Thursday, May 21, 2015

Empire Strikes Back at 35: What movies can still learn from the best Star Wars |

Its hard to believe this movie is 35 years old. My brother and I were Star Wars kids from the jump when the first movie came out. I actually do not remember seeing the first movie in the movie theater but I vividly remember having alot of toys and swag from the movies.  My Han Solo, Chewbaca, and Luke action figures ($.99 cent at Kroger) meant the world to me and I played with them on the regular.  Its so funny, now we know the release date of the next big movie 2-3 years before it even comes out.  Back then, especially for two city kids, movies just happened to show up or maybe you caught a commercial on Saturday morning or something.  Our mom knew we were into these movies and we saw Empire the weekend it opened.  We went to the Salem Mall in Dayton, OH and was ready to go!  But Empire when it came out, messed me up.  Its really one of the first movies I can remember where the good guys kinda get their asses kicked.  And not just for a little bit, they get their asses kicked the entire movie.  From Hoth, to the asteroid field, to Cloud City... Its just 2 hours of good guys getting knocked around.  And I hated it!  This was not how it was supposed to go down.  Good guys win, bad guys lose, This is messing with my 9 year old sensibilities. And I felt what way for a long time.  Even after Return of the Jedi, I never went back to watch Empire because I didn't like the way it made me feel.  As I got older and got back into Star Wars( I went away from it for a while.  Being a black nerd in the 80's and being from the city could lead to some ass whippings), I came to appreciate Empire more.  First, there is Lando. Now I remember Lando when I was 9 and I had his action figure but I was too young to recognize " Hey, why you the only ninja in space?"  As I got older, I was like, "Hell yeah, Lando!"  He run his own business, he got hustler/pimp characteristics that make him cool...  This was my ninja!

 2nd was Yoda. As a kid, I was not anti-Yoda but I didn't really dig the character and I didn't understand they dynamic between teacher/pupil.  As I got older, Yoda is dropping knowledge on Luke from so many levels- and not just about the Force:

-"Do or do not. There is no try"
-"Always with you, it cannot be done"

This idea of not quitting, dont give up... Yoda was schooling Luke ( and me).  Side brotha note- The 2nd time I saw Empire was with my dad... God Bless my dad as it was one of those, "Hey your father wants to do something with you" moments.  He came, he was late( of course) and we went to see Empire in downtown Dayton at a movie theater that escapes me.  We got there after the battle on Hoth.  My dad loved Yoda and insisted then and probably now, that Yoda was a brotha.  You know that ancient, black person who, in movies, is always schooling white folks and helping them redeem themselves from the bad shit they did or the good thing they about to do.

3rd was the Jedi action.  New Hope alluded more to Jedi and their powers than they actually showed.  Obi won had some mind tricks but the lightsaber battle between him and Vader was like 2 old men fighting in line at the old folks home for the last sugar free chocolate pudding. In Empire you get to see Jedi's use their powers and even though, looking back now, the lightsaber battle was tame compared to the new trilogy ones, it was still sweet to see Luke and Vader go at it and to see Vader use the Dark Side to punish Luke.

4th... Han and Leia romance.  Now 8 year old me was like "ugghhh, that's nasty".  20 year old me, especially after seeing Leia in that Slave costume at Jabba's palace was like, "heeeeeey, girl"! To this day, the banter between her and Han is so energetic, playful, and sexy.  It would not surprise me at all, if her and Harrison Ford were banging in real life because you could see and feel their chemistry.  To this day, when my wife says, " I love you!" to me I still reply, " I know"!

Man, that movie... I am not even touching on Vader or Bobba Fett( who is Big Hutch's favorite character.)  To this day, its the only Star Wars movie I will watch no matter what the circumstances.  If its on tv, I'm stopping and watching it and whenever I need my Star Wars fix, I always go there.  So Happy 35th Empire!

1 comment: