Running Commentary – Star Wars Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi

Anime Reporter returns to Running Commentary once again to give you the things that popped into my head while watching Return of the Jedi. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve seen this film, I think it’s probably been 16 or 17 in fact, so while I remember a few key details, I’m going in with no real memory of how it fits together. After Empire truly redeemed the series (when it’s viewed in Episodic order), I really am excited about Star Wars again and looking forward to watching this sixth episode. Bring it on!

00:00 – Last of the classics, let’s go!

00:25 – Wait, this movie takes place when and where? Oh, okay, thanks.

01:00 – Oh snap, I’d forgotten about Han and the carbonite!

01:30 – Why doesn’t the Empire invest in lots of small powerful ship instead of one insanely powerful ship which, if destroyed, will put them on square one?

04:25 – Anakin’s vocabulary has become a lot more formal in his old age.

06:20 – I remember so little of this, but I’m excited to see the whole Han-rescue mission goes!

07:00 – Jabba’s green pig security guards look like old-school Legend of Zelda creatures.

08:40 – Puppet Jabba lying on the ground, smoking, looks infinitely better than the CGI monstrosity Lucas threw into episode IV. Or episode I for that matter.

12:20 – Why is it that we can understand C3PO, but not R2D2, when one has such a better personality than the other?

13:30 – This CGI added singing to the “Jabba’s slave girl dies” scene is so unnecessary and distracting and… new-Lucas. It displeases me.

17:30 – This is great. Chewbacca and Han captured, Lando is undercover, C3PO and R2D2 are owned by Jabba and we’re several scenes in. There’s no rush to unveil an unnecessary flip-frenzied battle of special effects, there’s just a story being built up here. So much better than the prequels.

19:10 – Wow, the process for thawing out someone frozen in carbonite is both straightforward and fast.

20:15 – “I know that laugh.” Han recognises the most recognisable laugh in the galaxy. I guess being temporarily blind has enhanced his other sense to a miniscule extent.

22:25 – Luke’s here! Let’s see his great new Jedi powers.

23:15 – Okay, Luke is a badass now. This validates the series so much more.

25:00 – Luke and Nameless Henchman 4 fall into a pit containing a  monstrous creature. I wonder which one will die to demonstrate the creature’s viciousness?

28:25 – Most heartbreaking moment of the series so far- Topless monster wrangler mourns the loss of his prized hideous fang-beast.

29:25 – Jabba’s mini laughing puppet needs his own movie.

29:55 – We interrupt this classic film for some weak-ass video game cut scene of ships floating over sand.

31:30 – Oh, Leia appears to be wearing some sort of golden bikini. I wonder if anyone’s ever noticed that before?

32:20 – I’m so grateful for all of this CGI traffic flitting around the execution platform. Without it, this scene might have been ruined by drama, suspense, believability and interesting characters.

34:05 – And so Bobba Fett dies just like that. I’m so glad Episode 2 took so much time to ram his origin story down my throat.

34:40 – Jabba dies, strangled by the chain he used to enslave another. He was a wonderful man and deserved so much better than death by poetic-justice.

36:00 – Jabba’s laughing puppet rat-thing needs his own trilogy.

36:25 – R2D2 is my spirit animal.

38:30 – Debut of the Emperor. He looks good. Healthy.

39:45 – Yoda time!

40:40 – Yoda’s right. When Luke gets to be 900 years old, he probably won’t look like a fuzzy wrinkled pickle.

41:45 – Wow, the Jedi graduation exam has gotten more difficult. Obi Wan got promoted just for failing to save his master’s life. Luke won’t be a Jedi until he kills his father? Harsh, Yoda. Tres harsh.

43:00 – The Yoda puppet looks phenomonal. Has to be said.

44:45 – Yoda reveals that Luke still has a family in less time than it would have taken to say “Your sister, Leia is.” That seems deliberate.

46:30 – Obi Wan actually tries to justify the whole “Darth Vader killed your father” lie.

48:15 – Luke guesses correctly that his mysterious twin sister is Leia and Obi Wan’s immediate advice is “Bury your feelings down”. Seems like he could have mentioned that before letting Luke harbour an unknowingly incestuous crush for years.

49:55 – I’m genuinely disappointed that Admiral Ackbar is giving relevant information in this scene and not merely repeating “It’s a trap!” on a continuous loop.

53:50 – “What is thy bidding?” Seriously, when did Anakin decide to start talking like a Shakespearean side-character? Did finishing his emo phase eventually lead to his Elizabethan phase?

57:30 – The Empire’s finest soldiers dress in bright white while trying to discreetly conduct a mission in a giant green and brown forest.

58:45 – Seriously, does stormtrooper armour serve any purpose?

1:00:30 – These rocket bike things make for an awesome chase scene, bu they can’t be considered practical for travelling across a world littered with giant trees.

1:01:50 – Looking at that entire bike chase, I can totally imagine Lucas thinking “What about something like that, except pointless and with more expensive but equally unconvincing special effects?” and pod-racing was born.

1:03:00 – Ewok! Is that Warwick Davis? I have no idea, but it’s an ewok.

1:05:45 – Leia knocks out a stormtrooper with a stick and I’m again forced to wonder what theit armour is good for.

1:07:30 – So, if the Emperor is officially the emperor and everyone knows he used to be Palpatine and he craved the power and influence that this role gave him, why is he always lurking in shadows? Why isn’t he relishing his power as galactic ruler? Why did he even want that power? What does he use it for?

1:09:40 – Luke, Han and Chewbacca are surrounded by dozens of ewoks… Now I’ll never find which one is Warwick Davis.

1:10:45 – The ewoks bow down in worship of C3PO, meaning that after six films, spanning several decades, the dick finally gets to serve a purpose.

1:11:45 – After bing presented with the chance to be useful, C3PO insists it’s against his programming. He is a dick. Did Anakin specifically programme him to be a dick?

1:13:30 – So Han, Luke and Chewy are to be dinner, but Leia gets her hair styled?

1:13:45 – C3PO has to be ordered to tell his worshippers that he doesn’t want them to eat his friends.

1:15:00 – Luke levitates C3PO and all the droid has to do is look regal or godly, and he can’t seem to manage that.

1:15:45 – Luke thanks C3PO for being a useless dick.

1:16:15 – Story time at the village of the furry Warwick Davis’.

1:17:45 – Our heroes are welcomed into the ewok tribe, not realising that the ewoks need them for their upcoming basketball tournament.

1:18:35 – Leia discusses her memories of Luke’s and Leia’s birth mother, whom she encountered for five seconds on her way out of the womb.

1:19:50 – Luke tells Leia that she’s a Jedi too, choosing the most roundabout way of revealing they’re siblings/

1:20:45 – Leia claims that she always somehow knew they were siblings, making the brief deep kisses of the last two movies more worrisome.

1:22:00 -Han gets jealous of Luke, without thinking to ask Leia the obvious question of “Is this guy we’ve been fighting alongside for years by any chance secretly your twin brother?” I mean, that’s just something a person should know to ask.

1:25:10 – “You don’t know the power of the Dark Side. I must obey my master.” But didn’t Anakin join the Dark Side specifically because the Jedi were too controlling and he wanted the freedom of the Dark Side? Anakin Skywalker is apparently super easy to manipulate.

1:25:20 – Things to do today if you’re a Jedi: 1- Use the Force. 2- Search your feelings. Repeat.

1:27:20 – Here it comes! Come on Admiral Ackbar! Say it… Say it…

1:28:15 – I’m fairly confident I know which one is Warwick Davis.

1:29:00 – Han Solo continues to be a dick to C3PO, who continues to deserve it.

1:30:20 – So Darth Vader is bringing Luke to meet the Emperor… presumably knowing that there are only allowed to be two Sith Lords at a time. So, he knows his boss is effectively going to try to kill him soon?

1:32:30 – This exchange between Luke and the Emperor eclipses all acting in the prequels. Strong delivery, great casting.

1:35:00 – Say it… say it!

1:35:10 – It’s a trap!

1:38:45 – Stormtrooper are taken out repeatedly by stones, wooden arrows and Warick Davis’ swinging on vines. Who designed their armour? What is it made of?

1:43:20 – Han Solo mourns R2D2 essentially getting fried by essentially admitting he can do R2D2’s job himself.

1:45:00 – The Emperor gets way too turned on by Luke’s anger.

1:46:00 – Why did the ewoks worship C3PO and not Chewbacca? There are imperial machines and stormtroopers all over this world so C3PO can’t look that unusual, but Chewbacca essentially looks like the perfect ewok.

1:48:15 – “I love you”. “I know”. Han and Leia are legitimately a better love story than Twilight.

1:50:00 – Luke does an awesome backflip and suddenly Darth Vader realises how over the top he must have constantly looked. One is enough, Anakin.

1:54:50 – Han Solo hides behind a log and is sufficiently guarded from an explosion the size of a stadium.

1:56:00 – Darth Vader sees the boss who just tried to have him murdered, torturing his son, and hesitates about doing something to stop it. Anakin is whipped.

1:57:20 – Why did nobody else think of overthrowing the emperor by literally picking him up and throwing him over a railing? Darth Vader’s been working on that strategy for some thirty years and it all paid off.

1:59:25 – A star destroyer is shot down and literally starts to fall down… in outer space.

2:00:15 – James Earl Jones asks to look at Luke with his own eyes but instead settles for some burned white dude’s eyes.

2:01:30 – This guy, in a 40 second scene with the helmet off, manages to be the most convincing of the three actors to play Anakin Skywalker in the flesh.

2:04:30 – When Leia tells Han that she loves Luke, but it’s cool because he’s her brother, you can literally see Han going through the “like Game of Thrones?” moment of horror and eventual moment of relief when he realists that’s not what she meant.

2:05:45 – God damn it, Lucas! Get your CGI bullshit off this ending.

2:06:00 – No… No Lucas, no. You do not get to try to validate Jar Jar Binks by digitally inserting his race into the celebrations. He is an abomination. You will never be forgiven for him.

2:06:30 – Good, after watching several scenes of pixels celebrating, we’re back to the only celebration that matters at all.

2:07:35 – I don’t usually use profanity on this page, but… Fuck you, Lucas. Seriously, inserting the prequel version of Anakin into this ghost appearance scene is… Wow. That’s messed up. Keep the original as it was. You’re trying to validate something that nobody else wants. This is… This is not cool.

2:08:00 – That was… amazing, but that Anakin insert leaves a nasty taste right at the end… God damn it.

Final Verdict- Well, after several years of going nowhere near a Star Wars film, I’m glad I rewatched them in this order. Going from Episode I to VI really gives the series a sense of redemption. Watching them in the order they were actually made would be far too painful, even just as someone who appreciates good storytelling. Return of the Jedi is a good film, excellent even. C3PO is still a dick and Lucas should never have digitally screwed around with the original series, but it has been excellent.

Of course, we’re not quite finished just yet…

 

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Anime Reporter brings you reviews and insights on anime, manga and whatever else I feel like! Welcome!

Posted in American Film, Reviews, Running Commentary

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