Return of the Jedi is the film I grew up thinking of as the last Star Wars movie. Little did I know! It is the last one we needed to watch for our Star Wars review project though and now we are all ready to go see The Force Awakens tomorrow! We don't plan to post a review of that film until it is released on DVD because we don't want to ruin it for others. We hate spoilers! That said, there are spoilers in this review of The Return of the Jedi. It was released 35 years ago, but there may still be some who haven't seen it so consider yourself warned.
This movie is all about Luke completing his journey. He must face Vader to fully become a Jedi Knight. He has to reconcile his past with his present in order to face his future. Deep, this is. There is a lot of action in this film and some very memorable scenes.
I remember being repulsed by Jabba the Hut as a child and I still find him absolutely disgusting. When we watched that sequence, both my husband and I noted that it was definitely different than we remembered it and Alex informed us it was because George was up to his old CGI remastering tricks, I don't know why he couldn't leave it alone. None of the new stuff was necessary at all!
Again, Han is a big reason this movie works. This is also Mark Hamil's finest performance as Luke. I like the maturity of the character and I also like that he wasn't perfect, but definitely trying to be the best he could be. I felt like Leia was a little weaker in this film than she was in the previous two, but she's still a good character.
Vader unmasked still ranks as one of the most shocking cinematic moments I ever experienced in my life. It was horrifying as a child, but also fascinating. I've always felt like it all wraps up a little too quickly from that point, but I guess that is my longing for a deeper look into the man behind the mask. I suppose that is exactly what led Lucas to make the prequels.
This is the only Star Wars film that I'm giving a higher ranking to than Alex. He really hated the Ewoks and I have to agree with him that they were cheesy and really beneath the story. I also didn't like all the goofy muppet and CGI stuff thrown in with the Jabba scene. The Luke and Leia connection still seems a little stretched, but I've come to accept it over the years. Overall, the story was a pretty good ending to a great trilogy. I'm giving it 6 out of 10 stars.
Here's Alex's review:
May Four Stars be with us - Episode VI: Return of the CGI.
First, we get a really, really complex plan that I will cover in another section, which causes everyone to enter Jabba’s palace and be slated for execution. Also, there’s a fantasy concert for no apparent reason. But points for Luke using the Jedi mind trick here!
Also, Han is blind from the freezing, and missing some pretty interesting sights as a result. Yep. Pretty interesting sights. *COUGH*Leiasgoldbikini*COUGH*
Luke heads to Dagobah, where he gets confirmation that, yes, Vader really is his father. Also, Leia is his sister- Wait, WHAT?
Yes, Luke and Leia are siblings. Which teaches us all an important lesson, namely:
Following this, the Rebels learn about Death Star 2: The Sequel, and set out to the planet of the Wookies to-What?
What do you mean “not Wookies”? What race are they interacting with?
The planet of the Ewoks, small primitive creatures.
In fact, they’re so primitive, they regard C-3PO as a god.*rimshot*
The Ewoks somehow manage to capture our heroes, but after some force antics and stuff, our heroes are in with the Ewoks.
Han: Just what I always wanted! (He says sarcastically.)
Vader finds Luke and brings him to the Emperor, in an unwitting act of mercy. Luke meets the Emperor, and is tempted to give in to the dark side by the revelation that he’s led the rebels here, or in other words:
Han, Leia, and the Ewoks (Saturday mornings on ABC) shut down the shield generator through sheer dumb luck, Luke overcomes the darkness in him, and Vader saves his son from the Emperor’s zappy powers, then dies. They leave just as Lando blows up the death star, and a dance party ensues.
SPECIAL EDITION ADDITION: Then, we see a bunch of planets in a montage, including what I swear is Jar-Jar saying “Wesa Free!”
Luke sees the ghosts of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Hayden Christensen. And everyone lives happily ever after, alongside the stupid side characters.
Isn’t this where…
The Force is Strong with:
Han Solo is still on his game.
The sequence with Yoda is amazing in how touching it is.
The Space battle around the Death Star II
The Final Lightsaber Duel with Vader and Luke.
The Dark Side Lurks within:
Luke’s plan: Send my droids to Jabba, then have Leia impersonate a bounty hunter and turn in Chewbacca. Then have Leia rescue Han, and get caught by Jabba, who will then take her as a slave. Swoop in, threaten Jabba, fight a beast, get sent to the sail barge, have R2-D2 toss me my lightsaber, use Lando’s impersonation of a palace Guard, take out Boba Fett, have Leia strangle Jabba with her chain and R2 cut her free, and blow up the ship after swinging away on a convenient rope. This is the most confusing get-yourself-captured plan, and has spawned too many imitators.
Jabba’s Rock band, The CGI Renders.
The Ewoks. Today’s the day the teddy bears ruin Star Wars!
The Speeder bikes are painfully obvious Chroma Key. (A portal to faraway lands. Or as Garth puts it, “Hi, I’m in Delaware!”)
No tribe of primitives should be able to penetrate ARMOR! What low-grade material is the Empire using?
Vader says his big Nooooooo during throwing the Emperor off the power station.
Finally, Luke just reconnected with his father. Why is his dad Hayden Christensen all of a sudden?
The Jedi Says:
There is good in all that we can find. We just need to be open to it. Though such light may seem basic and trite, it can be a good reprieve from the horrors of war.
Maybe no one earned medals today, but we’ve done well, and the Empire is gone, and no one will ever, ever, rise up to replace them. Right?
Well, better start learning how to pass the Jedi way along. This’ll be a fun few decades.
DIGESTED OVER 1000 YEARS (5 out of 10.)
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