By Jonathan Trojan
What do I love most about Star Wars? Being a big fan of not only the movies, but the ‘Legends’ continuity as well certainly makes it a hard choice! But if I had to answer, it would definitely be Return of the Jedi, my favorite Star Wars film and even my favorite film of all time! So why do I love it so much? Well, let’s take a look!
Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and his friends succeed in rescuing their friend Han Solo (Harrison Ford) from the clutches of the evil gangster Jabba the Hutt! However, the Rebellion learns that the Empire has constructed yet another Death Star and it is up to Luke, Leia (Carrie Fischer), Han and many others to destroy it! But things get complicated when Luke learns of another revelation and tries to free his father from the Dark Side of the Force!
So let’s start with the giant elephant in the room: Ewoks. Everyone I know hates them. And while I agree that a major factor of their existence was to sell merchandise, I believe that they fit the movie! First, the film needs something to balance out the dark nature of it. Second, I think it’s nice how the movie is showing how a little courage and hope can go a long way! And finally, there’s the problem with the Wookies. Everyone says that it would be better if the shield generator was on a planet with Wookies instead of Ewoks. However, I find this to not be the case. Mainly, why would the Empire put a device that protects their super weapon on a planet filled with beasts that are known to “rip arms out of people’s sockets?” It wouldn’t make sense!
Luke, Darth Vader and the Emperor are certainly the standouts in this film! We can see how Luke has matured from a somewhat whiny farm boy to a Jedi Knight! Also, I think Mark Hamill’s acting in this film is top notch! Vader is also great! In this film, the Sith Lord gets more character development and we see a something we haven’t seen from Vader in the previous two films: good. Prowse does an excellent job at portraying this trouble within him (with James Earl Jones giving Vader that as well). Lastly, the Emperor is fantastic! Every time he’s on screen, it’s just pure fun! Ian McDiarmid’s portrayal of him is just awesome!
The other characters are great as well! Leia is certainly more complicated in this one as she learns the truth about who her brother is. Lando is fun to watch! I still find myself on the edge of my seat when Lando is escaping from the Second Death Star! And Han Solo, while not great, is done well. The writers did the best they could since Harrison Ford didn’t even want to do the film really.
The visuals are also great and are the best out of the original trilogy! The speeder bike chase is still very fun and fast. It’s simply a joy to watch!
This film also contains the greatest lightsaber duel ever! The pure emotion of the duel and the final blows given by Luke are just perfectly done! The music, setting, and acting are just spot on! And when Vader makes his decision to save his son and kill the Emperor is amazing and truly one of the greatest scenes in all of cinema!
Now there are things I’m not a fan of, one of them being the dialogue. While there is great dialogue within the film, some are just bad! An example would be the Tarzan yell Chewie makes when swinging on a vine. I felt this was just a tad overboard. Another negative of this film would be that it has the worst Special Edition changes. Now this may not really count, but I think I should address it. From the horrible Jedi Rocks song to Vader screaming, “No,” when saving Luke. They are all just bad!
Return of the Jedi may not be the best Star Wars film on a technical standpoint (that goes to The Empire Strikes Back), it is my favorite of the bunch! I feel it has everything a Star Wars movie should need: the joy of adventure, the fun action, consequences of choice, and the joy of redemption. It is truly an amazing film and will always be my favorite movie of all time!