TROUBLE CITY

Sam Strange Remembers...THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

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If you look at the top ten films of all time (aka the best of Sam Strange), six of them will be Star Wars films. This historical series has changed the life of every man, woman, man-child, child, and child-child who have come across its middle school charms, high school themes, and technical school wizardry. In an effort to come to terms with what I have done to the world, I will now remember all six films...


The Phantom Menace
Attack of the Clones
Revenge of the Sith
A New Hope

Star Wars Episode V
The Empire Strikes Back


The Empire Strikes Back is probably the most popular of the Star Wars films, which surprises me because it doesn't even have an ending. I guess people like it when characters they love are stuck back against.

The movie begins in the snowy country of Hoth-Hoth, where hunkered-down rebels are planning more terrorist attacks on Pal-Pal. Lucas is out dicking around in the snow when he gets attacked by White-Sasquatch. Though he eventually wins, the fight takes its toll. As Lucas struggles to stay conscious, a vision of Obi-Bobie Kenobi-Dobie comes to haunt him. "Lukas," he reverberates. "Go to Degubu and find Yogi Bear. He'll train you to be a better Jedi. If, of course, you live through your current predicament. Seriously, a Sasquatch?"

Before Lucas can die, Hand Solo arrives to shove him into the warm Sasquatch corpse. He gets all kinds of diseases from this and has to spend the next night floating in a big vat of mouthwash.

The Hand/Laiya romance is still going strong. When not having sex that could make the Internet blush, they show their love by beating the shit out of each other. Laiya likes to kick Hand in the balls, while Hand is fond of dragging Laiya around by her braids. Chewbacco is often stuck in the middle of their arguments, which is tough because he doesn't understand their language and they don't understand his weird gargling French horn noises. Neither of them are happy, but they both love it.

Another development: Anakin now knows that Lucas is his long-hidden son. Because of this, his search for the rebels has become personal, and thus far more efficient. In fact, this is the first film in the series where Anakin doesn't act like a complete dumbass.

Before Lucas can say goodbye to his friends, Hoth-Hoth gets attacked by Anakin. After tripping some robot dinosaurs, Lukas and the trashcan droid fly off to Degubu, while Hand, Laiya, Chewbacco, and Goldie Gaybot do their best to get away from the Empire's forces. They do this by flying through an asteroid shower, hiding in the gut of a giant worm, and finally just attaching themselves to the bad guy's airplane. This last move fools the stupid Empire, but it does not fool the clever bounty hunter who is hot on their trail, a real son-of-a-clone named Bobo Fett. You might remember him as that little brat from Attack of the Clones.

Meanwhile, Lucas crash lands his plane into one of Degubu's 10,000 swamps. He swims to the bank and meets Yogi, who has not double-aged well at all. Not only does he look slower and heavier, but he's developed a senility-based sense of humor as well. The first thing he does is go through Lucas's food supply in search of Mountain Dew. The best he can find is a candy bar, but he can't even enjoy that without having to fight the stupid little trashcan droid for it first. "Wrong foot, on the, started off, have you!" he scolds.

Jedi training is not what it used to be. Instead of meditation and long philosophical debates about the force, Yogi just wants to ride around on Lucas's back as he does bunches of flips. "Weeeeee! Fun, this is! Flip around, did I, like this, only faster. Flip faster!" But without Mountain Dew, Lucas is not able to flip as fast as Yogi wants. This disappoints Yogi. "Eh. Train you, I cannot. Too much like your father, you are. Great anger, sense I, in you." Yogi is too old to understand the difference between anger and massive frustration over colossal wastes of time.

The ghost of Obi Kenobi shows up to smooth things over. "Yogi," he says. "Take Lucas to that cave where he can confront his true fear." Yogi doesn't see the point. "Why? Filled, that cave is, with nothing but empty Mountain Dew cans."

Lucas goes to the cave and confronts Anakin. But instead of having an Anakin face, Anakin has a Lucas face. Lucas cuts off that face, and runs out of the cave screaming. "See?" Yogi asks Kenobi. "Jedi material, he is not. Not one Mountain Dew, bring back, could he. See him try to flip, you should." Kenobi's ghost nods and disappears in disappointment.

That night, Lucas has a dream that all his friends are getting murdered. The dream even tells him where it's happening, some place called Cloud Town. "I gotta go save my friends!" he whines. Yogi isn't into the idea. "Your training, not complete, it is." While he's saying this, Lucas force lifts his plane out of the swamp, uses force lightning to recharge its battery, and force resuscitates two alligators that were killed in the crash. Yogi changes his mind. "My words, eat, made me, you have."

Lucas flies to Cloud Town, and sure enough, Anakin has kicked all his friends' asses. Goldie Gaybot has been taken apart, Chewbacco and Laiya have been arrested, and Hand has been pressed into a mold for making giant Hand Solo action figures. Bobo Fett flies the Hand-mold off this movie and into the next.

Lucas finds Anakin and challenges him to a duel. "Looks like the Empire has stuck back, but now it is time for the Return of the Jedi!" Whoa, not so fast Lucas: the Empire's not quite done striking back yet.

They have a huge light sword fight in a blue-lit engine room. Lucas spends the entire fight defending himself because Anakin is such a sixty year old badass. The fight ends when Anakin corners Lucas onto a random pipe thing which is suspended over a huge hole. Then he cuts off Lucas's hand. "I have to tell you something," says Anakin. "I am your father!" This really freaks Lucas out. He cries a lot and jumps down the hole in an attempt to kill himself. Instead he slides down a series of fun looking laundry chutes, and ends up hanging upside down on a satellite dish. In desperation he attempts to force communicate with Laiya.

Thanks to a smooth talking soul man named Lando, Laiya and Chewbacco have escaped their captors and are flying away from Cloud Town, which Lando was Mayor of. Laiya hears Lucas's cry for help, and they go back to pick him up. Lando knows just where to find him because that hole is a famous attraction for the Cloud Town exxxtreme sports crowd.

They all go home, give Lucas another robotic hand, and stare out windows. What has happened to Hand Solo? You'll have to wait four years to find out...

(three stars)