• Compared to the original and The Empire Strikes Back, the finale the original trilogy comes crashing down to earth with a thud. There’s a pandering from Lucas that doesn’t need to be here and that’s frustrating. Whether it is the Ewoks (warm and literally fuzzy), the silliness of some of the dancing scenes at Jabba’s club, the film just does not strike the same balance of narrative and mood as its predecessors.
  • However, I agree wholeheartedly with Ebert here- “At the end of it all, after the three movies, we’ve taken an epic fantasy journey. Lucas has in common with all great storytellers the ability to create a complete world.” https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/return-of-the-jedi-special-edition-1997 Though that statement and his summation of the 4-star review seem like they’re more reflective of the trio of films in total, then Jedi This is an unembarrassing finale. It satisfies—but it isn’t wrong to lament the opportunity missed as well.
  • In medias res like the Bond films, most of Spielberg’s work, and the previous two Star Wars ventures—the escape from Jabba’s is like its own delightful 35-minute short film.

At the 56-minute mark Lucas repeats the shot from Empire (one of the strongest compositions of the entire series) of the back of Vader’s helmet. It is exquisite- but it does not help Return of the Jedi does not have half as many of these gorgeous moments as Empire and when it does—it is from a composition lifted directly from that film.

  • Recommend but not in the top 10 of 1983