|Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation | Release Date: May 21, 1980||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
It is expansive but more tightly time-framed in terms of plot. I wish it were a handful of minutes shorter, but this is my single caveat about another richly imaginative, engrossing and spectacular motion picture from the redoubtable George Lucas. [18 May 1980]
The best of three Star Wars films, and the most thought-provoking. After the space opera cheerfulness of the original film, this one plunges into darkness and even despair, and surrenders more completely to the underlying mystery of the story. It is because of the emotions stirred in Empire that the entire series takes on a mythic quality that resonates back to the first and ahead to the third. This is the heart. Read full review
The balance between action and mysticism in The Empire Strikes Back provides fascinating energy. It's as if the kids are given one set of delights, the bravado of battles and elaborate warships zooming through exotic space, and adults are given another, a layered explanation of what it all means in the grand scheme of things. [Special Edition] Read full review
It balances bloodshed with charm, spectacle with childlike glee. It's a near flawless movie of its kind.
Technical virtuosity and entertainment ingenuity.
A technological triumph. [19 May 1980]
Anyone planning to see The Empire Strikes Back should be warned right away that it is done as a two-hour chapter and ends in a cliffhanger, which is likely to leave an unsatisfied feeling, unlike “Star Wars,” which can be taken as a self-contained unit. This acknowledged, the movie nevertheless is a spectacular piece of work that carries the new “Star Wars” tradition forward. Read full review
While Empire doesn't quite measure up to Star Wars in the freshness and originality of its script, and the plethora of space operas that has been jamming the screens ever since Star Wars has somewhat lessened the novelty of city-sized ships sailing the stratosphere, nevertheless this 20th Century-Fox release remains a rattling good entertainment, a worthy successor to the original — and far and away the best of its kind since Star Wars itself. Read full review
Irvin Kershner, who directed this one, is a master of visual flow, and, joining his own kinks and obsessions to Lucas's, he gave Empire a splendiferousness that may even have transcended what Lucas had in mind...The characters in this fairy-tale cliff-hanger show more depth of feeling than they had in the first film, and the music - John Williams' variations on the Star Wars theme - seems to saturate and enrich the intensely clear images. Scenes linger in the mind.
The Empire Strikes Back is not a truly terrible movie. It's a nice movie. It's not, by any means, as nice as "Star Wars." It's not as fresh and funny and surprising and witty, but it is nice and inoffensive and, in a way that no one associated with it need be ashamed of, it's also silly. Read full review
No, this time out, the "Star Wars" enterprise isn't anywhere as enjoyable as the original...One might argue that all this represents a gain, adding to the original, sophistication, richness, depth. But truth to tell, these developments seem little more than inappropriate. To place internal struggles within one-dimensional characters who by definition have no interior is absurd; just as it also seems misguided to take such frothy stuff as the "Star Wars" saga and attempt to give it substance and weight. Read full review
Current Movie Releases
By MetascoreBy Userscore