Star Wars: Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi

Mark Hamill

Carrie Fisher

reviewed by Tom-Tom

starstarstarhalf star

How does one even begin to review this movie? It’s like reviewing the ABC’s or the Green Lantern oath or the Konami up up down down etc code. Star Wars is an integral part of our culture, language, idioms, and even philosophy, whatever apocryphal horrors inflicted on the franchise by its very maker, which sounds like an oxymoron and it is. I will endeavor to view it as a first-comer. Who knows what I’ll find?

The film captures you from the beginning with the 20 Century Fox fanfare and then explodes into the inimitable John Williams Star Wars theme from which the cool font heads into the distance and the written prologue scrolls up serial style from bottom to top. This alone convinces the viewer that this film is large scale and not to be taken lightly. There aren’t even credits at the beginning aside from 20th Century Fox. This is serious stuff.

The final film of the Original Star Wars Trilogy doesn’t have much to offer in the way of originality.After a brief glimpse of a second Death Star and Darth Vader intoning in James Earl Jones’ beautifully deep and rich voice about the coming of the Emperor,  it begins on Tatooine with two droids wandering in the desert, just like in A New Hope. They have a purpose this time, however. They’ve come to deliver a message (sound famiilar?) to the nefarious gangster Jabba the Hutt. Save for Special Edition footage in A New Hope, this is the first time we see this character in person. He resembles a giant slug with a head like a volcano with large eyes and a gaping mouth with a disgustingly large tongue. He is surrounded by lackeys, scantily clad women of many species, and a small annoying creature which laughs like a hyena on drugs. Adorned in a convenient wall space is the figure of Han Solo who was successfully frozen in carbonite at the end of Episode V and delivered to Jabba by the bounty hunter Boba Fett, still clad in his trademark Mandalorian Armor and hanging around Jabba’s for some reason. This place has just as much to catch the eye as the cantina back in Mos Eisley where Obi Wan Kenobi “disarmed” some local trouble. Luke has a plan but it is quite confusing and one wonders how much he really thought things out beforehand without needing to endanger the entire good guy cast and their little droids too. Before all are off this desert planet, Leia (Carrie Fisher) will have donned a bikini, R2D2 will have served cocktails, and C3PO will have had his eye chewed out by the druggie hyena toad. It’s exciting if nothing else.

Once again coming full circle echoing previous films like a Franck Symphony (or Sonata), Luke and R2 split up with the others to go to Dagobah to visit Yoda while the others head to regroup with the main Rebel Fleet, who seem to have been waiting the whole time for the others to stop clowning around on Cloud City and Tatooine to continue the plot. Blah blah blah, emperor coming to the Death Star II, blah blah blah, let’s blow it up like in the first movie. Nice talk, Admiral Ackbar Lord of the Squid and soft spoken lady.

Apparently, the Rebels have to first disable Shield Generators (Hoth anyone?)on the Teddy Bear Forest Moon of Endor. All the main characters sans Lando (Billy Dee Williams) are in a Galactic Shuttle which passes security with an old code and lands without being monitored. One of the coolest chase scenes ever ensues on bike speeders weaving in and out of trees with speed, suspense, and quite cool action. Luke is with them now having been given the dying task by Yoda of confronting Vader as requisite to graduate as an official Jedi. Luke is dead-set that Vader (his father!) still has good in i\him somewhere making the confrontation rather emotionally complicated. As confusing as Luke’s escape plan was for Han Solo, more so is the Emperor’s plan for the Skywalkers. The old crusty guy just seems to be making it up as he goes along. It is an exciting triple counterpoint in any case as the battle on Endor by the Rebels and Teddy Bears (Ewoks), whose rock throwing skills seem evenly matched against the fully armored Storm Troopers for some reason, the space battle against the Death Star II, and Luke’s own lightsaber duel with his father are pitted nicely against one another. The original conclusion really needed no augmentation despite what we will eventually come to know about the Star Wars Saga via the Prequel Trilogy. Everything is resolved satisfactorily in the original cut as long as you don’t mind dancing Teddy Bears.

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