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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I noticed that A NEW HOPE and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK are in the TOP
10, but that this one isn't even in the TOP 100.
This movie has a bad reputation because of Ewoks, but there are so many reasons to love this movie:
-The Rescue of Han Solo from Jabba: This official wraps up the Han Solo in debt sub-plot that was established when we first met the character in A NEW HOPE.
-The Emperor was Finally Revealled: Well alright this might not work as well now that the prequels are out but this was the first time we saw The Emperor as kids.
-The Speeder Bike Chase: Alright, so this was a special effects moment. But it was definitely one of the most memorable and exciting moments in all the films!
-The 3 Part Climax: 1) The Battle of Endor (Led by Han and Leia) 2) Luke Confronts his Father & The Fall of the Emperor 3) The Destruction of the Second Death Star (Lando's Moment)
-The Final Celebration with Our Heroes: Like I said, this movie gets a lot of crap because of the Ewoks but I think it's kind of cool that while the entire galaxy celebrates the FALL OF THE EMPIRE, our heroes are having their own private party in the woods with each other.
All in all this was a great final chapter for our heroes and a fitting end to the STAR WARS story.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.....There was a boy who was
only two years old when the original "Star Wars" film was released. He
doesn't remember first seeing the movie, but he also doesn't remember
life before it. He does remember the first "Star Wars" themed gift he
got...a shoebox full of action figures from the original set. He was
too young to fully appreciate how special that gift would be. But years
later, he would get what to this day goes down as one of the best gifts
he's ever received: another box full of action figures, ten of the
final twelve he needed to complete his collection. It's now legendary
in this boy's family how the last action figure he needed, Anakin
Skywalker, stopped being produced and carried in stores, and how this
boy went for about ten years (until he got into college) trying to
track one down and finally bought it from someone on his dorm floor for
a bag of beer nuggets (don't ask...it's a Northern Illinois University
I can't review "Star Wars" as a movie. It represents absolutely everything good, fun and magical about my childhood. There's no separating it in my mind from Christmases, birthdays, summers and winters growing up. In the winter, my friends and I would build snow forts and pretend we were on Hoth (I was always Han Solo). My friends' dad built them a kick-ass tree house, and that served as the Ewok village. They also had a huge pine tree whose bottom branches were high enough to create a sort of cave underneath it, and this made a great spot to pretend we were in Yoda's home. I am unabashedly dorky when it comes to "Star Wars" and I think people either just understand that or they don't. I don't get the appeal of "Lord of the Rings" or "Star Trek" but I understand the rabid flocks of fans that follow them because I am a rabid fan of George Lucas's films.
I feel no need to defend my opinion of these movies as some of the greatest of all time. Every time I put them in the DVD player, I feel like I'm eight years old again, when life was simple and the biggest problem I had was figuring out how I was going to track down a figure of Anakin Skywalker.
Grade (for the entire trilogy): A+
I'm sick of people whining about Ewoks! True, they're not the best thing
that ever happened to Star Wars, but they DID happen, so deal with it!
Besides, they ARE cute, and I don't care if they're marketable. Yubb
This movie always leaves me in tears. It's perfect. The end could not be better. I'm excited for The Phantom Menace because it will suddenly throw the focus of the whole story from Luke to Anakin. I love how he is revealed at the end - it would be too unresolved any other way. So those of you who are complaining that Vader's helmet was removed, take a moment to think about it. It's very effective. Vader, the man who hid behind a mask for 20 years, is finally revealed as a sick-looking man. He is not entirely machine - he's vulnerable.
I don't know how the casting director happened to pick such good actors in A New Hope. They all do so well. They are believable characters. Hamill does an excellent job with his dramatic character development. Fisher does a fine job being a female role model (I mean, come on! She killed Jabba even when so many others had failed!). Harrison Ford - need I say more?
The music is once again brilliant. It's so very touching and significant when you can pick out character themes at different parts of the movie. The best climax is when Luke shouts "NOOO!" and jumps out to fight his father in the Final Battle. John Williams is nothing short of a genius! What an amazing man!
Already, the movie has so much more meaning for me because of Episode I. I can't wait to finally see it in the theatres (CAN I WAIT???) and then watch the original trilogy yet again.
Perspective is a good thing. Since the release of "Star Wars Episode I:
Phantom Menace", claims and counter-claims of just how Episode's II and
will eventuate has taken the spotlight off the 'original' Star Wars films,
making them part of a cohesive whole, rather than segregating the older
new films into separate trilogies. What the new films have done is allow
fresh perspectives to be placed on the older films. This new outlook
us to greater appreciate what has often been viewed as the weakest of the
original trilogy: "Return of the Jedi". Often derided for its overly
factor, ROTJ is in a sense as strong as the original and only slightly
impressive than the nearly perfect "The Empire Strikes Back". Indeed the
'cute' element of ROTJ, namely the Ewoks, remains a weak link in the
series. Did George Lucas place the furry midgets in the film purely for
merchandising possibilities? Only he can answer that question.
This cute factor aside, the film is a brilliant full circle AND evolution of the saga. Following on from the conclusion of "The Empire Strikes Back", Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) follows his Rebel Alliance friends to Tatooine, his home planet, to rescue Han Solo (Harrison Ford), the space pirate turned Rebel hero who was captured by Jabba the Hutt for overdue debts.
Skywalker is a changed man since leaving Tatooine with Ben 'Obi Wan' Kenobi (Alec Guiness) to fight the evil Empire. Now swathed all in black, Luke's discovery of his origins have left him confused and torn. His psychological make up is not as strong as his outward appearance would suggest. While he might aim to always assist his Rebel friends, he yearns for another chance to confront the evil Darth Vader again, despite his unassuredness as to whether he will destroy him or eventually turn to the Dark Side and join Vader at the Emperor's side.
Early scenes in Tatooine are impressive, from Jabba's lair, to his floating palace and the 'almighty Sarlac' - an intenstine that lives in the sand. Lucas' CGI enhancements to the film in 1997 actually worsened the overall effect of the Sarlac, making it look fake and overdone.
The battle scene on Tatooine is outstanding, and is one of the more memorable of the saga. Luke almost singlehandedly anihiliates Jabba and his cronies, proving his prowess as a Jedi is now almost complete.
When Luke returns to the Degobah system to visit the ailing Yoda one more time, the viewer is let down by Yoda's distinct lack of screentime. Undoubtably the star of "The Empire Strikes Back", Yoda is all but erased from the story as the progression of Luke's destiny is played out on screen.
ROTJ really is Luke's film, perhaps even more so than the original. His journey carries the movie as he moves closer to his confrontation with Darth Vader and his fate. The other Rebel characters certainly work in his shadow. The romance between Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Solo is all but non-existant, unlike in "Empire". In fact only Leia's character is developed in ROTJ, Solo's character seems to fade as the facets of his personality have become too familiar in the first two films.
Their roles are consigned to working alongside the Rebels to destroy an all new Death Star that nears completion. This time the Emperor himself is overseeing the final stages of construction. The Empire intends to crush the Rebellion once and for all, while the Emperor himself schemes to bring the now powerful Skywalker to his side to work alongside (or is that replace?) Darth Vader. The Emperor is a different kind of evil for this film, less cunning than Governor Tarkin (Peter Cushing) from "Star Wars", more deeply psychologically dark than anything else. Played brilliantly by Ian McDiarmid, the Emperor is just one of those characters you love to hate.
All the other actors are well entrenched in their roles. Hamill surprises as the more wisened Luke, making his character's progression from whiny teenager, impatient student to enlightened warrior one of the few real character developments of the series. Ford's role is waring thin, as all his charm and charisma was spent in the first two films -- he was the REAL star of the first film after all. Fisher's Leia is more of a prop, at least unti the end of the film where she learns things about herself that she was never sure about... Add in favourites like Alec Guiness as Kenobi, Yoda and the loveable Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2D2 and the series resembles a family more than a cast.
Despite the film's corny forest battle involving the Ewoks and the Empire, it ends well and includes a three way battle sequence: on Endor, in space and on the Death Star, each with very impressive special effects. The music, as always, is brilliant and captures the mood perfectly in every instance. Just as the 'Blue Danube' worked perfectly for "2001: A Space Odyssey", John Williams' score is as much a part of "Star Wars" folklore as light sabers and the Force.
Lucas left the ending open to interpretation, meaning there could have been more episodes made. Indeed sci-fi fans have created their own versions of Episodes VII, VIII and IX in their heads over and over again. ROTJ works when given a chance, and furry cute animals aside is a good finish to the series.
When all six episodes get to be viewed together, this saga could well be the best ever made. Is it already? The addition of Episode I changed the landscape of the series. This is why "Return of the Jedi" can now be viewed in a different light and be given a whole new appreciation nearly 20 years after its release.
My five children were growing up but all still at home when 'Return of
the Jedi' came to the theater. While there had been other Sci-Fi movies
with a theme of conflict in outer space, the 'Star Wars' trilogy filled
our imaginations like no other movies before them. The fantastic,
strange worlds were presented almost like we were there too. Aliens
sitting around a tavern, enjoying drinks and speaking in all sorts of
languages. Nothing before had approached the sheer size of the space
ships depicted here, huge cities traveling all over the galaxy. And how
about the jump to hyper speed, then disappearing from the screen as the
speed exceeds light speed! And the light sabres of the Jedi Knights.
The Jedi Knights, a striking parallel to the Japanese Samurai.
After the fantastic 'Star Wars' and 'Empire Strikes Back' (now called parts IV and V on DVD), the last episode 'Return of the Jedi' was bound to be somewhat of a let down, but not much of one. It was made to achieve resolution. Of the rebels' battle with the evil Empire. The relationship between Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and the Princess, and her relationship with Han Solo. We witness Luke's Jedi training at the hands of Yoda, as Luke becomes the Last Samurai, I mean Jedi. The DVDs finally came out last month, and they are near perfect, as we should expect from Lucas Films and THX. The bit rate is high, and the picture is nothing short of superb. As is the Dolby EX surround track.
My wife and I watched all three of the movies on DVD this week -- Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi (now on DVD called parts IV, V, and VI) -- compliments of our local public library. It was an appropriate reminder how good these movies are, and still ahead of their time. Nothing else has been made to compare to them.
After "Star Wars: A New Hope" redefined science fiction, and "The Empire Strikes Back" redefined "Star Wars", it's hard to believe that the third and final film of this trilogy can manage to be as good as the other two, but this one really does a nice job. The first part of the film resolves the cliffhanger left by the previous one, with an elaborate escape plan that is in keeping with the incredible suspense and action of the first two films. Then the film moves back to the rebel alliance and what's going on in the war. There is a lot of action in the scenes building up to the rebellion's final confrontation with the Emperor. When the battle begins, the audience is already on the edge of their seats from everything leading up to it, and this final battle is even more intense than those from the other films. This climax is definitely more dense with action than any other part of the trilogy, with the most at stake for the rebellion. This is continually changing between a ground battle between the rebel strike crew on land (including Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Leia), the battle raging on in space (including Lando), and a confrontation between Luke and the Emperor on the new Death Star, which leads up to another duel with Darth Vader. It is really intense since the rebels constantly seem to be losing the battle that will determine the outcome of the war, and there seems to be no escape. Although I think the idea of Ewoks overpowering stormtroopers is a bit far-fetched, it didn't seem very unrealistic since they were more of a distraction that the rebels could use, rather than an actual threat to the stormtroopers, although they did have some luck fighting them. There is also a twist or two at the end that nobody saw coming, which may not be quite as stunning as that of "The Empire Strikes Back", but still complete a very spectacular trilogy very well. With the light tone of "A New Hope" and the more sinnister tone of "The Empire Strikes Back", this film really completes them by combining the two in this grand finale. The Special Edition for "Return of the Jedi" concentrated on what would have been nice to change, since not much of the original really needed it. Fifteen years of technology advancements didn't seem to make up for fifteen years of deterioration as far as the rancor scene is concerned, and there still is the occasional disappearing TIE fighter, but other than that it was good. The gaping non-threatening Sarlaac's mouth was given moving tentacles and a huge fly-trap looking head that emerged, which definitely added to the suspense. Also, the disco was taken out of Jabba's palace, and the lame ending of the original was replaced by a huge victory celebration spanning the entire galaxy, instead of just a small Ewok village, which was the case of the original and that didn't really end a story this big the way it deserved. It's hard to say which of the three films was the best, but since it's all part of the same story, the over-all trilogy is like one big, outstanding film. A THIRD must-see for film fans.
Up until the sixth and last episode of the Star Wars saga, which
finally ended in 2005, I had always looked at this 1983 entry as my
favorite film of the long-running series. The varied action scenes and
really different characters (Jabba The Hut, furry woodland creatures,
etc.) made this a particularly appealing movie.
None of the action ever focused too long in one spot, either. The last half hour exemplifies this the most as the scene switches every few minutes from the woods to the battle among space ships to the individual laser-duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.
Another nice characteristic this film had that the two previous did not was the absence of in-fighting between two of the stars. Gone was the incessant bickering between Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. Finally, everyone was on the same page! It was nice to see.
In the end, this was simply a wonderful adventure tale, more than anything else.
When it comes to creating a universe George Lucas is the undisputed
master and his final Star Wars film is very, very good (and more
appropriately rated in comparison to the two previous films in the
original saga). Having recently seen Revenge of the Sith really puts
this movie in perspective. The final battle seems even more climactic
knowing what Anakin Skywalker went through at the manipulative hands of
the Emperor. It also makes the final battle between Luke and Vader more
bitter considering the love he felt for Padmé and the love she felt for
her children. Actually while the new films (especially Episode II) are
inferior to the original films they are good for one reason only. They
make the old films seem even better.
Mark Hamill does an exceptional job in this movie. He really brings the changes Luke has gone through seem real. In all fairness I believe that he should have become a big actor based on these films because he really does a great job. Harrison Ford is still good. However, you can feel that he has done Raiders and Blade Runner in between the two final chapters of Star Wars because he seems to have grown quite a bit. He adds more comedy (obviously inspired from Raiders) to the character which works brilliantly. In short Han Solo is better than ever. Carrie Fisher was never really a good actress but she does a decent job and is certainly passable. Ian McDiarmid appears in this film and having seen Episode III I can safely say that he is one of the most accomplished villains ever. James Earl Jones still provides the voice for Vader and he is still very, very good.
In terms of how the movie looks its pretty safe to say that the Star Wars universe looks better than in either of the previous (two) movies but this was always Lucas' forté so that is really to be expected. The final battle over Endor is very well made both in terms of the general effects and tension wise. It was also a nice touch that Lucas decided to have three battles take place at the same time as it added to the overall tension of the climax.
The only thing I feel is dragging the movie down from an otherwise deserved 9 are the Ewoks. These little creatures are so annoying they almost ruin every scene they are in. Besides I find it to be a little to kiddy when a group of teddy bears with bows and arrows can defeat a squadron of Storm Troopers with laser guns and mighty machinery.
All in all Return of the Jedi is a very good movie but the fact that Richard Marquand is a less accomplished director than Irvin Kershner does that the overall feel of the movie is less than brilliant. Also George Lucas' stupid decision to add the Ewoks to the universe does that the film falls short of brilliance.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the film that pretty much answers all the questions. One thing that I did notice is that it dealt with the theme of redemption. Luke pretty much wanted to redeem his father's good name and at the end Vader regains his humanity just in time not only to save his son Luke, but to destroy the Emperor, the man who cost Vader his soul. I also liked the scene in the film where 3PO summarizes the events of the previous chapters for the Ewoks. This also helps to tie everything together as far as the saga is concerned. Also, even though many have called this the weakest film in the trilogy, it still has enough of a story and great special effects to put it on a par with the previous films.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This final entry in George Lucas's STAR WARS movies is often regarded
as the weakest of the lot. However, this is not to say that it is a
totally worthless entry in the series. On the contrary. Sure, it's not
as groundbreaking as its predecessors and a bit more slow-going at
times, but RETURN OF THE JEDI still offers a lot to warrant the price
The first third of the movie, where Luke and his friends rescue Han from the palace of Jabba the Hutt, is a classic. Jabba, a truly disgusting blob of bloated flesh who speaks in his own language, not only makes a great villain, but a memorable one, too. It must have been a nightmare to construct this giant puppet, much less give it the spark and life that we see on the finished product. Actually, what also makes this sequence fun is the clever use of puppets for the various members of Jabba's court, including the intimidating, slavering Rancor and scary Sarlaac pit monster. It builds masterfully to its climax and pulls punches all the while.
Things get a little bit slower around the second act, where Luke discovers that he and Leia are related by blood and when we travel to the forest planet of Endor, home of the cuddlesome yet stalwart Ewoks. Most of the complaints about RETURN OF THE JEDI that I've read seem to be centered on these furry creatures, in that they somehow disrupt the tone of the saga. I don't totally agree with that, although this moment is probably played out a bit longer than it should. However, their leader, Wicket (played by Warrick Davis) is a delightfully memorable creation, and watching how they handle the Imperial Troops' technology with their simple, natural weapons provides a nice contrast.
By the time we get to the third act, though, the pace picks up again, as we intercut between the Ewoks battle against the troops, Lando and the Rebel Forces launching an attack against the Empire's all-new half-completed Death Star, and Luke's final showdown with Darth Vader and the Emperor. The latter ties with the Jabba Palace sequence as the highlight of the movie. Mark Hamill flexes his acting chops once again as Luke Skywalker in these scenes, and watching him as a fully matured Jedi Knight makes for an unforgettable performance. Also, as iconic as James Earl Jones' voice as Darth Vader is, he is rivaled only by the shriveled, crone-like Emperor, played with deliciously raspy, frightening evil by Ian McDiarmid. The tension between this trio heightens the excitement of this climactic moment, which is appropriately darkly lit and menacingly underscored.
The STAR WARS movies have always set standards for special effects, and the technical work in RETURN OF THE JEDI can easily hold a candle to its predecessors. The space battle fights are as exhilarating as always, and the speeder bike chase through the forest is a knockout. Of course, given that this movie was made after A NEW HOPE and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, it probably shouldn't be so surprising that the special effects have reached an even greater level of excellence. The acting is classic STAR WARS fare; Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher all mature and deepen into their roles, and Anthony Daniels provides more hilarious moments as C-3PO. Frank Oz's Yoda only appears in two scenes, but he makes the most of it. And yes, there's also John Williams' music.
All told, while RETURN OF THE JEDI falters a little bit in the middle, the first and third acts deliver in style, making this a rather satisfactory finale to one of the greatest sagas ever.
In 1997, George Lucas re-released the classic STAR WARS in digitally restored (and revamped) "Special Editions", which featured added-in effects and/or shots as well as some enhancements. Of the three, RETURN OF THE JEDI appears to have caused the most commotion with STAR WARS fans. Perhaps it can be due to the jarringly out-of-place (albeit funny if you're not so easily offended) "Jedi Rocks" musical number in Jabba's Palace, which, although technically amazing, does disrupt the flow of the film. However, I DID like the ending montage scenes where we see victory celebrations occurring on the various planets of the galaxy. This DVD version features yet more tweaking--we get to see more montage finale scenes (notably on Naboo, where we hear what sounds like Jar Jar Binks screaming, "Wesa free!"), and, in what is probably the most controversial change, Hayden Christensen as the specter of Anakin Skywalker in the closing scenes. Probably due to the intense (and unfair) disdain fans have for his somewhat shaky work in EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES it seems inevitable that fans would put this edition down for that alone. However, if you're watching the STAR WARS saga chronologically (and contemplating about it), chances are you may react a little differently. Nonetheless, it is an issue that fans have raised, so it's probably best to be warned beforehand.
As nice as it would be to have Lucas release the original versions of these three classic films, he nonetheless stands by what he said about these revamps being the "definitive" editions of his classic trilogy, and, when viewing the STAR WARS movies altogether as one complete saga (as Lucas intended), it actually makes sense to keep them technically and aurally consistent. The original films will always be engraved in our memories, but these new incarnations are just as much fun, if one can give them a chance.
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