Sunday, February 24, 2008

Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi; science-fiction, USA, 1983; D: Richard Marquand, S: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, James Earl Jones (voice), Peter Mayhew, Alec Guinness
In order to rescue Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and his friends go to planet Tatooine and kill Jabba the Hutt. Then they join the rebels who have discovered that the Empire is constructing a new 'Death Star' station orbiting the moon Endor. Luke voluntarily surrenders to his father Darth Vader hoping he can change him back to a good person. Meanwhile, Han Solo and the others go to Endor and join the little furry creatures, the Ewoks, to destroy the Empire base that generates a shield around 'Death Star'. Darth Vader rebels against the Emperor and throws him down a generator, but dies. Luke and the others celebrate the destruction of the 'Death Star'.

The final film of the original "Star Wars" trilogy, "Return of the Jedi" is unanimously considered to be the weakest contribution to the saga because it reached for over-the-top elements too often. The beginning with the droids R2D2 and C3PO on the desert planet Tatooine and the finale where the rebel spaceships are attacking the gigantic new 'Death Star' are just repeated variations of the same events from the first film, the corny humor is still present while many alien creature designs, like the furry Ewoks, turned the story more towards the infantile and campy than it was originally planned. Still, the movie holds up much better than some would like to admit: the special effects are probably the best in the whole saga and crafted some spectacular scenes, like the superfast chase through the forest of Endor between Luke, Leia and a storm trooper on hovercrafts, the whole pace is very elegant while the hints that the "dark side" in Darth Vader feeds off aggression and blind hate is interesting, even though the film then contradicts itself since the rebels don't seem to be fighting the evil Empire with some different, more spiritual means - mirroring, it seems, the clash between democracy and dictatorship in space. Some fans were angered that Darth Vader is in the end shown as an old, fragile man, but that element just gave the film more layers, while the imagination of George Lucas is very appealing.


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