Shapstik’s Movie Clip of the Week: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

“I am altering the deal, pray I don’t alter it any further”

One of my favourite scenes ever in science-fiction. The moment when Han is taken and frozen in carbonite is full of tension, emotion and epic music and camera-work. Of course, the prequels have taught us that only when characters are built up and the viewer has a vested interest in them, can this sort of scene evoke such a dramatic response. Kershner creates an absorbing moment that is less about spaceships and blaster guns, and more about real characters. The web of decepit, betrayal, love, friendship and even family are all tied into just a few minutes of amazing dialogue.

There are even a couple of moments that have taken me, sadly, 50 times of watching to notice, whether through my lack of observation of the actual depth of the film’s scene: I love the way the camera looks up at Vader after Leia looks up at him, a brilliant father daughter moment that we do not yet know about and the way Vader actually saves Chewie from being shot by the bounty hunter (a glimpse of his good side perhaps?).

Just brilliant, and I only hope that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is able to replicate not just the real locations and practical effects, but develop some new and memorable characters as well.

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