Movie Review – "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi"

This wraps up the original trilogy a bit later than I
had intended. Sorry about that.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker

Harrison Ford as Han Solo

Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa

David Prowse and James Earl Jones as the body and
voice of Darth
Vader

Sir Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi

Kenny Baker as R2-D2

Anthony Daniels as C-3PO

Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian

Frank Oz as Yoda

Written by George Lucas, David Webb Peoples, and
Lawrence Kasdan

Directed by Richard Marquand

Complete information is available from the
IMDB
.

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past movie reviews can be found here.

Premise

In the fuzziest Star Wars yet, the rebels fight to
rescue Han and
destroy a new Death Star with the Emperor on board.

High Point

The duel between Luke and Vader. Great, ominous
music, and Luke makes
choices that show how untrained he really is.

Low Point

Hayden Christiansen shouldn’t be there. He even
seemed to me like he
had a slightly evil leer, which he really shouldn’t
at that point.

The Scores

This was the least original movie of the
bunch. A threat
we’d seen before, redemption that we’d already seen
to a lesser degree
with Han, and the infiltration to rescue a member of
the group. The
only aspect I don’t remember from the other films was
the hordes of
Ewoks taking out the Imperials, and we all know how
well that fits. I
give it 3 out of 6.

The effects are better, particularly with a
cleaned up Rancor
battle in this edition. Nicely done all around, with
some of the most
convincing effects work this series has seen. I give
it 5 out of 6.

The story is back to the simplistic
structure of the
original. It’s remarkably warm and fuzzy.
(Personally, I think Lucas
would have given us a better product if he rejected
the test screening
results and kept his original ending. For those who
didn’t know,
Han’s line about feeling like he’ll never see the
Falcon again was
foreshadowing. Lando wasn’t supposed to make it out
of the second
Death Star. That would have been a nice counterpoint
to all those
happy Ewoks.) Still, its simlicity means that it
fits together
nicely. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting is the worst of the original
trilogy. Harrison
Ford puts in some good moments, Mark Hamill does a
good job when he’s
trying to hide from Vader in the Emperor’s chamber
(but not really in
the rest of the movie), and some of the Ewoks and
David Prowse have
some remarkably expressive physical acting, but
that’s where the
quality work ends. I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response is still pretty good.
This can carry
off of the momentum of the previous episodes to some
degree, and it
does have a fair amount of action in its own right.
I give it 4 out
of 6.

The production isn’t too bad. The
continuity editing in the
sail barge fight is lousy, although that may have
been a result of
poor fight choreography, too. (Most characters
shifted positions when
the camera moved, but with bad choreography, there
may not have been
footage of them in the correct positions for the
editor to work with.)
Williams’ score is still is excellent form, but the
rest is a pretty
utilitarian “getting the job done” kind of feel. I
give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s the weakest of the original
trilogy. It’s
better than episode one, but I’d have to rewatch
episode two to make a
clear decision on those two. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the
Jedi
receives
27 out of 42.

8 replies on “Movie Review – "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi"”

  1. rickyjames says:

    Luke Gets Shafted
    I always thought Luke got shafted in this one. He loses the girl when he finds out Leia is his sister, he loses Yoda, he loses his Dad, and worst of all, he loses his whole purpose for being. What good is being a Jedi to him or the Rebels? He blows the cover of the secret attack on the shield station on Endor BECAUSE he’s a Jedi and even after he surrenders and eventually fights the Emperor, so what? The other Rebels succeed in destroying DS2 despite the Emperor’s trap and with absolutely no help from Luke. The Emperor and Vader would have been destroyed on DS2 whether Luke was there or not. And the Ewoks sure didn’t need any Jedi help to wipe out the Stormtroopers. Luke looks so SAD at the end – he sees the ghosts and says to himself I went through SO MUCH – and for WHAT?

    Your review was the first I’d heard that Lando was to have died in the DS2 explosion. Better Luke had.

    Ep VI should have been Irrelevance Of The Jedi. I hated it. Give me Empire Strikes Back any day. Now THERE’s a true drama on a epic Greek tragedy level….

    • tgreco says:

      Re: Luke Gets Shafted
      Seeing as Luke had never seen his how would luke know who Haydn Christiansen (sp?) is…

      this is one of those changes that makes zero sense to me…

      • dcheesi says:

        Re: Luke Gets Shafted

        Seeing as Luke had never seen his how would luke know who Haydn Christiansen (sp?) is…

        this is one of those changes that makes zero sense to me…

        More to the point, the audience has no clue who he is. Christiansen doesn’t appear at all in the original trilogy up to that point. So anyone who watches the films in release-order (as is prudent with most stories) would be quite confused at that point.

    • Philo says:

      Re: Luke Gets Shafted
      I really don’t understand how you could overlook the fact that Luke redeems his father.

      He was in the way of the rebel attack, and he almost made them lose, but in the end, he turned his father to the Light side. That was the theme of Luke’s quest ever since the end of Empire Strikes Back.

      • rickyjames says:

        Re: Luke Gets Shafted

        I really don’t understand how you could overlook the fact that Luke redeems his father.

        He was in the way of the rebel attack, and he almost made them lose, but in the end, he turned his father to the Light side. That was the theme of Luke’s quest ever since the end of Empire Strikes Back.

        Believe me, I recognize that ROTJ is about the redemption of Vader, and of course now we know that Lucas intended a six part series focusing on Vader instead of a three part series focusing on Luke. I call that bait and switch and I resent it. We watch New Hope and Empire and go justly gaga over Luke. In Jedi, we suddenly realize the focus is Vader, not Luke. in the prequels, we realize it’s ALL about Vader. We’re supposed to care about a biography of a galactic Hitler? Dote over a kid that becomes a man who destroys entire planets with no apparent remorse? And is Saved by his Son and makes it to “Heaven” in the final hour of his life after losing a duel where his own hand gets hacked off by the Jedi he’s trying to kill himself? And the trigger point for his Conversion is not talk, or insight, but watching his “Master” torturing the guy he (Vader) was trying to kill himself only mere minutes before?

        It’s a good thing Lucas produced the movies in the order he did. The original two propelled the series into a height it never would have reached, special effects or no, had the true character focus been known all along.

        It’s fun to destroy worlds as long as you repent just before you die. Ugh. What a theme.

        • dcheesi says:

          Re: Luke Gets Shafted

          And the trigger point for his Conversion is not talk, or insight, but watching his “Master” torturing the guy he (Vader) was trying to kill himself only mere minutes before?

          Watching this again, I got the feeling that Vader/Anakin wanted Luke to win their duel. He kept telling Luke to fight (in self-defense) even after it was clear that he had controlled his anger. If he had really wanted to kill Luke at that point, he could have done so easily enough; instead he practically begged his son to do him in. IMHO he was hoping that Luke would save himself and put Vader out of his misery at the same time.

          It’s a good thing Lucas produced the movies in the order he did. The original two propelled the series into a height it never would have reached, special effects or no, had the true character focus been known all along.

          I was thinking the other night about Star Wars vs. The Matrix. Matrix had the same spectacular response to the initial film; but the second and third films were self-indulgent and lame, and prevented the series from reaching truly legendary status. I now think that the only thing that saved Star Wars from a similar fate was the fact that George had developed much of the plot for the sequels beforehand; that and some excellent direction in ESB kept him from descending into ego-driven stupidity until at least the third film, by which time his legend had been established.

    • dcheesi says:

      Re: Luke Gets Shafted
      Well let’s see: he managed to get rid of the Emperor, redeem his father, find a sister he never knew he had, and free hundreds of worlds from oppression. And now that the Sith are gone, his Jedi powers make him the biggest [email protected]$$ in the galaxy. Sounds like a good day’s work to me :)

      And I wouldn’t say that he had no role in the destruction of the DeathStar, either. He kept the emperor busy trying to turn him, instead of focusing on the larger battle. If the emperor had been paying attention, he probably would have “foreseen” the changing tide of battle on the forest moon, and taken steps to counter them.

      • AveryRegier says:

        Re: Luke Gets Shafted
        I’ve seen theories which said that it was the Emporer’s death which removed his hold over the events of the fighting, causing the Empire to lose the battle. I’m not sure if this works with the timing of the end of the film, though.

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