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Return of the Jedi masterpiece or trash?

#1 User is offline   Mike Mac from NYU Icon

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 07:21 PM

You know looking at all the recent posts regarding ROTJ has solidified an opinion I have had about ROTJ.

I think whether one likes ROTJ or not, is dependent on one's view of the Star Wars story as a whole.

I think the people that hate ROTJ, have a very unique view of the Star Wars storyline as opposed to the ROTJ lovers.

And I think the difference in these viewpoints about Star Wars become crystal clear when the anti-ROTJ people give examples of how they would do ROTJ differently.

It's a very interesting analysis on people's take of the Star Wars storyline.

Without having any massive arguments or fights, I would like to hear:

1. Whether you liked ROTJ or not
2. If you hated it, what you would have changed in it.
3. Sum what Star Wars is about in one paragraph. What you feel is the essence of the story.

I really would be fascinated to see the responses. smile.gif

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 07:41 PM

1. Whether you liked ROTJ or not

I was let down at the corniness of the end when I first saw ROTJ. Then, with the DVD and the changed music, I felt the end of the Saga had a much more satisfying feel to it. Music is powerful.

2. If you hated it, what you would have changed in it.

I didn't hate it, and the change I wanted was incorporated in the DVD as per above.

3. Sum what Star Wars is about in one paragraph. What you feel is the essence of the story.

I didn't get it until I was a lot older, and consequently wrote a book about it. Life's about making choices and sometimes we need the help (and love) of others to realize that we can make positive changes in life. Ergo, Vader chose to embrace goodness instead of bowing to the "inevitable" that he was lost to a life of evil. Love is powerful, and Luke tosses away his lightsaber because he realizes that continuing the cycle of violence will only beget more violence. In the process Luke's epiphany is that he becomes a Jedi, which is "confirmed" by the Emperor.
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Posted 29 March 2005 - 07:54 PM

1. Overall, I thought it was OK. That's all I can say, really. Some bits, like the scenes involving Luke, Vader and the Emperor, I loved; other aspects, such as the Ewoks, I hated.

2. The Ewoks - they're teddy bears, for God's sake. I just find them impossible to take seriously, as warriors, primitive savages or anything else. There are plenty of other problems with RotJ, but removing the Ewoks would go a long, long way towards making the film more acceptable to me.

3. I always loved the three-line summary of RotJ from the Rinkworks 'Movie-a-minute' site:

DARTH VADER: Luke, come to the Dark Side.


DARTH VADER: Your goodness has redeemed me. Die, emperor scum!

The sandpeople had women and children. We know this because Anakin killed them how could he tell? The children might be smaller but I never saw a sandperson with breasts. Did they hike their skirts and show him some leg or something?

Also, I can see the point of wanting to kidnap a human and use her as a slave, but they didn't. They tied her to a flimsy easel for a month. It's assumed they had to feed and give her water. What for? Was she purely ornamental? I can understand them wanting the droids, you can sell those for a lot of money, but a chick who's only skills are finding non-existand mushrooms and getting randomly pregnant, you're not going to get much.

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 08:43 PM

Masterpiece or trash? I think ROTJ is a bit of both. Some of my favourite Star Wars moments come from ROTJ. I actually like, for example, the conversation between Luke and Leia where he tells her that he can feel that Vader's close at hand. (Then Han shows up and spoils the scene by acting like a first-class jerk but, I said, a bit of both.) The battle in space is well orchestrated.

The biggest fault with ROTJ is a streak of low comedy that infects even the action sequences. Think Boba Fett screaming like a baby, Han's incompetence on Endor, and of course just about every scenes with Ewoks in it. There's hardly any combat scene (leaving out the space scenes) in ROTJ that can be taken seriously. Lucas insists on making either the good guys or the bad guys (depending on the scene) look like complete dorks. At no point is it possible to believe that there's any real danger. If it were possible to give the action scenes in ROTJ the same tension as, say, the Hoth battle in ESB or the Death Star takedown in SW, I'd be a lot happier.

What's Star Wars about?

Chesterton put it best. "The old fairy tale makes the hero a normal human boy," he says in ORTHODOXY. "It is his adventures that are startling; they startle him because he is normal." The original STAR WARS was in just that mode and so was EMPIRE STRIKES BACK in a different way. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and all the rest are ordinary persons caught up in a story bigger than them. Yeah, they're types. But that's how good adventure stories work. Lucas's biggest mistake was to think that he could turn his adventure story into a psychological story about Anakin's dark side. Maybe someone else could do it but not him. He's no frickin' good at it.

Chesterton wouldn't have liked it anyway. "...But in the modern psychological novel the hero is abnormal; the centre is not central. Hence the fiercest adventures fail to affect him adequately, and the book is monotonous." He has a point but only, I think, when it comes to mediocre writers. Good writers can make an "abnormal" character interesting and not "monotonous". Lucas is, however, mediocre, desperately so. If he stuck to adventure writing that probably wouldn't matter. But he wishes to give Anakin psychological depth and he is pathetically unequal to the task. He falls into just that pit of monotony that Chesterton wrote about. Look at ATTACK OF THE CLONES. When anything happens that Anakin doesn't like he whines that it's Obi-Wan's fault. This is Lucas's way of presenting us with Anakin's "dark side". It's hideously, hopelessly monotonous and predictable.

Someone should tie Lucas to a chair, make him watch STAR WARS and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK ten times over (and maybe read him some Lensmen too), and remind him that it's possible to tell exciting stories about likeable people.

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 08:49 PM

1. Whether you liked ROTJ or not

Not anymore. When I was a kid I did.

2. If you hated it, what you would have changed in it.

Darth Vader goes to Jedi Hell/cut Ghost scene. Ewoks. No friggin ewoks.

3. Sum what Star Wars is about in one paragraph. What you feel is the essence of the story.

Star Wars is about making lots and lots of money off the bankable unconscious desires and appealing "archtypes" Lucas has studied so well. Its not about anything. Its about how to cash in on children, and adults who are drawn to shallow hero archtypes and simplistic religious concepts.
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Posted 29 March 2005 - 09:15 PM

Firstly I loved ROTJ so 2 dosnt apply. What starwars is about... well I think the OT was a piece of art, it was about entertaining people and making us see a world that someone else had invented, letting us share a vision and of course the message that people can always make the right choices, its about redemption.

As for where ROTJ stands as a whole, it does kind of seem tainted, but can you imagine what would have happened if it had been ESB quality? Sure the OT would be great, but when the prequels came out? We needed to be weaned off the goodness of SW and ROTJ was a very gentle way of doing it. If you went from ESB to the PT without anything in between people would be dying of shock.


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#7 User is offline   Jordan Icon

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 09:22 PM

It wus about droydes and spechial EFXors!

People here already summed up what I think SW is about.

ROTJ was great for me when I was 11. I loved Jabba's palace and the final light sabre battle. The ewoks always annoyed me but I did get off on seeing the AT-ST's. The smaller imperial walker.

After I grew up I did not really hate it, but noticed that I embraced the first two movies much more.

Then after reading JYAMG, CIV, and CHEF's take on ROTJ, it made me think that the movie could have been much better.

That's one reason I loved the Hate LIsts. They brought up a lot of interesting points which I never considered before.

This forum is good for that though, but ya, ROTJ is mediocre, I don't hate it.

This post has been edited by Jordan: 29 March 2005 - 09:22 PM

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#8 User is offline   Mike Mac from NYU Icon

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 11:12 PM

You know the funny thing is that recently I looked at Chef Elf's Reasons for Hating Return of the Jedi. And considered them.

Then I watched ROTJ again, right after.

And strangely enough...I've actually gained an even greater appreciation for that movie and realized that it has a lot of great gems of moviemaking are in that movie.

Looking at the list that Chef Elf created there really are only three negatives points about ROTJ

1. I can;t for the life of me figure out what exactly was Luke's plan was to rescue Han from Jabbas palace.

2. The Tarzan yell

3. The Sarlace Burp.

Everything else is really a matter of taste, or your own temperment. The Ewoks are fine as cinematic characters in the story, it;s just a matter of whether you find them too cute for your tastes.

Your appreciation of Darth Vader's fate is really based on whether on your personal beliefs find it proposterous or not.

Your feelings on the "Jedi ghost" thing is really dependent if your going to be really anal about the whole thing and not appreciate the meaning behind the characters words or prescence.

But I can say honestly about ROTJ has several gems to it

1. It has the best visual feel of all the Star Wars films. Stunning in terms of costumes, scenery & overall feel.

2. It has IMO, four of the most dramatic non-action sequences in the entire trilogy

3. It's the best acted of the three films {a suprising quantum leap in Mark Hamill's acting chops's; incredible work by James Earl Jones, Frank Oz}

4. The most genuinely funny scene in the entire trilogy is in this film.

5. Has it;s own unique feel from the other two chapters which I thought was crucial

6. Is a suprisingly very well put together film interms of scripting ,considering it is probably the hardest chapter of star Wars to write. It manages to hit on all the key plot lines set up in Star Wars: A New Hope, without short changing the dramatic scenes. In fact the scenes that are tersed is the final battle.

7. Suprisingly more of a dramatic film than the other two films, in fact the best scenes and most memorable ones are it's dramatic scenes.

-in nearly all the redux, I have seen of ROTJ and all of them would wind up either focusing on scenes for two long,wind up being nearly four hours long, require a series of two more movies or in short would wind up like complete messes like Attack of the Clones

Just my humbel opinion.

#9 User is offline   Mike Mac from NYU Icon

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 11:18 PM

And oh, yeah.

ROTJ manages to continue with the great tradition of exciting well, thought out action and war sequences that were almost as well scripted as ballets. {that first got started in ESB} art that has practically died out judging by flm.

Judge any of the action sequences in movies in the early 80s-mid 90s to any of the action movies now.

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 11:18 PM

QUOTE (Mike Mac from NYU @ Mar 29 2005, 07:21 PM)
1. Whether you liked ROTJ or not
2. If you hated it, what you would have changed in it.
3. Sum what Star Wars is about in one paragraph. What you feel is the essence of the story.

I really would be fascinated to see the responses.  smile.gif

I think I've mouthed off enough on this, but what the hell:

1. I liked it, but was disappointed by it. ROTJ was the morning after not-bad sex with an attractive yet vaccuous gal you met at a bar (yes, you have). I would be embarrassed to inroduce it to my parents. In fact, at 14, having seen it opening day, I didn't want to see it a second time with my mom after going on about how great EMPIRE had been.
2. I would have reduced the dumb comedy, introduced a different "other," admitted that Ben had lied, and not copped out on the resolution.
3. Official stand: STAR WARS is about the redemption of a tortured man who turned to evil to gain the power to make people live forever. The fact that this "character" says about two hundred words in the entire OT never occurred to Lucas.
Real answer: STAR WARS is a series of simple action films, an homage to serial adventure a la Flash Gordon. I've already admitted that in retrospect I realized that "I am your father," everyone's favourite line from the trilogy, was probably the shark-jumping moment. Lucas just couldn't live up to it, and it drove the dumb conclusion of the final piece. Without that line, Vader could have remained a nearly-silent villain, and we could have gone anywhere in the last film, instead of the too-talky cackling nonsense we got. Like MATRIX after it, STAR WARS weighed down its fun action with dumb and relentless eschatology.
"I had a lot of different ideas. At one point, Luke, Leia and Ben were all going to be little people, and we did screen tests to see if we could do that." -George Lucas, in STAR WARS: the Annotated Screenplays (p197).

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 11:27 PM

Well, in relation to question one, I think most people know where I stand. I will say that there are some things I enjoy about the movie - namely the well choreographed space battle and the lightsabre fight. But overall, I found it mediocre and often a little too cheesy for my tastes.

You probably would expect me to say this, Mike... I wish Return of the Jedi had been more like The Empire Strikes Back.

On question two, if I could change things, I would have had a completely different movie. I really would have liked it if Return of the Jedi had taken the premises set up in its predecessor and worked with them. I would have liked to have seen Vader trying to overthrow the Emperor. I would have loved a new character for 'the other' that Yoda alluded to - preferably a love interest for Luke as well. If any of you guys have read Timothy Zahn's work and know the character Mara Jade... that's the type of character I would have liked to have seen. I would like Luke and this character to overthrow Vader and the Emperor together.

On the subject of Vader, I wish he was still as evil as he was in the previous film. I don't know why he suddenly had to be good just because he was Luke's father. If I'd been writing Return of the Jedi, the only significance of Vader being Luke's father would be that he'd be trying to lure Luke into his plot to overthrow the Emperor.

On the rebellion, I would have preferred to have it in the weakened state that it was at the end of the last film. And I'd have a nice little line in the openning prologue saying "The rebellion is on the brink of destruction." or something like that. It should have been the rebellion's darkest hour.

On Jabba, I would have had a classy human Godfather type character and the rescue of Han Solo would be a more suave affair, kind of like something from The Sting. Jabba would also be hiding out in some kind of suspended space city - like a stopover for pilots, pirates, mercenaries, smugglers and pizza delivery vans. I also would have had him send ships after the good guys so there could be an exciting get away scene.

And obviously, there'd be no Death Star Version 2.0 or Ewoks. The Imperial Fleet would be perfectly adequete for my purposes. They could be trying to trap the rebels somewere or another - and also, we could up the tension a bit by making it a little harder to destroy Star Destroyers. I didn't like the way that they could be so easily blown up left, right and centre in Return of the Jedi.

Lastly (I think), I wouldn't have used Yoda or Obi Wan in the movie at all. I'd have Luke return to Dagobah at the end of the movie... and he'd probably take his new force-sensitive girl with him as well.

Now, what do I think Star Wars is about? I kind of figured it was mainly about Luke for some reason. Also, when you think about it, it's kind of like a soap opera in space... although, I mean that in a nice way. It's episodic as opposed to a conventional trilogy and in theory it probably could have kept on going like a television series. Although the first movie is a stand-alone.

And at the end of the day, it's also just a good yarn. There doesn't have to be a big moral message behind it and I think it's usually better if there isn't. For me, it's a rollicking good story that takes you to exciting places, like you're on some fantastic journey.

And in Return of the Jedi, it feels like the journey has become a local city bus tour.

Anyway, that's my five cents. Thanks, Mike. I enjoyed that.

#12 User is offline   barend Icon

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 11:34 PM

ANH was a great entre

ESB was a steak dinner

ROTJ was the desert... but the waffles were a little soggy.

#13 User is offline   Xombie Icon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 12:11 AM

First Question: I loathed Return of the Jedi

Second Question: Most important, I would change the redemption storyline. Either it doesn't happen at all or it is dealt with seriously and Luke must pay a price for choosing to put the murderous number two man of a genocidal empire over his side's military victory. The obvious price would be that as a result of Vader ascending to Jedi Heaven, Luke's relationship with Leia (whose has been tortured and had her whole planet blown up by this man) is destroyed.

We would also have to be given at least one reason to want to see Vader redeemed.

Less importantly:

Resolve the romantic triangle in a non-weaselly manner. Have someone make a choice or, barring that, kill a character off.

Have important characters die. (And stay dead!) This is a war movie. Wars are about, among other things, sacrifice. To have BOTH Han and Lando live when they are playing essentially the same character is absurd.

Something other than ANOTHER Death Star.

The Emperor: Most rediculous Star wars character...ever.

Third Question: The three films do not form a coherent thematic whole. Nothing in the first two films prepare the audience for the redemptive theme of the third.

I'd also put teenage go go dancers in bikinis dancing in cages in Jabba's lair.

This post has been edited by Xombie: 30 March 2005 - 12:12 AM


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Posted 30 March 2005 - 12:13 AM

Wow, some great posts here! Like your alterations to ROTJ, JYAMG.

I have a love/hate relationship of ROTJ, and my thoughts are pretty much reflected in 50 Reasons Why Jedi Sucks, but just to reiterate.

-Luke's plan to rescue Han doesn't make sense.

-The film just doesn't LOOK right. It looks to "clean" or something. I can't put my finger on it.

-Boba shoulda survived. Not because I really like him or anything, but there is this adage in script writing about "getting your heroes up a tree, and then you start throwing rocks at them." Boba continuing to pursue Han and Luke on a personal vendetta in addition to them trying to fight the Empire would've been great. I wanted Han (or Chewie) to take out Boba, but not in a dumbass way.

-I think the battle should've been taken to the heart of the empire. NO 2nd Death Star---pure cop out.

-Ewoks. Ewoks. Sheesh. Couldn't they have gotten some athletic children to play them with a more fierce visage. Them being all cute and stuff just doesn't work.

-The Space Battle is cool. Chaos, but completely understandable. Don't like the flaming-must-be-powered-by-hydrogen-Star Destroyer.

-I like the Mon Calmari's head and hands, but their outfits make no sense.... how'd they get into them? Don't like they're name. Lucas was obviously lazy and sitting in a restaurant when he came up with that.

-Leia's role didn't seem as strong as usual.

-Hate the brother/sister thing

-Love the confrontation with the Emperor, like the sword fight. Like it when Luke throws away his lightsaber and says, "I'm a Jedi..." Wonderful!

Can't think of much else to say at this moment.
Flying Ferret

Battle for the Galaxy--read the "other Star Wars"

All I know is I haven't seen the real prequels yet.

#15 User is offline   Michel Orla Icon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 12:17 AM

1. Whether you liked ROTJ or not
As a kid it was my favourite, but the older I got, the more I realized how weak it was compared to the first two movies.

2. If you hated it, what you would have changed in it.
No slapstick. I agree it didn't have to be nearly as dark as Empire, but burp jokes especially were not necessary. And I absolutely hated battle trained Stormtroppers running from Ewoks. That's unforgivable. Other than that, no ewoks, a better revelation than Leia being Luke's sister and Han and Leia's love scenes handled in a more adult manner. It would also help if Harrison Ford was actually into making the movie too.

3. Sum what Star Wars is about in one paragraph. What you feel is the essence of the story
Unlike most of Return, I do believe Lucas had plan for Vader's redemption all along (but seemed to make up everything else on the go while filming) But it's more than that. It's also the growth of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. One from an out for himself rogue to a decent, caring human being, and the other from an ignorant, wet behind the ears farmboy to a powerful, wise hero out to rebuild a very important part of the galaxy (The Jedi). Leia was the only three of the main characters who didn't undergo a change through the movies (nor did she need to) So to me, its the path three diffrent heros take. One that had fallen(Vader/Anakin), one that had changed for the better(Han), and one that had grown into something special (Luke)

This post has been edited by Michel Orla: 30 March 2005 - 12:19 AM


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