I thought I’d hit “publish” on this yesterday. Sheesh.

Day 06: a song that reminds you of your BFF.

For my older readers, “BFF” is youthspeak for “Best Friend Forever.” While I have a few long-term friends, only one person on Earth truly qualifies for the BFF title — my only brother.

He’s just a couple of years younger, so we essentially grew up together. Even though I teased him mercilessly (because he was so easy to provoke), we remained close friends and almost never fought the way some siblings do. During our frequent moves during our boyhood years, we sort of had to hold to each other as a steady constant. We even attended the same college.

Adulthood has been an adjustment since, unlike me, he has never really returned home. He’s always had a healthy dose of wanderlust; I’ve resigned myself to the fact that he’ll probably always be an average of 1,000 miles away. Indeed, I know he’s happiest and most fulfilled that way and wouldn’t have it otherwise.

But when he’s home, I love the familiar sight of him from behind plugging away at some project on his computer in his old bedroom. And, unlike myself, who likes to put an iTunes playlist completely on random, my brother prefers to play a select few songs daily.

During one of his more recent visits, he’d listen to “1,000 Oceans” by Tori Amos ALL THE TIME. So of course, I can’t hear it without thinking of him.

To echo some of the song’s lyrics: I could never, would never keep him from flying. And most of the time, I don’t cry a bit, much less a thousand oceans. But once in a while …like today(:))…I just want to sail him home.

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Day 05: a song that reminds you of an activity from your youth

Most of my boyhood activities centered around cartoons, so it’s really a matter of picking a theme song.

In the end, though, there was only one cartoon that actually literally had me running home to see it — and, later, religiously programming the VCR to tape it.

This trio of completely separate Japanese cartoons rewritten into a single transgenerational epic absolutely riveted my younger brother and me. It was unlike anything we’d seen on American TV before since the much-more straightforward Starblazers from years earlier. I’m still a bit astounded at how well it all works despite the heavy editing.

I’m also still saddened that Carl Macek, the man behind it, passed away last year at the far too young age of 49.

I’ve owned the soundtrack for years, but the opening theme has never felt completely nostalgic without the sound effects. Thank you, YouTube.

It’s been way, wayyyyyy too long since the last update to this long, lonnnnnng-running series. Time to wrap it up, already.

(I actually found I had three — three — false starts to this final chapter in my drafts folder. *shaking my head*)

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It has also come to my attention, as I’m writing this, that Irvin Kershner, the director of The Empire Strikes Back, has passed away today at the the age of 87 [EDIT: it was Saturday, Nov. 27]. My condolences to his family and friends. I pray he is now in the arms of Our Lord  Jesus Christ. Needless to say, he will be remembered and beloved by generations of Americans for his contribution to the Star Wars saga. And I can think of no better tribute than to actually finish this retrospective on his most famous work.

Irvin Kershner, 1932-2010

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OK, so my nine-year-old mind has already been utterly blown by the incomprehensible sight of Luke getting literally disarmed mere moments ago. Now my hero can only cringe and crawl away from the embodiment of evil:

This image has stuck with me; Luke can only pathetically inch away from Darth Vader over the yawning abyss beneath.

So Vader’s attempting to tempt Luke to know the POWAH of the dark side of the Force, and Luke’s having none of it. He’s good. Vader’s bad. He’s the golden-haired, blue-eyed hero, Vader’s the villain in black. For goodness’ sake, Luke is an actual whole human being (well, up until a minute ago). Vader’s humanity, this tantalizing glimpse notwithstanding, is definitely in question.

That is, until the matter of Luke’s father comes up in the conversation.

Vader: …Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke: He told me enough! He told me you killed him.
Vader: No. I am your father.

Huh?

WHAT?

No, he had to be lying. This is a bad guy. THE bad guy. He’s spent the last two hours choking underlings for even minor failings, welching on deals, torturing and freezing Luke’s friends and even maiming Luke. It’s just…

…Not.

Possible.

But Luke’s anguished denial is, like mine was, more based on emotion than on fact. And while Vader’s certainly given us reason to distrust him, even at age nine I had to consider this news could be true.

(This coincides with a fascinating quote in the 1997 book Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays from director Kershner: “…Now, I was talking to kids, and I discovered that children below the age of nine say, ‘No, no, he’s not his father, he’s lying.’ They can’t accept it. About [age] ten on, they accept it.”

My only brother is 2.5 younger than I am, and his experience supports this hypothesis; he totally disbelieved while I accepted it while wanting to disbelieve it.)

When the very embodiment of evil shares a kinship with the golden heroic ideal, a powerful LIFE LESSON emerges: Nothing’s ever absolutely black & white in this world…except the truth!

Here, then, Luke’s earlier vows to never join Vader or be lost to the Emperor are put to the test. He’d made those vows A) without knowing the truth and B) assuming that he couldn’t possibly lose. Now he has two excellent reasons to renounce those vows: his thought-long-dead father is alive and he will certainly die if he doesn’t join him.

That Luke chooses certain death by stepping out into the bottomless abyss is a powerful reinforcement to a LIFE LESSON learned way back in Part 5: Shun evil. NO MATTER WHAT.

This shot of Luke falling toward the camera is the one that stuck with me...showing that the seemingly bottomless pit apparently had no TOP, either.

And just when it seems nothing could get worse, it does. Luke ends up stuck on the underside of Cloud City, barely suspended over the truly bottomless drop of the gaseous planet. The scene of the maimed Luke reduced to begging the spirit of Ben Kenobi to help him remains the very picture of hopelessness.

(It also struck me as incredibly useless. What could Ben DO? …Even if he HADN’T warned Luke he couldn’t help him if the young Jedi faced Vader? An unfortunate lesson I almost gained here was: If you disobey your mentors, don’t come crying to them for help when you fail. But the truer LIFE LESSON was: If one person or method doesn’t help, try another. Sometimes it’s the unlikeliest one that saves you.

And so, Luke is rescued, by the very ones he came to the city to rescue. (Two earlier Lessons on not forsaking friends and never giving up are reinforced here.)

After so many dark events, a bit of fun returns to the proceedings as the Falcon’s hyperdrive fails again. I wondered if we might be in store for another extended chase scene like earlier in the film.

It becomes plain, though, that the end is near, as Vader begins to telepathically speak to Luke, father to son:

…and it’s their mutual references to each other as father and son, along with Luke’s openly wondering why Ben Kenobi had lied to him, that sealed the question for me whether Vader was telling the truth.

(For the moment, anyhow. It was going to be a lonnng three years before the question would be fully settled in Return of the Jedi.)

The whole film had taken my naive expectation that the Good Guys Always Win and flipped it upside down, crashed it, exploded it, frozen it and cut off its sword-arm for good measure. So when the Falcon finally makes it into hyperspace and safety…

…the LIFE LESSON that I took from it is this: Even if you’re losing just about as badly as you CAN lose, just one clean escape to fight another day is as good as a win.

On the flipside, Darth Vader, who’s been summarily and capriciously executing subordinates for their failure to capture the Falcon under much more difficult circumstances for two hours of film time, suddenly fails to execute ANYONE for letting the tiny ship escape for good literally right under the flagship’s nose.

I could speculate a half-dozen solid reasons why. But for the purposes of this series, it merely served as a mild reinforcement to the LIFE LESSON learned from Darth Vader’s dark revelation: Nothing is absolutely good or bad…and that apparently includes Darth Vader, too.

That does it for the Life Lessons. But I have just a couple more thoughts and impressions from the very end of the film.

Lando = NOT scruffy-looking. But I totally noticed how he was dressed like Han Solo and wondered if Han was truly being written out of the series. At this point, ANYTHING seemed possible after the events of this film.

And Luke gets a new hand.

OK. Space health care is pretty good. (You'll note that it's private and NOT public, as the Rebel Alliance isn't an official government.) 🙂

I also really, REALLY didn’t want the movie to be over. John Williams’ wonderful love theme (which reminded me so much of the Gone With The Wind theme that I conflated the two for years after) truly reflected the yearning emotion that the heroes have for their lost, frozen friend and, in this viewer, the yearning for this incredible film to not be over.

But, of course, I knew it was.

Thus I’ve finally almost completed my look back at my all-time favorite movie. I want to compile all the Life Lessons learned into one summary as a bookend…and perhaps I’ll get to that by Christmas. Thank you for reading and for your patience.

I learned a lot from this battle.

Wow. I originally intended to be done with this series by late June. But here it’s September and I’m just starting the final segment, which is going to run for at least 2 installments.

But enough with recrimination. On with the retrospective!

The duel doesn’t start with the first clash of lightsabers captured above, but several minutes earlier in the film, when Luke decides to abandon his training at a crucial stage to rescue his endangered friends. Thus was an earlier lesson I learned in the film reinforced: Don’t abandon your friends and comrades.

But there’s a tension in the lesson this time around, as Luke is defying the wishes and advice of both the greatest mentors of his young life. They fear that he will fail and only dash their hopes anew:

Yoda: “Strong is Vader. Mind what you have learned; SAVE you it can!”

That line chilled me a bit. Yoda isn’t even guaranteeing that his training is enough to survive, much less defeat Vader. But Luke, for his part, doesn’t even entertain the possibility of failure. It seems that Yoda’s earlier instruction for him to “Try not; do or do not” has finally taken root in the worst way. Luke says two things in this scene that resonate much later in the film and much later in my life:

“You won’t.”

and

“I’ll return…I promise.”

The first line is in response to the ghostly Obi-Wan’s voiced fear of losing Luke to the dark side the way he lost Vader, his previous apprentice. The second line is a similar vow given to Yoda regarding his unfinished training.

These exchanges remind me of an episode near the end of Jesus of Nazareth’s earthy life. Two of his disciples, James and John, conspire with their mother to jockey for right- and left-hand-man status with Jesus when He comes into His Kingdom. Jesus asks them if they’re able to pay the same price in suffering that He’s about to endure. In their blindly ambitious naivety, both say they can and will.

Like Luke, the “sons of thunder” had no clue what they’d just vowed to do.

The LIFE LESSON of this scene, then is this: don’t make vows you really don’t know if you can keep.

There’s one more element at the very end of the scene that underscores the danger that Luke faces. As Obi-Wan and Yoda stand in the glow of Luke’s departing X-Wing, they have this exchange:

Obi-Wan: That boy is our last hope.

Yoda: No…there is another.

Wait…what? You mean Luke might not walk away from this?

At age nine, I barely registered this bit of foreshadowing, but it really is a subtly masterful storytelling device and a bit of insurance on the filmmakers’ part if their lead actor is lost somehow.

Finally, after much Imperial maneuvering, Luke finds himself facing the dark Lord Darth Vader at last, who has his own chilling words with which to open the encounter:

“The Force is with you, young Skywalker…but you are not a Jedi yet.”

Suddenly, the weight of all leading up to this moment hit my nine-year-old consciousness:

Yoda’s warning that Luke’s training might save him.

Obi-Wan’s warning that he can’t help Luke this time.

Yoda’s revelation that Luke isn’t the only hope.

Vader’s demonstrated unilateral authority in the movie so far.

And, most of all, the Rule of Expectations. My earlier assurance that Luke was destined to win (based on a fellow kid’s spoiler) was dashed in the scene at the cave midway through the film.

I’ve never been as on-the-edge-of-my-seat in any movie experience before or since. Thus the first LIFE LESSON of my Empire Strikes Back summer was reinforced: expectations have a way of coloring and affecting everything we do or experience. But my (and Luke’s) naive expectation of Luke’s victory is, with this scene and the others represented above, put into serious doubt. Consequently, a corollary lesson emerges: the reality still trumps the expectation. Don’t get ahead of yourself, kid!

Next time, we’ll look at what we can learn from the actual fight.

Lando had already made a positive impression on the nine-year-old Khari simply by being the first black character in the Star Wars saga. But he makes an equally negative one not two scenes later by turning our heroes over to the Empire.

Nice try at assassinating the heavy of the Empire, Solo. But Vader SPITS on your blaster fire. SPITS, I SAY!!!

But, we soon learn, Lando’s deal with the devil is, well, just that.

  • Far from keeping the Empire out of Cloud City forever, as Lando hopes, Vader almost immediately threatens to renege on that condition.
  • Vader turns Lando’s old friend over not to the Imperial justice system (as the law would presumably dictate) but to a bounty hunter in the employ of the galaxy’s most notorious gangster.
  • Vader forces Lando to be a jailer of Solo’s companions — until Vader decides to imprison them himself later anyway.
  • And, not least, he makes Lando a further accessory to the near-murder of Han Solo by carbon-freezing.

The LIFE LESSON LEARNED FROM LANDO in this sequence of events rang clear to the viewing nine-year-old me: Don’t try to deal with the devil.

Speaking of that carbon-freezing scene…early in this (protracted) series, I mentioned how I learned how much sound matters in film. A fascinating documentary about John Williams’ scoring of Empire underscores this reality. (Pun not intended.) Watch this link from about 5:50 to 8:20 and see the master at work on this pivotal scene of the film and hear how the music just makes it. I’ll wait.

She loves him. And he knows it.

Eventually, Lando realizes there’s absolutely nothing good about a deal with a guy who can and does change the rules whenever and however he likes, so he decides to change the game himself, no matter the personal cost. LIFE LESSON LEARNED FROM LANDO: It’s never too late to try to do the right thing.
Unfortunately, after freeing Solo’s allies, he finds them immediately turning on their benefactor:

"No good deed goes unpunished" was almost the lesson I took from this.

Precious moments later, Lando’s convinced them that he’s on the level and is able to breathe again. But they are precious moments too late to stop the bounty hunter Boba Fett from safely lifting off with his prize, leading to this:

…the single most heartbreaking shot of the whole movie for me. In the background, Lando’s head sags under the weight of his compounded failures this day, and Leia can only watch in absolute despair as the man she’s come to love is rocketed off to captivity. And this time she knows it’s partly her own fault for slowing Lando’s plan just long enough to enable Boba’s clean getaway.
The LIFE LESSON LEARNED FROM LANDO at age nine: Losing your temper can cost you more dearly than you can imagine. TRUST a brother sometime.
The last lesson I learned from the First Black Man In Space is embodied in his announcement a couple of scenes later to the citizens of Cloud City. He warns everyone that the Empire’s taking over and that everyone should leave. Not only has he done all he can for them in light of the overwhelming power of Vader and the Empire, but he’s also shrewdly generated a chaotic situation to help himself and his new allies escape.
LIFE LESSON LEARNED FROM LANDO: Have an exit plan, even if you have to make it up on the fly. Make sure you leave with something…but always leave responsibly.
Now we’re on the final stretch of this retrospective. Be here in a couple of days for the first of the lessons I learned from the climactic duel between Good and Evil.
As the final act of this seminal movie began, it had one more surprise in store: Lando Calrissian, the First Black Man in Space Opera, played by Billy Dee Williams.
Wouldn’t you know, though: the first black man we see in Star Wars is, initially, an ANGRY black man. How stereotypical is THAT?
LANDO (to Han Solo): “Why, you slimy, no-good, double-crossing swindler. You’ve got a lot of guts coming here…after what you pulled.”
Of course, Lando’s anger turns out to simply be ruse to play a joke on his old friend (and, as it happens, only the first ruse of many).

That cape's so stylish yet manly.

At nine-years-old, I remember having tremendously conflicted feelings about the first Star Wars character that looked like me. On the upside:
  • He was successful. No angry thug here; Lando was witty, smart and sophisticated. The wonderful thing about the casting of Williams for this part was that nothing about Lando says he needed to be black.
  • He wore a cape and wore it well. I hated when he lost the cape later.
  • He used to own the Millenium Falcon, the coolest spaceship in the galaxy, before he lost it “fair and square” to a white man. (Is there a subtext here?)
  • He was slick and resourceful. He came through in the clutch when it counted.
The downsides, though?
  • He was a womanizer. He was constantly trying to steal Han’s girl!

(So what if I wanted to do the same thing?) 😀

  • He was a betrayer. This, of course, was the big thing. He sold out his old friend to Darth Vader to save his own skin!

Hey. That's not Sidney Poitier!

After the powerful lessons in loyalty that Han Solo demonstrated earlier in the film (discussed in part 3), this event really earned Lando my hatred.
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It was quite uncomfortable hating the first Star Wars character who actually looked like me. But this and subsequent scenes began to reveal a powerful life lesson embodied in the character of Lando Calrissian: People, things and circumstances are rarely what they seem on the surface. Look deeper.
Next: What I REALLY learned from watching the First Black Man in Space Opera. Hope you’ll join me for another trip down memory lane.

After reading my last fairly titanic musings on the dimunitive Yoda, I’ve decided to start doing much shorter but more regular updates to this trip down memory lane.

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I love how right after Luke gets a dire premonition about his friends going to a city in the clouds, we see…a city in the clouds. No beating around the bush in this flick!

In a film franchise full of amazing sights, this one of a floating city on the planet Bespin still takes my proverbial cake. It doesn’t hurt that it’s accompanied by an absolutely gorgeous piece of music. (Go ahead and listen to it, from about 4:16 to 5:10. I’ll wait.)

This is the indelible image I recall. For a city dwarfed by the cloudscape a shot earlier, it sure was a lot bigger up close.

The lasting impression of this scene, though, didn’t fully manifest until a few weeks after I’d seen the movie. Our family was visiting South DeKalb Mall for dinner (probably Picadilly’s) near dusk, and I remember marveling at a sunset that completely looked like it could’ve been from that long-ago planet in a galaxy far, far away. It was also the first time I considered that the sunsets in the movie were, in fact, just everyday sunsets of my own planet in this galaxy.

LIFE LESSON: Sunsets and sunrises are awesome.

Next time: The First Black Man In Space.

"Full of wisdom for a Muppet am I."

As I wrote last time around, there was a wealth of wisdom for the nine-year-old me from this segment of this, the greatest movie sequel ever made. And there’s hardly another scene that had as much impact, both immediate and delayed, than the one the following quote comes from.
Quote #5
“Always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?”
Luke has a fixed idea of reality and what’s possible, while Yoda urges the youth to expand his horizons. While this has a concrete application in the Star Wars universe — raising Luke’s many-tons-heavy X-Wing fighter out of the swamp —  it’s equally applicable in the real world.
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How often have we judged something too difficult or frightening or danagerous to attempt and thus made certain our failure by our inaction? How many of us fellas have decided not to talk to that beautiful woman because she couldn’t possibly be interested in us? Or not written that business plan we’re passionate about because we just know it’ll fail?
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The problem is our mentality, as Yoda next points out in Quote #6:
“NO different! Only different in your mind.
What makes that beautiful woman any different from the less-dazzling one you don’t have any trouble relating to? Only you and your attitude about her. She’s just another person, with her own hopes, fears and opinions. What makes your business idea any less workable than your current 9-to-5 job? Only you and your attitude toward it. If it’s built on a solid system, you can work it — if you really want to.
LIFE LESSON: “Unlearn” what you “know” to be your limits and be open to the possibility of growth and unexpected successes.
Quote #7
“Try not! Do, or do not. There is no ‘try.'”
This was — and still is — a highly challenging statement. I mean, isn’t trying one’s best all one can ever do? It seems that Luke is right in his bitter complaint to Yoda a few moments later: “You want the impossible.”
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Yoda’s powerful demonstration of lifting the huge X-Wing from the swamp with mere concentration does little to sway us from this conclusion. That’s a fantasy, where stuff like that is possible. In real life, all you can do is try, right?
Wrong.
That’s because we, like Luke, are misunderstanding Yoda. The Jedi Master is pressing for Luke’s DECISION and DETERMINATION to do his utmost. To simply “try” is to expect to fail.
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Yoda speaks in his absolutist manner because he’s not asking Luke to do anything that is not well within Luke’s power. Unfortunately, Luke doesn’t yet accept this truth and so can only commit to “try” to lift the X-Wing from the water with full expectation of his failure.
The rule of expectations is the first and possibly greatest lesson I learned from The Empire Strikes Back as a nine-year-old. Here, in this scene, that lesson was reinforced in a completely different context.
LESSON: To decide to “try” something is to give oneself greater permission to fail than to succeed.
Quote #8
“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter!”
Not every lesson I learned from The Empire Strikes Back was entirely positive. For while this line pointed to the truth of humanity being fashioned in God’s image, with many of his divine attributes, it also suggests that (and here is the lesson I nearly took away from this) humanity itself is divine in and of itself…no God necessary.
This was reinforced by the bad, New Age-influenced theology of the church we were attending at the time. In fact, I distinctly recall the female preacher making reference to the film and saying, “The Force is God.”
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Which, of course, is nonsense. God is no energy field surrounding and created by life. He’s not an “it” to be controlled or manipulated. There is no “dark side” of him to fall prey to. He doesn’t control our actions or obey our commands. If anything, He is, as author Dick Staub coins in his excellent Stars Wars-themed devotional “Christian Wisdom from the Jedi Masters”, “The Lord of the Force.”
But I digress.
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When I recall such moments, I’m now so very glad I was a natural-born skeptic, only half-believing those half-true-whole-false sermons. God used that skepticism to protect me from buying into the counterfeit faith of my youth and to influence me to do the background check to firm up the genuine faith of my adulthood.
Today I’ve retained the real wisdom of that Yoda quote — wisdom that is absolutely true: We’re more than just our body.
Yoda has just floated Luke’s fighter from the swamp by closing his eyes and gesturing, and Luke is understandably awed and humbled by his master leading to Quote #9:
LUKE: “Master, I…I don’t believe it.”
YODA: “That…is why you fail.”
The LESSON here was clear: You must adjust your level of expectation! You’re capable of more than you think!
Again, this was a lesson that my then-church twisted to fit its own theology: that positive affirmations of our inner divinity was all that was needed to activate the Christ Consciousness within ourselves, like this one: “I am God; therefore if I name it, I can claim it and if I believe it, I can achieve it!
Sadly, while there’s some truth to this rhyme-y cliché, it was taken well out of context both by that liberal denomination and continues to be today in otherwise more orthodox and theologically sound corners.
Finally, before I depart Luke’s training on Dagobah, I’ve got to mention this  scene:

Dream duel with a dark lord. Luke chops Dream Vader's head off a few seconds later.

Apparently, this is what that kid was referencing when he “spoiled” the result of Luke and Vader’s duel for me. So when I recognized the scene, I realized there were unknown surprises in store for me in the roughly hour or so remaining in this seminal film. And thus the Rule of Expectations was now in full effect.
Next will be a look at Cloud City, the coolest locale in any Star Wars film, and the lessons it had to teach. Look for it!

Wow. It’s been less than a week since my last update. This is what working ahead can do for a guy.

Continuing the retrospective on what I learned from my first viewing of my favorite-ever movie:


I confess: At age nine, I didn’t take a single real life lesson from this dynamite sequence. It’s just flat-out awesome, from the fun dialogue/delivery, flawless analog special effects (which thoroughly outshine Lucas’ overdone digital attempt to evoke a similar scene 22 years later in Attack of the Clones), and possibly composer John Williams’ finest single piece of writing.

LIFE LESSON: Sometimes it all comes together nicely.
Well, OK. Maybe I did glean a little something from this part of the movie, though whether it was something good is very much in question. This is when the bad boy with the golden heart gets the good girl who really kinda wants the bad boy if she can draw out his sensitive side.

She occasionally likes him because he’s a scoundrel. There aren’t many guys like him in her life. (He also doesn’t kiss like he’s her brother or something.)

LESSON LEARNED: Opposites attract. Yes, I first learned this from The Empire Strikes Back.
One more digression from this stage of the film. Darth Vader really is the quintessential villain in these early and middle acts of the movie. From his initial moment as Worst’s Worst Boss:

The poor idiot didn’t even know what he was being fired FOR. Bad form, Lord Vader.

…to his insistence that the fleet continue to sustain massive losses and damages chasing the tiny Millenium Falcon through the asteroid field, he’s just a pretty terrifying guy to work for.
So when this happens:

He’s KNEELING?

…yeah, it was a bit shocking that there was someone potentially scarier than Darth Vader. Which led to another lesson that I already understood, and this only reinforced:
LIFE LESSON: There’s always a bigger fish.
Thanks for reading. Comments welcome. And be here next time for the life lesson motherlode:
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.
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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.
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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.