Life lessons from The Empire Strikes Back [part 3]: Hoth

2010/07/05

As the first great setpiece of the film begins to build up, we’re introduced to the mighty Imperial fleet. And as a nine-year-old, I found that I was not so impressed with the hugeness of Darth Vader’s flagship, but by the sheer number of TIE Fighters buzzing around with their unique sound effect.

Buzzing like flies.

You see, we were viewing the film at Phipps Plaza, then perhaps the only theater in 1980 metro Atlanta equipped with Dolby Stereo sound. I loved that I could both see AND hear a TIE fighter moving from left to right on the screen.
LESSON LEARNED: Sound matters. This lesson will be immensely reinforced in a climactic scene later in the film.
—-
On to the actual battle with the walkers.

Corny. Impractical. AWESOME.

As I alluded to in the first part of this series, I cannot be sure if it’s just the quality of the work or the tender age at which I first viewed it that makes this whole sequence so engaging three full decades later. Probably it’s both, but I can think of plenty of other nostalgic favorites that haven’t aged well at all, while this film and especially this setpiece continually revives that old thrill.
—-
As with so much else in the film, I garnered a few life lessons from this act as well. Though completely outmatched by the Imperial machine, the Rebels find ways to hold the line, however incompletely and unorthodox.
And in particular, hero Luke Skywalker doesn’t give up even when he’s been shot down!

No snowspeeder?

No problem!

LESSON LEARNED: Never give up! There’s more than one way to win!
—-
Even as this lesson is immediately reinforced by Han’s persistence in getting his rickety ship started, something else that left a lasting impression in the following escape scene is Han Solo putting everything on the line to help the Princess and her annoying droid escape the approaching Darth Vader.

Is it wrong to note how badass it is for him to walk in FRONT of his supposed bodyguards?

While it’s part of Han’s overall character arc, it was also a powerful lesson to me on loyalty.
LESSON LEARNED: Don’t abandon your friends and comrades. Even the bossy girls and whiny robots.
Next time: The Asteroid Field.
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