#10 Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Willow (1988)


#10 Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Willow (1988)

Sorry for the wait. The tenth entry in my Top 30 Favourite Movies of All Time, is a tie! I normally have a one movie per director policy, but for George Lucas I will make an exception. It almost feels like I'm giving the tenth spot to Industrial Light and Magic, but I digress. Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back is the ultimate sequel, to the ultimate movie. Why ultimate? Because Star Wars does it all. Action, comedy, romance, sci-fi, drama, political intrigue, and it does it all masterfully to boot! I shouldn't have to explain why Star Wars is great, but I should at least try and explain why I chose the second.
As a boy I enjoyed the third film, Return of the Jedi, because it had more muppets (honestly). As a self proclaimed film enthusiast (and an adult) the sequel appeals more to every part of me that understands compelling storytelling and characters. Which is a fancy way of saying Boba Fett is better here, than he was in Jedi (which is the TRUE deciding factor for me). And the final fight sequence is beyond awesome. Let's grow the hell up and face facts here people. The Empire would NOT lose to Ewoks. That is factual information right there. Let's not forget the coolest brother in the galaxy, Lando Calrissian, played by Billy Dee Williams. A guy so cool he has two Williams in his name. Also tied for the number ten spot is Willow. A beautiful movie set in a fantasy world, directed by Ron Howard, where wizards and armor clad swordsmen fight against beasts and evil sorcerers to save the baby that is said to save the world by prophecy. This movie has an equally impressive musical score as any Star Wars films, and it almost feels more natural in a fantasy setting. Add to that the brilliantly designed story, and heart racing action sequences, mixed with a faux-euro-asian-fantasy setting, and you have an unstoppable juggernaut of cinema. Watching this movie in the theaters as a child was one of the most trans formative moments of my entire life. I've never felt so ensorcelled by a movie since. Even today, no matter how wonderful a movie is, some dark secret villain in the recesses of my mind will devilishly whisper, "they're just actors anyhow." But not with Willow. Val Kilmer as Madmartigan can at times make Han Solo seem like a crass poser. Jean Marsh as the evil Queen Bavmorda is a terrifying force of nature, even without the special effects! And Warwick Davis as Willow Ufgood gives, in my opinion, the best performance of the 80s.


"I dwell in darkness without you and it went away?!" Best. Line. Evar.

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