My Favorite Movies #40 – Return of the Jedi

Return of the Jedi - Poster.jpgReturn of the Jedi

1983

Directed by Richard Marquand

Quick synopsis… George Lucas delivers the finale to his original epic space trilogy with the rebel forces’ last stand against the Empire and Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) fateful confrontation with his nemesis, Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones). Skywalker tries to rescue Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) from Jabba the Hutt, while the rebel army and the small, furry Ewoks battle the enormity of the rebuilt Death Star.

  • Hey… Remember when we thought this would be the last Star Wars movie ever?
  • Ha… we were so naive in the 80s.
  • I mean, sure, there were always rumors that George Lucas would eventually come back to make the first three episodes.
  • Why else would he begin the series with Episode IV?
  • By this point, the world was quite familiar with the galaxy far, far away.
  • Considering Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back were such massive hits, who isn’t already familiar with the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia?
  • Return of the Jedi assumes that you’re familiar.
  • As it should… why start watching a trilogy with the third part?
  • The Empire is building another Death Star.
  • Another Death Star?!
  • And I thought Hollywood didn’t start rehashing old ideas until the 2000s.
  • Han Solo is still frozen in carbonite and is a decoration at Jabba the Hutt’s palace.
  • Luke has developed a plan to free Han, which involves sending C-3PO and R2-D2 to deliver Luke’s message to Jabba.
  • I love when C-3PO knocks on the palace’s outer door with barely a tap and immediately assumes no one is home.
  • Say what you will about the special editions… That musical number in Jabba’s palace really adds something to the film that we just didn’t get in 1983.
  • Interpret that however you may…
  • Leia manages to gain access by impersonating a masked bounty hunter who is delivering Chewbacca into Jabba’s clutches.
  • She releases Han from carbonite, but Jabba has already caught on to the scheme.
  • If that slimy piece of worm-ridden filth didn’t catch on, we may never have gotten Leia in that gold bikini.
  • Luke arrives and saves the day.
  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Boba Fett is a chump.
  • Now we really get into things…
  • Luke heads back to Dagobah to finish his Jedi training with Yoda.
  • But Yoda is finally succumbing to old age and is ready to become one with the Force.
  • Not sure how it happened (even though I’m sure there’s a book or comic out there somewhere that explains it), but Luke went from his training being incomplete when he rushed off to confront Vader in Empire Strikes Back, to his training being complete now.
  • Though he won’t be a real Jedi until he confronts Vader again.
  • I’m not sure I understand the logic.
  • But this is the original trilogy.
  • We try not to question things with these movies.
  • Just accept them as the cinematic masterpieces that they are.
  • Obi-Wan, in his Force ghost form, has a conversation with Luke after Yoda dies and we get that “From a certain point of view…” excuse for Kenobi not telling Luke that Vader is actually Anakin Skywalker.
  • Oh, and Luke figures out that Leia is his twin sister.
  • And I bet he’s a little weirded out by the fact that they’ve kissed.
  • Several times…
  • Next, Luke heads to the Rebel rendezvous point where the good guys are staging their final battle.
  • They’re taking the fight to the Empire, ready to take down the Death Star II and Emperor Palpatine in one fell swoop.
  • It’s not a bad plan… A ground team, conveniently consisting of all our heroes (minus Lando), will take down the shield that is protecting the supposedly unfinished Death Star.
  • The Rebel fleet will hyperspace in, led by one Lando Calrissian in the Millennium Falcon, blow up the Death Star, then party with a tribe of adorable Teddy Bears merchandising opportunities Ewoks.
  • Except… uh… I’ll let Admiral Ackbar take it from here…It's a trap.gif
  • Palpatine uses that handy clairvoyance that he’s so fond of using to foresee that the Rebels will attack and that Luke will voluntarily turn himself over to Vader.
  • But before Luke does that, we are introduced to the natives of Endor’s forest moon, the adorable Teddy Bears merchandising opportunities Ewoks.
  • Yeah, they’re the cutest little maneaters around.
  • Don’t be naive enough to believe that the Ewoks don’t have a taste for human flesh.
  • They were ready to cook Han and Luke for their feast in honor of a deified C-3PO.
  • At this point, Luke gets a chance to vaguely share with Leia the truth about their family ties.
  • He asks Leia what she remembers about her real mother…
  • And Leia describes the impossible. Unless this is a Force sensitivity thing.
  • Because Padme dies about 30 seconds after that kid was born.
  • And then he reveals that he’s her brother.
  • And I bet she’s a little weirded out by the fact that they’ve kissed.
  • Several times…
  • Luke is telling Leia all this because he’s about to turn himself over to Vader and, if he doesn’t return, she will need to train in the ways of the Force.
  • Luke handing himself over leads to one of my favorite hero/villain parleys in film, which I’ve discussed over here.
  • Vader takes Luke to meet Emperor Palpatine.
  • It’s like take your kid to work day.
  • Palpatine uses that keen manipulation he’s so good at, trying to turn Luke to the Dark Side.
  • Of course you can feel his anger… you can feel his hatred… because everything you’re saying is pissing him off!
  • I saw something online recently that’s intriguing… Someone posed the question, when Luke grabs his lightsaber to strike down the emperor and Vader blocks him, is it because he’s trying to save the emperor or is he trying to save Luke?
  • The thought there is, Darth Vader is journeying back to the light, which is evident in his conversation with Luke while still on the moon of Endor.
  • And with that path to redemption, perhaps Vader was trying to prevent his son from making his mistake, giving in to his hatred and fear.
  • Although, Vader still goads Luke into continuing to duel with him, especially when he’s able to read Luke’s thoughts regarding his sister.
  • “If you will not turn then perhaps she will.”
  • That really sets Luke off.
  • He definitely taps into the Dark Side, says screw it to the fight choreography, and just wails on Vader.
  • But cutting off Vader’s robotic arm gives him a moment of clarity, which allows him to refuse the emperor’s offer to join him as his new apprentice.
  • Then we get to see Palpatine use Force lightning for the first time, torturing and slowly killing Luke.
  • That really sets Vader off.
  • He picks up the old man and tosses him down a hole.
  • But Vader got a good dose of the emperor’s lightning, which I’m sure isn’t good for all his electronic parts.
  • Meanwhile, with a little help from the adorable Teddy Bears merchandising opportunities Ewoks, the ground team is able to take down the shield generator.
  • Lando and a few small fighters are able to fly into the Death Star’s reactor core, blowing the whole thing up.
  • And the galaxy lived happily ever after.
  • I miss hearing “Yub Nub” at the end of the movie.

And that’s it for Return of the Jedi, though it’s certainly not the last Star Wars movie we’ll see before this list hits number one. Next week, though, we’ll cover a classic film based on a classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. If you’re up for it, you should watch it with me.

7 thoughts on “My Favorite Movies #40 – Return of the Jedi

  1. Return of the Jedi is underrated among the Star Wars movies. The Emperor foresaw everything except that the adorable, non-human native species of the moon of Endor would ally with the Rebels and turn the course of battle. Also, Leia being able to make friends with Wicket is a testament to her diplomatic skills that Han, and even Luke, lack.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: My Favorite Movies #2 – The Empire Strikes Back | The Confusing Middle

  3. Pingback: My Top 100 Movies | The Confusing Middle

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