RELEASED 1983 RUNTIME 131 MIN LANGUAGE ENGLISH DIRECTION RICHARD MARQUAND SCREENPLAY LAWRENCE KASDAN, GEORGE LUCAS STARRING MARK HAMILL, HARRISON FORD, CARRIE FISHER, BILLY DEE WILLIAMS, DAVID PROWSE, JAMES EARL JONES, IAN MC DIARMID, ANTHONY DANIELS, KENNY BAKER, PETER MAYHEW, FRANK OZ MUSIC JOHN WILLIAMS MUSIC JOHN WILLIAMS
Return Of The Jedi starts off a another year or so after The Empire Strikes Back and our heroes, this time accompanied by Lando Calrissian, are on their way to rescue Han from the hands of Jabba the Hutt, a gangster who is in control of the underworld in Tatooine. Meanwhile the Empire under close supervision of the Emperor are constructing a new Death Star to crush the Rebellion once and for all.
This is the final part of the classic Star Wars Saga and for many people in their late 30’s his is their favourite because they were actually able to see it in the movie theatre when it originally came out in 1983 and feel very nostalgic about it.
On the other hand it has become cool to criticise the movie for being too kid friendly and to jokey compared to the previous one which was very dark and dramatic. While I definitely agree that it is more kid friendly, I don’t understand why it has to be criticised for that. As previously said about The Phantom Menace, as long as you make it good, you can make it whatever tone you want. Just make it fit with what we already know, and that’s exactly what they did. With “they” I’m talking about Richard Marquand the director, and Lawrence Kasdan the screen writer. Yes, this is the second Star Wars movie that was not directed by George Lucas. He served as the producer of the film for similar reasons for why he didn’t direct the previous one.
Now let’s address the elephant in the room. I love the Ewoks! I don’t care what people say and how much some may hate them, but I LOVE the Ewoks! Yes, I do!
Not only are they an allegory for indigenous people rising up against an overwhelming enemy invading their home, but also symbolise hope and that you don’t need high tech weapons to defeat your enemies in battle.
Yes, they are cute, so?! why can’t they be cute? Chewbacca is cute, isn’t he? It only heightens the drama when one of them dies. But more importantly let me tell you one thing.
The Ewoks will kill you and eat you! They will grill you alive over an open fire and then make a feast out of you! If you don’t believe me, watch the movie (again).
I love the Ewoks (although I would have been fine with them being replaced by Wookiees as it was planned in the beginning)!
NEW CHARACTERS + IMPORTANT SIDE NOTES
The imagination in this movie is marvellous. The entire first act of the film which takes place in Jabba’s palace is more colourful and imaginative than any set-piece in any Star Wars movie ever. We have aliens from all over the world and Jabba himself, wow! The puppeteering on him is as fantastic as it is with Yoda.
Btw. this is the first time that we see Jabba in any movie. You may say, wait second, he appeared in Star Wars (A New Hope), didn’t he? I say no, he didn’t. He didn’t appear in the original theatrical release, but was added later on in the Special Edition from 1997 as a shitty CGI model that was more embracing than serviceable.
Let me tell you from a dramatic point of view why it is so important that we only see him in Return of the Jedi.
As we know throughout the entire trilogy Han is constantly referring to Jabba the Hutt and that he has to pay him his depts. Greedo appears in Star Wars because he is sent by Jabba to kill Han because of it. Also in Empire Strikes Back Han says that he has to leave the Rebel Alliance to finally pay Jabba otherwise this feud will never end. In fact, the reason why he was captured by Boba Fett was because of Jabba who put a huge bounty on his head.
So, what do we know about Jabba up until this point? He is a ruthless gangster who will not stop sending his henchmen to deal with people who cross him. This creates this big mystery around his character and keeps up the curiosity we have about him. So, by not showing him up until this point it only serves the story and makes his final reveal so much more effective.
Let’s talk about the Emperor. He was teased in the previous movie and now is a full on support character in the film. We finally see the man who Vader is answering too. When he appears on screen the first time we instantly feel intimidated.
The part of him with Vader and Luke is arguably the most dramatic point in the saga. Just because of this section alone the movie is worth its money. Everything that has been talked about the Jedi and Vader and Luke comes together right here. this is the climax of the entire saga and as dramatic as it ever was.
To be honest, the entire 3rd act of this movie may be my favourite 3rd act in any film. We have three story threads happening at the same time with our heroes spread across them. We have…
(1) Luke fighting Vader in front of the Emperor, (2) Hand, Leia, Chewie, R2D2, C3PO and their Ewok allies fighting a ground battle against the Empire and (3) Lando Calrissian leading a starship assault against the Death Star.
It could easily be convoluted, but the way it is directed and edited, it flows like butter.
Especially the space battle is so exciting, it makes my eyes tear up every time I watch it. The effects, which are completely practical, are so amazing looking, I wonder to this day how the hell they pulled that off.
The entering into the Death Star is ridiculously amazing looking. Just everything about it makes this movie worth watching. Speaking about effects, the speeder-bike chase on Endor is equally as exciting and one of the highlights in this movie.
Overall Return of the Jedi is an amazing film with basically just one flaw.
First, after all this build-up Boba Fett goes out like a bitch! I would have liked a cool final fight between him and Han.
Other than that I love this movie to death. We finally see the closure to one of the most epic film trilogies ever made. The story of Luke and Darth Vader finds a perfect end and also marks one of the greatest redemption stories ever told.
Even though I can understand some of the criticism towards the movie, I feel like a lot of that is just nitpicking. In case you really do hate the Ewoks, I can understand you would rank this movie lower than others, but I love the Ewoks and that’s why this movie, just as the other classic Star Wars films, receives the high score. Sorry for being so boring 😛
EDIT: Actually, I was kidding. I will give it a 9 because of Boba Fett’s cheap death and a small section towards the middle where the film drags just a tiny bit too much.
But who cares, it’s GREAT, yo!! 🙂