Time to end the original Star Wars trilogy with Return of the Jedi. There’s that saying that third is the worst, and it often applies to movies. This is a prime example of that term. No I’m not saying that this is a bad movie, far from it, but it is the weakest of the original trilogy. This is also the one that is the most edited by George Lucas. Let’s dive in! Continuing from the events of The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo (played by Harrison Ford) is imprisoned in carbon freeze and kept in the palace of Jabba the Hutt. So our heroes bust in and try to free him. That being Princess Leia (played by Carrie Fisher), Lando Calrissian (played by Billy Dee Williams), Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2D2, and Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill) who’s now a highly trained jedi. Meanwhile the Imperial Empire is rebuilding the Death Star as Darth Vader (played by James Earl Jones and David Prowse) is preparing for the arrival of the Emperor (played by Ian McDiarmid). Just like the first two movies it’s full of space battles, lasers, and memorable characters that will become best selling action figures before the film even comes out. This is still a good movie with good characters and effects (except the special editions), but isn’t the best coming off the heels of one of the best sequels ever made. Obviously the first half of the movie is our heroes trying to save Han from Jabba’s Palace. It goes on interrupted for too long that when the Empire comes back in it’s like “Oh yeah, they’re still in this movie.”. It’s not bad, but I wished they would have kept Jabba in the movie more instead of dumping him in the middle of the film and just completely forget about it. Let’s talk about the Jabba stuff first. I will admit a lot of the alien creatures in Jabba’s palace are very colorful and creative (when they’re not terrible CG add-ins). Like the Rancor, the Max Reebo Band, that tentacle-headed guy, and Boba Fett, who’s back from the last movie. Jabba is a huge puppet, and not a poorly rendered CG add-in that Lucas forced in, which has a lot of expression despite that his face is so large and stretched out. But you don’t want to know about puppets and costumes, no no, you want to know about the music number. In the original cut they had a small song number, Lapti Nek, which though a little cheesy, keeps with the film’s pace and fits with the idea of Jabba’s Palace being a dark dump. Lucas wanted a longer dance number, but didn’t have the time or money back in 1983. Thanks to computers, in 1997 he added a longer dance number that interrupts the film and has heinous CG. Not only is the song, Jedi Rocks, terrible, but in when they show Jabba’s Palace as depressingly crappy place, they add in this light hearted dance number where we see a close up of an alien’s uvula. Thanks Lucas! I don’t know why they needed all of the people to go into Jabba’s Palace? First Luke sells Jabba C-3PO and R2D2 in exchange for Han to be free, but that doesn’t work. Then Leia goes in disguised as a bounty hunter turning in Chewbacca to Jabba, then later at night frees Han. That doesn’t work either because Jabba and the gang catch them in the act. Finally Luke comes in and is tricked by Jabba and is sent into the Rancor pit. Then it turns out Lando was in disguised as one of Jabba’s guards. Why didn’t he free him while he had the chance? Why did they need all of these people have to be sacrificed? Well, so they can have a battle at the Sarlac Pit of course! Except Luke does most of the work. Well what do you expect when one is blind, another is imprisoned as a sex slave, an the other is trying to escape the sarlac pit. I will admit the added in CG effects for the Sarlac Pit is the only CG that is passable, but I thought the original design for it was a gaping hole with tentacles and rows of sharp teeth. Now they show this mouth that looks like the plant from Little Shop of Horrors. So Leia chokes Jabba to death, they blow up the place, and just leave. Luke goes to visit a dying Yoda (played by Frank Oz) while the rest fly off in the Millennium Falcon. Then we go to plot #2, as the film reminds you that Darth Vader and the Empire are still in this movie, and rebuilding the Death Star. Yep, just forget about Jabba and all of that stuff, as our heroes now travel to the Empire’s base on the Forest Moon of Endor, where they meet, sigh, the Ewoks. Yeah, I bet all of you 80s kids remember the Ewoks. Admit it, you bought all the toys and watched the cartoons and crappy spinoffs like Caravan of Courage. To be far they’re not that annoying and compared to the future Star Wars characters, I’ll take them. How do our heroes meet them? After a pretty cool chase sequence through the forest, Leia gets knocked off one of the speeder bikes and is approached by an Ewok named Wicket (played by Warwick Davis). Leia befriends Wicket and he helps her in a brief encounter with stormtroopers. Then Luke, Han, and the gang get captured and are taken to the ewok village to be cooked and I guess eaten? Then Luke uses his force magic to levitate C-3PO because the Ewoks think he’s a god because he’s made of gold metal, just go with it. The Ewoks let them go, the gang meets up with Leia, and they tell the ewoks about the Empire which convinces them to fight with them. Yeah, an intergalactic empire with highly advanced weapons against an army of small, bear aliens with weapons so primitive that the Stone Age would call it outdated, argueably doesn’t sound like a fair fight. But the Ewoks actually manage take down a lot of the stormtroopers on the moon. It’s just embarrassing to see the Imperial Empire, which the past two films established as such an unstoppable, evil force; be taken down cute, little, teddy bear like creatures. Wouldn’t have been so much cooler to see Jabba’s men teaming up with the Rebellion to fight the Empire? Like they worked it into the plot somehow instead of dumping them halfway through the movie. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see Boba Fett kick more ass instead of being knocked into the Sarlac Pit by a blind guy (that blind guy being Han who’s blindness is a temporary side affect of the carbon freeze). So these toy ads defeat the blaster wielding stormtroopers by using sticks and rocks and logs. But there’s also the rebuilding of the Death Star. While the the gang and the Ewoks are taking care of the Imperial base, the Rebel fleet is trying to destroy the Death Star, which is now more operational. Hmm, a rebel fleet trying to blow up a planet destroying space station that has and easy and obvious weak point, this sounds like the climax to the first movie! You couldn’t think of a better climax that you had to repeat the first one. Whatever, the real good stuff in the climax is what’s happening with Luke. Vader senses that he’s on The Forest Moon of Endor and, in order to save his friends, Luke openly confronts Vader and is taken to the Death Star to meet the Emperor. He also does this because on his deathbed, Yoda tells Luke that in order to fully become a jedi, he must confront Vader one more time. Vader and the Emperor try to convert Luke to the dark side of the force by showing the Rebel fleet being crushed and telling him that his friends are being captured and killed on the forest moon. Like tries to keep control but eventually can’t take it anymore and gets into another lightsaber duel with Vader. Only this time Luke’s more prepared and bests his evil father. When Luke refuses to fight him, Vader taunts Luke by saying he’ll convert his sister, Leia, as well. This causes Luke to snap and unload on Vader till he has him pinned down and chops his hand off. But Luke comes back to his senses and tells the Emperor that he will not kill Vader to prove his commitment to the light side of the force. Then the Emperor gets pissed and start attacking Luke with force lightning. Luke screams to his father in agony to save him. Vader starts pondering about what to do when he chooses the side of his son and picks up the Emperor and throws him down a shaft. This is another scene once again ruined by the special editions. In the original cut, Vader doesn’t speak, allowing you visually to see him struggle to decide what to do. Will he save his own son, or stay a pawn to the Emperor and the dark side of the force. You can tell he’s thinking without a single line of dialogue. Then Lucas thought one day “Remember what I did at the end of Revenge of the Sith with Vader yelling No which ha everyone has made fun of and spoofed? Why don’t I do it again, but put in a scene where it doesn’t fit!”. Yep, before Disney managed to pry the rights away from his hands, Lucas and crew made more changes to the original trilogy for the Blu Ray release. This included dubbing in James Earl Jones yelling “No” again in the scene from earlier. It ruins the scene and makes think of how god awful the prequels were. But he did still keep in the Vader’s death scene. When the Death Star is in chaos, Luke drags an injured Vader to his ship. Before Vader can get on the ship, he falls down and pleas to Luke to take his mask off, even though it will kill him. His reason being that he wants to see his own son with is own eyes. For some reason David Prowse wasn’t available for the scene so they replaced him with actor Sebastian Shaw. Shaw does give a great performance despite the little screen time he has. It shows that even a dark, cruel person such as Darth Vader still has a little good in him. It delivers a kind of emotional scene that sticks with you. Too bad Lucas ruined it again at the very end when Luke sees the ghosts of his mentors, Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi, and his father who’s no longer Darth Vader, but back to being Anakin Skywalker. In the original cut they show Shaw without the burnt makeup, and it feels fitting. In the special editions however, Lucas decide to take out Shaw, and replace with Hayden Christensen’s Anakin. It feels so unfitting, disrespectful to Shaw, and reminds me of how much I hate Christensen’s performance as Anakin from the prequels. At least for the ending celebration they added scenes of other planets celebrating the galaxies freedom from the Empire than making it look like one big Ewok party like in the original cut. Even the John Williams score sounds more like a happy finale to a trilogy than the original Ewok song, Yub Nub. However the added in scenes are full of poorly rendered CG and Lucas thought it would be a nice touch to add in a Gungan yelling “Wesa free!”. Which reminds me of how much I hate Jar Jar Binks from the prequels. I wonder if Lucas does these edits just to piss fans off more. Like saying “Stop complaining about the prequels or else I’ll add more clumsy edits to the original trilogy!”. I know it sounds like I hate this movie, but I really don’t. Though it’s the least greatest of the original trilogy, it’s still a fun movie with great effects, memorable characters, good performances, and yet another amazing score by John Williams. I know the special edition edits can get really distracting sometimes, which is a shame because most of the stuff Lucas edited out is already good. I’d recommend, if you can manage to find one, a copy of the original cut for this movie, or a fan edit that heavily resembles the original cut. At least before if Disney hopefully gives a widespread release of the original cuts on Blu Ray and DVD sometime soon. We Star Wars fans can only hope this 20th Century Fox purchase will finally end up giving us the chance to see the original versions in 4K ultra HD. One more thing I have to say before I end this review is that how much I nag about the special edition edits, I really don’t hate George Lucas. After all, he’s responsible for the existence of the Star Wars franchise, and some of my other favorite action movies like the Indiana Jones series (which I’ll probably individually review someday). I just wish he wouldn’t have to change so much and hide what made his vision a global hit in the first place. Even after 40 years the Star Wars franchise is still going strong, and with the ownership of the House of the Mouse, they’re gonna milk this cash cow for two more trilogies and four more anthology films. What’s that, a Boba Fett movie is in production? Looks like my wish came true. And as you all know, when you wish upon a star, you can make a billion dollar entertainment company hell bent on ruling the world! Or something like that. So that’s my review of Return of the Jedi! Sorry, this review was supposed to come out a lot earlier, but a bunch of stuff came up and I’ve been slowly trying to get this done. Any thoughts on the Boba Fett solo film? Let me know in the comments below. Hope you enjoyed it and follow me on Snapchat at bensuey3. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.