesome and breathtaking battle against the AT-AT Walkers, when Luke’s idea of tying the machine’s legs with the cables works like a charm.

As a kid, I thought his first encounter with Yoda (Frank Oz) was hilarious, when the Jedi Master takes a nibble at Luke’s dinner, digs through his things, and fights R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) for a flashlight (“Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine”). Luke needs Yoda to train him to become a Jedi, and it becomes a challenge for him, considering how strong the Force must be.

You’re also able to enjoy the chemistry between Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (the late Carrie Fisher) in the ways he tries to hit on her, and be her protector. Not to mention his skills on the Millennium Falcon, especially when he, Leia, Chewbacca (the late Peter Mayhew) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) escape that worm monster they thought was a space cave. And when he must reunite with his old gambling friend Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), whoa baby!

The special effects that brought all these things to life are incredible. Stop-motion and puppeteering convince us of the creatures, ships, and machines, and no generic CGI existed, other than some blue screens. It’s amazing how the real world and animation world is able to merge together without overlapping one another.

“The Empire Strikes Back” was also known for featuring one of the best plot twists in cinematic history. If I reviewed this movie back in 1980 (when I never existed), I wouldn’t spoil it for you like Homer Simpson did (check out the episode “I Married Marge”), but since most of you have seen it, then now’s a good time for me to praise it. This scene has shocked audiences with how Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones) revealed to Luke that he was his father after cutting off his hand. The line “No, I Am Your Father” has ranked with one of the best movie quotes of all time, and it’s timeless.

The performances from the cast, particularly Hamill, Ford, Fisher, and Williams, are all excellent in how they were able to present their characters’ sparks and ambitions. And the vocal work from Oz and Jones is iconically inventive and motivating. Director Irvin Kershner was hired by George Lucas to direct the movie, and he delivers the goods on how he presents the models, cast, special effects, narrative (by Lucas, Leugh Brackett, and Lawrence Kasdan), and cliffhanger. At least we get to see it today, instead of in 1980, so we can rush to “Return of the Jedi.”

Rating: 4 out of 4.

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