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Return of the Jedi masterpiece or trash?

#16 User is offline   Despondent Icon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 01:23 AM

1. Whether you liked ROTJ or not

It was a SW movie. Iíd waited 3 yrs. so a bike ride to the dollar movies at the end of the summer was worth the investment to see it again. But the first twelve minutes the screen was condensed horizontally (read: tall heads) and they corrected the situation by (groan) starting the movie again. Iíd had enough by then. Rented it when it came out, but it wasnít as good as Iíd remembered. Saw the SE and was Let down with the new music, actually.

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

Iíd have incorporated the actorsí names into the opening scroll, if it meant Kirschner would be directing.

I liked the Forest moon mystique. The Vader/Emp/Luke scenes were great, but a little over-the-top. The pacing couldíve been improved. Too deliberate to begin; too rushed again and again.

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

Against all odds, Good prevails. With cool spaceships! And Darth Vader. Thereís also this band of heroes and their robots. And a wookiee. Did I mention the laser-swords? Now donít ruin it by making everyone related, ok? May the force be with you.
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Posted 30 March 2005 - 01:34 AM

1. Whether you liked ROTJ or not

I had to like it. I was sixteen when I saw it and had a crush on Harrison Ford, so it was a treat to see all my favoirite characters after waiting three years. Oddly enough, I did not feel the need to see it in theatre six times (like ESB), I just felt there is something wrong with it.

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

And I didn't realise what was wrong with it only after many, many years. I would have forgiven the Ewoks, burping, bad jokes etc (as if in the ANH and ESB there weren't numerous embarassing moments, too!) if it hadn't been for the heinous, most awful and disgusting acting of Harrison Ford as Han Solo. Gone was the charming, troubled rougue, gone the chemistry, everything was gone from the romance.

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

That I did not hate it to the last is due to wonterful acting of Mark Hamill. ROTJ is about him maturing, coming of age, facing his past and becoming a man. I did not hate it because Luke showed to me in ROTJ what is a Jedi - he did not give to the anger, he refused to fight, he followed all the advice of Yoda from ESB. It showed that the story had a continuity, and some SENSE.
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#18 User is offline   azerty Icon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 03:40 AM

What about Threepio's opening lines "Lando and Chewbacca never returned from this awful place"?

What this shouts out to the audience is already Lucas is cutting corners, as if to say,

'Well, I guess we'd better we'd better rescue Han, and then get on with the plot. But we aren't spending any time on it'.

I'm almost surprised the scroll up didn't say ...'Having rescued Han, the rebels are now on their way to their secret base'...

The rescue of Han and the ending of the Empire should have been intertwined somehow, instead of being part one and part two. Jabba was supposed to be a big time criminal, so why not give him some firepower and a taste for revenge? Rescue Han, and then have Jabba and the Empire both be after the heroes, and make Jabba's boys important to the final resolution of the story somehow. The price on Han's head is supposedly so high that every bounty hunter in the galaxy is after him. Otherwise, what is the point of Jabba and the rescue? Just more Big Fish in the planet's core. Jabba has been a big presence in three moviess, and in the end turns out to be basically unimportant. A bigger build up and a worse pay off than Darth Maul, really and that's saying a lot! You can be afraid of Jabba in ESB and ANH, but not after Jedi.

The space battle was cool, but whereas in the original it took skill and luck (and the force) to blow up the death star, in this film the rebels just fly in, blow it up, and fly out again. There is no 'And THIS time it is going to be even harder..."

Aand worse than ewoks is the fact that droids have holes in their feet so steam can come out. A little dash of realism with my fantasy please!
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#19 User is offline   jariten Icon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 04:01 AM

1. Whether you liked ROTJ or not

Past tense? It was the first SW I saw, roughly. All I can really remember is being about 6 and being terrified (seriously) when the Rancor eats the pig guard. Out of the 3 SW films, the only one I actually remember wanting to watch was Jedi. It had such a long list of memorable set pieces (speeder bikes, space battle, rancor) and characters (jabba, ewoks-yes I liked them-, Akbar, Emperor), that you get that kind of 'whisked away' feeling. Being 7, I had no real sense of quality, so it was only when I got older that I realised Jedi was basically exposition-set piece/exposition-set-piece etc.

Although there is something quintessentially SW about Jedi.

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

I don't hate it, but the last Ewok battle just doesnt work. Why do the Imperials all suddenly vanish into the woods? If their mission was to protect the shield generator, why run around after Teddy Bears and fall into stupid traps? etc.

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

Its about a good man who makes bad choices and pays the price for it, hes both physically and mentally wreaked. Its only through the love of his son that he is eventually redeemed.

This post has been edited by jariten: 30 March 2005 - 04:04 AM

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#20 User is offline   Just your average movie goer Icon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 05:11 AM

It's funny that you should mention the way the stormtroopers all ran into the woods when the battle started. I was wondering about that when it was on TV the other night.

I mean, where were they all running to? Why? Who was their commanding officer?

I half expected to see some officer running about with his hands in the air, screaming. "What are you guys DOING? Get back here!"
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#21 User is offline   Casual Fan Icon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 06:55 AM

I think before setting out to produce a third movie, Lucas had two decisions to make:

1. Would this film really wrap things up, or would it leave open plotlines for future sequels?

2. Happy ending or sad or ambiguous ending?

My take on this is that he made the right call on both questions. Star Wars, being basically an action-adventure space opera with a very simple story in A New Hope (farm boy and pirate rescue princess, then defeat pursuing supervillian), had enough material for maybe one or two movies, which could be stretched to cover a third and that's it. If Lucas had really worked out a larger philosophy that he wanted to present that was one thing, but he obviously hadn't, and it was time to tie up the loose ends and shut things down in the third movie.

And once you wrap things up, then you have to go with a happy ending. Again, this is not New Wave cinema, its an action adventure story and any suggestion of the empire winning, or even being destroyed at too high a cost, would have been a huge letdown. That means no character more important than Lando being killed, and I'm not sure even if killing Lando would have been a bad decision (Lucas pulled away from that). Yoda can die of old age and the pair of villians can die, of course.

Now once you go with a happy ending that wraps things up, your options are limited. Han has to be rescued, Luke has to confront the Emperor, there has to be a resolution to the Vader-Luke father/ son thing, there has to be a resolution to the love triangle, and no really important hero can get killed. Lucas came out with a movie that did all that and looks and feels like a Star Wars movie. Especially given what we know from the Prequels, alot could have gone really wrong.

Why is it the worst of the OT? Well, the concept behind Star Wars can barely cover three movies, so in the third the essential corniness comes out. And since you have to have your biggest and most complicated battle yet, Lucas' ignorance of things military really shows to the point where its embarassing (the Ewoks' tactics are fairly conventional guerilla tactics, what is bad is the "best imperial legion" made up of officers who can't do a basic situation analysis and soldiers who can't aim). By the time of ROTJ, Star Wars had become big business so you have teddy bears show up in the movie. The Emperor has to explain the appeal of the Dark Side, which Lucas really hasn't thought through, and that shows too though at least these scenes have plenty of drama.

So several of the problems with the prequels start to appear in ROTJ. However, as some here have pointed out, Hamill turns in a good performance and the set pieces are really well crafted. Frankly, the storyline is simpler and more cohesive than in ESB, and there aren't that many more embarassing moments than in the earlier movies.

At the time ROTJ came out, I thought the "I am your father" concept contrived and if I had been charged with producing a third movie would have had it explained away that it was Vader who was lying! This obviously would have been a big mistake. The point is, a satisfactory ending to the saga was not an inevitable outcome, and ROTJ delivers it. I can forgive the fact that the series also starts to show its age.
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#22 User is offline   Jordan Icon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 07:37 AM

JYAMG, Mike MAc, and Civil all in one thread. IT's like old times!
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#23 User is offline   Chefelf Icon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 09:52 AM

1. Whether you liked ROTJ or not

I like(d) it. However, I admit that it is the weakest point of the OT.

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

I didn't hate it, however, there is plenty that could have been improved upon. Taking an extremely critical view of the movie, I think there are a few things that could have made it a bit better:
  • The Jabba Stuff[i]
    The opening Jabba sequence, to me, never seemed to fit. To me it seems like something they should have done between movies (although that may have been odd considering the situation they left Han in in ESB). The whole thing about Han getting frozen then rescued always seemed to me to be something that would have been better suited as one of those Star Wars storybooks on record or something.

    Assuming the Han Solo plot had to have been resolved it would have been better if the Jabba intro tied into the rest of the movie. It's quite a long sequence and it only serves to get them back to the Rebel Base.
  • [i]The Emperor
    The Emperor was way overdone. I would have been much more impressed by a calm, intelligent emperor. Instead we are presented with the cackling buffoon in ROTJ. He isn't smart at all. He's transparent and just acts like pure evil. The evil dude in Karate Kid III at least persuades Daniel to train with him using an act.
  • The Death Star
    It's pretty obvious that recycling the Death Star was pretty dumb. It was dumb in the sense of a movie and in the respect that the Empire was pretty stupid to just start creating another one after the first one proved to be such a failure.
  • The Ewoks
    I don't have a problem with the Ewoks in theory. I just would have preferred if they had fought more savagely and not been stupid comedy relief.

I still think that the space battle is the best ever filmed. No amount of CGI speed and precision can match the painstaking masking/refilming effort undertaken in that split-second scene where the TIE fighters sweep past the Millenium Falcon. The whole battle gives you a great feeling of travelling with starships and the descent into the Death Star

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

I think everyone else summed that up well enough already. rolleyes.gif
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#24 User is offline   CowboyCurtis Icon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 10:11 AM

Assuming the Han Solo plot had to have been resolved it would have been better if the Jabba intro tied into the rest of the movie. It's quite a long sequence and it only serves to get them back to the Rebel Base.


Good point. Jabba looks like an idiot to not realize the value of Han Solo, especially if Boba Fett knew the whole situation (and why wouldn't he?) He should've figured 1) that Luke and company would come looking for Han 2) That Luke and company were valuable to the Empire. Yes! Jabba should've cut a deal with Vader or something, use Han as bait to bring them there. Vader should've figured that one out.

Good grief, Charlie Brown.
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Battle for the Galaxy--read the "other Star Wars"

All I know is I haven't seen the real prequels yet.
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#25 User is offline   JW Wells Icon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 10:20 AM

Did I like Return of the Jedi? Yes. You're talking to someone who once did Admiral Ackbar as his Halloween costume (I was about nine, I think). Was it as good as the preceding two films? No. While it had some very impressive moments - the closing space battle and swordfight, Jabba the Hutt and his palace were kind of fun - it had moments that were openly embarrassing to watch. I cite particularly the Ewok battle and some of the Emperor's lines. His sneering "Oh, I'm afraid your friends will find that the shield is fully operational" bit made me think of a grade school bully taunting someone whose lunch money he's just taken. Still, I think it has perhaps the best line in the series - one Imperial officer in the shield generator says "You'll pay for that, rebel scum". This has become my signature line while playing Tie Fighter, Battlefront, etc.

What would I have changed? Make the Emperor a bit more sinister and please give us a battle on Endor we can believe. I mean, even an eight-year-old can see that it's a bit silly to have "an entire legion" of the Emporer's "finest troops" taken out by some three foot tall furry things armed with spears and bows, while inflicting a total of one (1) casualty. Side note: does anybody know if George Lucas knew that "Endor" was a Biblical reference? (I Samuel 28:7, for those interested.)

What is the essence of Star Wars? Well, I think the real essence is that it's a simple adventure story, with heroes who are good (albeit human), and villains who are evil, where everyone knows who the good guys and bad guys are, and there is a sense that justice will win out against all odds. The characters grow and change during the course of the series, but it's mostly pure escapism. In the late 1970s, that took courage, but it was just what the doctor ordered. Star Wars is about having fun and enjoying a simple story well-told, and attempts to take it too seriously kill it.
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#26 User is offline   civilian_number_two Icon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 12:44 PM

QUOTE (jariten @ Mar 30 2005, 04:01 AM)
3. Sum what Star Wars is about in one paragraph. What you feel is the essence of the story.

Its about a good man who makes bad choices and pays the price for it, hes both physically and mentally wreaked. Its only through the love of his son that he is eventually redeemed.


I said it before, I'll say it again:

If the OT had been about Vader's fall from grace and later redemption, we would have had more than about 200 words from him in the entire series. The Redemption was an aftrethought, tacked on to what had originally begun as "The Adventures of Luke Skywalker."

If anyone ever watches these films in order, they won't be surprised by the revelation that Anikin is Vader (since it's been revealed), but they will wonder why the hero of the series has suddenly turned into a generic "Heavy" with nothing much to do other than stand around and look menacing.

The series as a whole, if ever watched in order, will look pretty damn stupid.
"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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#27 User is offline   Vwing Icon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 01:08 PM

Aw look! Everyone's together again! How exciting!

Well, most of you all know my views on this. I love ROTJ. I'm not saying it's the pinnacle of filmmaking, even within the trilogy, but I think it's fantastic. Hamill is at his best, and he and Jones/Prowse in my opinion more than make up for sub-par performances by Fisher and Ford. The space battle is amazing, and I disagree with Chef in that I loved the Emperor and every scene involving him. The Luke/Vader fight at the end is one of, if not the, best Star Wars scenes, even on of the best scenes, of all time. It is the most climactic moment to the trilogy, and brings all the emotions, action, music, everything we were accustomed to in previous films, together for that one beautiful scene. Yes, even though it's a fight, I do think it is a beautiful scene. And I think even haters must admit that, no matter how much they wanted him to die, Lando making it out of the Death Star was awesome.

The Ewoks. What can I say? I didn't mind them. Did they lift the movie up? No. But I didn't feel they dragged it down either. I happen to like most of the scenes they're in up to the battle (and I love the scene where 3P0 is relating the story of the rebellion to them, great little nod to him saying he's "not much of a storyteller" in ANH, showing even he's evolved). As for the battle, I still say we're basically shown if Chewie doesn't steal the AT-ST, the Ewoks lose. We may not see them die, but we are seeing them getting their asses kicked by the empire up to that point. The troopers were just running because of disarray, they were surprised, they didn't know what was going on, and it took them a bit to regroup.

The one thing I didn't like about the battle (not including the Tarzan yell which I agree with Chef about) was at the end, when Solo fools them by saying "It's over commander..." and they run out and are surrounded by Ewoks. There Han Solo is, one man, behind a squadron of elite troopers. He's probably one of the most wanted men by the Empire. I don't care if there are a million Ewoks there, someone shoot him! He's right there! And to make it worse, he gives that stupid little shrug at the end. If I were the commander, I would've just shot him for that. I thought that, more than the other stuff, took away from the believeability of the battle.

The movies, for me, are about Luke. I've always liked Han, but I'm a Luke guy. They're showing his rise, his struggles, his maturity, and I think Hamill is very underrated for the job he does in the trilogy, especially in ROTJ. It's never been about Vader for me. As Civ said, if you watch them in order, and you get to ANH, you wonder, "Why is this guy just like a henchman, why does he take orders from Tarkin," etc. It's because it is not about Vader. Vader is the main thing on the path to maturity for Luke, in my eyes. He is who Luke must face, who he must overcome and eventually redeem. But it has never been about the redemption itself.

And JYAMG, where've you been?! Come on in, stay a while!

Edit: One more thing. Something that has never bothered me, despite me sharing a completely different worldview from GL, was Anakin going to "Jedi heaven." And I don't know why. I think it's because though I disagree with it in reality, SW isn't reality. This is a fantasy world where we must accept fantastical things. One, in my book, is that Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker really were 2 different people. When Vader died, and only Skywalker was left, there was only good left, pure good (or at least I thought of it as pure good before the prequels soiled it). It was a true redemption, something that is ridiculous in the real world, as a Hitler could not truly redeem himself for doing all of those horrible things. That's why I think that the repentence idea in religion is ridiculous. And yet, in Star Wars, it's not. Because if you look at the Force as what it is, not God, just an energy field of both dark and light, then you CAN have true redemption. You can have someone who was dark become one completely with the light. In reality of course it's ridiculous and almost insulting. But in fiction, in Star Wars, at least for me, it is not offensive. When I saw Anakin smiling back at Luke, I didn't see a murderer who was sent to heaven. I saw someone who had at last found peace with himself and the Force. And that's why, during that scene, I always smile back.

I had this conversation with David Brin a while ago through email. I wish I still had it with me.

This post has been edited by Vwing: 30 March 2005 - 01:20 PM

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#28 User is offline   Chefelf Icon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 02:32 PM

QUOTE (civilian_number_two @ Mar 30 2005, 12:44 PM)
The series as a whole, if ever watched in order, will look pretty damn stupid.


Agreed. Everyone's always saying, "When all the movies are out I'm totally gonna watch them IN THE RIGHT ORDER!!" Why? Isn't it going to seem really stupid when you put it together chronologically?

QUOTE (Vwing @ Mar 30 2005, 01:08 PM)
Aw look!  Everyone's together again!  How exciting!


I know... just like old times. biggrin.gif

QUOTE (Vwing @ Mar 30 2005, 01:08 PM)
I had this conversation with David Brin a while ago through email.  I wish I still had it with me.


Really?? blink.gif
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#29 User is offline   Chefelf Icon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 02:37 PM

Even with the whole Vader-is-Luke's-father thing I think a lack of redemption could have been left out. Sure, redemption is good, but why not have Luke's temptation by the dark side, his eventual resistance and his redemption?

It could have been interesting to see Luke try to bring his father back and eventually fail. It does seem odd that Vader chose that moment to return to the light side. Forget torturing his own daughter and destroying her planet. Forget trying to dispose of Luke and his friends earlier. Forget killing Obi-Wan. Seeing his son get electrocuted... that did it for some reason.

Killing Vader could have been Luke's dance with the dark side that he would eventually have to recover from.

I don't know... I'm just riffing. wink.gif
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#30 User is offline   Vwing Icon

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 02:56 PM

QUOTE (Chefelf @ Mar 30 2005, 02:32 PM)


Heh yeah. Do you remember a while ago, we were having pretty much this same discussion on the forum, and Civ posted a site where David Brin ripped on the prequels, Vader's redemption in ROTJ, and a bunch of other things he believes Star Wars stands for. Well, there was an email address at the bottom of the site, and I figured why not and emailed him. He emailed back and for a few emails we had a little correspondence. It was pretty interesting. I feel guilty that I still haven't read any of his novels, though I'm going to start on the new Foundation trilogy (continuation of Asimov's series) that he, Greg Bear, and Gregory Benford each wrote a novel for. Of course, I've been saying that for a year and I still haven't, but eventually...

I probably should've kept up the correspondence, but it fizzled out. He was nice about it though, and seemed very interested and respectful.
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