Saturday, March 3, 2012
Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi (1983) - 3/5
Luke (Hamill) has a lot on his plate lately. He and his friends survived Vader's trap that left Han (Ford) in the hand's of Jabba The Hut. Now Luke will have to play all of his new Jedi cards right to be able to free his friends and stop a newly constructed Death Star from lighting up all his rebel friends. Can he face his father Vader and show up the infamous Empire before the whole galaxy comes crashing to an end?
"Return Of The Jedi" is far from a great film. It's obviously a sequel that requires you to not only remember the first two, but remember massive amounts of detail from them. It also doesn't help that many of the actors in the film grate my teeth with iron mesh with their mediocrity. Hamill might have grown in the role nicely in the second film, but he still seems forced in many of the larger emotions he needs to get through here. When your best actor for the supporting cast is a one note Harrison Ford with no character arc (where did all the character development go from "Empire"?), then you know you are in trouble. This film also loves to extend out those random sequences and miss opportunities for others. Jabba's party goes on forever (even longer when it has all the new CGI) while the Ewok subplot seems rushed and paper thin at times. Sometimes "Return" is just plain and simple: awkward. The entire time Luke tries to tell Leia that they are siblings it just cakes on the awkwardness of the moment. At times it is downright hilarious.
That being said, if you are willing to overlook the plot holes and just enjoy the movie (you better be with the first two under your belt) it's a lot of fun. Let's focus on what "Return" does well: that is taking really gimmicky aspects and making them exciting with visual flair and extensive action set pieces. The last third of this movie is jaw dropping awesome. Three different action pieces all overlap. A forest throwdown with Ewoks and giant mechanical chickens, a massive sword fight between Luke and Vader, and the massive space ship assault on the Nu-Death Star. Man, its so damn ridiculous. It's obvious that this film wanted to be an epic ending. It's non-stop when it comes to the action. They even throw in Luke fighting a giant reptilian monster in a pit at Jabba's palace in the beginning. Why? Why the hell not.
Of all the original films this one might easily be the weakest due to its character development purgatory, but its probably my second favorite in enjoyment. It's fun and action packed and that mostly overwrites its flaws of awkwardness and poor acting.
DARTH VADER'S BAD ASS MOMENT OF THE FILM: [Spoilers here so don't read if you want the ending to be a surprise!] Darth Vader might not be as bad ass as he was previously due to an Emperor showing up and putting him in his place, but that doesn't stop him from putting the Emperor in his place at the end. Vader comes back, fights off the Dark Side just in time to save his son, picks up the Emperor WITH ONE HAND, and throws him down a shaft. Seriously, he just picks up the most evil and powerful Sith lord ever WITH ONE HAND and throws him down the shaft (lightning blasting) while battling off his own Dark Side. That. Is. Bad. Ass.
Written By Matt Reifschneider