movie film review | chris tookey

Star Wars Episode VI - Return Of The Jedi / Star Wars Episode 6 - Return Of The Jedi

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  Star Wars Episode VI - Return Of The Jedi / Star Wars Episode 6 - Return Of The Jedi Review
Tookey's Rating
8 /10
Average Rating
7.17 /10
Luke Skywalker ............ Mark Hamill, Han Solo .................. Harrison Ford (pictured), Princess Leia ............. Carrie Fisher
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Directed by: Richard Marquand
Written by: Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas, based on a story by Lucas.

Released: 1983
Origin: US
Length: 133


Continuation of the previous story.

Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Until 1997, Return of the Jedi was usually regarded as the runt of the Star Wars litter. In the release of the new, supposedly improved version there wasn’t much footage that was new. Towards the start, there was more emphasis on the decadence of Jabba the Hutt; and Jabba’s sand monster was now more fearsome. At the triumphant climax, the celebrations covered a couple more planets, and very impressive they were, too. And some of the enhanced sound effects made the auditorium shake. It was the epic quality of the story-telling that really came over.
Some critics have always been inclined to pooh-pooh the Star Wars scripts, and no one could pretend that the dialogue is Shakespearean. But writers George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan kept things simple on purpose. Kasdan went on to write highly sophisticated screenplays for Body Heat, The Big Chill and Grand Canyon. His script here does very well at keeping the audience amused and surprised, and supplies a satisfying climax.
The narrative is broken-backed (the first third of Jedi is really the climax of the previous film, The Empire Strikes Back ), and Mark Hamill lacks authority as Luke; but Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia is livelier and more alluring than in the previous two instalments.
The stars of the show are the Ewoks, whom I found irritating the first time round - basically, they’re overgrown teddy bears with nappies on their heads - but warmed to a good deal more, this time. As allies of the heroes, the Ewoks fulfil the same function as Tarzan’s good-hearted, native friends did in Thirties jungle movies. Since it is no longer politically correct to depict black people as naively lovable, the Ewoks are a skilful way of updating the Tarzan legend.
Their other function is to be an idealised version of the Viet Cong. Return of the Jedi is, for much of its second half, a disguised Vietnam movie, a fantastical rewriting of the war - a myth constructed to heal America’s subconscious by showing our American heroes defending the Ewoks, who are, like the Viet Cong, little guerillas fighting in the jungle against high-tech adversaries.
Overarching the whole of the trilogy are two more timeless, universal themes: a young man’s growth to maturity, and the struggle between good and evil in the unlikeliest places - not just on curious and exotic planets, but even in the heart of Darth Vader.
The climax when Vader belatedly rediscovers family values and the joys of fatherhood is one of the great, mythic moments in cinematic story-telling. It was also a bravely unfashionable idea for the early Eighties.
Oscar nominations went to John Williams (score), Norman Reynolds, Fred Hole, James Schoppe and Michael Ford (art direction), Ben Burtt, Gary Summers, Randy Thom, Tony Dawe (sound), and Ben Burtt again (sound effects).

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