Dir. by Richard Marquand - 2 hrs. 14 min.
by Clayton Hollifield
Once again (and possibly for the last time), I'm in the position of trying to bang out some paragraphs about a movie that's been beaten to death, and then beaten to death by people who thought they were being clever by beating it to death, and then had it's corpse humped into a pile of meat by the children of the people who thought they were being clever by beating it to death, and then had the pile of pre-humped meat sold wholesale to Disney, who will be re-packaging and cramming this stuff down everyone's throat until the end of days. And this is easily the worst of the three original "Star Wars" films; even Harrison Ford is mugging for the camera before long, lest he be upstaged by a menagerie of puppets.
This is what you need to know about the plot:
Literally everything else in this film is either teddy bears or stuff blowing up. And the sarlacc pit, which was pretty cool. Not as cool as Princess Leia's slave costume, but still pretty cool. These facts don't exactly make "Return of the Jedi" unwatchable, but this is a film that takes literally every opportunity to pander to children, in a way that the earlier films weren't quite so naked about. I'm not saying this film is populated entirely by characters who exist to sell toys of, but the ensuing thirty years doesn't give much credence to opposing that view.
I knew when I watched "Empire Strikes Back" that this would likely be my last trip through the Star Wars films, and that was confirmed by watching "Jedi." I'm not exactly mad about it; they were big films, but they're kids' films, and don't deliver what I want out of a movie. And they don't take me back to a time I'm nostalgic about, either. This material is just better receding to the deep storage closet in my brain, where I can spend a few minutes ruminating on exactly how hot Carrie Fisher was in 1982 and not have that interrupted by a talking slug or Greedo yelling about traps. I'll probably see the new batch of films, not because I'm super-excited about them, but just because they'll at least be something new that hasn't been drilled straight into the ground yet.
3 / 5 - DVD