Study Guide

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Production Design

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Production Design

Special Effects-Driven Epic

Before we delve into analysis hyperdrive on this one, it has to be noted that The Empire Strikes Back presents some interesting challenges in this arena. George Lucas is infamous for releasing updated versions of his former films—not merely making tiny adjustments but adding scenes, redoing special effects, and even altering plot points.

While The Empire Strikes Back has far fewer of these controversial changes than the other films in the original trilogy, there are some notable differences between the various versions of the film—you'll have a slightly different experience watching the original 1980 version than the 1997 version, or the 2004 version, or the... well, you get the point.

Still, it can be jarring to see blatant C.G.I. jammed alongside the practical effects and sets of the 1970's. This is amplified by the fact that The Empire Strikes Back was shot on film, which doesn't always blend well with the modern, digital graphics that were added after the fact.

Of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention The Empire Strikes Back's top-notch production design. The film continues many trademarks set by the first film, from the swiping screen wipes to the off-kilter camera angles. These techniques not only increase the uber-dramatic nature of the plot, but also further amplify Star Wars' stylistic traits.

All in all, these unique stylistic choices helped establish the trademark Star Wars style, a style that has been ripped off and imitated but never quite duplicated. Not even by Space Balls.

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