Wookiee Hut Movie Reviews presents:
Star Wars DVD, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Review by Shadow Chaser

Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, (the voice of) James Earl Jones, Frank Oz, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew

Creator / Producer: George Lucas

Director: Richard Marquand

Rating: Death Star

Well, where to begin. I guess I should first say that Return of the Jedi is my favorite original trilogy movie of all three. Which is also why I'm reviewing it. ^_^ But aside from that, the reason I like it so much is because of four things:
  1. Han's priceless expression to Luke's acrobatics with the Force on Jabba's sail barge.
  2. The briefing room scene with Mon Mothma and a lot of Rebel pilots (WEDGE!! TYCHO!!).
  3. Luke's battle with Vader and subsequent BBQ by the Emperor's Force Lightning.
  4. The Death Star trench run. You actually see General Cracken in there!! (He's in the Millenium Falcon behind Lando on some shots.) Lot's of cameos by Rogue/Red pilots even if it's just their fighters.
Of course, you probably know by now the plot of Return of the Jedi, but for a review's sake, here's the short form of it. With Han Solo in the clutches of Jabba the Hut, Luke mounts a coordinated rescue with Leia, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, and the droids, C-3PO and R2-D2. They're successful and join up with the Rebel Fleet who plan to attack the incomplete second Death Star hanging above the forest moon of Endor. Han, Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, and the droids are on the command team to disable it's shield generator on the forest moon while Lando commands the fleet as Gold Leader. However, once on the moon, the team finds themselves trapped by the Imperial forces who knew they were coming. However, they find help in the unlikely little woodland creatures known as Ewoks. What culminates is a spectacular showdown of the Rebel Alliance and Imperial Forces that will ultimately decide the fate of the galaxy. Filled with surprises and twists, Return of the Jedi closes the chapter of the Galactic Civil War.

Okay, now on the nuances. Having seen the original TV format back in the early 1990s, I know what the original music was like before 1997's Special Edition appeared with John Williams' newer score for the ending. The current DVD edition has not changed the original music, but there are added scenes to the end sequence montage. Among the three planets (Tatooine, Cloud City, and Coruscant) shown at the end, Naboo has been added. Now I don't have a problem with the original three, and especially loved Courscant, but Naboo?! I had always figured the planet was blown up by Palpatine since he became Emperor. Besides, please no more Gungans ... and the sequence looked like it was ripped out of Episode I's ending.

More scenes were also edited, like the end sequence where Luke sees the spirits of Yoda, Obi-Wan, and his father. Well, Sebastian Shaw, the original actor who portrayed Anakin Skywalker unmasked had two scenes in this movie. That has been halved to one. The spirit sequence had been redone to erase Shaw's image and replaced it with Hayden Christensen sporting curly locks and a roguish smile. I don't have a problem as a storyteller about that, but I do have an issue with the cinematography. The image looks too well done, too recent, compared to Yoda and Obi-Wan who still looked a bit washed out in the film quality.

But I must say that one improvement they had on spirit sequences was when Luke was talking with Obi-Wan after Yoda had just died. Originally, Obi-Wan looked a bit too faded for anyone to see, but Lucas made it so that the view can truly see it was Obi-Wan, but also that he was still just a spirit. He made it seem that Dagobah was a place strong in the Force and that was why spirits looked very corporeal.

Overall, Return of the Jedi is still an enjoyable movie. Though I think it'll never compare to the original theatrical version, this is still one of my favorites of all three. It concludes almost all plot lines, yet leaves room to start a new adventure in the subsequent books.

Watching this movie has inspired me to go write some stuff, so it's a good food for the muses. So many plot points, so many nuances that you can pick out and zoom into (if your DVD player has the capability). Still my favorite of the whole trilogy.

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