Star Wars: Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, James Earl Jones, Ian McDiarmid, Frank Oz, and Billy Dee Williams
Twentieth Century Fox, 1983. Rated PG.
Synopsis: With Han in the clutches of the gangster Jabba the Hutt and the Empire building a new Death Star in the orbit of the moon of Endor, things look bleak for the Rebels. Luke sends C-3PO, R2D2, Chewbacca, and Leia to rescue Han and the band of heroes regroups with the rebels to take down the new Death Star and hopefully cripple the Empire once and for all.
The climax to the original trilogy, Jedi is the longest of the three films and as much as I love it, there are parts where it seems just as long as its 134 min. running time. We also see the ruler of the Galactic Empire, Emperor Palpatine, in the flesh and he is every bit as frightening as his title suggests; not only in appearance, but his general manner and personality. And he’ll go as far as he needs to in order to keep the galaxy under his eerily translucent thumb. Luke seems to have finished his training and seems well equipped to be mentally challenged by the Emperor, but will he hold up better than the last time his friends were threatened? But wait, this time the Alliance has some help from the inhabitants of Endor, the Ewoks, a teddy-bear like creature that seems far more adorable than it does threatening. The set-up for the final showdown between the Imperials and the Rebels is rather epic and intense and ends just as dramatically, both on the part of the spaceships taking down the Death Star and Luke taking on both Vader and the Emperor. It’s a fitting finish to the trilogy, tying up a fair amount of loose ends, but still leaving some questions unanswered as to expand upon later.
And finally, I will again entreat you to watch the original 1983 version or even dig up a VHS version of the 1997 Special Edition, particularly with this film and I will tell you why: there is an extended segment at the close of the film when it was re-re-released in 2004 that was altered to match the casting of the prequels and I feel like that change completely ruins the original work.