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The Star Wars Saga: Episode VI, Return of the Jedi *All Spoilers*

Continuing my series of posts, as one of my local TV stations shows every Star Wars movie in order, every Saturday, for the next six weeks leading up to the release of Star Wars, Episode VII, The Force Awakens, here is my response to and thoughts on the sixth movie in the series Star Wars, Episode VI Return of the Jedi.

The only real issue I had with Return of the Jedi (the original theatrical release) was that it made Leia, Luke's sister and that she has the hokey line "Somehow I've always known it" - didn't stop stop her giving Luke a big ol' passionate kiss in Episode V.

Perhaps if it had really been a surprise and her reaction had been like "eewwwee... gross, I kissed you back on Hoth!" I may have had less of a problem.

Over all though, Jedi is a pretty solid movie and a satisfying end to the first trilogy.

You have the best version of Emperor Palpatine of all the films. He comes across every bit as powerful, capable and even more evil than Darth Vader ever was. He really convinces you that most of this movie has followed his master plan... without all the boring politics and game playing of the prequels.

It's also pretty darn cool that he can do lightening hands but it does make me wonder why Darth Vader can't? Do you need real hands to do that trick and is it something only Sith Lords can do? Can Yoda, or even Luke do lightening hands?

Jabba the Hutt in this film is also way better than his CGI counterpart re-inserted into Episode IV with that reworked deleted scene in docking bay 91. What fails most about CGI Jabba is that he doesn't look much like Episode VI Jabba. There's not that many years between Episode IV and VI, you'd think they'd have tried to match his look with a lot more care.

Although I didn't think so at the time I first saw this film, Luke's plan to free Han Solo does seem overly complex in hind sight... and pretty darn callous for a Jedi. He pretty much kills everyone on Jabba's sail barge. Since R2-D2 was serving drinks that means some people were just there for a good time. No doubt most probably had questionable morals but did they deserve to be blown to bits?

I did like that Boba Fett played a part in the battle at the Sarlac pit but a guy with a jet pack and who knows what other weaponry could do quite a bit of internal damage to a Sarlac. There's no way he doesn't get out. In all probability the Sarlac would vomit him back up like really bad fish.

Another question I have is, who's been training Luke to be a Jedi if his visit to Yoda fulfills his promise in Episode V to return? Luke is obviously more powerful and in control of the force than he was on Bespin yet it's not that long between this film and the last. Has he been practicing in the back shed at the bottom of Rebel base garden when no one's looking? Has he been training with Ben's force ghost and, if so, how does that whole force ghost thing work? Where are all the force ghosts of all the Jedi killed in the prequels?

The whole second Death Star battle is really very good. Much more satisfying than the first Death Star Battle. They even use the Death Star's weapon to take out larger Rebel ships which is pretty darn awesome.

You've gotta question Lando's logic for taking the Millenium Falcon through the Death Star though. It's not the smallest of ships and he did make a promise to Han not to scratch it. That said, it wouldn't have been anywhere near as exciting to watch if he hadn't.

Some people have a problem with the Battle of Endor and the Ewoks specifically. I'm not one of them. Had they been a tribe of Wookies, as George Lucas originally envisioned, things may have got too serious too quickly. Plus, we already know with Chewbacca, that Wookies are far less primitive than Ewoks, heck Chewie understands English and understands technology to the point of being able to reconstruct a broken C3-P0 (even if he did put the droid's head on backwards... he was under a lot of stress at the time).

Possibly my only real gripe about the battle of Endor is that the Storm Troopers never really feel like much of a threat, despite having the better weaponry.

Luke's battle with Vader and the Emperor is every bit as epic, if not more so, than their previous battle on Bespin. It plays really well up to the point where Luke just loses it and starts axe chopping with his light saber until Darth loses a hand. Which is fine but Darth already lost his hands once so technically losing a hand and his light saber is more of just a set back.

And what about the Emperor? He has the foresight to see and thwart the entire rebel armies plans but doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut while Luke's going postal on his Dad. Seriously, if the Emperor hadn't of said anything when Darth lost a hand Luke's Dad could've been the first one down that shaft.

Had that happened, Luke may have still come to his senses but realized he'd just topped his Dad and then decided for himself that he's probably the best candidate for the newly opened position of Palpatine's right hand man.

Even though I'm nit picking and being critical, I still enjoy the film. The only cringe worthy moment is the whole Luke and Leia talk, where he tells her he's her brother. That whole scene is too long and gets awkward, especially when Han comes out and starts to throw a bit of a jealous tantrum and she's all coy instead of coming right out and saying "Fuck, Luke just told me he's my brother... I know right?  and I pashed him back on Hoth..... eeeewwwweee!" and Han snickers.... "You pashed your brother... you pashed your brother".

I'm guessing that whole scene was written by George and is the first indication of the shit romantic scenes he'd write for Episode II.

The version of this movie I watched was the Special Edition (of course). Generally I think Jedi isn't overly affected negatively by the changes but there are a few failures and questionable updates.

  • Sy Snootles and the Max Rebo band - the SE version of Jabba's house band is better in the sense that Sy Snootles moves much more freely and is less puppet like but why change the song and why add an extra, god awful, big mouthed lead singer character. Sy was perfectly fine on her own. The addition of more dancers wasn't necessary but sure, why not.
     
  • Little Shop of Horror's, Audrey II Sarlac Pit - originally the Sarlac pit was mostly a gaping mouth in the ground lined with tentacles. I thought that worked perfectly well but for the SE version they added a kind of plant like inner mouth thing that looks a lot like it was inspired by the Audrey II plant from Little Shop of Horrors.  It doesn't really detract from the film but it does feel a little unnecessary. It makes the Sarlac seem far too active for a creature that takes a thousand years to digest a single human.
     
  • Darth Vader shouting "No... No... Noooooo!" - You're better off turning the sound down at this point. Takes a powerful moment of visual story telling and turns it into exposition. We get it. Darth Vader has a change of heart. You can almost see the expression on Anakin's face through the mask as the music raises the tension and Vader walks over and grabs the unsuspecting Emperor (didn't fore see that coming did you!). Vader shouting out 'No' detracts from all the other good stuff that made the original scene great.
     
  • Hayden Christensen Anakin Force Ghost - Why? Just... why? Sebastian Shaw gets one scene played through heavy make up... let the guy be Anakin's force ghost so we can see what he looks like when he hasn't spent hours in make-up. Let's face it, you wouldn't replace Sir Alec Guinness with Ewan McGregor so don't do it to Sebastian.
     
  • Final celebration scenes - I'm in two minds about this. I do like the new song and the various views of different locations through out the galaxy but I also like the old Ewok only celebrations too. Especially the original abrupt ending where the Star Wars theme music bursts in... and credits.

Well that's it. My wrap up of all six movies as aired on free to air TV in Australia over the past two months.

I'm excited to see the new Star Wars movie when it's released in December and will no doubt do an in depth review here shortly after I've seen it.

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