After the release of The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas begins another three year gap of production to finish Luke Skywalker’s journey in the final chapter of The Original Trilogy, called, Return Of The Jedi. Returning Cast Members reprise their roles once last time. Lucas managed to persuade Harrison Ford to return as Han Solo, due to many fans that want his character back in the grand finale. Several psychologists theorized that Darth Vader wasn’t lying to manipulate Luke as his father, he was telling the truth. As an afterthought, George decided to throw in what the doctors said is true. Marketing for the film originally had a title called, “Revenge Of The Jedi,” at the time, was controversial for fans because revenge isn’t the Jedi way. Lucas replaced Revenge and added Return to make it feel appropriate to represent the lore.
Return Of The Jedi was released on May 25, 1983. It received positive reviews from several critics and fans. Despite not making enough cash as it’s predecessors, it was indeed a box office success.
With The Last Jedi coming out in December, I want to share my real thoughts about the third installment of Luke’s journey so I can spread the word of mouth to everyone who’s a longtime fan of Star Wars.
As I’ve stated in my other Star Wars related reviews, this one also contains SPOILERS. Because we’ve all watch them countless times. If you never ever ever ever seen Star Wars, I advise you to start with The Original Trilogy only!
Balanced: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, James Earl Jones, Billy Dee Williams, Ian McDiarmid, & Alec Guinness, all did an excellent job on their unforgettable iconic performances.
Action Sequences were awesome such as The Endor Space Battle, A David Vs. Goliath scenario with Luke battling The Rancor without his Lightsaber, if he did, he’d be eaten by The Sarlacc without coming up with a formulated strategy. Luke & his allies fighting henchmen above The Sarlacc Pit, Luke & Vader’s Lightsaber Duel.
Practical Effects were used to create many starships, The Second Death Star, Animatronics also brought The Rancor, The Sarlacc Pit, Jabba The Hutt, as well as Costumes for actors most notably Warwick Davis, to portray Ewoks.
Cinematography was good without any errors.
Due to Character Development from the first two movies, Luke Skywalker has become an experienced Jedi Knight filled with wisdom, patience, soft spoken, and weary. This time he’s caught in a moral dilemma on his lineage to Darth Vader. In order to encounter The Emperor, he must defeat Vader, otherwise his friends will loose. Vader also has a change of heart.
Han & Leia’s chemistry, is still relevant, we really want them to be together.
Remember when Leia sensed Luke near the end of The Empire Strikes Back? At the time, fans were shocked on her ability to sense Luke, In Return Of The Jedi, fans were way more freaked out when Leia is related to Luke & Vader. You remember that part when Leia kisses Luke to make Han jealous? Yep that happened. I guess Luke & Leia must’ve puked offscreen after learning they’re related. I think the fans probably puked when they got home from the theater.
Luke questions Leia about their mother, Padmè. Leia replies that she has visions of her. This confirms that she inherited Anakin’s precognition from his nightmares about his mother and Padmè. Thus, making this a retcon.
I’ll have to give The Prequel Trilogy credit for bringing up the sole reason on why Vader saved Luke from The Emperor, is the fact that Luke reminded him about his mother & Padmè, which is the only representation of Anakin’s Light Side Of The Force. He didn’t want to loose his son, the same way he lost two of the most important people of his life.
C-3PO claims that The Ewoks think he’s some sort of god. Cameron Crowe, if you’re reading this, did C-3PO motivate you to come up with the line, “I am a Golden God” from Almost Famous? If so, I demand behind the scenes answers!
Like the previous films, there’s a lot of memorable dialogue. My favorite line is, “So be it, Jedi!” A quote from The Emperor after Luke refuses to kill Vader.
My favorite part of the whole movie, is when an A-Wing pilot performs s a kamikaze Attack on a Superstar Destroyer, killing everybody onboard. ’ll give it Bonus Points for his noble sacrifice.
Like previous films, John Williams’ Musical Score, is still iconic containing Darth Vader’s Theme, The Imperial March. Emperor Palpatine’s Theme, and of course The Battle On Endor.
Chewbacca and two Ewoks, pulled a GTA on stormtroopers by taking their vehicle and using it against them.
Once again in every Star Wars tradition, a Wilhelm Scream is heard.
Hearing Lando screaming made me chuckled when The Sarlacc grab’s Lando’s leg.
You think Return Of The Jedi is kid friendly? Care to explain that a Gonk Droid is being tortured, Jabba forcing Leia to wear that metal bikini, Leia turning the tables on Jabba by strangling him to death, The Rancor chomping a pig guard alive on screen, Luke cutting Vader’s hand off, or The Emperor electrocuting Luke with his signature Force Lightning? How’s that for “family friendly” huh?
The Ending of The Original Trilogy concluded on a high note. Darth Vader redeems himself by turning into a Force Ghost, Palpatine is long gone, The Second Death Star has kaboomed, a victory party with everybody living happily ever after, until The Force Awakens sets up a new trilogy.
Unbalanced: One problem I incredibly despise just for The Special Edition, is that George replaced Sebastian Shaw by adding Hayden Christensen as Anakin’s Force Ghost. I felt irritated by looking at him. Sometimes I want to punch him in his perfect “Hollywood Teeth” because I hate him for ruining Darth Vader’s image. As Carmen from Spy Kids once said, “You’re full of shittake mushrooms!”
Besides Hayden Christensen appearing as a Force Ghost, one thing that bothered me before The Special Edition, is The Ewoks using sticks and stones to easily kill Stormtroopers. I find this unrealistic, in Real Life, advanced technology can overcome these obstacles. It nearly broke my Suspension Of Disbelief, if it weren’t for Lando destroying The Second Death Star.
The Final Verdict: A-
Return Of The Jedi was a satisfying conclusion to The Original Trilogy, Luke has fulfilled his destiny as a noble Jedi Knight, Han & Leia are married, Anakin has become one with The Force, Lando has taken credit for destroying The Second Death Star. Three Decades Later, a new story begins with Rey, Finn, & Poe as the new trio in The Sequel Trilogy.
If you’re a lifelong fan of Star Wars, I strongly recommend your kids to watch The Original Trilogy, before you let them watch The Prequel Trilogy, The Clone Wars animated series, Rebels animated series, Rouge One, and the ongoing Sequel Trilogy starting with The Force Awakens, and it’s future follows ups. Bravo George for giving us an influential saga for many generations that inspire countless filmmakers to create their own franchises.
Dont forget to buy Star Wars: Battlefront II, this Thanksgiving to see what happened after The Battle Of Endor. Make sure you buy books related to the official canon series, that’ll help you acquire more information on what happens between Episode VI and Episode VII.