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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a dark time for the rebellion; and us the audience as well.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Luke, Leia and Han are fighting with the rebels in the hope of defeating the Imperial forces. But Luke gets a calling to to the planet Dagobah, where under the tutelage of Jedi Master, Yoda, he hopes to become a Jedi himself, but that also brings him closer to his, and Leia's, destiny.

Lets tell it as it is,...
Published on 24 Nov. 2011 by Spike Owen

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The best of the series in another poor transfer
NB: As is their wont, Amazon have bundled together reviews for various editions of this title. This review refers to the two-disc DVD release including both the original theatrical cut and the special edition.

Watching the original versions of the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD is like travelling back in time - not so much to the innocence of youth but more...
Published on 25 Sept. 2006 by Trevor Willsmer


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a dark time for the rebellion; and us the audience as well., 24 Nov. 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Luke, Leia and Han are fighting with the rebels in the hope of defeating the Imperial forces. But Luke gets a calling to to the planet Dagobah, where under the tutelage of Jedi Master, Yoda, he hopes to become a Jedi himself, but that also brings him closer to his, and Leia's, destiny.

Lets tell it as it is, The Empire Strikes Back is a better film than Star Wars, not as impacting of course, but most definitely better. Technically, in story telling and in tone, it holds up well today and certainly warrants the amount of times it crops up in best sequels debates. That it's not actually a sequel is irrelevant, it is of course the filler in a wonderful sci-fi sandwich, because as second instalments go, Empire has few peers. With Empire Strikes Back we get all the whizz bang adventure strewn heart of Star Wars, but George Lucas (stepping aside for Irvin Kershner to direct) has also fleshed the story out with a serious dark tone that oddly becomes a bedfellow to the romantic fun on offer, where new and engaging characters (and creatures) add spice to this wonderful fantastical broth.

Aided by the considerable writing talent of Leigh Brackett (The Long Goodbye, Rio Bravo, The Big Sleep), Lucas took the bold and ingenious step of giving the bad guys the upper hand, in fact it could be argued that he was taking a considerable risk with his ending. Forcing his viewers to wait for the final chapter (three years later), after tantalisingly setting us up with a corker of plot twist (one which is still to this day as potent as it was back on release), Lucas pulled perhaps one of the cheekiest carrot dangles in cinema history.

Tho more famed for its dark undertones, Empire is for sure still a very fun movie, C3PO goes into camp overdrive and Han Solo ups his quip quota by some margin. Then of course there is Yoda, in himself a comedic joy. The action sequences beg for repeat viewings, a battle on the ice laden planet Hoth is a marvel and the choreography for Skywalker's fight with Darth Vader is out of the top draw. But ultimately it's with the dark side that the picture excels. Complex and amazingly posing moral quandary's, The Empire Strikes Back is quite an experience, one that will forever hold up to repeat viewings for this particular viewer. 10/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The best of the series in another poor transfer, 25 Sept. 2006
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (Limited Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
NB: As is their wont, Amazon have bundled together reviews for various editions of this title. This review refers to the two-disc DVD release including both the original theatrical cut and the special edition.

Watching the original versions of the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD is like travelling back in time - not so much to the innocence of youth but more to the days when picture quality was never much of a consideration on video releases and Fox had the reputation for the worst transfers in the business. Watching the PAL DVDs is to step back into an age of low resolution standards conversions from NTSC to PAL with all the loss of detail and motion blurring that that entailed: certainly if you've got one of the old remastered video releases you might as well hold on to that, because the quality isn't as poor as this. The sound quality is pretty awful as well. From Lucas' past track record it's all too easy to imagine this is just a scam to allow him to sell a remastered version a couple of years down the line, but it's even harder to dispel the notion that somewhere Lucas is whining "See how soft the focus is? How can you say these are better films?"

The Empire Strikes Back suffered the least in the special edition reworkings (although the clunky rewriting of the scene with the Emperor shows Lucas' leaden touch with dialog only too clearly) and as a transfer suffers the least of the original versions, but it's still not good enough. The film itself holds up surprisingly well, fully deserving its reputation as the best (and naturally least commercially successful) of the series. A lot of the credit has to go to co-writer Leigh Brackett, with the film's verbal sparring having a classic Hollywood feel to it that gives it a mixture of the best of both worlds, while keeping things moving at a brisk pace. Irvin Kershner's direction brings the best out of the cast too, while the action scenes - particularly the battle on the ice - are the best in the series. It's just a shame that the film's (genuinely unexpected at the time) cliffhanger was thrown away in the follow-up.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Theatrical Edition AT LAST!, 5 Sept. 2006
By 
James Cameron "Artist / Filmmaker / Nerd" (a world of my own) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (Limited Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
Im not even going to talk about the 1st disc, beyond to say its almost the same as the one in the triology box set. Now, on to the good stuff - DISC TWO!

Presented on DVD for the 1st time, the 1980 Theatrical Version of the film. The video quality is like a very high quality VHS transfer to DVD (much like a budget DVD release), a little grainy but otherwise in perfect condition.

The Audio is crystal clear 2.0 stereo, on my 5.1 system I thin it actually sounds better than the 5.1 of the remastered edition!

And if this info isnt enough for you - surely the fact that the verison of "The Empire Strikes Back" that those of us saw 1st time around, and grew up loving, is worth buy or if your like me, double dipping after the dissapointment of the boxset.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far the best and the darkest of all the "Star Wars" films, 1 Oct. 2004
By 
Lawrance Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
When we all sat down to watch "The Empire Strikes Back" for the first we figured we knew what would happen in the rest of the trilogy. At the end of the second film we assumed Darth Vader would beat Luke in a light saber duel and then at the end of the final film Luke would finally kill Darth Vader. But then in what is still one of the biggest one-two punches ever aimed at an audience Darth Vader cuts off Luke's right hand and stuns the audience with the revelation "I am your father." Suddenly the idea that Luke was going to kill Darth Vader went from absolute metaphysical certainty to something very much in doubt. The thought that it would be three years before we found out how this would play out drove us absolutely crazy (remember the wonderful speculation that Boba Fett was a clone of Obi-Wan?).
I have to admit that I never really believed that George Lucas intended for Darth Vader to be Luke Skywalker's father from the very start. If he had then we would not have had that "What I said was true...from a certain point of view" from Obi-Wan Kenobi in "The Return of the Jedi" to explain the statement that Darth Vader killed Luke's father in the original "Star Wars" (change the name all you want, it is still "Star Wars" to me). But for a plot twist it certainly floored audiences. I went to the first showing the first day for all three "Star Wars" movies and since my brother made the mistake of flipping through the comic book version and stumbling across the film's big revelation (which he immediately shared with me) I was not surprised at what happened. But I still remember the audience gasping twice when Luke lost his hand and Darth Vader said his big line.
"The Empire Strikes Back" is far and away the best of the "Star Wars" movies, whether you are talking the original three or all of the prequels as well. It is a very dark film in which things are constantly going wrong. Luke is attacked and almost killed by a snow monster, the base on Hoth is attacked and evacuated, the Millenium Falcon end up inside a giant worm, Luke abandons his training with Yoda too soon to help save his friends, Lando betrays Han who ends up a frozen statue, and then Luke loses his hand and learns the truth about daddy. The only real bright spot in the movie is when Leia and Han fall in love (the comic relief with C-3PO does not count) and even that ends on a major downer. There is nowhere to go but up at the end of this one and it is rather amazing how many people would go back repeatedly to see a movie whose idea of a happy ending is that nobody is dead yet.
George Lucas again wrote the story but the script by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan brings the level of the dialogue up to a more adult level than the Saturday morning serial feel of the first film. Director Irvin Kershner draws stronger performances out of the entire cast, which is precisely why he was picked for the second film. The result is an much more ambitious film where the characters have more depth, helped by the dramatic turns at the end that up the ante considerably on the story. Luke Skywalker is no longer the fresh-faced kid he was when we first met him, having to grow up really fast because of what happens in this film. But when you get audiences to take a Muppet as seriously as we take Yoda, then you are really accomplishing something. Even after all this time this film still works.
This movie also reflected a great leap forward in terms of the special effects that were the hallmark of the first film. When we saw "Star Wars" one of the things we fell in love with what how far special effects had come since "2001: A Space Odyssey," the obvious reference point in the field of science fiction films. But that was nothing compared to what Industrial Light and Magic came up with three years later in "The Empire Strikes Back." No wonder Lucas wanted to go back and fix some of the special effects shots in his first "Star Wars" film, especially with the X-wing fighters in the final attack on the Death Star. Compare that with the chase of the Millenium Falcon through the asteroid field in this one, which gets outclassed three years later by the Rebel attack on the new Death Star in the final film.
When it comes to the second in a film trilogy "The Empire Strikes Back" is the standard by which such things are judged. Granted there are not many of them, but "The Attack of the Clones," "The Matrix: Reloaded," and even "The Two Towers" do not rise to the challenge. Ironically, "The Empire Strikes Back" was so good that it made it difficult for "The Return of the Jedi" to be better, especially since the final film was going to be more upbeat (and that was before all those cute Ewoks showed up). When I think about walking out of a movie theater with the words "To be continued" in my mind, this is the movie that epitomizes that thought.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just trying to clear up all the mistakes made by Mr. Ben Le Pensive, 20 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (Limited Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
First: This film is NOT a "mistake" and is not following up a "moderately successful film" the first film was amazing and this film is the best of the original trilogy in my opinion.

Second: the director was not Russian he was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (just so you know that's in America) and his name is Irvin Kershner NOT Irvin Kasdan.

Third: Mark Hamill's face was scared in a car crash NOT by a firearm.

Fourth: Lando Calrissian was played by Billy Dee Williams NOT Billy G. Williams and he was not a senator but the administrator of Cloud City. And he doesn't embark on a conquest to win Princess Leia's love.

Fifth: Yoda is only one foot tall NOT four and he was operated and voiced by Frank Oz NOT the late Jim Henson.

And last but by no means least WHEN the hell does Darth Vader take his mask of and reveal his identity in EMPIRE STRIKES BACK apart from the "I am your father" bit?

All in all Mr. Ben Le Pensive's review is generally full of WRONG information.

All you really need to know is that this film is fantastic and if you liked A NEW HOPE you will most certainly enjoy this film.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Original Empire, 20 April 2007
This review is from: Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (Limited Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
It's great to see what people can do when they shout loud enough, in this case to get Mr. Lucas to release his orginal theatrical cuts of some of the most popular films in cinematic history.

The Empire Strikes Back has always been my favourite film of the trilogy as it has all the elements needed for a great film with a touch of magic too. When Mr. Lucas revealled he was tinkering with his films over 10 years ago I thought this was actually a good idea. To be fair he didn't actually mess around with any of the 3 films content too much plus they needed remastering anyway. I still think this is the case and the newer versions look stunning.

However in recent years I think George Lucas' biggest mistake was to basically forget about the original versions of the films and not to allow people to make a choice of which version of the films they would like to see. After all it was these original versions that made him all his money in the first place. Plus even though they were his films, they are of course incredibly popular so if he didn't expect a large amount of backlash when he tinkered with them then he must have been stupid.

Now George Lucas has released the original versions it appears he has taken all the cries for them to be released very, very literally and given us the original bare bones films. As for what we have here, yes the picture and sound quality is far inferior to the special editions but I think some reviewers have been a little extreme in their words on this aspect. I personally feel that they hold up very well even when viewed on a widescreen TV.

As for George Lucas himself, well he's an astute businessman. People seem to keep lambasting him for trying to squeeze every penny out of the Star Wars fans. Well, it's the fans that keep buying the films again and again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The one true work of excellence, 20 Jun. 2012
By 
Mr. Ja McLaughlin "Tony mac1" (Dunfermline) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (Limited Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
`Empire' remains the lynchpin of the whole Star Wars series; the one that has allowed the franchise to derive so much sustained adulation and largely unmerited critical kudos. Watching it over 30 years on from its initial release reminds you not just of its individual excellence but just how ordinary the others in the series are by comparison.

`Return of the Jedi' has long been regarded as a weak conclusion to the first trilogy, and the modern prequels are largely dismissed as boring and uninvolving. Even the original Star Wars now appears barely written and often sloppily made; but for the arrival of Han Solo and the attack on the Death Star it would be difficult to get beyond the first 45 minutes.

But `Empire' is different, even with George Lucas's endless minor tweakings over the years. It has a cracking story and screenplay, full of surprises and unexpected twists that Lucas appears hell-bent on destroying through his over-revelatory prequels. Everything happens in the wrong sequence and yet it all works. The major battle is at the beginning, a major character is dispensed with prior to the climax and the film ends with no conclusion at all. Yet it's the sheer unexpectedness of proceedings and the absolute refusal to follow formulaic patterns that keeps you entranced.

Three things in-particular help `Empire' stand out. The first is the hiring of an actor's director in Irvin Kershner, who puts some real spark into the performances and finds interesting ways around the screenplay's more leaden dialogue. Second, the film is distinctly dark and adult in its themes, happy to explore unrequited love, jealousy, betrayal and disillusionment. Third, the story is smart enough to feature the series' two most interesting characters, Han Solo and Darth Vader. With his endless jibing and bragging at the other characters Solo comes perilously close to being disagreeable, but this helps create tensions and acts as a catalyst through which the essentially one-dimensional heroes take on hidden depths. Similarly, Vader moves from being an impressive but largely comic-book heavy into a far more complex and mythic figure, a villain of truly epic proportions but also one who's final revelation, in one simple line of dialogue, moves the whole series into the realms of dynastic saga.

Technically and artistically, Empire keeps the surprises and innovations flowing throughout. Who before or since has staged a major sci-fi battle in a sub-zero wasteland? Yoda's swamp world harks back to King Kong's dense prehistoric jungle and Cloud City looks like it came straight out of Flash Gordon. Even most of Lucas's later tinkerings actually work - especially his decision to open up the vistas of Cloud City which add some real visual delights.

As the mid-point of a trilogy `Empire' is inevitably dependent on what came before and after; but it is the glue that holds this often shaky cinematic phenomenon together. It is the one example that Star Wars junkies can always point towards as an unconditional example of greatness. And what, in retrospect, would the entire saga be without it?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Irvin Kershner Saved Empire Strikes Back, 14 Feb. 2011
By 
G. Chung "chungking888" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (Limited Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
I was channel-hopping and caught Empire on ITV1HD just as the AT AT walkers began their assault on the Rebel Base in Hoth and ended up watching the whole film. And it was just sooooooo good. Compare Empire with any of the Prequels and you can't believe the George Lucas who scripted Empire was the same George Lucas who scripted the prequels! It makes you recognise the significant impact Empire director Irvin Kerschner (the late, great and much missed director) must have had to that movie. In fact the excellent book "The Making of Empire Strikes Back" by J W Rinzler provides insight into how Kerschner provided the humour and drama which is completely lacking in the Prequels. It was Kerschner who gave those great touches like Han Solo giving the Falcon a thump to start the engines and having R2-D2 stand on tiptoe trying to peek into Yoda's hut on Dagobah. One cannot help but wonder what films we would've had if only George Lucas allowed someone else to direct the Prequels, thereby allowing their creative input to tweak the scripts (and boy do those Prequel scripts need tweaking).

The film shown on ITV1HD I believe wasn't true HD (it was merely upscaled) but it still looked great - Luke's lightsaber never looked so blue. I'll definitely be purchasing the Original Trilogy on Blu-Ray and maybe wait for the Prequels to be discounted before getting those discs.

And I learnt something new from the latest viewing of Empire. Admiral Ackbar was not the first character to say IT'S A TRAP! In fact Princess Leia says it first to Luke on Bespin when she catches glimpse of him as they were being led away by stormtroopers. Must say though that Admiral Ackbar says it a lot better (although I wouldn't like to see him wearing the slave outfit worn by Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi).
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4.0 out of 5 stars ......" You must unlearn what you have learned "......, 10 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (Limited Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
The Star Wars saga continues with Darth Vader regrouping after the destruction of the Death Star to find new ways of pursuing his dominance. The main characters split and go their separate ways. Hans Solo finds that he cannot escape the plight and is further hampered by the malfunctioning of his ship. Luke Skywalker follows the force to meet a mysterious master Jedi (Yoda) in order to carry out his training.

This sequel is almost separate to the first film and can be (or should be) seen in it's own right. It is bloodier, grittier and definitely darker both physically and in theme. We get a more evil, remorseless and shinier Darth Vader, who has more dialogue to his name. The story is continued by showing Darth Vader as a more prominent figure, an iconic image defining the whole series and popular culture. There is also the introduction of Yoda who is instantly likeable and makes the story more interesting.

Despite the differences to the first film, The Empire Strikes Back is still fast paced and full of action. One of the major battle sequences takes place during the first half an hour. Even though this is a more serious film, the humour continues especially where Hans Solo's ship is persistently breaking down and C3PO becomes more sarcastic and opinionated. There is a good flow and balance, and the film manages to cover a lot of ground.

Middle films in trilogies are always tricky but history has proved that they end up being the best ones out of the three. This is because the main crux of the film is in the middle order and if the Director fails; then the whole series collapses. This theory is tested here as Kirshner brings out the most important parts of the series which includes an unexpected twist and an ending which leaves us on knife edge.

The Empire Strikes Back is presented as a re-mastered version on the first disc. The second disc contains the original version of the film which does not have improved picture and sound quality and apart from a Director's commentary there are no other extras in this two disc DVD package.

The Emperor Strikes Back is as good as the first film, even though A New Hope was more of a spectacle and easier on the eye. A New Hope introduced us to a new concept, but the Empire Strikes Back ensured that the whole series remains credible. It's not just a summer blockbuster, it's stronger than that and even though it has a sense of Lucas missing (you can feel it in the air), it's like Star Wars has grown up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Film - The Best of the Originals!, 14 Nov. 2009
By 
C. Barker - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (Limited Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back was an incredibly powerful movie which took the Star Wars methology to a whole new level. The thing I did notice in this movie was the evil Vader whom makes a much darker appearance in this second original movie (fifth chronologically). In Episode IV Vader seemed to be pushed around like a lost muppet but this time around he's the one making the orders and no admiral dare stand in his way. The revelation at the end between Vader and Luke was powerful as well and reflected the darkness of this film which makes Episode IV look like a christmas fairytale. This doesn't mean the movie is "that" dark through. It has plenty of comical moments that keeps the movie toned down a little so it could still make a successful impression among younger audiences. The very nature of the film is that it is the middle chapter of a trilogy so it does tend to set up much of the events of the next movie. The one thing I like about this movie is that at the end the Empire have almost swiftly beaten the Rebellion to a point where they are a desperate people.

I would probably say this is the best movie of the original trilogy. It is the darkest but it is the most successful and most believable entry in my opinion. Its got FIVE big stars from me!

Watch this, "It is Your Destiny!".
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