Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Review and Discussion

I finally can share with you guys our discussion on Return of the Jedi.  Abby, Jeremy and I recorded it on Sunday but there was some kind of glitch with youtube where all the Live Google Hangouts were stuck in processing limbo.  People could watch the video but I couldn’t really share them and they didn’t appear on my channel or video feed.  I also couldn’t put a thumbnail photo on or promote it in a serious way.

This was very concerning to me as it was a great discussion between the three of us and not always easy to duplicate that and I have no other copy of the broadcast because it goes from the live feed straight to youtube.

Anyway, after waiting nearly 3 days the video is up and I am proud of how this one turned out.

Return of the Jedi is a very different entry into the Star Wars films.  It feels more like the serials that first inspired Lucas, or at least the beginning does.  The first 40 minutes are focused on rescuing Han from the carbonite at Jabba the Hutt’s palace. This scene involves much action from all the key players except Vader and 2 monsters, the Rancor and Sarlac. For me this section is fun but it goes on a little bit too long.  I really like when we see R2D2 serving drinks and Han and Luke fighting everyone and almost dying. That’s great but some of the violence with the slave Oola getting killed, Leia’s gold bikini,  and Boba Fett dying the way he does I am not as big a fan of.  It feels more like the Mummy movies with Brendan Fraser than Star Wars to me.

Once they are freed from Jabba the movie flips back and forth between 3 storylines- all of which I liked.  You have 1. Luke confronting the Emperor and Vader.  2. Lando and the rebels attacking the Death Star.  3. Han, Leia, Chewie, R2D2 and C3PO on Endor with the Ewoks deactivating the Death Star’s shield.

I really like the fact that all of the characters get their moments including Lando who is now fully redeemed from actions in Empire.  I also don’t mind the Ewoks and feel they are used just enough.

However, my favorite is the interactions between Vader, Luke and the Emperor.  Luke is so convinced there is good in his father and I think that is part of what makes him such a likable character.  He’s not only the hero but he believes in people.  He see’s the good in villain.  That’s very admirable.  But these scenes are also great because of the interplay between the Emperor and Luke.  He knows just how to stoke Luke into defending himself but then manipulates that into anger and hate.  Luke is constantly having to pull himself back and then become passionate again.  It’s a very fine line he walks.

Eventually when he will not give into the dark side (I love when he says Never!) the Emperor almost kills him but Vader steps in to save his son.  What a great moment!

Return of the Jedi is a very satisfying end to the original trilogy.  There are parts I would trim from the beginning but all in all I think it’s a great film.

Thanks so much to Abby and Jeremy for their help on this series.  I had such a great time talking Star Wars with them and can’t wait for Force Awakens! 9 days till I see it!!!

Overall Grade for Return of the Jedi- A

4 thoughts on “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Review and Discussion

  1. For a long while, I actually considered ‘Return of the Jedi’ my second favourite Star Wars movie. And to this day, I do think it gets the short end of the stick; its not perfect but there’s enough to make it work as an emotionally rewarding climax. The emotional, physical and psychological duel between Luke and Vader was always the most engaging and suspenseful parts of the movie, and I love the resolution to Vader’s journey over the trilogy.

    People have complained about the Ewoks being essentially teddy bears with spears, and I even jokingly called the Ewoks’ Theme “March of the Teddy Bears” 😛 . But to be fair, they were about to eat our heroes at one point so it’s not like they’re helpless, and they have the advantage of numbers and stealth so it isn’t too much of a stretch. They reminded me of the Hobbits in the ‘Scouring of the Shire’ Chapter from ‘The Return of the King’ (the book) who were able to outsmart and overpower much larger foot-soldiers under Saruman’s influence; I think for that reason I never had that hard a time believing they could beat the Empire.

    Ian McDiarmid as the Emperor was perfect in ‘Return of the Jedi’, he was probably too crazy in Episode III but here he’s at just the right balance of over the top and subtle and you really do believe he is capable of bending strong minds to his will. Even though it was a little heavy on the exposition, I do like that we closed a lot of mysteries given to us over the trilogy, and I never felt bored watching those slower scenes. I like that it’s fairly dark in places but still manages to balance that sense of fun and the more heartfelt scenes, especially when Luke reveals to Leia that he was her brother. For me at least, the action scenes, dramatic tension between Luke and Vader, high stakes and powerful emotional climax were enough to tip the scales and keep it at a solid ‘A -‘. Not the best Star Wars film, but certainly better than it’s given credit for

    1. Very well said. Great comment. I agree that it is nice how it all got wrapped up. That’s what you want to see at the end of the trilogy.

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