This is the Achille’s heel of the Original Trilogy for many including me. It is not as bad as Attack of the Clones, but there are many weaknesses to this movie including the return of the Death Star and the complete change of tone from the previous two instalments. That being said, the good things outweighs by far the bad ones in this film. This was supposed to be the epic finale of this spectacular trilogy, so in the end there are some let down, but I have to say that I was never bored or not entertained during the movie. It just lacked the iconic statue of its predecessor. To honour the arrival of Rogue One in the Star Wars Universe, this is the next instalment of my Top 5 favorite moments in each of the movies in this franchise.
1. Jabba’s Palace
When we see Jabba’s palace for the first time, there is some ressemblance to the cantina in Mos Eisley, because of the music and the people hanging around the gangster. Luke’s plan is a great idea to show the audience how powerful he has become. We understand that he plans ahead and tries to execute it and he even has a plan B with his lightsaber hidden inside R2-D2 in case he gets caught. As for the slave outfit, to me, it shows that Leia is ready to wear anything to save her friends and when the moment is right she will kill her captor with the chain he was using to control her. It shows how badass she is. Plus, there is a emotional moment between Han and Leia when they met again when he is out of his own prison. The escape from the Sarlacc’s pit is also a good way to reintroduce the new team that now includes Lando and show off how power Luke has become.
2. The Emperor’s Arrival
In the first two films, the main antagonist was Darth Vader and he was the villain leading the Empire. He was intimidating and impressive. When the Emperor arrives, the first thing we see is, Darth Vader getting down on one knee in front of him as a sign of respect. We understand immediately that he is the man in charge and even Vader has to take orders from him. We only saw a glimpse of the Emperor in Empire Strikes Back and like Vader, he is not completely a man, he was deformed by the Dark Side. Their interaction lasts only few minutes, but it is enough for us to understand how dangerous the Emperor is, because we see how submissive Vader is in front of him.
3. Yoda’s Death
This is a pivotal scene done perfectly well in this movie. We are standing in Yoda’s little house, so it feels familiar and intimate between the characters. Also, as promised Luke came back from his fight with Vader, proving that he did not fall for the Dark Side, showing his strength to Yoda. His death also means that there are no more Jedi except for Luke, so he is the last hope for the galaxy in a way. We also see a full body appearance by Obi-Wan’s force ghost explain to Luke why he lied to him and also telling him that Leia is his sister. In this one sequence, we have an emotional moment between two characters, before the last and final battle, and we are given some exposition that seems less obvious because of the death of an important character, Yoda.
4. The Final Battle
This is what the last two movies have been building up to. Yes, it has some issues, mainly with the Ewoks, but the pacing between the space battle and the one on the ground is on point. We follow the Rebellion as they fall into a trap set by The Emperor and Vader as Luke watch from the Death Star his friends being killed. It is a nice twist on a New Hope’s ending. It builds up the tension being the last movie we are not sure if the heroes will win. The fact that not wit and strategy, but the Ewoks saved the day, annoy me a little, because it looks a little bit ridiculous on screen. Yes, it is more kid friendly, but in Empire Strikes Back, it was Han’s quick thinking that got them in and out of trouble. It was the Leia’s badass, yet logical reasoning that got them out of the Death Star in a New Hope. In this case, it feels like a Deus Ex Machina. That being said, the effects are still spectacular and the space battle has gotten even more exciting since the New Hope.
5. Luke and Darth Vader
Luke is now ready to face off not only Darth Vader, but his father, and he wants to turn him back to the light. We see how Luke has changed from an impatient young boy looking for adventure to a patient man waiting for the opportunity to bring his father back to him. This lightsaber battle between them is intimate and personal unlike anything we have seen or will see in future Star Wars films. Then we have the Emperor who is trying to bring Luke to the Dark Side, but bringing his friends into a trap and by using his one true weakness: his need for his father. The fight feels grounded and since it happens in only one room it creates this claustrophobic element. And the ending of the fight is the perfect ending for Vader and the saga. By saving his son and killing the Emperor, in a way, Vader redeemed his soul and in his last living moment turned to the light. His death was necessary, because he gives more weight to his last action.
So what did you think of Episode VI – Return of the Jedi? I really enjoy this movie. It is my least favorite in the Original Trilogy, but it is still really entertaining. The last battle spectacular and it has two great key emotional moments. It has so many memorable moments and it is an amazing ending to a iconic trilogy.