Review — Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi (250)

I can finally say that I’ve watched the entire original Star Wars trilogy. I have to say, it makes a lot of sense why this series is so big. Lucas made a movie that was great for a lot of reasons, and then they kept going and made two good sequels. This series is iconic for so many reasons I can hardly even scratch the surface, but let’s wrap up the last of this series of reviews with Return of the Jedi. It’s worth noting that I will continue watching the movies, getting into the prequel trilogy before The Force Awakens, but for the next two weeks I’ll be preoccupied with other things. I’ll probably review Moby Dick next week. Sorry.

Anyways, while this movie is still great, I’d say it just might be the weakest of the three, or at least on par with Episode V in terms of its inferiority to A New Hope. Before I get into its faults, though, let me explain the awesome points this movie has.

First and foremost, my favorite part was that it had some really awesome character moments. Virtually every main character got at least one scene of growth, and they’re some quality scenes, too.

For example, I loved watching Luke talk to Vader about halfway through the movie. No fighting, no prisoner mentality. It was father to son talk, and I was amazed that that scene even existed. We get so much insight to Vader’s character that, along with all the other foreshadowing in this movie, we can almost see the good in him being shadowed by the Dark Side. Perhaps I’m speaking from prior knowledge here, but a lot of factors pointed to the fact that Vader isn’t all bad. For one, he clearly has compassion for his son, especially in that scene. I got the vibe that it wasn’t the fact that Vader wanted the extra power on the Dark side to make it easy for the Galactic Empire to be victorious. He didn’t try to convert Luke for power’s sake. He did it for Luke’s sake. It was the fact that he wants his son to be the strongest he can be, as well as the fact that they would be father and son on the winning side of a war. It’s simply safest. It makes sense. Seeing them debate those points was awesome.

We also see the Big Bad, the Emperor, prominently. He’s obviously super strong, and we see how persuasive he is towards pushing Luke to the Dark Side. Luke didn’t have anything to do with the battle of Endor, and it looked as though his friends would “fail” for quite a huge chunk of this movie (though we the audience pretty much know they won’t). We see him almost give in, and that entire scene of his conflicted emotions with those two Sith Lords in the room is great. He finally defeats his father (by appropriately cutting his hand off), until finally Sidious steps in and puts him in his place with Force Lightning, which was in no way a pre-established power. I already knew he had them, but an older audience wouldn’t have. Caught me off guard how suddenly that occurred. Vader finally (it took way too long in that scene) succumbs to Luke’s pleadings (being electrocuted helps the paternal instinct kick in. Good thinking, Luke), and he throws the Emperor into the pit of death. Great redemption scene of him turning to the Light Side again.

This movie also had some great moment to moment scenes. Watching Luke come in at the beginning of the movie as a “fully realized” Jedi felt pretty sweet. Finally he’s the hero that can stop the Empire! Watching the ewoks fight off the Empire troops was awesome, and seeing the subtle shoulder slump in the storm trooper as he realized he was lead into a trap by Han (with all the rebels behind the bunker) was hilarious. Also Leia suffocating Jabba with her slave chain was brutal.

But as all movies do, this one did have a few shortcomings. Primarily, my main criticism is the main plot. A second, bigger Death Star? That’s the best ending you could come up with to wrap this story up? Telling us a story we basically already heard? Granted there was a lot that was different about this one, but the main thing was the same. It was sort of silly. Though they did clean up the confusion of that star battle scene this time around. I had a much easier time discerning how well this battle was going as opposed to A New Hope.

That was really my only big criticism. There were small things that bothered me, though. I don’t like how the time gap between the two movies is really vague (especially when important things happened, like Luke forging his own lightsaber). Boba Fett really wasn’t much of a character at all, which was annoying. He very easily could have been omitted from the trilogy altogether. I don’t like how Lando was piloting the Falcon when they blew up the Death Star, because I think that was a responsibility only Han should have taken. I understand contextually why Han didn’t volunteer, but if they didn’t have him do it, why have Lando pilot the Falcon? It very easily could have been scripted either way, but it felt “off” for that scene to be done with a prominent ship without its pilot when they could have easily written the real pilot into the same position.

Overall, great movies. I’m definitely looking forward to Episode VII (not so much the original trilogy, though I know they’re not that bad). And now I can finally be excited for a new Star Wars movie that is coming out soon! Even before watching the original trilogy, the Star Wars universe is by far my favorite sci-fi setting. There’s something about the Jedi Order and the ‘old yet futuristic’ vibe the world gives off, and the charm strikes something in me I can’t quite explain. I’ve never been one for writing fanfiction, but what little I did do focused on unexplored characters or past events we only hear about. The Star Wars universe is overflowing with that sort of stuff. Maybe I’ll toy with the idea one day.

One thought on “Review — Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi (250)

  1. I already know what you hate most about Episode VII – a biggerer, thirdier death star. I certainly rolled my eyes pretty hard at that concept.

    And it could be said that Lando *is* the real pilot of the Falcon, but there really isn’t any way to know that given the context of the 3 movies, so you point is totally valid.

    I was all ready and eager to write just as much as you or more when you got to this review, but I mostly just feel like… “yeah, you’re right.”

    Personally, I easily see both sides of the original trilogy. It is simultaneously breathtakingly amazing and… not very good. But some of my favorite things have gone though similar phases with varying degrees of success as measured by time.

    Tekken – the original PlayStation game – blew my mind when it first came out. It was amazing, the graphics were insane! THREE DIMENSIONS!?

    But look at it:

    Oh wait, I’m sorry, that’s from Tekken 3, which blew the original out of the water, graphically speaking.

    Maybe video would do the comparison more justice, but… trust me. It’s bad now, but at the time, I was totally floored.

    So that’s why I can easily appreciate how awesome Star Wars is. I have a hard time following character development and understanding motivation, but then I just go in and fill everything in myself and it all makes sense. I guess that’s how I deal with pretty much any issue I can find with Star Wars. I take it upon myself to reason out why. That’s not something I’d do for just any story.

    All in all, I’m eager to get to the prequels. The lightsaber battles are so awesome. Like going from Tekken 1 to Tekken 3 awesome.

    Like

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