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Luke Skywalker battles horrible Jabba the Hut and cruel Darth Vader to save his comrades in the Rebel Alliance and triumph over the Galactic Empire. Han Solo and Princess Leia reaffirm their love and team with Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, the Ewoks and the androids C-3PO and R2-D2 to aid in the disruption of the Dark Side and the defeat of the evil emperor. Written by
First, yes, in my youth I saw this 43 times at the theater. I love the movie but I am honest about its flaws. The scenes that give it its moral power are surrounded by Ewoks. The Jabba scenes contain some good and a tad not so great like the musical. The film resonates because of the Jungian Archetype of the Dark Father. For anyone in the audience, with an Evil parent, the movie has existential depth. Luke's faith that the goodness Padme last speaks of within Anakin before her death is fulfilled almost at the very cost of Luke's life. These scenes, the Vader / Luke scenes are why you see such a stark dichotomy in the reviews here. Those that focus on the Ewoks and Jabba's palace, with some merit, hate the movie intensely. For me, I always endured these scenes for the lesson of the movie is a deeply spiritual one. That within the most Evil of people, there is an ember of good remaining. Anakin's love for Luke, his only remaining connection to his lost Padme, is why the movie will always be beloved by me. I won't lie to you, of the three, Empire has always been my favorite as an entire movie. This one, however, contains my favorite scenes in the entire trilogy. Vader is deepened from a cartoon character into a father seeking his lost son. The best scene in the movie is devoid of explosions, effects or loud spectacle.
Anakin tells Luke to leave him and save himself as the Death Star is collapsing around them. Luke says,"I'll not leave you here, I've got to save you." Then Vader speaks the message of the entire movie,"You already have Luke." I understand the attacks on many of Marquand's choices here; there was a great reaction to the darkness of Empire with torture scenes and unrelenting sinister imagery. Marquand decided to balance the movie by mixing the light Ewok scenes with the Empire like creepy Emperor Sidious / Vader / Luke parts that could have been seamlessly part of Empire. I like the film for we see Love that comes back from the heart of Darkness. In the new blu ray special edition Vader bellows No! as he grabs Sidious. I preferred the wordless original print where he looks back and forth; suddenly, he snaps and grabs Sidious. Luke's faith, that echoes Padme's, for which he risks his life, gives his character a nobility that deepens Luke. This always was the weakness of the ethos of Star Wars; that no person can ever return from the Dark Side.
Anakin's love for Luke crosses over the chasm; I think this is why it is so beloved here. I understand your irritation at the Ewok / Jabba parts. Truthfully, I often got up and got refreshments during these pieces of the movie. Never lose sight of how good the core scenes are; yes, like many of you, I wish Lucas had re-hired Kirshner to do Jedi. Unfortunately, lots of kiddies were scared by the intensity of Empire. When I read attacks on the use of this word, remember that was thirty-six years ago. Movies were nothing like they are today. Within the hokeyness, the silly giant teddy bears, is a story about a son whose love for his father is so great that he risks everything to bring him back from Darkness. The moral allegorical nature of the existential simile is what gives the movie its power. It speaks to every person who has struggled to bring back that lost member of their family. This is why I love the movie despite its admitted flaws. When you watch it, try to ignore the extraneous elements that damage it.
The lesson that within the most Evil of persons there remains an ember of goodness waiting for the spark is neither puerile nor pedestrian. For dichotomous creatures both Light and Night, it is a reminder that none are beyond redemption. A Good Movie. Q.E.D.
"Darkness Cannot Drive Out Darkness Only Light Can Do That: Hate Cannot Drive Out Hate Only Love Can Do That." Martin Luther King
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