Monday, December 28, 2015

Movie Review: "Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" (1983)

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Movie"Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi"
Director: Richard Marquand
Year: 1983
Rating: PG
Running Time: 2 hours, 11 minutes

The Empire is constructing a new Death Star, which is currently orbiting the forest moon of Endor. The rebels plan to lead an assault against the Death Star to destroy it before it is operational, but first, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Leia (Carrie Fisher), Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) must rescue Han Solo (Harrison Ford) from the clutches of the gangster called Jabba the Hutt.

"Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" caps off one of the greatest trilogies in film history. Now, we will admit, this is a slight step back from the original "Star Wars" and its initial sequel "The Empire Strikes Back," but it's hard to maintain that level of perfection through three movies...hell, doing it through two was hard enough. The movie starts off amazingly strong on Tatooine as our two favorite droids R2-D2 and C-3PO, played again by Kenny Baker and Anthony Daniels, arrive at Jabba the Hutt's palace and are treated to a motley crew of numerous different alien species including our first real look at Jabba the Hutt himself. We say first real look because that digital abomination added into the special edition of "A New Hope" doesn't count because it's awful  and distracting and screw George Lucas. In "Return of the Jedi," Jabba's puppet rendering still looks amazing even 31 years later. In fact, all the make-up looks brilliant and holds up well today apart from the obvious digitally added bullcrap Lucas infested all his masterpieces with on an unknown, inexpiable journey to destroy his legacy. We look at the makeup jobs here and believe characters like Jabba and Bib Fortuna could really exist in real life they are done so well. It's after we leave Tatooine and head to Endor that we see the first real dent in the impenetrable armor of "Star Wars," and that is with the Ewoks. It is in this third installment where a certain level of slapstick humor started to leech into the saga, which usually comes from the aforementioned Ewoks. It's not that we don't love them, because we sort of do, but these creatures make many people absolutely loathe portions of the film. The little bear-like creatures were probably the first characters created and written to appeal directly to children, which when you think about it is scary because the Ewoks ate humans, but that's beside the point. We understand why others don't care for these fuzzy things and don't blame people for having strong opinions about them. Outside of the battle on Endor, there are still some really fantastic things in this film. The Lando Calrissian redemption and subsequent Lando/Admiral Akbar-led assault on the Death Star is a phenomenal sequence, as is Luke's final showdown with Darth Vader and his confrontation with the Emperor. Some truly great lines of dialogue grace this film from writers Lawrence Kasdan (and to a lesser degree George Lucas), from Leia's familiar retort to Han's "I love you" to the infamous "BOBA FETT?!!" line during the battle over the Sarlacc pit to the "He's my brother" revelation from Leia to Han. Each piece of the proverbial puzzle fits to make a worthwhile, entertaining, and memorable end to this cinematic trilogy for the ages. We still love this movie, just a smidgen less than its predecessors, but that doesn't make it bad in the slightness. "Return of the Jedi" brings about exciting, exhilarating finale full of worthy performances, amazing special effects, and a whole lot of sci-fi fantasy adventure.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
To see our review of "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace," click here.

To see our review of "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones," click here.

To see our review of "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith," click here.

To see our review of "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope," click here.

To see our review of "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back," click here.

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