Star Wars in Review: Return of the Jedi
Part of a series by G-Funk
Director: Lawrence Marquand
Cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Frank Oz, David Prose, James Earl Jones
Story: The fully trained Jedi Luke Skywalker and his companions launch an attempt to rescue Han Solo from the clutches of gangster Jabba the Hutt before setting out on a mission to destroy the Empire once and for all.
Review: Like any Star Wars movie that isn’t under the thumb of Lucas, this film holds up extremely well over time and with repeat viewings. The strongest points of the third part to the trilogy is seeing the characters come full circle and the extensive action sequences. The special effects have clearly been taken up a few levels from the original film with the vehicles and creatures blending in more naturally with the live action. The final third act of the movie is also a stand out with the extensive battle being covered from multiple viewpoints while Luke and Darth Vader conclude their character arcs.
Being the concluding chapter, however, has made it feel a bit flabby. There are some revelations that seem to exist for the sake of giving the characters something to talk about. Leia being revealed as Luke’s sister has no impact on the story whatsoever. Darth Vader plays favourites by totally ignoring her and it makes the scenes between Luke and Leia in the first two films seem really awkward in hindsight. The only reason they may have included this development was if they were trying to one-up the Darth Vader revelation from the previous film or explain why Luke is jealous that she picked Han.
Plus there’s the Ewoks, a point of contention for some fans. There’s nothing wrong with the design of the characters per se, and it is a bit more heartwarming to see the might of the Empire being brought down a relatively primitive species, but it does highlight the laziness of Lucas. He originally intended the planet to be populated by Wookies, but when the studio said they wanted something different he went for smaller Wookies.
Quibbles aside, the film maintains the excitement and sense of fun that was created in the original film while providing a satisfying conclusion to what had been set into motion three running times before. Just make sure you grab the original version so you don’t get the lanky, gawking lack of logic of Hayden Christensen turning up at the end.
Score: EIGHT outta TEN