Title: Return of the Jedi
Release Date: 1983
Director: Richard Marquand
And so we conclude introducing the children to the classic trilogy of Star Wars films. The kids enjoyed this and certainly got a lot more laughs than the previous two installments. Return of the Jedi certainly does have more humor and a positive spirit of bonhomie that is a big tonal shift from Empire Strikes Back. On the other hand the Luke-Vader-Emperor scenes have an undertone of menace I didn’t catch as a child (although at least one of my kids was spooked). The portions at Jabba’s palace really creeped me out as a kid, and they’re still pretty creepy (I didn’t recall just how gruesome it is when Leia chokes Jabba to death)
Over the years, Return of the Jedi has gotten a bad rap, but I loved it as a kid and I think it still holds up. . People criticize the Ewoks, but dammit, I love the Ewoks. Not only are they cute, but the whole success of the Rebellion hinges on the fact that the Emperor is too narrow to foresee that a small, non-human species will ally with the Rebels and turn the tide of the battle. Of all the changes made for the Special Editions, this one fares the worst in my opinion. Give me back my Ewok celebration song and the ghost of Sebastian Shaw! All things considered, it was a delight to revisit this series of childhood memories with my own kids.