ScreeningNotes’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."
Much improvement there is between Empire and A New Hope. Writing. Direction. Cinematography. But none so great a difference makes as Master Yoda. Wise he is, and to the film great intelligence and respectability he brings. Philosophically connected plot and character become. And what with him does George Lucas do? A joke he is turned into.
Alright, enough of that. Don't have it in me to do a full review for another one of my all-time favorites (still drained from 2001). Quick thoughts: I did not remember how definitively better than A New Hope this was. I always had the impression that it was the superior film, but over the years I began to think that I just liked it more for its creative world design (Hoth? Cloud City? Yes please!). But this latest rewatch has reminded me that it is both smarter and better made than Lucas's original.
After Yoda, my favorite thing about it is the way Luke and Vader are developed in parallel. I love that they have matching scars (Luke is attacked by the Abominable Snowman and we get our first glimpse under Vader's helmet), unconsciously identifying them and creating a synthesis of the classic dialectic of good and evil. This alignment is developed further by the famous scene in the Freudian dreamlike Dark Side Cave, where Luke confronts the fact that he hates Vader only for things he sees in himself ("Only what you take with you."). And, of course, the scene is step printed to visualize Luke's excess of emotion. Love it.
But seriously, how great is Yoda?
"This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. What he was doing. Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless."
"Wars not make one great."
"So certain are you. Always with you what cannot be done."
"Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny."
"But how am I to know the good side from the bad?"
"You will know when you are calm, at peace, passive."