Although the Rebellion has destroyed the Galactic Empire’s new Space Station, the Imperial Fleet manages to find the Rebel base on Yavin and drives the Rebels out of hiding. Scattered throughout the Universe, Luke Skywalker, new hero of the Rebels, finds Hoth VI, a world of harsh cold and snow, for the Rebels to rest and rearm. Darth Vader, now obsessed with finding Luke Skywalker, orders the Imperial Fleet to search the Galaxy for them.
A probe sends a message fragment on Hoth VI, which is noticed by Captain Piett. Despite objections by Admiral Ozell, Darth Vader orders his fleet to head for Hoth VI and attack the Rebellion. As the Rebels work out how to escape, Ozell’s move to take the Rebels by surprise fails, and he is killed by Vader for his incompetence. General Veers takes a large task force down to the surface, and a battle ensues. Despite heavy losses, the Empire emerges victorious, but takes no prisoners and all of Vader’s primary targets escape.
While Luke Skywalker breaks away from the Rebels to head for Dagobah, Han Solo and Leia Organa are heavily pursued by the Empire. Complicating matters is the fact that the hyperdrive aboard the Millennium Falcon no longer functions, so Han Solo and Chewbacca fly into a nearby asteroid field and manage to evade their pursuers for a while.
Luke arrives at Dagobah, but crash lands on the planet and finds a small creature who spends more time playing around with him than being of any help, although this creature knows things about Luke’s family. When Luke gets irritated, the creature reveals that he is the Jedi Master Yoda, and tells Luke that he is not ready to train. When Luke relents, Yoda attempts to teach him about the dangers of the Dark Side of the Force, with mixed results.
While Han Solo and Leia get closer to each other in the middle of repairing the ship, Darth Vader orders his ships to search the field. Eventually, the Millennium Falcon is forced out of the asteroid it landed on by the giant space creature it had unwittingly used as a cave to land in. The Empire’s ships find the Falcon once more, and pursues relentlessly. A landing trick by Han Solo allows the Falcon to “hide” on one of the Empire’s capital ships – a maneuver that costs its Captain his life when he is confronted by Darth Vader.
The Empire soon deploys its ships in a search patterns to find the Falcon, and Han hides his ship in the garbage dumped by the Empire. Running out of options, he finds that he can make his way to Bespin, a planet run by Lando Calrissian, an old friend of his. Unfortunately, Han is followed by Bobba Fett, a bounty hunter.
Luke continues his training, but his own ship sinks beneath the swamp. Yoda uses this as a teaching moment, and Luke attempts to use the Force to lift his ship out of the bog. Unable to do so in the first attempt, Luke gives up and leaves. Yoda uses the Force to lift the ship out of the swamp and sets it down on solid land. Luke expresses his disbelief and Yoda chastises him for it. Finally convinced of the power of the Force, Luke enthusiastically continues his training.
Han Solo arrives at Bespin to a hostile reception by its security forces. Eventually he is confronted by Lando Calrissian, who is eager to catch up on old times. Leia is suspiscious of him, and C3PO ends up missing…until he is found by Chewbacca in a junk pile – in pieces. Leia’s fears seem validated when Lando invites them to dinner and Darth Vader appears with a battallion of Stormtroopers.
Luke, continuing his training in the ways of the Force, has a vision of his friends being tortured. Desperate to help them, he abandons his training and rushes off to Bespin. Vader tortures Han Solo and Chewbacca, and Lando has a falling out with Han. Vader makes a deal with Bobba Fett and has Han Solo frozen in Carbonite. Luke Skywalker lands on Bespin’s Cloud City and Vader sets a trap.
Lando, having had all of his promises broken by Darth Vader, decides to escape. Although initially rebuffed by Leia and Chewbacca, they team up and try to rescue Han. They failed to reach him in time, but they rush back to the Falcon to escape. Lando orders the evacuation of all of people within the Cloud City.
Luke tries to find his friends in the city, but finds only Darth Vader. They have a lightsaber duel, where Vader’s skills are obviously superior to Luke’s. However, Luke does manage to score a surprising hit on Vader, where the only thing that kept Vader from losing his arm was his armored cloak. In retaliation, Vader cuts off Luke Skywalker’s right hand. As Luke hangs over the precipice, Vader gives him a relevation that shakes Luke to the core: Vader is Luke’s father.
Given the choice to join his father or die, Luke jumps off the ledge. He is sucked into a garbage chute and ejected to the bottom of the city itself. Hanging over the side, holding on for dear life, he uses the Force to call out to Leia. Hearing his call, she directs the Falcon to him. After he is caught by Lando, the Falcon takes off and heads for space. Waiting for them, however, is Vader’s personal ship, a Super Star Destroyer. Once again, however, the hyperdrive does not work.
R2D2, in the meantime, remembers that the Bespin City Computer told him that the Empire shut the Hyperdrive off and goes to turn the switch back to ON. After doing so, the Falcon flies into hyperspace.
At the Rebel’s rendesvous point, Luke is given a mechanical hand, and Lando and Chewbacca embark on a rescue mission to save Han Solo from Bobba Fett and his master, Jabba the Hutt.
Review and Analysis:
The Empire Strikes Back is the quintessential Movie That Hates You. Because when you begin to analyze this movie from the view of Common Sense, the WHOLE movie falls apart.
The Pointy-Helmet Boss:
Darth Vader has a habit of giving his subordinates orders where it is expected of them to have Betazoid levels of Telepathy to interpret what he really wants. He tells his fleet commander to set course the Hoth System to confront the Rebels. It is not known how long the trip takes, but it is apparent that he had a plan of action on what to do when the ships actually arrive at Hoth VI.
But he chooses not to inform his Fleet Commander of these plans at all. In fact, Vader does nothing regarding the invasion of Hoth until AFTER the fleet had made Planetfall. When Ozell failed to read Vader’s mind about his intentions, Vader Force-chokes Ozell, killing him. But then he tells his new Fleet Commander what he wanted to have done in terms of invasion and fleet deployment.
Vader would do this once more with Captain Needa of the Avenger. Remember that no one knows that the Falcon’s hyperdrive has a bad fuel pump yet, so the Falcon could have jumped (which is was Piett suggests shortly after Needa is choked out). But Vader killed Needa anyhow.
Stupid Empire, Even Dumber Rebels:
The Imperial Forces that arrived on Hoth VI made the Planetary shield useless by landing outside of the shield’s operational zone. And what do they send to attack the Rebellion on an ice planet?
Slow moving legged Elephant Slugs.
Apparently, the Empire doesn’t have anything remotely available to call in an airstrike. The Empire doesn’t believe in paratroopers, either.
Or, land closer to the Rebel base if their intention was to capture the personnel.
But this pales in comparison to what the Rebels use to defend their base camp with:
Flying snowmobiles with harpoon guns.
Maybe next time the Rebellion decides to hide out on a planet, it will be somewhere the Empire can’t deploy slow-moving Elephant Slugs to attack them with.
Darth, the Pointy Helmet Boss, Part II:
When Darth Vader lands on Bespin, he uses his troops to threaten Lando Calrissian and his City to force them to cooperate to capture Han Solo and Leia Organa.
When Han and Leia land on Bespin, he uses his troops to capture Han Solo and Leia Organa to bait Luke Skywalker into landing on Bespin. And he does this by…torturing Luke’s friends. Maybe he planned to have one of them tell Vader where Luke is. Or maybe he believed that Luke’s Force Powers would kick in to let him see into the Future.
When Luke lands on Bespin, Darth…leads him to some chamber where the two of them swing light sticks and banter about the Force. Darth throws lots of junk around at him, and them tells him that Luke is his son.
He also orders his Fleet Commander to deactivate the hyperdrive on the one craft that could be used by the Rebels to escape…instead of flying in with an Imperial Cop Car and towing it away. Or setting charges and blowing the ship to pieces. Or, if he wanted to be “devious,” removing components of the hyperdrive (or the thrusters), rendering the ship inoperable. But he does none of these things.
And once again, in the end, despite the Rebels’ setbacks, Darth leaves Bespin like he did Hoth VI: Empty-handed.
Lando Calrissian, the Smartest Man in the Star Wars Universe:
And why do I bestow the title onto him?
First, Darth Vader brings in a garrison on troops onto Cloud City. His reputation has already made it clear that he has no compunction whatsoever of murdering innocents to get what he wants. Lando, already aware of this, fashions a deal that would keep all parties alive, most of all his friend Han Solo. Even if Darth Vader had no intention of keeping any part of the bargain whatsoever, Lando did the smart play.
If anyone wants to argue about betrayal, look at the actions of Leia Organa in contrast. She “held out” until the bitter end. And what did it get her?
One planet and ALL OF ITS INHABITANTS completely destroyed. This includes the man who took her in as his own daughter. The family that raised her. The friends, co-workers, teachers, fellow students, acquaintences, complete strangers, and so on.
And that’s heroic?
Second, let’s assume that, somehow, Lando would have been able to tell Han and Leia that Darth Vader was there, waiting to spring a trap. Where would they go?
Their ship’s hyperdrive is still out of commission.
This is waiting for them in far orbit around the planet.
This robot, who apparently has a vast intelligence network at its disposal, was also not anywhere them. And with Chewbacca and Lando unable to diagnose a turbo-based motor, this would have been a short trip.
And they would still be in the hands of the Empire.
Third, it was also clear that Lando had a backup plan in case something like this happened. How else could he have his Security force take the Stormtroopers prisoner?
General Veers, The Only Imperial Commander Ever to Win a Battle in “Star Wars”:
With the slowest armored division ever assembled, he managed to destroy the Rebel base.
Irrational Princess, Part 725.1:
Knowing that time is of the essence to rescue Han Solo, having been freed by Lando Calrissian, Leia repays him by…
Having the Man-Ape choke out the only person who knows where Han is and how to get to him quickly. When they finally release Lando, Leia and Chewbacca run off, although it is clear by the next scene that they have no idea where the East Platform is or how to get to it. When they get it in their heads that perhaps having Lando lead the way is probably a good idea, they reach the platform just in time to watch Bobba Fett leave Bespin to get his paycheck.
Why the Big Secret?
At some point, someone’s going to have to figure out why Luke’s step-aunt and step-uncle, Luke’s first Jedi teacher, and Luke’s second teacher never got around to telling him that the most feared and loathed man in the universe is actually his own father.
Romance in Star Wars:
The space pirate gets cranky because the former princess of blown-up world won’t “admit” to having romantic feelings about him. He then sneaks a grope when the giant space worm has a bout of indigestion. Space Pirate then gets to “first base” before being interrupted by a droid older than the both of them…combined. Princess of Blown-Up world finally gives in when her father Darth Vader freezes him for Boba Fett.
The Galactic Empire as run by Darth Vader is no real threat. Darth spends far too much of his time berating his own people, when he’s not choking them to death for not reading his thoughts. While he chastises his commanders for not being able to capture the Rebels, Darth’s track record is also an atrocity. They choose landing sites where the Rebels will have plenty of time to escape, and the machines they choose to attack with are slower than loaded down Hondas.
The Jedi are run by a small green Muppet and a ghost. The training program involves lots of running, jumping, doing handstands while lifting rocks with your mind. They fail to warn him about Dark Force Lightning, Dark Force Choking, and do very little to improve his lightsaber skills, despite the fact that he would need this when facing Vader and the Emperor.
Oh, and the Skywalker family trainwreck leaves the station in this movie.
The Empire strikes back? More like the Empire Strikes Out.