The Empire Strikes Back: Special Edition | Chicago Reader

The Empire Strikes Back: Special Edition

The new subtitle distinguishes this 1997 rerelease from its 1980 counterpart, a sequel to 1977's Star Wars featuring the same six principal good guys fighting common enemies while bickering among themselves. This version boasts some new insertions in addition to the digital reworking of some of the original footage, but there's no reason to see it on the big screen. The many Chicagoans who rented the 1980 video the weekend the rerelease opened in theaters, with its blaring sound and colossal imagery, knew something I only discovered after watching both in succession: the story, which is overblown, dated, and deathly boring on the big screen, seems ingenious, evocative, and charming on the small screen, where its bad jokes, strained romance, tedious battles, and cloying and insincere metaphysics feel relevant because you don't expect them to feel new. Irvin Kershner directs a screenplay by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan based on a story by George Lucas. 127 min.

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