Wired Runs a Hilarious But Brilliant Breakdown of the Battle of Hoth
Is The Empire Strikes Back one of your favorite movies? Think it's a flawless sci-fi sequel? Think again. At least this may make you think twice about the military strategies and story choices at the beginning of the film. Wired magazine has posted a fun interactive story online called Inside the Battle of Hoth, written by Spencer Ackerman. It turns out to be a scathing breakdown of the entire opening Battle of Hoth, the ice planet, where the Empire sends a fleet of Star Destroyers and AT-AT walkers to try and destroy the Rebels hiding out there and capture Luke while they still can. But it's a massive failure, and Spencer explains why.
It's a very interesting and specific, nit-picking criticism of the opening Battle of Hoth, but it's still amusing to read. Best of all because it uses couple of sleek interactive graphics that explain the very straight-forward battle plans Darth Vader implements. For example: "When Vader enters the Hoth System with the Imperial Fleet, he's holding a winning hand. What follows next is a reminder of two military truths that apply in our own time and in our own galaxy: Don't place unaccountable religious fanatics in wartime command, and never underestimate a hegemonic power's ability to miscalculate against an insurgency." Click to read more:
With new Star Wars movies in the works, it's exciting to get the discussion going on Star Wars again, in so many different ways. This is one example of modern geeky journalism and Star Wars mixing in a brilliant way. I love the graphics and the writing and as much as I hate to say that it's an accurate breakdown, it totally is, and it pains me to see him really show how mindless entertainment can be. I still love The Empire Strikes Back, even if this opening was a massive strategic, military failure. Maybe Vader was never a good strategist, just good at choking people and using the Force in evil ways. At least this battle gave us AT-ATs.
After all this over-analysis of a science fiction battle, what's the point? Ackerman's conclusion: "At the very most, the Empire's assault on Hoth killed a couple of low-ranking Rebels and destroyed a few transit ships — which we don't even see on screen. Instead of crushing the Rebels, it scattered them, leaving them to survive for the additional successes they'll achieve... It's a classic fiasco of overconfidence and theology masquerading as military judgment — and the exact opposite of the Empire striking back." If he can get this much out of just this battle, I want to see him take on the entire saga. Read the full Hoth piece here.