Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s off-Broadway darkly comical stage musical came to life in 1986, directed by Muppet-alum Frank Oz, featuring Rick Moranis, and small roles for Steve Martin, Bill Murray and John Candy. Ellen Greene co-stars in this story about a 1960s loser who finds success with an exotic plant that makes all his dreams come true, if only he finds a way to keep it fed — with human blood! Production design and the catchy tunes makes this a favorite musical from the 80s.
Jim Henson conceived of this elaborate realm of fantasy in which two competing races vie for the destiny of a faraway planet, as the evil Skeksis try to thwart the Gelflings of prophecy from uniting the planet yet again and bringing equilibrium to life there for those enslaved. This imaginative film had been a disappointment on early release but has gained a rabid following among fantasy fans. Frank Oz co-directs this film done entirely with puppets, and is a rare film that doesn’t a human character in sight.
This final entry sees the Empire creating a new Death Star, a feat with such magnitude, even the Emperor himself has come to oversee the progress. Meanwhile, a rescue attempt is underway to try to spring Han Solo from his icy trap in Jabba the Hut’s lair. Luke has grown in his Jedi training, but only a confrontation with Darth Vader will make the transformation complete, and its a showdown Luke wants to avoid now that familial ties have been revealed. The Rebellion once again plans to destroy the Death Star before it becomes functional by eliminating the force field surrounding it generated by a base on a nearby planet, but the Emperor isn’t a fool, and has a few surprises up his sleeve.
The Empire Strikes Back continues the Star Wars saga in exciting fashion, with the Empire now having driven the Rebels from their secret base to another on an ice planet called Hoth. The Empire eventually locates this new base, forcing an evacuation, whereupon a more experienced Luke is told by the “spirit” (aka Force Ghost) of Obi-Wan Kenobi to seek out a wise and powerful Jedi instructor named Yoda for training. Meanwhile, romance is brewing between Han Solo and Princess Leia,, but Han has problems of his own as he is plagued by bounty hunters and the Empire out to nab him. Excitement erupts as Luke and Vader meet face to face, and some startling revelations occur.