I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I was going to go to my friend’s birthday party and see Empire Strikes Back! In the same day! Throughout elementary school I always saw my classmate Mike as rich because of this day: he was taking a pile of friends to the movies. Who does that?? I was feeling a little bad because my siblings wanted to see it too and my parents showed no signs of taking there (they did end up going along with my dad, uncle and cousin), but I still couldn’t wait to see Luke Skywalker battle Darth Vader in a light sabre fight. And this Yoda character. I had to keep asking my brother to remind me of his name. He would say, “Yoda,” and I would say, “Yeah him. I can’t wait to see him.”
The movie did not disappoint. This was one of my fondest memories of going to the movie theatre. It even topped both my E.T. and Titanic experiences years later. When I walked into the Paramount Theatre on Main Street in Moncton and smelled that popcorn, I was enraptured. This wasn’t the first movie I’d seen in the theatre–it may have been my second or third, not really sure–but this was definitely my first time of just falling in love with the whole movie experience. That smell still rolls together those feelings of excitement, contentment and anticipation today, even when I’m about to see a flick I really don’t care to see. My sister and I often talk about this experience and just so everyone knows, either of us are ALWAYS ok with receiving movie gift cards for birthdays, Christmas, and any/every occasion.
Of course there was so much to enjoy. The battle on Hoth was nothing less than epic. Luke killing an ice monster. Yoda’s comedy mixed with deep wisdom. The introduction to Boba Fett. Though I have to admit that as an eight-year-old I was a little disappointed at the end. There is no doubt that the movie was incredible and that I’d be talking about it for months with my friends at school, but that famous scene that everyone quotes bummed me out for the evening. Maybe even the whole next day. How can Luke possibly be Darth Vader’s… well, you know. I just wanted Luke to beat him in a light sabre fight. I had no idea how good this was for me, though, as a young movie lover. ESB taught me to love the cliff hanger (That is with exception to the one at the end of Back to the Future II–now that was lame!). A movie is a story told with a harmonious blend of technology and humanity. These stories often need more than just two hours to be told, and the Star Wars trilogy is the perfect example of that. Sure I was disappointed at eight, but I was soon intrigued at nine, anxious for the continuation at ten, and by the time Return of the Jedi came out when I was eleven, I was on the edge of my seat the entire 134 minutes. I jumped right into that story and it became more than entertainment. It was important to me.
I love that this is the highest rated sequel after The Godfather Part II. There are so many great scenes, great quotes, and great moments. It is easily my favourite Star Wars movie, and apparently I’m not alone… it hits #11 as IMDb users’ list of greatest movies of all time. And consider this: it is rare that a sequel is considered greater than its predecessor. And in this case, the predecessor was none other than Star Wars!
Congratulations Empire, this is your week.
It does seem funny that since this blog was started several weeks ago, the #3 and #4 movies on the IMDb top 250 have been bested by summer blockbuster movies. Of course, these films are masterpieces and simply cannot be ousted so easily. The Godfather Part II–again, how incredible is it to not only measure up the the first movie, especially since the original is a movie that many–if not most–critics hail as the greatest film ever made?
And The Dark Knight. Most of us who have seen and love this movie have at some point asked the question, “I wonder if Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker would have been as celebrated if he hadn’t died.” I am of the opinion that is would have been just as celebrated as it is now. His performance is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Maybe he wouldn’t have gotten the Oscar had he lived, but only because the Academy is flaky (They stiffed Jim Carrey how many times?), but we would still be at awe at what Ledger was able to do with his character.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actor: Heath Ledger
Best Actress: Diane Keaton (If it was Return of the Jedi, Carrie Fisher would definitely have this one. The Jabba the Hut bikini cannot be denied.)
Best Quote: “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just… do things.”
And so the Star Wars franchise continues to dominate. This is the second time one of the original three movies beat out two contenders for movie of the week. There is nothing like a good movie. I wouldn’t want to live without them. I’d rather kiss a Wookie.