Directed by Irvin Kershner
Story by George Lucas
Screenplay by Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, James Earl Jones, Billy Dee Williams, Alec Guinness
Three years after destroying the Death Star, Luke (Hamill) and Han Solo (Ford) are now a part of the Rebel Alliance group led by Princess Leia (Fisher). After their base is overrun on the planet Hoth, Luke heads off to find Yoda, a Jedi master who can complete his training. Meanwhile, Han and Leia head for Cloud City where they are hoping for some help from Lando Calrissian (Williams). Instead, they walk into a trap set by Darth Vader. Now Luke is hoping to rescue his friends, which is exactly what Darth Vader is hoping for.
How do you follow-up an instant classic like Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope? George Lucas answered that question with this hit 1980 sequel. This time Lucas took a step back and brought in Irvin Kirshner (The Return of a Man Called Horse) to direct the film. Using the story written by George Lucas, the screenplay was completed by Leigh Brackett (The Big Sleep) and Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark). The cast brought back Mark Hamill (Wizards), Harrison Ford (Ender’s Game), Carrie Fisher (The Blues Brothers), and Alec Guinness (Lawrence of Arabia). James Earl Jones (The Sandlot) lent his voice to Darth Vader once again. For this film, Billy Dee Williams (Batman (1989)) also came on board.
This is a great followup to the 1977 hit film Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. The story helps to expand the world of the series while keeping the characters interesting. Like many second films in series, this does leave things a little open, obviously preparing for the third film in the series. Luckily, this doesn’t become less of a film in the process. Instead, this movie adds some great characters and helps the story move forward nicely. There is a lot to like in this one, including the wealth of knowledge given about the characters in the story. Perhaps the great success in writing this series is the ability to create so many characters that are important without having to gloss over their emotions or details.
Like the first movie, this one features good performances by the entire cast. Although some of the supporting characters can feel a bit cheesy, it doesn’t lessen the feel of the movie overall. Hamill, Ford, and Fisher all give their characters depth and do a great job with the story. This films best performance might be from Mark Hamill, who brings a new level of emotion to his part. Billy Dee Williams also does good work with an interesting role of his own. Overall, this is another nicely acted film.
John Williams earned an Academy Award nomination for his score for this film. This coming after his Oscar win for his work on Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. His contribution is just part of the work done to make this movie so great. In addition to his nomination, the film was also nominated for Best Set Decoration. The film won two Oscars, one for Best Sound, and the other for special achievements in visual effects. All of the visual and audio aspects of this movie came together to create another classic movie that has stayed relevant for more than 30 years.
This is a great movie that keeps the world of the first film alive with great success. The story seems to pick up right where the first film left off, allowing the pace to start off quickly. Some people argue that this is the best film in the series. I am not so sure, but it’s still a wonderful film that I enjoy every time I watch it. If you’re a fan of these movies, it’s time to watch them again. I would also suggest this series to anyone who hasn’t seen these movies. They work for fans of science-fiction, fantasy, adventure, or action. I give this one 4.8 out of 5 stars.