Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back At 40

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back At 40

It’s Still The Age of Empire

Tripwire’s contributing writer Scott Braden takes a look at the impact of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, rumoured to be heading back to UK cinemas this July…

Apparently opening on July 4, one of the most popular films of the 20th century is making a much-heralded comeback when Disney releases Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in 4K to help boost UK cinemas. There may be no end of Star Wars product on various networks, but nothing beats the 1980 sequel.

Entertainment Weekly – as well as millions of fans of George Lucas’ franchise – declared the dark film to be the best Star Wars movie ever. According to Wikipedia, The Empire Strikes Back “had a significant impact on filmmaking and popular culture, being regarded as a rare example of a sequel that transcended the original.” The “Luke I am your father” moment at the climax of the movie is often cited as one of the greatest plot twists in cinematic history.

photo courtesy of Lucasfilm

Four decades ago, Washington Post staff writer Gary Arnold declared that the sequel was a “dazzling film with a daring departure into the [film franchise’s] future.” Arnold went on to say that Empire “is a thrilling, witty, inventive continuation of Star Wars but it also introduces a more serious approach and springs an astonishing plot twist, which promises to keep audiences buzzing and open up the story for deeper dramatic exploitation. Surprises are in store, perhaps unwelcome if you hoped for a strictly ingratiating reprise of the original movie – but potentially electrifying if you care for a new departure.”

StarWars.com had several of its contributing writers chime in on the importance of the film, citing everything from deepening fans’ understanding of the Force, expanding our knowledge of the Star Wars Universe by revealing new planets to moviegoers, and forcing Young Skywalker to face his darkest fears in grand fashion, among others.  And even with the potency of its dark, foreboding ending, there is still a scintilla of hope lurking in the background.

So far, the 4K edition of the film has only been made available on the studio’s streaming platform Disney Plus and via Blu-ray, where it was released in late March alongside 4K versions of the seven other Skywalker Saga films.

The contribution of the title is a prime example of how U.S. studios are leveraging the might of their immense libraries to help the exhibition sector get back on its feet. Here’s hoping that the movie will generate the fan interest to pull the requisite weight.

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