Empire Strikes Back is visually beautiful

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by matthew5, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. matthew5

    matthew5 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I recently viewed Empire Strikes Back after not seeing it for the longest time. I was surprised on how much I enjoyed it. It was not the masterpiece that I thought I was when I was young but it worked for me as a well made action/sci fi movie with just a bit of magic - even for a cynic like me.

    But what struck me the most was how visually appealing the movie was.

    I liked the contrast between the ice world of Hoth and the grungy swamp of Yoda's world.

    The interior of the Melinium Falcon never looked so cool. Dark and mysterious. The ultimate way to cruise through the universe - even if the hyper drive is wonky.

    I love the space scenes. (Geek alert) I loved the Imperial Cruiser/Melinium Falcon chase sequence. From my understanding those are models being used - but they are able to suspend my disbelief better than most contemporary special effects. Not only have they not aged. They've never looked better (/geek alert)

    The whole sequence on Cloud City is stunning from beginning to end. I love the shots of the carbon chamber thingy room. The darkness contrasted with the red lights and the steam rising. Awesome. Perfect setting for a duel. Even a simple a scene as the Melinium Falcon rescuing Luke from the bottom of the cloud city - I don't know how they did it - but the effect of the lighting on the clouds - just absolutely stunning. These days it would probably all be done with CGI. And again it would probably not look as good.
    DeeThomaz, lightbulb, Simon A and 6 others like this.
  2. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie

    Philadelphia, PA
    Agreed, Cloud City in particular.
  3. Still the best overall episode of the Star Wars saga, in my opinion...:edthumbs:
  4. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Yes, this is the best looking sci-fi movie ever, IMO. The lighting is so perfect for the story.

    This is my favorite shot:
  5. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    I agree -- it's a beautiful film. Shot by Peter Suschitzky, directed by the late Irwin Kirshner. The book The Making of the Empire Strikes Back goes into a lot of detail into how those shots were crafted. It looks far, far better than the first Star Wars film (IMHO).

    The film has got a lot of different settings: the snow planet, Yoda's jungle planet, the interior of the Death Star... many different looks, moods, and styles. And the sets are fantastic, too, especially the stuff on Lando Calrissian's "Cloud City," designed by Norman Reynolds.
  6. charlie W

    charlie W GCI Level 8

    San Antonio
    Rooster_Ties likes this.
  7. jv66

    jv66 Estimated Dead Prophet

    The only masterpiece in the whole saga, an incredible film.
  8. Rocker

    Rocker Forum Resident

    Ontario, Canada
    Death Star? In ESB? Maybe you're thinking of the interior of the Executor instead....? ;)
  9. wolfram

    wolfram Slave to the rhythm

    Berlin, Germany
    I agree. I painfully missed the feel of real physical objects in the new movies. Empire is my favourite as well and I never cease to be amazed by the chase through the asteroid field. Far out!


    "Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1!"
    "Never tell me the odds."
    erniebert and Frittenköter like this.
  10. ribors

    ribors Forum Resident

    :righton: As an admitted SW geek, I'm with you 100%. This was the best SW ever got and none of the other movies in the saga can compare with the visuals and planet environments of this one.
    Gardo, Frittenköter and sound chaser like this.
  11. Paradiddle

    Paradiddle Forum Resident

    Agreed on all counts. To me, THIS film is and always will be what Star Wars is all about, not the video games, not the novels, not the animated series, and sure as heck not the prequels.
  12. howlinrock

    howlinrock Forum Resident In Memoriam

    SF Bay Area
    I recently bought all 6 films on DVD (used cheap) for my near 5 year old grandson that lives with me. It's ironic how well ESB stuck out from all the others. The difference between this and the 1st ANH was night and day. What a beautiful looking film. It will be interesting to see how this fares in Blu Ray. My grandson is now hooked on Star Wars. These are pretty safe movies for a young child compaired to todays violence flicks.
  13. SimonSaysCake

    SimonSaysCake Forum Resident

    I agree, best of the (first) three. Beautiful. I always get chills/ a thrill from the chase through the asteroid field and am always astonished at how good some of those scenes look E.G.:


    Time to watch them all again :)

  14. bluesbro

    bluesbro Forum Hall of Shame

    2 words: Boba Fett
  15. longdist01

    longdist01 Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL USA
    And this was all done before CGI.

    How I miss the look of those space/battle scenes.

    Might as well have Pixar throw together a post-sequel story. George is basically still playing with his eraser and editing desk.
  16. hi_watt

    hi_watt Forum Resident

    San Diego, CA
    The soundtrack during the asteroid chase is one of the best parts of the film. The look of the hangar on Hoth is one of my favorite parts as well. This movie just kicks butt. Screw you new trilogy (apart from Darth Maul)...
    mark renard likes this.
  17. C6H12O6

    C6H12O6 Forum Resident

    My lab
    Star Wars went from being my all-time favorite set of movies to holding little interest for me once I hit my 20s, but Empire Strikes Back still knocks me out for its aesthetic beauty.

    I'm not big on the first one anymore, but its production design still holds up really well - it set a pretty high (and very familiar) standard, and it's really impressive that Empire can leap frog over it in such stunning fashion.
  18. Anthology123

    Anthology123 Forum Resident

    Watch the DVD and listen to director Kirschner's audio commentary on the film, he talks about each of the scenes and how they were setup.
  19. Claviusb

    Claviusb A Serious Man

    Your "watch the DVD" comment raises the question that's been on my mind since the original post-- how is everyone watching this movie? Because unless you're watching on one of the original VHS tapes or Laser Disc, some of the "before CGI shots" that people are marveling over are really CGI enhanced. That's not meant to take away from the original art design or cinematography, but I'd just like to remind people that both have been tweaked for current viewing.
  20. Jerry

    Jerry Grateful Gort Staff

    New England
    So, is it correct that there is no SD DVD version of ESB that is both the original 1980 version and anamorphic? I'm not into Star Wars, but would like to see this movie again after not having seen it in decades.
  21. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    New Orleans, LA
    I've got a rip from laserdisc and I've got the DVD from a few years back. It's telling that ESB was the movie Lucas messed with the least, and while I could have done without any revision at all, the few inserts aren't THAT obtrusive. I just wish the LD rip looked as good as the special edition DVD.

    I happily add my voice to all the positive comments about how good this movie looks. It's a perfect, polished masterpiece in my estimation, as technically well made as you could want, with splashes of humor and philosophy mixing well together in an overall dark tone. It's a great film, Star Wars or not. Did it win any Oscars for design?

    And that score....
  22. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident

    Tryon, NC, USA
    My daughter just watched it for the first time Sunday. I was surprised how good the sp laser discs looked blown up on my Pioneer Kuro.
    EVOLVIST likes this.
  23. tommy-thewho

    tommy-thewho Forum Resident

    detroit, mi
    Always my fav. Star Wars movie... + 1 here...
    Rooster_Ties likes this.
  24. Paradiddle

    Paradiddle Forum Resident

    Yep. Lots of fans, including myself, have clamoured for decent home video versions of the original, unaltered films but according to Lucas those were just "rough drafts" so he sees no need to do so. Don't even get me started...:realmad:
  25. daglesj

    daglesj Forum Resident

    Norfolk, UK
    Funny I was watching Return of the Jedi on TV for the first time in ages and I was shocked at how much "lower budget" it looked compared to Empire.

    They didnt even bother with the full size Falcon mock up in the ship hanger, its all Billy Dee Williams in front of cheesy matte paintings. Check next time.
    Solaris likes this.

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