Thursday Night Movie Club
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
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Release Date: 25 May 1983

Director: Richard Marquand
Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher
Billy Dee Williams
Anthony Daniels
Peter Mayhew
Sebastian Shaw
Ian McDiarmid
Frank Oz
James Earl Jones
David Prowse
Alec Guinness
Kenny Baker
Michael Pennington
Kenneth Colley
Luke Skywalker
Han Solo
Princess Leia Organa
Lando Calrissian
Anakin Skywalker
The Emperor
Voice of Darth Vader (voice)
Darth Vader
Ben 'Obi-Wan' Kenobi
R2-D2 / Paploo
Moff Jerjerrod
Admiral Piett
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi movie poster Star Wars: Return of the Jedi movie poster Star Wars: Return of the Jedi movie poster
Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher star in Star Wars: Return of the JediThe title of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi has two meanings. After the bombshell discovery in "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" that Darth Vader (David Prowse) is Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) father, the title could refer to Luke becoming a Jedi. Darth Vader could renounce the Dark Side and return to being a Jedi. Maybe both of these are true. Then again, the cryptic message regarding another Jedi might refer to another surviving Jedi returning. Who is the other Jedi?

The film opens with Luke Skywalker attempting to rescue Han Solo (Harrison Ford) from Jabba the Hut. Droid C3PO (Anthony Daniels) is already in the services of Jabba acting as interpreter. Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) has also infiltrated Jabba's domicile disguised as a bounty hunter. Another bounty hunter arrives bringing Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) as his captive. The bounty hunter is seeking the reward on the Wookie.

In reality, the bounty hunter is Leia (Carrie Fisher) who releases Solo from his carbonite imprisonment. The two are promptly captured. Skywalker and R2D2 (Kenny Baker) arrive. Strangely, Skywalker not have a light saber. He lost it along with his right hand. Skywalker is captured. Solo asks Skywalker how things are going. Skywalker replies, "Same as always." Solo replies, "That bad!" The humor is back!

Mark Hamill stars as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Return of the JediWhen the captives are taken deep into the desert where they will be dropped into a pit inhabited by a ravenous creature, R2D2 possesses Skywalker's new light saber. Skywalker's skills as a Jedi are complete. The captives are all saved and make their escape.

Before returning to the Rebel Alliance Fleet, Skywalker returns to Dagobah to finish his training with Yoda (Frank Oz). Yoda tells Luke, "No more training do you require." Luke thinks this means he is a Jedi. "Jedi not you are.", Yoda replies with a chuckle. Luke faces one final hurdle before he ascends to Jedi Knight.

Yoda drops another bombshell on Luke. "When gone am I, the last of the Jedi will you be." Yikes! Nothing like the weight of the galaxy on his shoulders. Except Skywalker is not quite alone. There is another who is strong with the Force.

Obi-wan Kenobi (Alec Guiness) answers Luke's question with another bombshell. Luke has a twin sister. Yikes! Luke is beside himself in anger and confusion. Why didn't anyone tell him the truth about his father? Why now are you finally telling me about a twin sister?

In a confusing scene, Skywalker guesses the identity of his twin. Kenobi smiles and tells Luke his instincts serve him well. But keep this knowledge buried deep. This can be used against him by the emperor. If this revelation is so dangerous, why not wait until after the emperor is vanquished to tell Skywalker? Why hasn't Darth Vader sensed the other's presence?

The Death Star under construction in Star Wars: Return of the JediLife doesn't get any better for our heroes. The Empire is secretly constructing another Death Star. The ship is in orbit around the forest moon Endor. Several problems await the Rebel Alliance. A force field generated from the moon guards the space station. Only a ground attack can destroy the field. Worse yet, the emperor will be landing on the station. The Alliance has been given an offer they can't refuse. They can kill two birds with one stone. The question no one asks is, "Is the emperor really that stupid?"

The special effects are the highlight of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. In "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back", screen writer George Lucas devised a battle on snow. Here a battle takes place in a desert. Does Lucas write these scenes just to drive the effects department crazy?

The Millennium Falcon in action in Star Wars: Return of the JediThe finale is an assault on the audience's senses. The action comes from four locations. Ground forces attack the shield generator leading to an epic ground battle in the forests of Endor. The rebel fleet is attacked by TIE fighters while they wait for the force shield to be destroyed. Once they are able, the rebel fighters, pursued by TIE fighters, enter the super structure of the Death Star to destroy the power source. Skywalker battles Darth Vader in another fantastic light saber duel while the emperor taunts Luke. This will be a battle to the death! Even if Skywalker defeats Vader, he still must cope with the emperor, who possesses powers Skywalker cannot comprehend.

Ian McDiarmid stars as The Emperor in Star Wars: Return of the JediThe space battle makes the one in "Star Wars" look like a kid's game. Hundreds of ships are engaged in battle in every shot. Amazing! Visuals of ships flying inside the Death Star may be strong enough to cause motion sickness in some susceptible members of the audience. Dizzyingly amazing!

Planted firmly amidst the fantastic special effects is the very personal story of Luke Skywalker. Skywalker's father is responsible for hunting down and destroying the Jedi. Kenobi advises Skywalker to kill Vader. Skywalker won't kill his father. There is still good in Vader. Is there? If Skywalker is wrong, the emperor wins!

Mark Hamill and David Prowse star as in Star Wars: Return of the JediHamill, Prowse and James Earl Jones voicing Darth Vader are fantastic in their scenes together. Skywalker surrenders to Vader. Vader must obey and take Skywalker to the emperor. Skywalker confronts his father. He can see the conflict. There is still good in him. Skywalker can feel it. Vader's whole posture changes. His shoulders slump. He lowers his face. "It is too late for me son," Vader tells him. Vader then rises up to his full evil height. Skywalker missed it by that much.

During the light saber battle, in one fell swoop Skywalker learns everything about his father and himself. Like Skywalker, Vader is missing his right hand. With a shock, Skywalker realizes he is becoming just like his father. Then the truth dawns on him. The truth is daunting but promising. Yes, Skywalker is becoming exactly like his father.

Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew in Star Wars: Return of the JediStar Wars: Return of the Jedi has problems that bring the film down a notch. Much of the humor has been recycled. Lando Calrissian exclaims, "It's not my fault." "I have a bad feeling about this," also returns. The classic "I love you.", followed by "I know," is also used. The jokes are the same. The names have been changed to show the creativity of the screen writer.

Large parts of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi are filled with the furry Ewoks, the native intelligent life form on Endor. They are cute, cuddly, and a Marketer's dream come true! They are a simple people who live in the trees. They fight with bow and arrows and bolas. Yet they possess amazing skills with block, tackle and pulleys in order to fend off Imperial Stormtroopers. A pile of cut trees tumble down to topple a two-legged Walker. The effect is great. The shot is funny. The shot makes no logical sense!

Star Destroyers in Star Wars: Return of the JediStar Wars: Return of the Jedi ends on a confusing note. Our heroes may have won the day, but there is still a fleet of Imperial Star Destroyers in orbit around Endor. Did these ships just turn tail and run? Did they just give up? Did they fight to the death in the service of The Empire?

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi is a thrilling, exciting, with a personal journey of discovery. Unfortunately, like other concluding films in trilogies, this film does not measure up to the preceding films. "Star Wars" was total fun. "The Empire Strikes Back" was a very dark film in which the Empire struck back with a vengeance. All things considered, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi is a very good film.

Sadly, the Star Wars saga has reached its conclusion. No more Luke, Leia, and Han. They will be missed. Where do we go from here?