Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Who's Your Daddy?

Well I have finally done it.. I have seen "The Empire Strikes Back" and with my own eyes witnessed one of the most talked about scenes in movie history... Darth Vader cuts off Luke Skywalker's arm... (After Obie Won Kenobie pulled the same stunt on Darth in SW III) at which point Darth reveals to Luke that he is indeed his poppa.


Just kidding.. I only knew that because I chose to watch the movies in chronological order and this was revealed in the 3rd movie.. BUT... for those who watched this scene in the movies it was truly the biggest "Whatcha talkin' about Willis?" moment since that “extra special” episode when Arnold found out that Gordon Jump's character was a pedophile. Sorta in the category of the unaired Family Affair episode where Jodie walks in on Uncle Bill and Mr. French and found out that Mrs. Beasley was more than just a little ol' rag doll.

The Empire Strikes Back, released in 1980 was quite futuristic. The aforementioned Luke... fresh from losing his arm to his padre, ends up getting a hand transplant.. a surgery not performed until approximately 20 years after the movie was made! And when R2D2 tells C3P0 about a ship sabotage operation he heard from another computer..... C3Po admonished him with the timely…”Don’t you know better than to trust a strange computer?”. Imagine that... computer viruses, spyware, internet problems..,.. all prophesized in The Empire Strikes Back.

The Empire here are the bad guys led by Darth Vader and backed up by The Emperor aka Bad Boy Palpatine, who was not played by Ian McDiarmid in the original, but actually was dubbed into the dvd, instead of Clive Revill who played him in the movie! McDiarmid who stole the show in Star Wars III actually plays the role in Return of the Jedi, but when that was filmed in the early 80s he was made up to look older.. but lets not jump ahead here... I read this on IMDB and I’m kind of curious to see how this is all going to work out.

To me, the bad guys shouldn’t be called The Empire.. That word always evokes happy thoughts.. Empire State Building, Empire Chicken, Empire Carpet, Empire Mortgage, etc. Once again,... Darth is fighting the battle.. but he knows he needs to win the war. Sonny boy Luke is caught in a tug of war between Darth's evil and The Good of the Force. Even though his mentor Obie Won is dead (killed at the hands of Darth Vader... or was he?), Luke still sees him.. Because in a John Edward-esque twist, he can now speak to the dead! Obie wan reaches out to him and tells him where to go for Jedi training by my homeboy Yoda!

My man Yoda then makes his 1st appearance... in the early movies he was a puppet... After initially meeting Luke he acts more intoxicated than a Match Game panelist... But, as it turns out it is all an act.. and after the silliness of their first meeting, Luke realizes that Yoda is giving him what he needs to earn credits for Force 101. But his sixth sense soon tells him that he may need to leave training camp for a more important mission.. kind of like the players who left their training camps to go play in the World Baseball Classic... only to find out it was not such a great idea... .like Bartolo Colon for example. In this case Luke.. not Bartolo senses imminent danger for Princess Leia and Han Solo.

Initially, our friends are hiding out at the icy planet.. but when Darth realizes that Luke is there.. he invades it.. thus beginning the 2 hour hunt for Luke.. the linchpin behind an Empire victory... or defeat... Luke, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Chewbacca.. along with droids c3po and r2d2 all manage to escape virtually unscathed... and while Luke and r2 go to Yoda-land, the rest continue on their merry way. However Han and Leia with amor brewing in the air, have to dodge Darth’s Keystone Kops Army…. They also need to duck an asteroid storm to do so… and end up in a real life game of the early 80s video game “Asteroids”. (Thankfully the graphics in the movie are far more advanced than the plain ol' ones in the Asteroid game!) Ultimately, they run into danger at the hands of Darth Vader.. And ol’ Luke has to leave Yoda to rescue his friends.. in what is actually a trap set by his own pop. No Father’s Day card for Darth.. That’s for sure…

Poor Han Solo.. On the run from Jabba the Hut. he gets caught by bounty hunter Boba Fett (who was seen in the 2nd Star Wars movie when his dad Jango Fett created the clones) Han is frozen alive… and in his last moments of consciousness Leia tells him.. “I love you”… Han slyly replies… “I know”,… not very compassionate.. Especially when you consider what an emotional basket case his sidekick Chewbacca is. (What would Shmuely Boteach say if Han and Leia were on his new reality show Shalom in the Home?),…. .

The key moment in this movie is the battle between Luke and Darth Vader… who doesn’t catch on till this movie that he is actually Luke’s dad. Didn’t the name “Skywalker” give it away? Didn’t he realize that Luke was adopted? Didn’t he wonder where Luke came from… or are those adoption records sealed? The infamous confrontation actually begins with Luke telling Darth…”I’m full of surprises”. Uh maybe not this time Luke… Anyway, yet another arm is lost… (Luke uses his light saber to de-arm a polar bear in the beginning of the movie.) What happened in George Lucas’s childhood that he has this obsession with losing arms??

Darth also tries some mind games to get Luke to cross over to the Dark Side.. by employing the same logic used on him in Star Wars III. It doesn’t work on Luke though… which shows Darth that young Luke is emotionally stronger than young Annakin. (Luke was well taught by Yoda not to give in to anger… or else he would end up on the dark side!) Darth also has an odd relationship with his military.. brutally killing a general every time he messes up. He does look the other way at the end when Luke and Leia get away.. mainly because it was r2d2 who saved the day… and of course as we know from SW1, r2d2 was a childhood friend of … Darth Vader!

The special effects are fantastic.. even by today’s standards.. even though this movie was made 25 years ago. The fight sequences are incredible.. Both on land and in space… The Empire is made to look like inept Nazis.. While to me at least the fledgling good guys remind me of the Israeli Army.. Despite the odds, they always come out ahead…. Also, the music composition is perfectly scored with the ominous Darth theme playing each time just moments before the heavy breathing wack-o appears on screen.

On a scale of 1 to 4 bladders meaning how less likely you would be to leave in the middle to go to the bathroom…

I was going to give The Empire Strikes Back 3 and a half bladders.. BUT… since I already knew the Luke - Darth twist… I am going to give it an additional bonus half bladder because the shock of that plot twist dramatically improves the quality of the movie.. Therefore ladies and gentlemen….

The Empire Strikes Back,…. Is a 4 bladder movie!


Neil said...

I thought it was a mechanical hand... you'll see in the next film, now that I think of it.

As a kid, I always thought the asteroid field scene was the coolest scene in the film. Now... it's a tossup between the Dagobah scenes or the lightsaber fight at the end.

I thought it was C3PO that was invented by L'il Vader?

Gotta ask... how is Chewie an emotional basket case? I always thought him a lot more sensible and together than Han.

Obi Pump Kenobi said...

What happened in George Lucas’s childhood that he has this obsession with losing arms??

Not just arms, Nate. In Return of the Jedi, Princess Leia will marry Han Solo and give birth to a boy, and Luke will perform the bris with his lightsaber! P.S., nice shameless plug for Empire Mtg; maybe we'll see another sequel, Episode VII: The Empire Uses The Dark Side of the Force To Get a Fantastic Deal on a Jumbo Mortgage and Build Another Death Star... And THIS Time, With Catastrophic Insurance Coverage!)

Nate said...

Didnt he create both R2D2 and C3P0... they were his little buddies in the first movie if Im not mistaken...

Chewie seems to be crying about something or other..(like when Han and Luke were missing in the beginning of the movie!) He doesn't have the stoicism we expect to see from the Jedis or Jedi wanna-bes.

And as for obi pump, the shameless plug and Lucas's obsession with cutting off arms... Have you heard about George Lucas Mortgage? Their motto is "Get a fixed loan and lose your arm!".

Obi Pump said...

Yes, Anakin built 3PO, but R2 originally came from Naboo, Natalie Portman's home planet. So if they ever divorced, Natalie Portman would have gotten custody of R2 (which is a good thing, because he has a built-in hairdryer), while Anakin would have gotten custody of 3PO (which is also good, because HE comes with a built-in shmenispump!). And if you notice, Vader never meets R2 in this film, but he does come in contact with 3PO. I guess Vader doesn't want to give the story away if he asks 3PO to pump him up for old times sake.

And Chewbacca definitely has it all together. He's extremely emotional, but sensible and shows restraint, except when he's hungry, just like the rest of us. Go, Wookiee!

Nate said...

Oops I stand corrected about r2d2 and I have changed the review. Will this become a big literary scandal? Will they revoke my book and movie deals and toss me out of Harvard?