Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
And finally it has come to an end, my journey across the Star Wars universe, ending today with 'Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi'. The journey has been an exciting one, fraught with disappointment, such as the entirety of 'The Phantom Menace' and the CGI tinkering of 'A New Hope', unlimited joy in the form of 'The Empire Strikes Back', some surprises such as how much I actually enjoyed the rampant stupidity that was 'Revenge of the Sith', and now 'Return of the Jedi', a movie that I remember being disappointed with after seeing it in high school back in 1983… though I had to pretend like I loved it, otherwise the friends I saw it with would've made me walk home. I've seen 'Jedi' a couple of times since then and that niggling feeling of disappointment has never gone away, but at least now I can put it into words in an attempt to explain myself.

When we last saw our heroes, Han was encased in Carbonite and shipped off to Jabba the Hut, Leia is sad because she loves Han and stuff, and Luke has been hit with the revelation that Darth Vader is his dad. First order of business, rescue Han, and then as a Special Edition Blu-Ray edition holder, suffer through the 'enhanced' scene at Jaba's party enclave. That I could've done without witnessing. After dealing with that bit of nonsense, action and adventure ensue as Lando shows up, Han is saved, and Jabba goes out like a total punk. But that's okay because this is the general theme of this movie.

It is time, once and for all, to strike the death blow to The Empire as our heroes have critical information and codes on how to infiltrate their systems, blow up their as yet operational brand new Death Star, and freedom will reign. Everything seems to be going well, our heroes land on the planet Endor, and here's where the problems for me personally begin with 'Return of the Jedi'. Let's begin with Ewoks. You younger guys had Jar Jar, I had Ewoks, and I've always hated them. Always. Even as a young teenager I saw Ewoks more as a marketing ploy as opposed to a legitimate ally to assist in defeating the Empire. Ewoks throwing rocks at lasers probably shouldn't equate into victory. Ewoks annoyed me then, they still do today. If George Lucas really wanted to improve his movies he should've CGI'd out the Ewoks.
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Soon Luke will make the revelation to Leia that she's his sister. So just as I always felt that Vader being Luke's father was something that wasn't in the original Star Wars plan, a retcon thrown into 'Empire' for dramatic effect later down the line, I also believe that Luke and Leia being brother and sister wasn't in the original 'Empire' plan, just tossed into 'Jedi' mainly to clear the way for Leia and Han. Just what I think.

Then after this Luke has to make a trip to the Star Destroyer housing Darth Vader to finally, once and for all face down Vader and deal with the emperor. Luke believes his old man can be salvaged, Vader assures him this is not the case while the Emperor drones on and on begging Luke to punch him in the face. Again… not my favorite sequence of events in a Star Wars movie. It's repetitive, Luke needs to do something as opposed to looking out the window watching things die, the Emperor is more annoying than he's ever been and the unfortunate destruction of the greatest villain in cinema, setup so beautifully in 'The Empire Strikes Back' has begun. Ultimately this is the root of my issues with this film. That… and the deconstruction of the once great Han Solo.

The Han that I knew would never have given up the Millennium Falcon so some other guy could fly in and blow tie fighters into smithereens, even if that guy was Lando Calrissian. The Han that I knew wouldn't be sitting around all depressed and whining about his girlfriend finding another boyfriend, that turned out to be her brother. The Han that I knew wouldn't be cowering in a corner trying desperately to stay of the way of Storm Trooper fire, but would've run dead square into danger, foolishly risking his life and those around him. The Han in 'Jedi? This guy wouldn't shoot first. I guess a few months in carbonite takes its toll on a man. I guess.

But now it's time for Luke to make a decision. And Vader for that matter. Strike in anger against the Emperor and join the dark side, or resist and die. How about this? Strike in anger against the Emperor, don't join the dark side, then resist and live? That sounds much better. All he needs is for the former Anakin Skywalker to find his inner goodness. The guy who a couple of movies ago tried to blow him out of space with his pimped out Tie Fighter. The guy in the last movie who cut off his hand and benignly watched as this son of his fell to his presumed death down some 1000ft. shaft. This guy. A guy who would rather choke you to death with his brain, than shake your hand. This guy. Our plan for our life continuing rests on a guy who has spent the majority of his life in blind pursuit of darkness and evil. There is no way that this guy is going to do this, because he's Darth Freaking Vader! Because after this so-called Emperor finishes electrocuting this punk kid with his magic fingers, I'd figure Vader to kill this cat... because he will turn out to be a surprisingly easy out… and now he's running things. Because he's Darth Freaking Vader!

This is not what happened. You know what happened. Darth Vader did not stay true to himself or the game, and instead gave in to marketing sentimentality. And I was sad. It's not that I wanted Vader to win, but I wanted him to go out like a dark hero. Like the Dark Lord he was born to be. I didn't get that. And the worst insult? At the end, a redeemed Anakin in spirit form, who I didn't want to see anyway, looked like Hayden Christensen. Just kill me now.

Now… 'Return of the Jedi' is still a very good movie. A swashbuckling good time adventure for one and all. And my colleague Lisa, being a decade or so younger, loves Ewoks. Probably had a couple Ewok happy meals back in the day, and we're not mad at anyone who does love those horrible creatures. Let's just say back in 1983, considering what I had seen with 'Empire Strikes Back' and having to wait three years… my hyper amped up expectations were a little disappointed by what I saw with 'Return of the Jedi'.
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