Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

I watched Return of the Jedi last night, completing my initial viewing of the three original Star Wars movies.  Yipee!

First off, I've been saying "C-3PO" incorrectly my entire life (is this how you write it???).  I've been saying CP3O.  I'm ashamed.  I'm also pretty sure I've been spelling Vader "Vadar".

Please let me know if I am spelling things incorrectly--I don't want to keep doing it and seem like an idiot.  Thanks people-who-know-more-about-Star-Wars-than-I-do!

This movie started out in a very unexpected way.  I was literally sitting with my jaw hanging open at the sheer strangeness of it all.  This dancing and singing scene is probably the strangest thing I've seen in the entire original trilogy.


What even was that?  I guess George Lucas did a good job at disturbing surprising the audience...?

Lando is revealed to have come undercover to Jabba's place, presumably to help rescue Han.  

Oh, one weird thing about Lando and Han in this movie is that, while everyone calls Han Solo "HAHN", Lando pronounces it like H and the name Anne.  I just find it strange that no one ever corrected Billy Dee Williams for consistency.

Anywho, I suspected during The Empire Strikes Back, when Leia said "I don't trust Lando" that eventually she would come to trust him just like how it worked out with Han (okay maybe not exactly how it worked with Han ;)

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Leia rescuing Han was a great moment for their relationship and for Leia's character.  I thought it was really sweet to have them reunite after Han's near-death experience.  By the way, how was he able to breathe in that carbonite?  

Luke also shows up at Jabba's place (apparently it's a real party house) and he is completely different.  He looks about thirty years older, he's wearing all black, and he is waltzing in like he owns the place.  He is clearly very confident with the Force and bears little resemblance to New Hope Luke.  

Photo showing Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) from "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" ( 1906 x 889 )
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My question is, was the resemblance between Luke's new wardrobe and the Emperor's intentional??

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Luke meeting up with Han was great:

Han: "How are you doing?"
Luke: "Same as always."
Han: "That bad?"

And Han's other awesome remark (I love Han):

C-P3O: "You are to be terminated immediately."
Han: "Good, I hate long waits."

And while we're at it, this line from C-P3O cracked me up:

"In its belly, you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a…thousand years."


(Out of context that sounds crazy, but it was funny in the movie I promise...)

The whole slave-Leia thing I am kind of "meh" on.  On the one hand, I feel like the concept was kind of just an excuse to dress Leia up and make her an object of desire, which doesn't do her character justice.  On the other hand, her character does end up killing Jabba and it's not like she's completely useless in the sequence.  I guess I'm leaning towards being okay with it because it wasn't glamorized too much and overall I don't think it demeaned her.

Let's talk about Luke.

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The most noticable visible change is that he is suddenly wearing all black as opposed to his previous lightly colored garments.  The literature nerd came out in me and I immediately wracked my mental annotations for any symbolic meaning.  This is what I came up with.

There are a few reasons this may have been changed:

a) he needed to look different so new action figures could be sold
b) the black symbolizes that he is no longer as innocent as he once was now that he has fought Vader, etc.
c) the black symbolizes that he is being tested and could still go to the Dark Side if pushed

"A" is probably a  happy consequence of the other two decisions, but I don't think it was the prime motivation (in Luke's case--but the new storm troopers and Leia's million different outfits probably were motivated by the desire to make lots of action figures).

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"B" and "C" are very subtle ways of hinting to the audience that Luke has changed a lot and that he is in a more vulnerable place.  Colors, lighting, musical queues, and little hints like this are what makes films interesting and causes viewers to watch over and over again so they can pick up on things like this.

I personally love this kind of thing, as a lit nerd.

Yoda dies in this Episode, which wasn't as sad as it was adorable (that sounds awful).  I don't feel like I have a strong connection with Yoda because he wasn't in the movies too much, but that's not to say I didn't feel anything when he died.

It just wasn't as emotional as a death from Han would be (CURSE YOU FORCE AWAKENS).

Luke tucking Yoda into bed is tied with ewoks giving hugs in the list of cute things in this movie.  I practically fainted from adorableness overload.

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Luke and Yoda are so cute as companions, I just love them.

In the same Yoda death scene, Luke guesses that the sister Yoda is mentioning is Leia.  At first I was shocked that Luke knew so quickly that it was Leia--I mean it could have been anybody.

But then I realized Luke only knows one female in the universe his age.

This film has a problem that the other films didn't really have, and it's that there is a lot of exposition.  A lot of time is spent with characters just explaining the plot rather than anything being shown.  This was a bit of a burden on the movie, and made it move slower, in my opinion.

I didn't mind it too much though, since this was my first viewing and I really had to pay attention to what everyone was saying in order to grasp the story.

Let's just take a moment now and appreciate how flawless Leia's hair is during the journey to Endor.  It's just...so...beautiful.

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As I was watching, I wrote these exact words in my notes:

"Strong Indiana Jones influence during lawn mower race scene apparently"

Let me decipher what I meant by that.

The scene on Endor that involves Luke, Leia, and Stormtroopers flying through Endor did remind me of certain Indiana Jones shots, which wasn't surprising since a lot of the people involved in Star Wars are also associated with Indiana Jones.

I call it the lawn mower race scene, because at first glance the little cart things do kinda look like mowers.  I dunno, clearly they don't really look like lawn mowers, my mind was just playing tricks on me.

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Anywho....

The ewoks are adorable yet disturbing.  Their fur is cute and they walk adorably, but their lips and eyes are sinister.  I shudder and giggle whenever I see one.  Oh, and look at this adorable ewok that looks like Strider!

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Luke telling Leia that they are siblings is cute, I guess, until you really listen to what Leia is saying.  She says she's always known in the back of her mind...did she know even when she was kissing Luke?  Because that's a tad odd...

Han gets mad that Leia is telling Luke things she won't reveal to him, and it does cause sufficient drama and it made me sad because Han was sad (and I love Han).

But if you look at it, why couldn't Leia just tell Han the truth and reveal that she was Luke's sister?  Is there harm in that?  Is there??

The Emperor finally shows up in this film, and he looks like a cross between Will Turner's father and the old guy from Braveheart.  I dunno, kinda.

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I couldn't get their images out of my head.

And now we get to my main issue with the entire film.  I suppose "issue" is not quite the correct word, it's more like confusion.

Luke is with the Emperor and Vader who are completely defenseless.  The Emperor urges Luke to kill him and "let the hate flow through".  Apparently this "hateful" act will successfully convert Luke to the Dark Side.

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This logic doesn't really seem to follow, in my opinion however.  Luke killing the Emperor and Darth Vader when he has the chance does not necessarily need to be a hateful act.  Couldn't Luke kill the Emperor and Darth Vader out of love for his friends and desire to keep them (and the rest of the Galaxy) safe?

I mean, isn't that why anyone goes to war?  Not because they hate their enemy, but because they love their home??

"I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend." (Faramir, Two Towers)

Maybe there are other things I am missing, but this internal conflict within Luke went on for what seemed like an hour, and the whole time I just wanted him to realize that he was responsible for the Galaxy and protecting them!

I mean, they have proven themselves dangerous (*cough cough* Alderaan)

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What if Vader hadn't reverted to the good side and the Emperor and Vader had gone through with destroying more planets?  Then Luke would not have been a hero, would he have been?

It worked out well, but it was close to being disastrous.  What are your thoughts on this subject?  I just saw the film yesterday, so I am still sorting out my feelings.

Han and Leia have a second "I know" moment which completely crashed my emotional system.  I couldn't handle the adorableness.

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Back to Luke, the action sequences were new and improved obviously.  He had new flips and stunts (apparently the one handed hand-stands with Yoda paid off).  

I love this part when he absolutely unloads on Vader when he threatens to try and corrupt Leia.  This doesn't look choreographed at all, it looks like sheer rage and defensiveness.  Luke does realize that he is turning into his father though when he cuts of Vader's hand just as Vader had done to him earlier, and has the clarity of mind to resist pursuing his blind hate, which is really admirable.

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During this sequence, Luke's face is half lit with white light and half with blue, symbolizing (yay symbolism!!) that he is conflicted inside between the good side and the Dark Side.  Like I said, I just adore these kind of visual queues.

The light saber battle is the most emotionally and physically intense we've seen in the whole trilogy, and it was really stressful.  

Luke being electrocuted was really hard to watch, and his screams are so heart-wrenching.  I want to know how the Emperor ever possibly got the power to shoot people with lightening out of his hands.  'Cause I want that ability.

I was spoiled that Luke was going to live (CURSE YOU FORCE AWAKENS!!), and this was still intense!  Imagine seeing this in theaters for the first time, not knowing if Luke was going to live or not...!

This line, just...just read it *cries in corner softly*

Luke: "I have to save you."
Vader: "You already have."

*Sobs increase*

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After this emotionally draining sequence, we get back to Leia and Han for one of the best scenes of the entire movie, in my opinion.  Leia tells Han very matter-of-factly that Luke is her brother, and seems to almost expect that Han should already know.

Han's face in this scene is my favorite...I can't explain how awesome it is.



From fun and uplifting scene, we get back to Vader's pyre.  I really respect Luke for taking the time to give Vader a send off like this, and it's really heart-warming to know that Vader was redeemed in the end.  

I guess Vader is kind of like the Sauron to the Emperor's Morgoth; he was kind of preserved from ultimate corruption because he served another for a time and that was good.  The parallel is not exact, but that came to my mind as I was watching.

The ending music is my new favorite track just because it's so fun and kind of ridiculous.  It doesn't seem to fit, but you know what?  Whatever!  It works!  I spotted a shot of a Stormtrooper crowd-surfing, so make of that what you will...

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Yoda, Anikan, and Ben Kenobe all together at the end pushed my heart toward "dangerously full" level.

I really liked this movie.  I wouldn't say it was my favorite of the originals because in some places (ewok scene) it lagged, but it definitely was a worthy conclusion to the set and I am so happy I now have some closure.

What did you think of this final episode???

Here is my ranking of the trilogy:

1. The Empire Strikes Back
2. A New Hope
3. Return of the Jedi

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15 comments:

  1. YES I'M SO GLAD YOU FINALLY FINISHED :D

    See that stormtrooper crowd surfing, I did not. Amused, now I am. (Also you still wrote CP3O instead of C3PO in the quotes XD and don't worry everybody makes mistakes)

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    1. Gah, failure!! I didn't realize my mistake until this afternoon and I took those notes last night so I must have missed it. Thanks for bringing it to my attentions!

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    2. I laughed so hard when I read your comment. But don't sweat it! That's what I'm here for! ;)

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  2. First of with the whole slave Leia thing, Carrie Fischer actually requested to wear that because the reason I don't remember. Also with Lukes cloak I want to say its because the directors wanted him to actually turn into a bad guy at the end but your guess is as good as mine. Lastly the Order of favorites is mine also!

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    1. Well according to Wookiepedia, "Star Wars creator George Lucas requested the costume in part based on Fisher's complaints about the lack of interesting costumes in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back." She didn't exactly request it, she just wanted more interesting costumes. Anyway, that's cool that we have the same order!

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    2. I'd read on the internet that Carrie Fisher didn't really like the costume, but then you can't believe everything you read. ;)

      It's possible she requested more variety in her costuming, but didn't particularly approve of what they gave her?

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    3. That's what I kind of suspect was the case, Meredith, but like you said it's difficult to know for sure.

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  3. That's great that you finished the trilogy! Return of the Jedi is not only my favorite Star Wars movie but also one of my all-time favorite movies, period:). Luke is the reason - this movie shows him at his best. I don't care for all the Jabba the Hutt and ewok scenes, either, but Luke more than compensates for that.

    Regarding Luke's black outfit, I have my own personal interpretation of it. It's always struck me as very clerical-looking. While I know the resemblance must be sheer coincidence (I agree that the reasons you labeled as "B" and "C" are probably what the filmmakers actually had in mind), I think it's fitting. Luke sacrifices himself to save his father (no, he doesn't end up dying after all, but he is willing to and nearly does), the ultimate Christ-like act, and since a priest stands in persona Christi, Luke's costume emphasizes that he, too, is following in Christ's footsteps. Obviously, the idea can't be taken too far, but that's how I look at it. Besides, I think he looks quite distinguished in black, all deeper meanings aside:).

    Yes, Luke still would have been a hero even if Vader hadn't reverted! He didn't surrender himself in order to save the galaxy by killing the Emperor and Vader - he did it in order to redeem his father or perish in the attempt. His decision to surrender himself into Vader's custody is rooted in sacrificial love. If he had killed Vader instead, he would have undermined his own mission. Every soul is worth saving - even Darth Vader's - and so, sensing the good within his father, Luke refuses to kill him. Not only that, but he is willing to die for his faith and filial loyalty. That's why I love him so much. I could go on and on. His efforts had merit that was independent of the results, just like Frodo's efforts to destroy the Ring. Like Mother Teresa said, "God doesn't ask that I be successful - God asks that I be faithful."

    Yes, Luke is so cute with Yoda;). And I personally love the brother-sister revelation scene, along with the following scene between Luke and Vader (which is why I wrote a poem to bridge the gap between the two). And the lightsaber duel and electrocution scenes are indeed very intense... The lightning scared me so badly the first time I saw the movie. And I share your reaction to Vader's death scene... So heartbreaking. One of the best scenes in the movie, one of the best death scenes ever. Luke is so tender and emotional... He's found his father only to lose him right away. And Mark Hamill's acting is incredible.

    Anyway, can you tell this is my favorite?;). It has its weak points, yes, but it also has Luke at the height of his awesomeness and completes his convincing transformation from farm boy to Jedi. So it can't be anything but my favorite.

    - Ellen

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    1. Wow I love your point about his wardrobe change, it is very clerical looking. I didn't notice before. And that definitely does tie in with his sacrifice in the movie.

      Hmm, I see what you mean. I guess I was thinking more like Pilate--that'd be better for one Darth Vader to die than the entire galaxy should perish. But you're right, even Vader was worth saving. Luke was wise to see that--I like him even more now!!

      It is so heartbreaking when Luke is carrying Vader at the very end and all the Stormtroopers and everyone couldn't care less about Vader. Wow, I'm tearing up right now just thinking about it :'(

      I can definitely tell this one is your favorite!! Thanks for your explanation, I understand a lot better now :D

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    2. Thank *you* for giving me an excuse to ramble about Luke. I'm always glad to help someone like him even more:).

      Now I feel the urge to watch Vader's death scene and cry over it... I've seen it too many times to actually cry outwardly, but I do it inwardly.

      - Ellen

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  4. I love this movie. It's my favorite of the original three, followed by Empire. I love how much Luke has matured by this time, and the love story between Leia and Han is romantic as always. :)
    Luke's dark clothing not only made him look cool, but I think also signified the sorrows he had seen, and the fact that he could easily slip over to the Dark Side even by his own desire to protect and do justice. I loved it that he was willing to sacrifice his own life to try and reach his father and save his people, and refused to compromise his morals even though it was tempting. It can't have been easy to love Darth Vader, but Luke made the conscious choice to do it- which is an important theme. Love is not just a feeling, but a choice that must be made daily.

    And Darth Vader's redemption by the end of the film is my favorite part, I think. Of the entire Star Wars series, Vader's rescue of Luke and subsequent death is the scene I've watched the most.

    Also, I agree, Luke's agonized screams always tugged at my heart and still do to this day. When I was young I could hardly stand to watch the scene, and yet couldn't seem to tear myself away. It was just so awful to see a beloved character (on whom I had a crush at the time) be tortured so mercilessly. That's probably why Darth Vader's actions touched me so much, because in that moment, he became a hero in my young, black-and-white seeing eyes.

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    1. "Love is not just a feeling, but a choice that must be made daily." That's beautiful and so true!!

      I understand why this is your favorite--Luke definitely has his shining moments in this film, particularly when it comes to the plot with Darth Vader :)

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    2. "Love is not just a feeling, but a choice that must be made daily." That's so beautiful and true that I just had to chime in and say so, too:). It sounds like Emmarayn Redding and I love Luke for exactly the same reasons! Luke is so frequently misunderstood and unappreciated (from what I've read elsewhere on the often-nasty Internet), so it's refreshing to find people who share my admiration of him.

      - Ellen

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  5. Yay, I'm glad you watched it! This movie has always been my favorite of the three, although now I feel like it has my favorite scenes of the trilogy, but isn't necessarily my favorite as a whole.

    Ugh, those dancing scenes are so weird. 0.0 I don't really like any of the scene's in Jabba the Hut's...home(?).

    It's so cute that Leia rescues Han. (I love Han too) "By the way, how was he able to breathe in that carbonite?" Goood question. :D

    Yeah, I don't think it was a bad thing that Jabba the Hut enslaved Leia(okay, okay, CLEARLY it was a bad thing, but not a poor choice on the director's part, you know). I'm just not big on the outfit. :/

    "Yoda dies in this Episode, which wasn't as sad as it was adorable" LOL

    Han and Leia have to be the best sci-fi couple since ever.

    That's true... If I were seeing that "electrocuting" scene in theaters, I would be a mess. I'm a mess either way, really. That whole sequence is why I love RotJ so much. It's just so beautiful the way Darth Vadar saves Luke.

    Oh, the other thing I loved about this movie was the scene where the ewoks start worshiping C-3PO and he has no idea how to handle the fame. XD

    Are you going to watch The Force Awakens next?

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    1. I agree with you; while this isn't my favorite movie it does have some of my fav scenes.

      Jabba's...hut? XD

      I don't think the slavery part was a bad idea either, really I'm just kinda iffy on the outfit as well.

      I am indeed going to watch Force Awakens and I hear it's really good!

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