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Happy 40th Anniversary to The Empire Strikes Back (World Premiere May 17, 1980)


I'm getting a real kick out of of Billy Dee being cast as a character that was originally conceived as perfection. Damn right George, damn right.


i forgot that Vader reaches out and grabs Boba Fett's gun. he stops him from shooting at Chewie. that's a pretty cool moment.

aw man and Chewie is just freaking out cos his friend is going away, he's just fucking up all these Stormtroopers. Han has to tell him to calm down, for Leia. Chewie is crying the entire time. this part is so heartbreaking. THATS FUCKING DRAMA RIGHT THERE <3
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Karma Jawa

Took a lot of risks by trusting the story. These days it would just be ANH with bells on.

RoTJ was a bit of a rehash in some ways, but with Jabba and Endor they mixed it up pretty well.

Up there with Godfather 2 as the best sequel of all time.


these visual reviews are taking a bit longer than i thought. as the movie ends here i want to just post every shot in the movie lol but i know i have to chose certain ones. also im sorry for the image quality, this is the best i can find for the og theatrical cut. at any rate here is:

Han Solo being lowered into the carbon freezing chamber. Leia has thrown her arms back in despair. Note the use of a storm trooper in the extreme foreground, giving perspective and drawing the eye when viewed with the more distant trooper to his right. The eyes are drawn to Leia, with Chewie and Lando at her sides. Smoke pours up from where Solo stands as he is lowered down.

Cool shot of Vader peering through the fog. The use of red or orange lighting looks nice and evil on the helmet. He is really is quite sick, torturing Han Solo, and now freezing him, and selling him off to a bounty hunter. Here's our villain right here!

Leia holds Chewie as they watch a piece of machinery lower towards where Solo disappeared. Now we have an Ugnaught to the right as well.

Chewie howls in anger at the loss of his friend as Leia holds him. Almost 2/3 of the frame is taken up by this giant machine, which may as well be crushing him.

The frozen Solo has been lifted up and Leia looks on in horror. Chewie looks back and forth from his friend to the woman he has to protect. He is making sure she can handle this. The green light on the side gives a little hope in this otherwise totally red hellish landscape.

This shot of Han Solo is only shown for a fraction of a second, which makes it all the more terrifying of a reveal.

Lando tries not to (bc Vader & the Empire is there) but has to look over to check on Leia and make sure she is ok. This is what friends do, they check up on one another in times of distress. Behind him is a shining green light and by his side, as always, loyal Lobot.

Leia's tearful reaction, presumably as seen by Lando. This really is the last straw. I love how 2/3 of this shot is Chewie hugging her. Lot of emotion here.

Lando checking on Han Solo. You have to wonder if he has done this before with another living thing?

Lando, crouching on the floor near his friend, reassures Vader and Fett that Solo will survive. This is a very low shot, with the camera nearly on the ground, seemingly right next to the edge of the Solo In Carbonite prop, pointed up.

Vader tells Fett he can take Solo. I like these shots. The use of blue is shifting us away from the intense stuff going down. Visually we are cooling things down, for the next action scene has to build up.

Lando learns that Leia and Chewie will be taken from him instead of staying on Cloud City, and he grabs his own neck reflexively. A good idea considering Vader's methods. Lobot here is framed alongside Lando and our remaining heroes, and everyone is framed by blue. There is not a hint of red behind them. From now on they are in this together.

Vader stalks off. This is the same stairway he will soon meet Luke at.

Lando gives Lobot a look. Lobot gives Lando a look back. We all know some shit is bout to go down. Behind them is a glowing single red light that connects the two.

We cut to Luke, tiny amidst a vacant Clout City. The colorful lights have been turned off. Everything is white and empty and spooky. R2 travels along behind him.

Luke comes upon Boba Fett leading Han Solo out the city. This shot uses a wide angel lense so that we get Luke large in the foreground and the troops smaller in the little frame. Luke is hidden behind 1/3rd the frame, basically putting the viewer in his shoes as he stealths around. Very natural seeming lighting compare to the previous sequence.

R2 gives him a warning and then Boba Fett shoots at Luke from around the corner. Dig the art deco designs on the walls.

Luke & R2 narrowly avoiding the laser blast, which scorches the wall nearby. As walls are all white and empty this emphasizes the damage.

Leia hears something, or perhaps senses Luke, and looks back. Often characters in this film are shown looking back, this is a common motif. Here she is dressed in white, and the storm troopers are white, and the background is white. If anything this kind of strikingly easy to look at lighting and art design is a well deserved break for the eyes. That carbon freezing stuff was insane.

Lando punches his Dick Tracey watch. (You know George Lucas loved that serial)

This is a great shot of Lobot. Probably the only symmetrical shot in the movie. He has one of those circular ceilings, but it is a simple light that is placed right above his head. This may as well be an image of him with a light bulb going off. Lobot activated.

Luke entering deeper into Cloud City, and the shadows growing bigger.

R2 is cut off from continuing onward into the darkened room. R2 has been with Luke ever since he left for Dagobah, so this is quite sudden and visually signalling that Luke is in trouble.

A circular door in the floor opens up and Luke pops up like he's in a video game. Love the composition here.

Luke looking behind his back. Does he sense something?

More Luke looking behind his back. Is that Vader standing in front of the light at the top of the stairs? Or is it a trick of the light? The heavy use of defocus makes the background almost abstract.

One of the best all time shots of Vader. The smoke coming behind him. The light shining at the center of the frame, with the weird techno industrial spider web design radiating out, it's all so awesome. Great art design!

Luke, young dumb and full of cum, draws his lightsaber immediately. LOL

Vader draws his in response. Visually, Luke starts out the most aggressive. Vader is toying with him. Luke is using two handed technique while Vader has the one hand. The lightsabers are framed nicely by the blue smoke and web-like piping.

Close-up of Luke fighting Vader. Wonderfully deep out of focus background, the red lights turning into circles.

Luke advances as Vader lures him to the right. Love that the green light to the left of the frame, it goes well with the blue and red for the full RGB. Yet it is not gauche, the colors aren't really competing. It is a blue dreamlike visage with splashes of red and green.

Luke presses forward, continuing his aggression. This will be his undoing. Note the bright blue light behind Vader.

Lando and his team of security guards dressed in blue (and im guessing some in disguise in storm trooper costumes) finally take control in order to save Leia and Chewie. This is shot from below, putting the imperial officer right at the center, with guns pointed at him on all sides.

Lando communicates further with Lobot on the plan. Interesting decision to have a gun drawn right near Lobot's head. Visually it makes sense but is a little bit artificial and kind of hyper real. Maybe something like out of a comic?

After Lando's crew leaves, Leia and Chewie choke Lando for selling them out in the first place. Leia has a fierce look on her face as she interrogates him with Chewie's help. She seems to be enjoying this a bit. Like father, like daughter?

A badass image of Boba Fett, with the orange cloudy sky once again, about to fly off into the sunset. The rusty orange looks great next to his green armor.

A wide matte shot of Slave 1 being loaded up with Han Solo's frozen body. Boba Fett keeping watch. The surrounding area is quite noticable as a painting but it has it's art deco charms about it.

Inside, Chewie and Leia and Lando rush down the hallways. Some nice naturalistic lighting here, with the brightest spot in the middle, near Leia, drawing your eye towards the movement of the characters.

Slave 1 takes off. This is a different landscape painting than the last image, it has a less noticable effect, with some nice shadows and spare use of red lights.

Leia is despondent at watching Han Solo taken away. Lando in the distance is in extreme defocus, putting the emphasis on Leia's expression.

Our heroes take cover for a shoot out which will occupy them as we look in on the Luke/Vader fight.

Vader points at Luke. When Vader points at you usually he's going to screw you over. Luke's stance here is crouched, defensive. Vader is attacking his confidence in himself as a Jedi warrior. Note how he has even lowered his lightsaber. This is arrogant and troll-ish behavior done for a reason that is a common tactic in such battles: he's psyching Luke out.

Vader's psych out works and soon Luke loses his lightsaber for the first time this battle. Look at how small Luke is by comparison in this shot. He falls back and rolls down the stairs to escape Vader.

A reverse shot of Luke. He is crouched on the floor where Han Solo was just frozen, Vader is trying to push him to the same fate. We see another use of the circle motif, wherein a character is framed by a circle, which on a subconscious level you can connect to the circular sight on a gun. Vader's red saber matches the orange glow of the floor vents. We only a have a small splash of blue in the upper left.

Luke narrowly escapes having the same fate as Han and leaps up to cling to the vine-like cables hanging from the ceiling. A visual callback to him climbing on Dagobah - Luke is here using the same skills he trained for earlier in the movie. He was climbing vines with Yoda back when he had the dark side cave vision and his first "combat" with Vader.

Vader looks up to find that Luke's force abilities and training has helped him escape his fate. "Impressive". The whole shot is red, telling us Vader is in power here.

Great shot of smoke filling the arena as the two clash weapons.

Luke finally gets the upper hand and kicks Vader off the ledge. We cut to a image shot at an extremely low angle, looking up at the momentarily triumphant Luke. Blue light fills the scene, matching his saber. The red is almost entirely gone.

Luke explores the depths of Cloud City as the fight enters phase two. More characters framed by circles, this time, we have lines of circles, directing our hero towards a goal. The clean white light offers a moment of respite and some time to breathe before the fighting picks back up again.

Luke approaches a circular window. As he hunts for Vader, we can see that the walls here are red. This realm is his and he is toying with Luke.

Vader steps out from behind the camera and we watch him approach Luke like an unstoppable force. Luke is quite small in this frame. Note the lines/lights on the floor and walls, it gives the red hallway some nice perspective, and we can imagine hallways like it wrapping around beneath Cloud City.

Vader lowers his saber as he executed a force attack, throwing objects at Luke. Vader previously lowered his saber right before knocking the lightsaber out of Luke's hands. This signals to the audience he is about to get the upper hand.

Luke falls out of the circular window to where the third stage of the battle will take place. Outside we see lights all over the wall. It's almost like looking at a starfield, but more artificial. Visually this final arena is a callback to one of the early concepts for the Vader-Luke duel, which was a much more abstract battle that them fighting in space.

Matte painting shows us the dizzying heights and depths of Cloud City. No one color is really dominant here, we have a mix of blues and reds.

Luke clings to the ledges after climbing up. The underside of the ledge itself takes up nearly half the frame and is shot from below, which, combined with the previous matte, gives the impression of a very high ledge.

and my top 20 images from 1:20:00-1:40:00

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We cut to Leia and friends making their escape. Leia shoots several storm troopers point blank range. She rings up quite the death count on the way out!

Chewie gets in a couple shots as well. We can see some blue lense flare present from the blast.

R2 uses another unseen power, stealth, to escape the troopers and leave a smokey room between them and the Falcon. This shot is very low to the ground in order to give R2 a heroic look.

The Falcon with a matte painting of Cloud City at dusk. In the distance we can see the layer of red clouds with a blue sky above it.

The Falcon takes off and we see another view. Now the blue sky is much more readable and our heroes are flying into it to escape the hell of Cloud City.

Meanwhile back in the depths, we have this gorgeous matte painting. More rings circling downward.

A brief moment of Luke looking for Vader, before he pops out horror movie style. The red walls are almost at the same angle as the entrance to the cave room where he fought Vader on Dagobah.

The battle gets more and more intense and the dizzying matte painting highlights the drama. Vader continues pushing Luke to the right.

Vader tells Luke he has been defeated. Good use of a high angle to show how powerless Luke is here.

Vader holding out his lightsaber towards Luke. Shot from below to show a dominant Vader.

Luke's right hand is dismembered and flies off, lightsaber still clutching it.

Vader begins reaching out to Luke with his own hand. He promises that if he joins him, they can kill the Emperor, as he has forseen it. Note the forked antennae pointing down from the circular ledge Luke is crawling towards. This establishes the use of antennae on Cloud City, one of which he will cling to after the fight.

Vader, shot from below, but paired with blue lighting, as he tries manipulating Luke. During this exchange he promotes the idea of the two of them working together and "putting an end to this conflict". On a rewatch, I wonder how this entire traumatic battle affects Vader on a psychological level, if it is in a way bringing Anakin back to the surface. The scenes following this battle certainly hint at such.

Luke hearing the awful truth. The background is extremely out of focus so that we are entirely concerned with Luke's reaction.

Vader reaches his hand out to Luke. He is almost entirely enshrouded in the color blue. Could this be signalling the start of Vader's turn?

Luke tumbles down the dizzying chasm. The use of lights here in the matte painting indicate extreme distance and depth.

Luke slides down a number of industrial tubs, all with rings of lights. Contrasted to the earlier scene with the tube full of lights, here they are less frequent. The film is toning it down after the thrilling high drama of the Vader-Luke fight.

A shot of Luke's hand falling in the far distance. It falls into a darkened cloud from which there is seemingly no return. The inclusion of the piping (?) here draws the eye to the tumbling hand.

Luke clings to the antannae. The sky here is not red or blue but a shade of yellow. Perhaps that of a storm clearing up.

Luke calls out, asking for Ben. However, as Obi Wan told us earlier, he cannot interfere. Then he calls for Leia.

Leia hears Luke. In a film with a lot of shocking reveals, this one is very cool and establishes Leia as having some kind of force powers. She tells Lando that she knows where he is.

The Falcon turns around and flies back into the red clouds to save Luke. I love this shot of Cloud City all lit up at dusk.

Lando sees Luke and points. Pointing in this film is a call to action, and Lando (dressed in blue, color of sanctuary) will soon be rescuing Luke.

A shot from above as Lando takes the lift to the top of the Falcon. Nice, natural lighting here indicating no crazy dramatics will take place.

The Falcon hovering under Luke.

Leia is tending to Luke's wounds but is called away for one last space battle. She gives Luke a tender kiss. To the left there is a blue-white contraption, almost a miniature version of the medical tube we saw much earlier in the film.

Leia points to the Star Destroyer that chases them. This is a a cool shot. Again, mostly natural lighting here.

Lando, in command of the Falcon, face lit up by the console, says "Punch it!" to activate the hyperdrive. This same phrasing Han Solo used earlier in the movie.

Funny reaction shot by Chewie & Leia as the hyperdrive makes a pathetic winding down sound. "It's not my fault!" he says - again he is a lot like Han here.

Vader stares out the window, longingly. Usually during shots like these he is filmed from directly behind. He enters the movie in a shot which is mostly just his helmet against the sea of stars. Here, he looks smaller, we can see the frame of the window, as well as the back of his cape. It's a more introspective side of Vader.

Vader calls out to Luke.

Luke hears Vader, asks Ben "Why didn't you tell me?" There is a circle above Luke's head here but it's filled with electronics, and indeed, he is framed by mechanical bits.

The frantic chase continues as the Falcon flies alongside the Star Destroyer.

Luke looks up and calls Vader "father". Lights surrounding him, this is a moment of realization.

Vader calls back "Son". At the time many (including James Earl Jones) thought Vader was lying, which is something that wouldn't really be disproven until the next film. But the subtext is here, and indeed, George Lucas planned it out that this was the truth.

R2 reaches into the hyperdrive systems, which are glowing red. Red is bad, it means it isn't working!

He switches it on and the lights turn blue. The color of safety.

Soon after, Leia hits the hyperdrive and they fly away, making their final escape from the Empire.

Admiral Piett has the face of someone who knows he is fucked. The Falcon just escaped, after he told Vader that they had disabled the hyperdrive. In the distance his possible replacement stands by in case Vader kills another subordinate. We've seen this before several times.

Instead, we see Vader looking down. He is contemplative. Even sad.

We get the same wide shot we did from when Vader was first introduced. Here he is small, another gear in the machine of the Empire.

Vader walks out without saying a word. His crew watches, probably counting their blessings.

As Vader leaves the room, everyone stares him down, even the guard by the door. Has this never happened before? Vader was failed and he didn't kill anyone, didn't even threaten them. The whole event with Luke has left him even more isolated than before.

A nice shot of the Rebel fleet with the medical frigate in the foreground.

The shot swoops in so that we see the Falcon is docked there. To the far right we can see a blue window. This is the room where Luke and Leia are staying.

Leia still tending to Luke's wounds, the old medical droid from Hoth nearby. The room is clean and white, indicating safety. Nearby, the two droids witness a spiral galaxy out the window.

Lando and Chewie tell them they are off to find Han, building excitement for the follow up film. Lando even seems to have one of Han's blue vests, which is only natural, since he's the pilot now.

Leia breaks out into a grin as Chewie says his goodbyes. Friendship - this is what it's all about. This is what gets them through their trials.

The droid pokes Luke's hand to test responsiveness.

Absolutely beautiful shot of our two pairs of remaining heroes watching the Falcon speed off into a distant galaxy. What new adventures await us in the future? Another galaxy of possibilities is presented in these last moments. The room is very well lit, with the galaxy filling the center of the screen. No more hellish red clouds or reptile-filled swamps or blinding snow storms, we have a calm and balanced image, the destination is at the center of the frame, balanced by our leads. This is a very hopeful shot.

One last close-up from Leia and Luke. A look of determination on their face. They will be back.

An exterior shot of the same window, which zooms out from the window we were just looking out of until we see the entire fleet. Technically quite an impressive effects shot to end the film.

The Rebel fleet continues onward towards new adventures.
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so i guess me might as well compare this to the movie that rips it off multiple times, The Last Jedi. i know Rian said he didn't want his movie compared to it. well then he shouldn't have so blatantly referenced that movie throughout his own.

First of all we have the grumpy, inquisitive fallen Jedi master swamp hermit who initially misleads his pupil and tells them he won't teach them. Luke is grumpy and doesn't want to teach Rey. he is obsessed with the vanity of the Jedi and the legend of himself. His first act is to be mad and throw a lightsaber away. He is wearing Jedi robes, because he was wearing them in the last movie (seriously it makes no sense if he cut himself off from the force and went here to die that he would be chilling in his Sunday Best but whatever, obv they didn't plan this shit out). He changes out of the Jedi robes and into the more accurate brown hobo trashbag for most of the film.

Yoda is a silly frog creature who is asking Luke meaningful questions from the beginning. His first act is to feign powerlessness and tell Luke "Away put your weapon, I mean you no harm". The very first thing he tells Luke ends up being the key to defeating Vader & the Emperor in ROTJ.

The Sacred Jedi Texts (TM) reside in a Sacred Jedi Tree (TM). what either of those mean to the force or Jedi is probably in a book somewhere. Luke burns the tree later but again it is never made clear what this means to the history of the Jedi or where this tree came from. The set looks like a generic place in the Game of Thrones tv show.

There really isn't any texts in Empire, just a lot of wisdom from Yoda, and the mystery of the force. There is a tree and Yoda lives in there. Here is R2 standing on his tip toes watching as Luke and Yoda eat some soup and talk.

Luke is kind of a jerk to Rey. He doesn't just teach her things with the way he lives, he has this number of 3 lessons, and only does two of them. When Rey isn't "in a lesson" you don't really see them together. If this is "training her" then it is doing a very shitty job.

At first master and student do not see eye to eye. Yoda looks down and talks to Obi Wan, who responds. Luke hears this and is compelled to learn more. They don't just have training sessions, their entire time together is spent in contemplation, whether eating soup, climbing vines, or balancing rocks. Every moment is a lesson.

Rey does some Superman move, where she lifts rocks. Later she will lift a ton of rocks. No matter what she tries to do, eventually she does it. Her only failure in the movie is by her placing too much faith in male characters (Luke, Kylo) who let her down. She never really fails at any task she herself is doing.

Luke tries and fails to lift the X-wing. Because even though he thought it could be maybe be done, he didn't really think it was possible. "I don't believe it" he tells Yoda after successfully doing it. "That is why you fail." JJ tried to pay this off in ROTS but all the nerds were mad he was upsetting Rian's vision or whatever.

Rey's "training" is just her, alone, swinging the lightsaber wildly, then using the force to stop herself from destroying something. later she does it anyways and it crushes the wheelbarrow of some natives, the people who keep her house on the island where she now lives. See, Luke and Rey don't really live alongside nature the way Yoda did, they have caretakers, aboriginal residents who keep their house and presumably clean up after their messes. Which is... really really weird and bourgeois compared to how Yoda lives.

Luke spends his getting dirty and muddy in the swamp, surrounded by living creatures, physically pushing himself. He is traversing the landscape of this strange planet, rather than standing on an island in Ireland.

Rey goes down a dark side cave hole, because they did it in Empire, and Rian is subverting our expectations by giving us what we don't expect and want. It is just a hole in the ground. There aren't even any animals squirming around. We do a big copy of Luke's whole cave experience for the next 10 minutes.

Luke goes into a dark side cave having already failed the test by bringing his weapons. In this shot alone we see a lizard crawling by his head and in the extreme foreground a snake wraps around a branch. Visually this is a million miles above the rather bland and Game of Thrones style TLJ dark side hole.

Dramatically Rey gets out of some water and walks up to a wall. She walks up and touches the wall. The wall looks like grey marble and has two blurry shadows on it that seem to merge. Thrilling, isn't it?

Dramatically Luke encounters Darth Vader in the dark side cave, again with a snake in the foreground (the snake is a Biblical symbol of both temptation and knowlege). He instantly kills him, giving him a fake and easy win, subverting our expectations.

In the dark side cave Rey is confronted by... an infinite number of herself all doing the same thing and looking confused. It is kind of a mirror or something. She snaps her fingers and holds her hand up and looks at it. Are you shocked and surprised yet? Haha, Rian wins again!

Luke is shocked to see himself as well! His own head, decapitated and foreboding, a grave portent of a disturbing secret. That would give anyone PTSD. Finger snapping? lol. Also note the cinematography and the composition of photography. Rey's looks like a person just standing in a room, split into layers in After Effects. Luke's face is half covered in smoke, the eyes are very well done, and the image itself appears on the screen for a flash of a second, whereas Rian lets his linger on and on and be mined for light physical humor. This image also has tremendous meaning for ESB and the franchise as a whole, whereas a mirror of Rey's is pretty much a lazy and empty symbol if i ever saw one.

The X-Wing is sunken in The Last Jedi. Guess there's no way to get it off the island. Luke will die here.

Luke's X-wing is sunken in the misty Dagobah swamp. Luke tries and fails which is a big lesson for him and the audience. Yoda succeeds in lifting it in a triumphant setpiece of the ship levitating down to safety, where the music builds and crescendos as R2 beeps in excitement.

Luke slaps Rey's hand with a hard piece of grass like a Catholic nun. His schtick is an old man satire of organized religion.

Yoda pinches Luke and tells him "Luminous beings we are, not this crude matter." A rare bit of genuine spiritualism in the commercial blockbuster genre. It made people treat the Force like it was a religion for 40 years.

Rey hears a story that is presented through three different flashbacks, so we are never really sure what happened, but Luke and Kylo got into a fight in the past, and that is the cause of everything. Why this matters to Rey is never made all that clear. Luke not telling her the same story as Kylo is what drives her to leave the island and quit training with Luke.

Luke has a vision of his friends in pain. He asks Yoda if they will die and Yoda cautions against trying to predict the future, which is "Always in motion". We don't see the vision but we see Luke, deep in concentration while levitating a number of objects, culminating in the levitation of R2 a character directly connected to Luke's memories of Leia & his friends. We only see his reaction, which is everything tumbling down. JJ steals this, artlessly as usual. The point is that Luke's love for his friends are what causes him to leave.

Yoda shows up as a ghost and is silly like in the first scene of him in Empire. But first he lights the Jedi Tree on fire. Which, we still don't know what the Jedi Tree means, or it's significance, like, at all. Luke was about to burn it down himself, but Yoda does it first, and that makes Luke mad for some reason. Yoda reveals that none of this stuff that was arbitrarily added into the mythology with this movie is actually meaningful or need to go on. Some people really like this scene so I'll stop here.

Obi Wan appears as a ghost and tries to get Luke to not leave. Luke is just fully on board with going to help his friends. He feels their suffering and wants to help. Obi Wan tells him "I cannot interfere", which is true. While hanging from beneath Cloud City at the end of the film, Luke does call for Obi Wan, but when he doesn't answer, he tries Leia, who gets a close up showing force recognition, and tells Lando "I know where he is". Luke can't rely on the past, or look to the future, he has to rely on the friends he has now. Leia and Lando are who save him in the end, not Obi Wan.

Kylo Ren reaches his hand out to Rey, promising that having killed the figurehead they can work together and end the conflict. People that thought this was "brave and subversive" must have forgotten this is basically the same thing Vader did in Empire.

Darth Vader reaches out to Luke, promising that they can kill the Emperor and work together to end the conflict. After this traumatic confrontation, both Luke and Vader are never the same, and the end of Empire shows the beginning of a turned Vader who longs to be connected to his son.

There are trenches on Crait because these people are better off getting killed for certain by a bunch of AT-ATs than looking for a way out of a cave. Seriously, this is an intergalactic military and they don't have bombs? Or drilling equipment. Luke dies in a rip off of Obi Wan's stall tactic from ANH so that they can wait long enough for Rey to arrive and save them all from the cave. This one cave is the reason for the last act of the movie. The soldiers here eat the dirty, which is just salt, and is in the movie because Rian is writing this movie with Twitter post culture driving the plot. This makes the surrounding feel even less real. Hoth seems like a real environment, with it's own dangers, that of freezing to death, or being attacked by creatures, etc. Because it impacted the plot so heavily, putting characters in danger, it gives it a gravity and a realness. Crait is just a backdrop for fashionable yet nonsensical visuals to play out on.

On Hoth they had trench warfare as well as a coordinated air battle. We saw ground troops, ships, turrets, etc. Several coordinated attacks. It was a pretty cool way to close out your first act.

Crait has AT-ATs but they are a little different because they want to pretend they are making new things rather than what they are doing which is just more nostalgia ripoff stuff but sold with a "kill the past" label slapped on it. Kylo Ren arrives in a spaceship that looks like Darth Vader's triangular ship from ROTJ. It is as if he is flying from the ROTJ ripoff back to the ESB ripoff. This entire image is CGI.

AT-ATs are lovingly rendered in stop motion by people that designed and made their own computers and cameras by hand. The background is a matte painting, the snow is a powdery sustance, and the entire scene, lighting and all, existed in real 3D space at one time, which is captured here on film. A lot of the special effects shots in ESB are done in-camera, which lends a feeling of realism that imo is nearly impossible to achieve through the use of CGI.

Rey lifts rocks, saving everyone. She was able to lift small rocks earlier and now she can lift bigger rocks. She looks bored doing so and is just standing there. Good job Rey, saving everyone, again. The Resistance can now escape the cave and Rey completes the same hero's journey taken by Barney Fife in that one Andy Griffith show where they had to rescue Andy from a cave (https://mayberry.fandom.com/wiki/Barney_and_the_Cave_Rescue). The self insert kids play with Luke toys rather than Rey at the end, so it's made clear that this isn't a big deal after all.

Yoda lifts the X-wing in a scene that our lead character, a young space knight with magic powers of levitation and telekinesis, had previously claimed was impossible. The whole Yoda section would inspire 40 years of religious fervor for the force and Star Wars as a whole.
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You know it's funny how they spent all that money to supposedly replace those puffins with porgs and yet it was still super obvious they were just filming on location here on Earth but Dagobah had a bunch of real life animals and it was far more effective at selling the place as a world alien to our own anyway.
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