Luke Skywalker leads a mission to rescue his friend Han Solo from the clutches of Jabba the Hutt, while the Emperor seeks to destroy the Rebellion once and for all with a second dreaded Death Star.
This is not quite Bantha fodder.
Following on from the freshness of Star Wars (1977) and the all round greatness of craft and story telling that was The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi was always going to struggle in comparison. That's not to say there are not fans who prefer it of the original trilogy, because there are many, and like minded fans of George Lucas' space saga shouldn't have a problem with that.
However, it is the weakest of the three. The characters we have come to love, and to be a part of their universe, are performed with gusto - but they are mostly thinly written, reduced to playing second fiddle to special effects, while the dark heart has been replaced with - well - smokey hokey (furry teddy bears with sticks and stones, I ask you). Then there's the lack of sexual tension so evident in the previous two films. Oh we love Han and Leia because that's love! But one can't help missing the sparks that was once between them - and Luke of course, hmm...
Yet for all that, of the irks and complaints, Return of the Jedi is still a thrilling film, the budget up on the screen to entertain the children and the adults with the child within. Characters and creatures wander into this wonderful world for super impact. The Emperor, Jabba the scene stealer, Rancor and Sarlaac, while the speeder bike chase, further lightsaber shenanigans and the space battle ensure the action is never far away - even if one can be a little underwhelmed by the big finale not all it can be.
Ultimately it was not without faults, but still it was one hell of a conclusion to a genre defining (then) trilogy. 8/10
Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox by Richard Marquand, Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas.
Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams.
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Keywords: sibling relationship rebel spacecraft emperor space battle matter of life and death death star jabba the hutt ewoks jedi space opera
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