Turning Point – Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)

The wrap up.  So in the aftermath of The Empire Strikes Back, a rescue mission has to be staged to bring back everybody’s favorite lovable rogue Han Solo (Harrison Ford).  Not only that, but the Empire has begun construction on a second Death Star, all the while Darth Vader tries to convince Luke to come join him on the Dark side.  Even though I may not watch this series as much as the hardcore fans do, I always am able to get into the original Star Wars trilogy like a little kid whenever I do take the time to watch it.  Even if you don’t care for it, you can at least see that all the fandom and admiration is well founded.  Return of the Jedi does everything that a third chapter is supposed to do in concluding an epic trilogy, but… it is the only one in the original trilogy that I do not consider to be a five star movie.

fightAnd if you strike me down for saying that, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

My favorite bit of trivia about Return of the Jedi is that the word “Ewok” is never mentioned once in the entire movie.  Yet, everybody knows exactly what an Ewok is, regardless of how much or how little you know about the movie.  The original script for this called for the planet of Endor to be inhabited by Wookies, but here is where George Lucas made a decision to go in a different direction.  It is a well known fact that Lucas, smartly, negotiated for merchandising rights on the very first film, and I can think of no other series that has made such astronomical profits from action figures.  I can also think of no better way to sell toys than to make an entire species of cute, cuddly warrior teddy bears, can you?

ewokIndeed, all Jedi had was a bunch of Muppets.

Gripes aside, even though I do consider Return of the Jedi to be a tipping point for the series, it is still a satisfying conclusion and a good cap off on a great trilogy.  Much like Hoth in the Empire Strikes Back, everything on Tatooine before the story really gets rolling is absolutely great and could easily stand on its own.  Everybody gets a proper send off, and it is a crowd pleasing story.  This is a series that forever changed the entire way Hollywood approaches blockbuster filmmaking, and for that, every single one of these movies demands to be seen, at least once in everyone’s lifetime.  While I personally get more out of Episodes IV and V, they are all movies that deserve their respective spots on the 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list.

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) ****1/2

– Critic for Hire

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