The Empire Strikes Back: Special Edition
Not yet rated
Time Out saysThis second instalment of the 'Star Wars' series, directed not by George Lucas but by his former USC tutor Irvin Kershner, is the tautest - an extended ricochet from one incendiary set-piece battle to another which still finds time to attend to plot, pace and character. After the destruction of the Rebel base on icy Hoth, Han (Ford), Leia (Fisher) et al, escape in the Millennium Falcon, eventually finding dubious sanctuary in the city of Bespin. Meanwhile, Luke (Hamill) heads for the Degobah system to be schooled in Jedi lore by Yoda. These two plot strands dovetail in the final quarter, when Luke rushes to Bespin to save his friends and confront Darth Vader, ignoring Yoda's pleas that he finish his training and risking his own helpless conversion to the Dark Side. The 'special edition' restoration work is impressive, though there's barely a minute's worth of extra footage this time round. In fact, the film's reliance on stop-frame animation means that, visually at least, it hasn't dated quite as well as Star Wars. The dialogue, too, will have you chewing your fist in places. Fisher and Hamill are clearly relishing the challenge to Be More Feisty and the robot comedy, driven by an outrageously camp Threepio, is almost funny.