When most people talk about the Star Wars films, most people will say that the Original Trilogy beats the Prequels hands down! There was just something magical about Episodes IV to VI. Of course, I have to agree; the Prequels were pretty atrocious when you compare them to the Original films. However, I do disagree when people say that The Empire Strikes Back is the best of the three films. My personal favorite is Episode IV (A New Hope) followed by Return of the Jedi and Empire Strikes Back being my least favorite.
Now, don’t misinterpret my earlier statement as me saying I hate The Empire Strikes Back! Far from it. It’s heads over heels better than most flicks and I still enjoy re-watching it for the most part. But, among the original Star Wars films, I just don’t think it’s as good as the other two.
I do have my reasons for thinking this. But first, I’ll go mention the things I think Empire gets right. For one, the invasion of Hoth was pretty intense. We see an actual “tank” in the Star Wars universe in the form of the AT-AT (All Terrain – Armored Transport) walker. Seeing them for the first time was very exciting and they looked unstoppable; too bad you can just trip them up and they become helpless! Also, watching Luke’s “official” Jedi training was pretty awesome! Watching the diminutive Yoda raise the X-Wing using the Force blew a lot of people’s minds at the time!
Of course, we can’t talk about Empire without mentioning the duel between Luke and Darth Vader as well as the big “reveal” regarding Luke’s father! It may seem cliche nowadays but, when it was just being shown, no one saw it coming! And, I actually like the ending of the film. It’s a very somber scene with Luke getting a new robotic hand and Lando flying off in the Millennium Falcon, promising Leia that they’ll find Han Solo. Like I said, I still love the movie! But I still have a bunch of issues that just keep me from liking it more than A New Hope and Return of The Jedi.
First, I didn’t like Yoda’s intro. Here he is, the last remaining Jedi master, acting like a fool, stealing another person’s food and going through another person’s stuff and claiming it for his own! Okay, he does redeem himself when he reveals to Luke that he is Yoda later in the film but I just found him annoying… which was the point, I guess.
Another thing I didn’t like were the scene where Han Solo, Leia, Chewbacca and C3-P0 hide inside a big asteroid and then it turns out they’re in the belly of a giant creature. It’s imaginative, I’ll give them that. But it’s pretty pointless and add to the story in the long run. It’s like George Lucas realized he needed to fill in some time in between the Millennium Falcon’s journey to the Cloud City of Bespin.
And, honestly, besides these two scenes, that’s it. Those are the only major issues I have with Empire. Like I said, I still think it’s a great film, one of the best, actually. Return of the Jedi just beats it by a hair and that’s only because the third film closes out the trilogy nicely.
I know I’m one of the rare fans that don’t think Empire is the best of the original Star Wars trilogy. But this is just my opinion anyway. If JJ Abrams can make the new Star Wars films half as good as Empire, I’ll be a happy Wampa!
Which is your favorite Star Wars film? Let me know in the comments section below!