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Post Posted: January 25th 2014 11:44 am
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“There is no sense that this ebullient, youthful saga is running thin in imagination or that it has begun to depend excessively in its marvelous special effects — that it is in any danger, in short, of stiffening into mannerism or mere billion-dollar style.”
Harrison Ford during the filming of The Empire Strikes Back

“By far the most imaginative part of the Star Wars trilogy. This middle, bridging film is chained to an unresolved plot and doesn’t have the leaping, comic-book hedonism of the 1977 Star Wars, but you can feel the love of movie magic that went into its cascading imagery.”

“I’m not sure I’m up for seven more Star Wars adventures, but I can hardly wait for the next on

- Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

“The Empire Strikes Back is not a truly terrible movie. It’s a nice movie. It’s not, by any means, as nice as Star Wars. It’s not as fresh and funny and surprising and witty, but it is nice and inoffensive and, in a way that no one associated with it need be ashamed of, it’s also silly.

Attending to it is a lot like reading the middle of a comic book. It is amusing in fitful patches but you’re likely to find more beauty, suspense, discipline, craft and art when watching a New York harbor pilot bring the Queen Elizabeth 2 into her Hudson River berth, which is what The Empire Strikes Back most reminds me of.

It’s a big, expensive, time-consuming, essentially mechanical operation. The Empire Strikes Back is about as personal as a Christmas card from a bank.”

- Vincent Canby, The New York Times (Published on June 15, 1980)

One review they don't mention is Janet Maslin's New York Times review, which I always found interesting. She liked it, but she described the dialogue and acting as "wooden." Sound familiar? :monocle:

Post Posted: January 26th 2014 3:00 pm
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Join: April 26th 2005 11:20 am
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Read that a few days ago. Love the rich language on display in those excerpts, whether I agree or not. I've read many accounts before about how ESB was originally considered a disappointment by many due to its darker story elements and moodier overall tone. Sam Witwer said as much in a recent feature at Star Wars is good at befuddling expectations in a, if you're ready for it, richly satisfying way.

That blog post is in the same vein as this:

It's critics reviewing ROTJ not ESB. But it's Siskel and Ebert going up against what someone described as a Bond villain-like critic (John Simon) who despises the trilogy. Really fun to watch.

And yes, many of the latter critic's comments sound very familiar. ;)

Post Posted: July 17th 2014 2:53 pm
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Join: February 14th 2005 9:23 am
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Weird really, because I was alive at the time, and it was THE film to see. Don't recall anyone saying it was "too dark" etc....

Post Posted: July 17th 2014 5:43 pm
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Join: October 12th 2004 9:34 pm
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Location: Toronto, Canada
A lot of this kind of stuff started to come out a few years back when Lucasfilm was trying to convince the world that the OT was just as poorly received critically as the prequels were. For every random critic who didn't like Star Wars or Empire there were about fifty that would proclaim "film of the year."

I recall that when ROTJ came out there were people fussing about the Ewoks, but there was never a critical backlash.

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