Return of the Jedi
Reviewed by Joel Mathis
Rating: 6.5 Beans
tar Wars, while not a particularly great film, was something special. It stirred those memories of Saturday afternoon matinees with heroes doing amazing feats, villains doing the most horrible things, and adventures beyond belief. The Empire Strikes Back showed that Star Wars could be dramatic as well. So when Return of the Jedi was released everyone flocked to see it. What they found was George Lucas loosing the magic of the previous films and instead using the film to attempt to leverage as much money as he could out of the franchise.
I presume that for most people reading this review, I do not have to recap the plot. For those of you who somehow have never seen the Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi is about the recovery of Han Solo (Harrison Ford), likable rouge, who was captured by interstellar gangster Jabba the Hutt at the end of the last movie, Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hammil) confontation with Darth Vader (voice of James Earl Jones) who may or may not be his father, and the struggling rebelion's final battle against the Empire.
When people think of Return of the Jedi and its concessions to marketting, the first thing that comes to mind is Ewoks. Ewoks are small teddy bear like creatures who help in the final battle and are despised as you can practically see how they were created just for the stuffed toy potential, however the marketting schemes run much deeper than that. Looking over the film there are many other things
that seem to be added just for the purpose of making and selling toys. For example, the AT-ST walkers (those funny walkers with two legs) that are featured so prominately instead of the AT-AT's (the big four legged ones from Empire Strikes Back) because it is cheaper to make an AT-ST toy. The dramatically pointless battle with the Rancor again screams toy potential.
Not only was Lucas concerned with making toys, but in order to make sure that he drew in the big crowds, he rehashed the most popular scenes from Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back. Does he expect the audience to seriously believe that not only has the Empire rebuilt what must have been the most expensive military project since the stealth bomber, but they actually made the vulnrible point larger? And the battle between Luke and Vader pulled from Empire seemed a bit less exciting this time around. Also, Lucas was not above trying to exploit the lowest common denominator by putting Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) in a bikini right out of a Frank Frazetta painting.
Overall, Return of the Jedi was a bad movie that has only succeeded do to its close association with two good movies. It lacks a quality script and its existance is proof that even George Lucas is not above selling out. Sure, he had to conclude the story some way, but did it have to be in this awful film?
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