Hello Star Wars lovers! This is my last Star Wars review before seeing The Force Awakens on opening night! Needless to say, I will be a changed man the next time you read something of mine. Meaning that this will be my first time watching a Star Wars movie in theaters as an adult and it’s certainly going to be a life-altering moment for me. I can’t imagine things getting much better after that. In the meantime, I’m here to talk Star Wars: Episode VI- Return of the Jedi, which is the film that chronologically takes place before The Force Awakens even though there’s a significant amount of time in between the movies.
For those who haven’t been following our site, this is part 6 of a 6-part (technically 7 now, once I review The Force Awakens) series review of the Star Wars movies leading up to Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens, which will be in theaters on December 18, 2015. I recently reviewed episodes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (read them here: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5) and this will conclude my road to The Force Awakens as the movie releases this weekend and I will have a review up for the film as soon as I can after seeing it. With all of that out of the way, let’s jump into my review of Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
I need to address something before I get to the specifics. Most Star Wars fans know that around the time the prequels came out George Lucas put out special editions of the original trilogy and for the most part it was just updated special effects, adding in CGI creatures and random things like making Boba Fett walk around in A New Hope when he wasn’t originally in the film. Up until Return of the Jedi there weren’t many significant changes to the scenes and for the most part they enhanced the viewing experience. Well there is a scene added to Return (which is what I’ll refer to Episode VI as, to keep things simple) that involves a dancing and singing alien in Jabba the Hut’s Palace. Of all the things added in the special additions, this is the most disturbing and embarrassing thing in any Star Wars movie, yes, more than Jar Jar and the separatist leaders in the prequels. I’m not going to consider this part of the movie since, unlike subtly touching up special effects, this scene totally takes me out of the movie as it doesn’t even feel like Star Wars but rather a parody of it. Now that that’s out of the way, let me get into my review of Star Wars: Episode VI- Return of the Jedi. This time I will begin with the negatives, since it is my last review before The Force Awakens and I’d like to end it on a positive note.
Similar to The Empire Strikes Back, Return doesn’t have too many negatives once you get passed all of the special edition stuff. Nevertheless, there are still problems.
I’ll begin with something that most Star Wars fans may agree with. I’m talking about the death of Boba Fett and how he died too early in the film in a horrifically embarrassing way. This guy is supposed to be the most badass bounty hunter in the galaxy, and he gets knocked into this sarlacc pit. This is not too much of a big deal but it just happened too fast, too early in the film and to one of the characters you would expect to get out of a death like that.
In my last review I wrote about how Yoda’s introduction wasn’t that great, in my opinion, but once he tells Luke who he really is, I enjoyed the training and Yoda’s wise advice on the Force. In Return, Luke visits Yoda on Dagobah once again and while the information he obtains while he’s there is very significant, I feel like Yoda was underused in this movie. By underused I mean he wasn’t given enough screen time and he just happened to die while Luke is visiting him. I love all of the dialogue between Yoda and Luke, and Force ghost Obi-Wan and Luke, but I just wish Luke would’ve spent more time with Yoda in this movie.
There are a few other small negatives throughout the movie, but most are not worth mentioning. One last negative I do have to mention takes place in the third act of the film, involving the battle of Endor and the Ewoks. I do admit that the Ewoks are cute at first and they do serve a purpose, but if you really sit back and think about it, these little creatures, even though they are brave and ruthless, would not be able to go into battle against trained Stormtroopers and Imperial officers. Well, they shouldn’t be able to and that might be a reflection on the Stormtroopers themselves and how easy they are to defeat but as an adult I can’t take this battle seriously. I wish the filmmakers would’ve used a human Indian tribe or something other than really small, furry creatures. The Ewoks were obviously meant to resemble a tribe of some sort, so why not just make them human or human-sized aliens?
As you can tell, I am reaching for negatives and it’s what I’ve done with most of my negatives for the original trilogy movies. With the difficult part of my review out of the way, let me tell you all why I love Star Wars: Episode VI- Return of the Jedi.
While I’m disgusted with some of the things from the special editions that were added to the Jabba’s palace scene at the beginning of the film, there are some really cool things in this sequence and some iconic moments as well. First of all, it’s the first time we get to see Luke Skywalker as a Jedi Knight, or at least the most powerful we’ve ever seen him up to that point. You can really see the transformation of his character from the first movie, to the second movie and then in Return. It’s clear that he is more powerful too as we see him do things like use Jedi mind control and be more accurate with his telekinesis. It’s just such a cool moment seeing Luke fully embrace the Force and be more comfortable becoming who he was meant to be.
Another thing I like about the scene in Jabba’s palace is the teamwork between all of the heroes in their mission to rescue Han Solo. It reminds me of a heist in way, since you got the droids, Chewbacca, Lando, Leia and Luke all working together and serving different purposes in rescuing Han. I also love the fact that the reason they are all working together is because the all care about Han. It just goes to prove that Star Wars isn’t just a huge spectacle but a story about family and friendship, which makes it a lot more personable.
While I wasn’t a big fan of the battle on Endor, I absolutely love what was going on at the same time between Luke, Vader and the Emperor. Return of the Jedi might not be my favorite Star Wars movie but it arguably contains my favorite scene in any of the films. It’s just so amazing from the moment Luke is brought up to Vader, to the amazing lightsaber fight between them, and then finally to the resolution of Vader defeating the Emperor to save his son and prove that there is still good in him.
This moment also reflects the climactic ending to the story of the entire trilogy. Return of the Jedi somewhat serves as a tiebreaker between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire. In A New Hope the good guys clearly win as they blow up the original Death Star. In The Empire Strikes Back the Empire clearly wins as they capture Han and leave the heroes broken down. Return of the Jedi is that final match between the Rebels and the Empire, and also between Vader and Luke, and as expected the good side prevails. Luke defeats Vader, Vader defeats the Emperor and overcomes his struggle with the dark side, and the Rebels blow up the second Death Star. In most stories we know the good guys will ultimately end up on top but it’s all about they way it is executed and Return of the Jedi has one of the best climaxes and it wraps up the trilogy perfectly. That is the best thing it accomplishes.
I am now writing my final words hours before going to see The Force Awakens. My excitement is at an all-time high as far as anticipating a movie and I’ve watched Return of the Jedi twice this week in preparing for it. I don’t think Return gets the credit it’s due when people are comparing the original trilogy films. Most people generally say that A New Hope or The Empire Strikes Back is their favorite of the trilogy, with Return being the last in quality. After re-watching it a few times lately I’ve realized that it has every bit of magic that the first two films have, I just really think the special editions sort of ruined people’s perspective on the film.
Star Wars: Episode VI- Return of the Jedi gets a 9 out of 10.
Well there you go movie lovers! My final Star Wars review before seeing The Force Awakens. Thank you all who have read all five of my reviews up to this point and I hope you enjoy this one just as much.
I hope everyone has a great time watching the new film and may the force be with you all!
Categories: Star Wars