johnlink ranks STAR WARS: EPISODE VI – RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983)

Finally wrapping up the original trilogy in anticipation of the new one.

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I watched STAR WARS: EPISODE VI – RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983) on 12.29.15. It was my third viewing of the film, and first complete viewing since the late 90s.

RETURN OF THE JEDI is sort of two different movies. On the one hand we have the kiddie-stuff with the Ewoks helping most of our major heroes fight a battle over a power station. On the other hand, we have the ultimate series climax as Luke (Mark Hamill) confronts Darth Vader and the Emperor (Ian McDiarmid).

Before we get there, though, is a nearly forty minute intro as Luke and his pals bail out Han Solo (Harrison Ford) from the clutches of the gangster, Jabba the Hutt. Things move fairly quickly, and to watch this movie again is to remember just how little screen time Yoda gets in the series in general, but especially in this film. The same goes for Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch). It is interesting to note how big of an icon Boba Fett became, and how underutilized he is in the series. He meets an unceremonious end, one that doesn’t seem fitting to the legendary he became as the series became more and more popular.

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This movie is, again, not directed by George Lucas. Instead, that honor goes to Richard Marquand. He does a decent job of juggling the story lines, but the Ewok stuff goes beyond balancing humor with darkness. That stuff is hard to make a lot of headway with, but he manages to keep it moving enough that we don’t notice just how silly it is until the entire trilogy wraps up in their little village with our major heroes celebrating alongside these obvious kid-marketing ploy.

But I don’t mean to disparage this movie too much. The Luke/Vader stuff truly is epic in scale. The Emperor, if you notice, probably doesn’t know all he claims to know. He says he has seen things which don’t come to pass. He has long since gone to using his words and his aura to sell his vision, even if it seems he is often making up his vision as he goes. It’s an interesting and subtle plot device which counteracts the idea of peace in the universe through collected energy and balance. The Emperor is a manipulator where the Jedi are naturally observers.

It was good to see this again. I am finding that I may actually like Episode III better than this one, even if RETURN OF THE JEDI has more iconic moments. This movie does a nice job wrapping everything up, it just feels like a slight letdown after EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

SCORES

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 6; WRITING: 6

6+8+6+6+0=26

FINAL SCORE: 6.5 out of 10

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~ by johnlink00 on January 2, 2016.

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