Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
US Theatrical: May 25, 1983
US Home Media: 1986
Japan Theatrical: Jul 02, 1983

Popularity: 559th All Time, 272nd This Week

Franchise: Star Wars
Characters on BTVA: 12
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
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Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi Cast


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JTurner
said at 12:23 PM on Mon Jan 2 2017
 1 Shout Out!
Compared to "The Empire Strikes Back" and "A New Hope", "Return of the Jedi" is often considered the Achilles Heel of the "Star Wars" trilogy. It's not as seamless as its predecessors; the middle section of the film comes across as draggy and slows down the pace, and it's less interested in character development than in tying up the loose ends. The addition of another Death Star also invites unfavorable comparisons to "A New Hope" as well.

That said, "Return of the Jedi" is still very much deserving of my highest rating and easily superior even to "Revenge of the Sith." The opening of the film, in which Luke Skywalker orchestrates a rescue of Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt's palace, is packed with imaginatively constructed characters, capped off by both a fight with a monstrous beast in a cave and an action-packed showdown over a pit with tentacles. Better still is the last third of the film in which Luke Skywalker confronts both Vader and the Emperor. Here Mark Hamill shows that he is underrated as an actor, conveying Luke's inner conflict with an intangible realism. And Ian McDiarmid is still as frightening as ever as the Emperor -- the climactic showdown involving all three is engrossing no matter how many times one sees it.

Both "A New Hope" and "Return of the Jedi"'s alterations have been widely maligned by many "Star Wars" fans, especially even more so that the original cuts for both films have never been issued on Blu Ray or DVD. At least with "Empire Strikes Back" the changes were justified for the most part. Here, however, with one exception, the alterations come across as superfluous, although they don't actively bring down the film. The "Jedi Rocks" scene is overly goofy, redeemed only by some extensive scenes of the alien dancer in the Rancor's pit, and having Haydn Christensen at the end of the movie instead of actor Sebastian Shaw is pushing it. I didn't mind the Sarlacc Pit's new beak so much though, and while I was annoyed with hearing Jar Jar scream "Weesa free!" in the climactic celebration scenes, I did enjoy the new piece of music written for the scene, as it conveys a haunting, celebration-style mood. (Although I still liked the first celebration song.)

Warts and all, "Return of the Jedi", inferior to "A New Hope" and "Empire" though it may be, nonetheless succeeds as a fitting conclusion to the "Star Wars" trilogy, its weaknesses more obvious, but ultimately redeemed by its assets.
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