STAR WARS: EPISODE V - THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)
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DUDEFEST RATING
9.50
Dudes
Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Billy Dee Williams
James Earl Jones
Alec Guinness's Ghost
Chewbacca
Yoda
By Pete Hall
May 05, 2014

When we were deciding who got to review each STAR WARS movie, I went fucking crazy and demanded this one. THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is, by a wide margin, the best STAR WARS film. Hell, I'd even say it's one of the best films. Like, all the films, ever. If you disagree, you are objectively wrong. There's no discussion necessary. I could end this review right here and now and I would still be completely right. But because you assholes are a bunch of assholes, I guess I'll throw some words on the page and see what sticks.

 

STAR WARS: EPISODE VII is coming out in 2015 (probably), and it's the first STAR WARS movie without George Lucas heavily involved in production. Except that Lucas didn't even write the script for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, nor did he direct it. "Story by" and "Executive Producer" credits are all that Lucas has on this one. The best of the entire saga (thus far, fingers crossed), George Lucas had the least to do with. Hmm, I wonder why (it's because he sucks, I wasn't actually wondering).

 

Normally, reading in a movie blows. Subtitles are for Oscar-bait foreign films like ROOM WITH A VIEW WITH A STAIRCASE AND A POND, and you'd think that any movie that has to describe its backstory in the first five seconds was lazily written. Especially when instead of using a voiceover, the information literally scrolls past on the screen. In text. Text! Even though James Earl Jones, the Morgan Freeman of the 1970s, was already on payroll for voiceover work! But in keeping with the tradition of the first film, and starting the tradition of me making my dad read it to me because it scrolled too quickly for my tiny child brain, they stuck with the scrolling text that said, essentially, "Three Years Later", and took 81 words to do so. But since it's a STAR WARS movie, I accept it.

 

All of the best shit that happens in the entire series happens in this movie. Not that the other ones don't have some awesome moments (you gotta love Luke bitching about power converters and Tosche stations), but every time you think back to a kickass moment in the saga, 9 times out of 10 it's a moment from EMPIRE. Try to picture a classic STAR WARS moment right now. Are you trying it? Doesn't matter, I can't hear you. I'm just gonna tell you which one you're picturing.

 

You're imagining Darth Vader revealing to Luke that he didn't kill Luke's father, he is Luke's father. I mean, duh, of course you are. It's fucking iconic. Unless you're a total shithead thinking about Ewoks to prove me wrong, this is the scene you were picturing. Maybe you even got the quote right, too, who knows.

I doubt it, though.

It's easily the most iconic moment of the entire series. People who have never seen a single STAR WARS movie (they exist, trust me, I was shocked too—they're mostly girls) know this moment. It was a completely groundbreaking twist at the time, and now it's a tired trope that's been done to death.

 

After the totally campy ending of A NEW HOPE (and beginning, and middle—the entire movie, really), the kick-in-the-nuts darkness of EMPIRE was something audiences weren't expecting. At the end of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, it's very clear that the Empire has indeed struck the fuck back. Han is frozen in carbonite and missing, Luke has lost a hand in a lightsaber duel against the most evil creature in the galaxy, who he now knows is his father, the Empire is constructing a new Death Star, and basically the Rebellion is just pretty much fucked. If I had been in charge of naming this movie, I would have gone with STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE FUCKS YOUR ENTIRE DAY RIGHT THE HELL UP. And that's why it's the best.

Pat Holland wasn't clever enough to post a joke at the end of this article. Don't try to email him.

R A T I N G S
10
10. Fucking duh. I wish we could give 11s.
8
Too much love triangle and incest for me. And I totally called the whole Darth Vader being Luke's father twist after seeing the prequels.
10
10 for sure. No question about it. If only Irvin Kershner had directed the prequels. Then we'd have something I'd be proud to show my kids in 20 years. Ah well, here's to you J.J. Abrams.
10
The best of all The Star Wars movies. One of the greatest movies ever made. Also, it's got Boba Fett.
9.5
This movie could have ended after the Battle of Hoth and I would still say it was my favorite Star Wars movie
6 Comments
05-05-2014 | 6:37 PM
This was definitely the best of the series. But obviously George Lucas would say Attack of the Clones was.
05-05-2014 | 4:51 PM
I know the Darth Vader is Luke's dad because my ex-boyfriend used to watch this movie when I was blowing him
05-05-2014 | 4:50 PM
Not a single mention of Hoth? Really Pat? From the first time I saw this movie until...well I still do this, I imagine im on Hoth when its really snowy out
05-06-2014 | 12:14 PM
we all do that
05-06-2014 | 12:15 PM
I don't talk about plot, James. You've seen the movie, you know what happens.
05-07-2014 | 1:35 AM
Oh yeah I forgot Jimmy hates being called James. Nice callback Pat.
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