on October 12, 2003
If George Lucas only knew how a lot of us feel somewhat cheated. "Return Of The Jedi" is quite good, but it really has a lot of mistakes on board, and is the weakest of his original trilogy. The idea of having another Death Star isn't so bad. I almost wanted to comment that they couldn't come up with a more original plan, but why not? Besides, that's the Empire's fortay. Building intimidation to rule the galaxy. A tasty first five minutes has an Imperial Shuttle escorted by two TIE's to a looming Death Star under construction. After it docks, a very shiny and even more frightening looking Vader dismebarks the shuttle to criticise an officer about the 'lack of progress' in the new station's construction. Meanwhile, Threepio and R2 find themselves in the palace of the jumbo sized slimy croissant Jabba The Hutt. He is really neat to watch, and is one of my favourite villans. A real scumbag. In his palace he has a slew of renegades, bounty hunters (yes, Fett is there), and Han Solo in carbonite placked on his wall. The two Alliance droids are put to work, as both Leia and Luke fail to rescue everyone else. The whole gang, including the now awake Solo, are taken on Jabba's sail barges and skiffs to the Sarlaac Pit, where a sudden heroic plight gets under way. Good action. Not new to the trilogy, but hardly seen until now, is Emperor Palpatine, who sounds like he just celebrated his 150th birhtday, and looks like a prune. Vader and master discuss the near success of the Imperial forces as they prepare to once again shake fear into all of the star systems with their new battle station.
As the film goes on, Solo, Leia, Luke, and the rest of the gang lead a group of commandos onto the forest moon of Endor and attempt to knock out the shield generator which is protecting the Death Star. Here is where the movie trips and falls flat on it's face. The Ewoks, who are native little bear-like creatures, encounter the squad in an awkward way, yet eventually help them in knocking out the Impereials who occupy the forest with their generator station. The Ewoks are cute, and they do make it fun to watch, but they are not needed for more than a few minutes. Too much yub-yub! Where's the space for Leia, or Solo to whoop the stupid stormtroopers and officers? Some good fun comes with Chewie and two ewoks in a stolen AT-ST, blasting other walkers to smithereens. The other walkers probably were wondering why they're getting backstabbed by their own walker. This is a piece of the movie that is really funny!
Lando, the Rebel fleet and really nifty aquatic beings of Mon Calamari (not squid looking, but it's a name) lead an attack on the Death Star with a large sum of cruisers and fighters. All hell breaks loose when the fleet becomes trapped between a surprise attack from the Imperial fleet, and the Death Star itself. Watching this scene makes my heart pound with excitement, although the space battle gets messy with some mistakes (groan, again). Still, the three battles go on, and all the new vehicles are really neat to watch. I'd love a speeder bike for Christmas, but at the speed they go, ah, maybe not. Mark Hamill's Skywalker is stronger and more confident as he begins his realization of becoming a Jedi. The confrontaion with his black armoured father is tense, but not deep enough. Their lightsabers become too important between the two. However, one could only wish that Skywalker and Vader had a much more intense saber fight, with better skill, and more graceful moves. Clumsy and so stop and go, it didn't really faze me much.
The wonderful special effects (espscially the space battle) never lets you down, except for a moment here and there. A bigger shame was not enough characters relations, especially a sudden fact that Han and Lando are friends again-where was the full pledged reconciliation? Behind closed doors? Luke, on the other hand, gets 'all' of the emotional and chacracter attention. Figures. Carry a lightsaber, you get all the attention. I get it. The filmmakers almost gave everybody, lead or minior characters, "jobs", and just send them to work, including the very underused ace Wedge, his fellow pilots, Imeperial officers, and the Rebel commandos who you next to never see in the fight once it starts. Making Solo, Chewie, the Princess and Lando come aboard mostly for the ride was especially unfair. Knowing what kind of interest we had in the other two films with these characters, why not give them more in their final act? Everybody could have been given more broad outlooks and actions, instead of just running around with a blaster, or flying around in the Falcon. This confrontaion could end the Emipre's overall reign once and for all, yet the emotional impact for the Rebels should have been much bigger. They could have really emphasized on the possibility for peace throughout the galaxy, and the fear of their whole plan failing. Not to blame the cast, who are simply doing their part. It was that darn Lucas and his writers, selling us Ewoks instead of a greater need for character involvement. This thinned out adventure film was sadly, the last of the series-not saying it isn't worthy-no! "Return Of The Jedi" is much better than both "The Phantom Menace", and "Attack Of The bowling pins, uh, clowns-Clones"! I do have to say that it should have been a lot deeper with a lot more invovlement, since it was the conclusion of the whole story. It's an overall "fair" space epic, but just barely making the worthy podium. Oh, and uh, don't feed the Ewoks, or else they might follow your squad home. Leia did it.