Tuesday, March 22, 2005

You're Not Actually Going INTO an Asteroid Field, Are You?

My favorite scene in all of the Star Wars films is the Asteroid Field sequence in The Empire Strikes Back. It's an absolutely perfect scene, in every respect that counts. The dialogue is snappy, the effects are terrific, and the music is so perfectly matched to the action that you can see the images when listening to the soundtrack, or hear the music even with the sound turned off on your television.

Most importantly, it's a scene with tremendous meaning, because it marks the beginning of the true courtship between Han Solo and Princess Leia. For all the exploding TIE fighters and whirling gargantuan space-rocks, the entire scene is about these two people and their relationship. It is here that Leia recognizes her feelings for Han -- earlier in the movie, she denies them, and later, she fights against them, but to no avail. Han's daring and skill overwhelm her.

When the last Imperial fighter explodes, the Millennium Falcon comes out of the asteroid canyon, and Han takes the ship through a sweeping, showboating loop to enter the cave. The love theme plays as he executes this perfect maneuver, and while I'm not a big admirer of Freudian interpretation in literature, it's hard to miss the significance of the Falcon gliding down the cavern's smooth bore. The courtship may be entirely chaste, but at the end of this scene, their love has been consummated.

In many respects, the asteroid field sequence is the turning point of the film. From this point forward, Han and Leia are a team, whose union will carry them through all of the horrors that will follow, regardless of Leia's misgivings.

1 comment:

  1. After my recent experience hear John Williams at the San Antonio Symphony, I really can really appreciate how astute this opinion is.