I consider Return of the Jedi to be the weakest of the original Star Wars movies, primarily because you can see the beginnings of the annoying cutesy shit that plagued the prequels even as far back as this. However, that's not to say the film isn't enjoyable - it's just not quite as good as the first two in my book. I mostly blame the Ewoks for this. But the whole Jabba's palace sequence, the final Luke and Vader duel, and the speeder bikes on Endor are all quite awesome (but don't even get me started on the shitty, horrible, awful, and did I forget to mention terrible Special Edition). Here are a few other things I enjoy about the film:
#1: Lando Shows His Face!
This one cracks me up just because it's such overkill. When Princess Leia shows up at Jabba's palace in her Boussh disguise with Chewbacca as her "prisoner", she sells him to Jabba the Hutt and some piggy pig guards take him away. Right after they walk him out of the main audience chamber, Lando Calrissian approaches the camera in a guard disguise and practically pulls the mask clear off his face just to show the audience who he is. There's absolutely no reason for him to do this in the context of the movie, and I always figured if he was going to do that much, the least he could do is give an affirming nod and a knowing wink to the camera as well. Maybe even pretend to shoot us with his finger gun. Another interesting note: when he walks through the archway, he hits the top of his head much like the stormtrooper in the first movie does. Maybe that stormtrooper was Lando's cousin or something.
#2: The Dead Ewok!
The only good Ewok is a dead Ewok, I always say! And while plenty of Ewoks naturally died in the Battle of Endor, only one dies obviously and on screen where they make a big deal about it, which caused thousands of children to cry in movie theaters back in 1983. If those same children are anything like me, those tears have turned into a smile of sweet satisfaction every time they now watch the movie as an adult. What I love about it is that it doesn't even look like he gets shot so much as he steps on a landmine, as if they're trying to make the battle seem like Vietnam or something.
#3: Bib Fortuna!
Bib Fortuna, apart from sounding like something you'd wear while dining on after dinner cookies in a Chinese restaurant, is Jabba the Hutt's majordomo and general bitch. I always thought he was a cool character when I was a kid, with the sharp teeth, the clawed fingers, the head tentacles and the way he talks. Of course, he's also kind of a major fuckup who rolled out the red carpet for Luke when he waltzed right into the palace, but no one ever accused him of being very smart.
#4: Kinky Droid Torture!
Okay, this one just never made any sense to me. In Jabba's palace, after Luke gives Artoo and Threepio over to Jabba the Hutt, they are sent off to the droid taskmaster to be given new assignments. Upon entering the room, they see a droid torturing a Gonk droid by burning the shit out of his feet. I don't really see the point of torturing a droid, since they have restraining bolts to sort of ensure that droids will behave, and Jabba is clearly not bothered by the idea of wasting droids by destroying them on a whim. So why bother to "rehabilitate" ones that are acting up when you can simply reprogram them or recycle them for spare parts? Regardless, I can't deny the fact that the scene makes me smile every time I hear the droid squealing in anticipation of the pain he's about to receive.
#5: The Grooming Ewok!
This is something I only just noticed the last time I watched the movie, but I thought it was funny enough to include. After Chewbacca and two random Ewoks get into one of the AT-ST "chicken walkers", they come up behind another chicken walker and blow its "head" off, which does not cause it to run around like you might expect. After doing so, many of the surrounding Ewoks hoot and cheer in celebration, while inside the walker, the Ewok next to Chewbacca decides that now would be an excellent time to start grooming his new friend. Yes, there's no better way to celebrate than to collect ticks, lice and chiggers from a friend's scalp. Oh sure, you could say he's just patting Chewie on the back for a job well done, but you're lying to yourself. I know what's really going on. (Also, is that Ewok on the left totally fucking stoned or what?)
#6: A Rebel In Disguise!
When the rebels are breaking into the shield generator bunker on Endor so they can blow it up, they walk into a trap and Han and his small team are escorted back outside where they find an assload of Imperial troops waiting for them. In the midst of these troops are the rest of Han's rebel group being held prisoner, and among them is one rebel guy (seen on the far right) who was apparently in the process of trying to disguise himself as an Imperial scout when he got caught. I just love thinking about what kind of half-baked plan he had in store for that disguise - "Okay guys, I'll dress as an Imperial scout and I'll, like, pretend that I've taken all of you prisoner and we'll sneak into the bunker that way!" "Uh, Stan, there's like twenty of us. They're supposed to believe we suck bad enough to get captured by one guy?" "Maybe they'll just think I'm that awesome." "Stan, your plan sucks."
#7: A Medical Frigate in Danger!
During the space battle above Endor, at one point the rebels become concerned because some Imperial fighters are heading for their medical frigate and trying to take it out. This really calls into question Admiral "It's a trap!" Ackbar's military strategy for me. Why in the hell would they send a medical frigate with the vanguard of their fleet? Does that make any sense at all? I mean, I guess they figure it's an all-or-nothing battle and they need all their fleet, but do the sick and wounded people aboard really have a lot to contribute to this fight, other than to die against their will because they had the misfortune to get dragged into a huge space battle by an insane military commander who looks like a fish and may as well have painted a giant bull's-eye on their ship? And it's not like they brought every ship in the fleet either. I don't see any cargo ships, or the milkman's delivery ship, or anything like that joining the battle.
#8: Boba Fett Dies Like a Bitch!
Every single one of you who emails me and tells me that Boba Fett survived the Sarlacc Pit and was the best man at Dengar's wedding, I will personally fucking ban from the internet. I read those stories before I discovered real books too, and you know what? They sucked. If the prequels taught us anything about Boba Fett, it's how disappointingly uncool he really turns out to be. Which is why I know for a fact that he is dead, dead, dead, killed by a blind man with a stick. Accidentally. All that "Boba Fett is awesome, despite no evidence of this in the actual films" crap is merely the stuff of fanboy wet dreams. He's nothing more than a douchebag Crocodile Dundee in a cool-looking suit, and that's it. And on top of that, he died in a gargantuan sand vagina. Because that new Sarlacc with the fucking beak doesn't exist in my world, baby.
#9: Hot Chicks in Jabba's Palace!
Did you really think I wasn't going to mention this? I was six years old when Return of the Jedi came out, and I may have known that girls had cooties back then, but some part of me knew that Princess Leia didn't. She was far too awesome for cooties. For many children, seeing Carrie Fisher in that gold bikini was our first awakening to something resembling sexual desire, though many of us were too young to really understand at the time. And then there was Oola, the dancing Twi'lek girl with head tentacles, which probably explains my unhealthy interest in green-skinned girls to this day. And head tentacles. You know, I think maybe Return of the Jedi kind of fucked me up in a lot of ways.
#10: Obi-Wan is a Jerk!
In the first Star Wars movie, Obi-Wan was seen as a wise mentor figure to be trusted, as he trained Luke in the ways of the Force. In Jedi however, we see Obi-Wan for the jerk he truly is, as he reveals to Luke that he totally lied about that whole "Darth Vader killed your father" thing he said in the first movie. But hey, he's a ghost now, so what's Luke gonna do? Punch him? I reckon he figures he can get away with being a total bastard now that he's all incorporeal, so he comes clean to Luke. "Dude, I was totally shitfaced in that cantina like all the time, I don't know what the fuck I told you." I just love this moment because it takes a character who used to be completely respectable and sort of turns him into a jerkfaced bastard.
That wraps up my look at the original Star Wars trilogy. If you enjoyed this piece, you should take a look at the ones I did for Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back as well. Last time I asked for feedback on whether or not you guys wanted to see me bother with the prequels, and many of you responded yes. And it was about a half-and-half split between whether I should focus on all the worst shit, or if I should somehow try to find ten things that are actually good about each movie. So I'll probably try to do both. Somehow.
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