Return of the Jedi (1983)

ReturnOfTheJediPoster1983Although it’s generally considered the weakest of the original trilogy, it’s still very much a worthy and essential part of the Star Wars series, in part because it still has many of the qualities that made the two previous films so great, just that it no longer packed the same punch. That’s not to say that it wasn’t a great film. In fact, it certainly delivered a better conclusion to the trilogy than Revenge of the Sith did for the prequel trilogy.

In the film, continuing directly from the where the previous film left off, Luke and comrades attempt to rescue Han Solo from the clutches of Jabba the Hut, while the Galactic Empire had already begun preparing a new and more powerful Death Star, hoping to crush what’s left of the rebel forces. Because the Emperor himself is overseeing construction, the rebels aim to strike the unfinished Death Star directly, in the hopes of killing the Emperor and restoring peace to the galaxy.

The film seems to have shifted from the darker tone of the previous film to a more positive tone reminiscent of the first film, which I think this film might have been a little too dependent on in terms of its direction. It could be argued that the producers were trying to achieve the best of both worlds, but ended up repeating the tone of the first film. It always seems worse when compared to its predecessors, but on its own, it’s still very much a stand-out film, and of course, it builds to a satisfying conclusion.

Return of the Jedi introduced a number of characters to the mix, but although there are a few memorable new characters (like Jabba the Hut for example), the film seems to be stuffed with a slew of minor characters that I don’t really care for. The existing characters, meanwhile, give performances that are just as strong as ever, and it’s nice that we got to see Darth Vader as more than just the villain (a fact that is demonstrated towards the end of the film).

Of course, the film also delivers on the technically wonderful special effects and visuals. Most memorably, there’s the lush, thick forests of Endor, the home of the Ewoks. The film also uses a lot more special effects in some of the newer characters, at least that’s what it seems to me. The film’s magnificent visual effects definitely compliment a film as ambitious as this. After all, The Empire Strikes Back was an enormously difficult act to follow, and the writers were in the position of closing an already epically ambitious trilogy. If anything, the film’s action scenes (and the set-pieces associated with them) reflect this lofty goal, right up to the climactic duel with Vader. It may be longer and slower than the other films, and it may not have had the same impact as the previous films, but it’s still a great closer for the classic film trilogy, and a great film in general.

  • Score: 89%
  • Grade: A
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