Friday, May 25, 2007

Return of the Jedi

Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet of Tatooine in an attempt to rescue his friend Han Solo from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt.

Little does Luke know that the GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly begun construction of a new armored space sation even more powerful than the first dreaded Death Star.

When completed, this ultimate weapons will spell certain doom for the small band of rebels struggling to restore freedom to the galaxy…

George Lucas‘s last Star Wars film can be broken down into three acts.

In the first act C-3P0 (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), and later Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), are captured trying to free Han Solo (Harrison Ford) from Jabba the Hutt. Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) shows up to kill Jabba’s pet beast and then use the pieces he has put in place to defeat Jabba at the Pit of Sarlaac.

The second act to the movie, after a brief interlude of Luke confronting Yoda (Frank Oz) and Obi-Wan (Alec Guinness) about the truth and learning another vital piece of information about his family, is the staging and infiltration of the Moon of Endor which houses the shield generator for the new Death Star. On the planet the strike team meets a group of cute teddy bear warriors known as Ewoks (who believe C-3P0 is a god), takes part in a high speed speeder bike chase, and, along with the fleet above led by Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), fall into the well laid trap by the Emperor (Ian McDiarmid).

In the final act of the film the Rebels, with the help of the Ewoks, battle the legion of Stormtroopers outside the bunker, the rebel fleet deals with the Imperial Navy and the operational battle station, and Luke Skywalker battles his father Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones) and the Emperor in an attempt to win the day and turn Anakin Skywalker back to the good side.

The most constant complaint about the film, in one word, is Ewoks. Yeah, they are a little too cuddly for their own good, but Lucas wanted the image of a race of low-tech creatures helping to bring down the mighty Empire. And hate me if you want, but I kind of like the campiness of the Ewoks (and their victory song is soooo much better than the Special Edition’s ending).

The real fault in the film is it feels too much like a retread of the two earlier films. We get another Death Star, we return to Tatooine and Degobah, but there no new and exciting locations (except for a walk through the woods) to add to the locations we’ve already seen.

Even with this problem Lucas and company provide an entertaining beginning and a faced-paced ending that successful wrap-up the storylines to the series and provide more insight into the characters. And I would be remiss without mentioning the opening shot of Darth Vader’s arrival, and the later shots of the Emperor’s arrival, on the Death Star. In an age still before today’s CGI explosion, these scenes show just how good “old”-style filmmaking could be, and the space battle sequence is better, by far, than any from the prequels.

Return does what it needs to do in offering some great action sequences, further character development (mostly with Luke and Vader), a new surprise or two, and yes, some furry little Ewok friends. It’s not the best film in the series, but it still remains an enjoyable reminder how cool life was in that galaxy far, far away.

No comments: