Saturday, October 24, 2015

Revisionist Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Is Underrated

I ranked the Star Wars movies a while back, but the topic is fresh again thanks to this deadspin post, perhaps as we anticipate the 7th SW movie.

Some excellent points are made by the Deadspin folks:
  • the first act doth rock!  Leia's big moment as Hutt-killer, the repartee after Han is defrosted, the first time we see a semi-trained Jedi really demonstrate what one can do.
  • that Vader being lame is actually a good thing.  Worshiping the bad guys is always going to hurt in the third part of a trilogy because they are going to go down and down hard.  That Boba Fett got defeated pretty easily is actually terrific since he is so overrated. Yes, I said that.  His dad got killed by a Jedi pretty easily too because guess what: Jedi >> Mandalorian armor.
  • Ewok hate is heightist.  Chewie rocks but Ewoks don't?  And, as we look back at the six, one can see Ewoks as a gateway cutesy that leads to Jar Jar OR so very superior to that which Lucas could have done and subsequently did do.  Depends on your point of view, as Obi-Wan would say.
    • I raised my one qualm on twitter--that the Ewoks seemed way too prepared for the battle with the Stormtroopers.  How did they get the big logs in place?  The answer: the Ewoks had been preparing for this battle for quite some time.  Lots of pre-positioned stuff that just needed a spark to light their rebellion.  
  • The real reason why some folks hate on Return, other than it inevitably was not going to get as much love as the two excellent movies preceding it, is the love of darkness for the sake of darkness.  Meh to that.  This movie was always going to have to be light because it was always going to provide us with a happy ending... complete with singing and modest dancing.
  • So many good bits:
    • Better realized Jabba
    • Han's confusion about Luke and Leia.
    • "Hey, it's me,"
    • Speeders in the woods!
    • Yoda... sob.
    •  More Wedge!
    • "Face the power of a fully armed and operational death star"
    • The superstar destroyer plunging into the death star like Excalibur back into the lake.
The third movie ended the trilogy the way it should have ended.  Were the Ewoks a bit too cute?  Sure.   But the movie also created iconic moments and memorable lines, about as many as the previous two movies and way more than the prequels.  So, yes, I admit that I love Return of the Jedi.  It was not the best of the three, but it was a damned fine movie.  If Force Awakens can be as good as Return of the Jedi, I am going to enjoy my winter break with multiple viewings.


Anonymous said...

The problem with the Ewoks wasn't that they were cutesy, but that it was always hard to believe that they would be able to take on the Stormtroopers as was portrayed on film. If the Ewoks had been preparing for years, as you counter, there should have been further scenes to illustrate that fact. A Wookie uprising on Kashyyyk (rather than Endor) might have made more sense in this regard.

You forgot "It is too late for me, son" and Vader's redemption in the good stuff. Also, Yub Nub sucked.

Unknown said...

Return of the Jedi is not underrated. It's highly rated by audiences and typically by fans of the Original Trilogy. In recent times it's more vehemently cherished and defended than back then.