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4.4 out of 5 stars98
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 30 November 2015
Packaging/Case:
This product (along with the other 5, which I have also) is a beautiful steelbook. the 'STAR WARS' is embossed and the rest of the case has a gloss finish. The spines match up perfectly and look uniform on any shelf. overall a very nice, well made set. Finally these products come packaged in a paper/card with information (not a slip cover).

Interior and Disc:
There is Disc art on each disc, matching the cover. Their is magnificent artowork on the interior of each case, in 'Empire Strikes Back' the battle of Hoth is featured. no manuals or paperwork of any kind.

Contents:
Each movie comes with only 1 disc. the disc features commentary and the movie only.

Overview:
Thke movies themselves look great on blu ray, I will not go into detail here, as they can be found all over the internet.

I can see this set being appealing to only 2 types of people. Individuals who have not picked up the 'Star Wars: The Complete Saga' (Like myself) or collectors who would like these stunning steelbooks for their star wars collections.

For a casual buyer who loves Star Wars or blu ray, as good as this set is the price is very steep for the same movies in different packaging, particularley if you own the blu rays already. For this reason I can't give 5 stars.

Ps: these are the digitally enhanced versions.
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My quest to watch the saga in the order that 'George Lucas' intended after making the prequels continues.....
With just the one left to watch prior to the Blu-Ray / DVD release of 'The Force Awakens' i have found this to be both an
exciting and enjoyable journey, i can recommend giving it a go if you've not already done so.
To the film - 'The Empire Strikes Back'
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU
Despite having lost the 'Death-Star' the Empire continue their rule and indeed their pursuit of the Rebel-Forces led by
'Princess Leia' (Carrie Fisher) and assisted by 'Luke Skywalker' (Mark Hamill) and 'Harns Solo' (Harrison Ford)
The rebels have set up base on a frozen wasteland within the 'Hoth' system but will have to evacuate as the dark-lord
'Darth Vader' (David Prowse) and his forces bear own upon them.
'Darth Vader' and the 'Emperor'(voiced by Clive Revill) know they must either dispose of 'Luke' or have him join them on the
Dark-Side before his power becomes a threat to them.
'Luke' has been told by 'Ben 'Obi-Wan' Kenobi' (Alec Guinness) to seek out 'Jedi' Grand-Master 'Yoda' (voiced by Frank Oz)
who now lives in exile on 'Dogabah' in a Hut, 'Luke' needs to complete his training to become a Jedi-Knight.
Meanwhile 'Darth' pursues 'Han Solo's' craft with 'Leia' 'Chewbacca' (Peter Mayhew) and 'C-3PO' (voiced by Anthony Daniels)
as they try to escape and find refuge to repair damage to the craft.
However they walk into a trap, 'Luke' who's training with 'Yoda' goes well senses his friends are in danger, he'll try to save them despite
'Yoda' and the spirit of 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' telling him he's not yet ready, he must try.....
'Luke' in facing 'Darth Vader' will learn a truth he does not want to hear....

Another action packed journey in the Star Wars saga that will engage your attention with it's battle and fight sequences and it's
usual measure of humour.
Given the film is some 35 years old now, the special-effects were way ahead of there time....
The Blu-ray upgrade is Good.
(Below Storm-Troopers at Disneyland 2011)
review image review image
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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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on 20 April 2007
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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on 5 September 2006
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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on 15 January 2016
While A New Hope has perhaps the most memorable plot and Return of the Jedi the more compelling moral message, Empire Strikes back still takes the cake because it is the most action-oriented and serious film of the original trilogy. Very little time is given to goofy alien puppets or other attempts by George Lucas of comic relief. Granted, the entire sequence of Luke and the wampa in its ice cave feels out of place in this genre, but it is pivotal because it is in this dire situation that Luke learns to use the force to save his own life. We are then treated to the Empire's assault on the ice planet of Hoth. A vast improvement over A New Hope's final battle; the action here is fast, brutal and the AT-ATs set a technological benchmark for the time.

The Empire Strike back's biggest weakness, just like Episode II, is that of a plot that is hard to describe. What exactly happens? Well, our heroes manage to escape with a malfunctional Millenium Falcon and are then forced to hide in an asteroid belt while Luke travels to the Dagoba system and received training from Yoda. Meanwhile Han, Chewie and Leia are forced to abandon their hiding spot in an asteroid once they realize they are actually in the guts of a giant space wurm; the approach the Empire fleet and manage to hide on one of the Star Destroyers' hulls and drift away as the fleet empties its junk before transitioning into hyperspace. Han says he knows a friend who can help them, but it is at that location that they are captured by Vader. Having sensed their friends in danger, Luke abandons his training and comes to their aid, only to ultimately have to be rescued by them and obviously learning a very inconvenient truth. Thats all I can sum up the story as. As you can see, not very defining.

Still, apart from the massive upscale in terms of pacing and action, another vast improvement Empire Strikes Back makes over A New Hope is the use of the film score. Iconic themes always accompany scene transitions and during battles where there was only silence of generic music in A New Hope. The actors also do a better job saying their lines than during A New Hope, although Chewbacca remains cringey, and Han Solo as obnoxious as before (I'll never understand the Star Wars community's adoration of these characters while hating the prequels' clumsy Jar Jar). Darth Vader has improved a lot, far more menacing now than in A New Hope as he routinely executes commanders who disappoint him and replaces them with others.

So the bottom line is, while not having a clear plot or doomsday device like the Death Star, the Empire Strikes back still manages to be the strongest film in the original trilogy, and entertaining from start till finish. Therefore, a 4 out of 5.
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on 20 June 2012
`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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on 14 February 2011
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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on 10 October 2009
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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on 15 February 2016
The best film of the trilogy in my view. Our characters are damaged, frightened and at their most vulnerable. In contrast to their exploits in the last one, here our heros are running and just trying to survive, at the end they just about managed it, and this feels like the greatest victory possible. Luke doesn't jump into a turret and start blasting tie fighter like the first film, at several points he's metaphorically and literally hanging on for dear life. The conflict is not just between the Vader and our heros, but also internal conflict as well as conflict between our heros.

The role of Darth Vader is really beefed up in this one, when he last saw him he was in a small vulnerable tie fighter and was lucky to survive the destruction of the death star. In this new film we first meet him on the bridge of the largest space ship we've yet seen, surrounded by the whole imperial fleet as John William's score booms out. The rebels have no choice, flee and hide or be destroyed, they cannot defeat the armada of battleships heading for their base.

The use of colour and lighting is superb in this film and really helps to emphasize the darker tone. The murky misty conditions on Yoda's planet underline the mystery surrounding Yoda, as the smoke filed conditions of Luke's first fight with Vader surround Vader too in mystery . The bright interior of Cloud City in the day offers a sense of hope and safety to our heros only for them to end up back in the shadows once they're betrayed.
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