Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guiness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, David Prowse. Written by George Lucas. Directed by Irvin Kershner. Rated PG.

Although not as big an upgrade as the revamped edition of "Star Wars", "The Empire Strikes Back: Special Edition" is nevertheless a welcome sight to moviegoers everywhere. The middle child in George Lucas' acclaimed sci-fi trilogy is my favorite of the bunch and arguably the best. With a newly- enhanced soundtrack, cleaned-up visuals, and a few new sequences, the film will be a delight to fan and novice alike.

The rebels, having relocated to the ice planet Hoth, once again find themselves at odds with the crushing power of the Empire. When their base is attacked by immense walking machines, our heroes Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and the rest take to the stars. However, Luke's destiny does not lie with his friends'. He is instructed by the dearly-departed Obi-Wan Kenobi to seek out a powerful Jedi master on the planet Dagobah. Meanwhile, his friends run afoul of Darth Vader and his minions and seek sanctuary in the cloud city of Bespin.

Additions to the original version of the film include a new ice monster on Hoth, a scene showing Darth Vader's approach to a star destroyer, and several new and enhanced visuals for the cloud city. The last of these is particularly impressive and will have audiences ooh-ing and ahh-ing. Welcome back, old friend.

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