Four Decades Later: “Return of the Jedi”

We’ve all heard our grandparents talk about how they saw the first Star Wars movies in theaters, but even they are surprised that these classics are this old. (Photo from Google Creative Commons).

A long, long time ago (forty years ago to be exact), the final film of the Original Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi, hit theaters worldwide. 

After the cliffhanger left by the previous film, Empire Strikes Back, and the huge success of both movies, Return of the Jedi was a must-see to know the full story.

Despite the hype, critics at the time had very different opinions. 

“Third installment in the ‘Star Wars’ saga is a sheer delight. Some routine performances are compensated for by ingenious new characters and special effects.” Says Roger Ebert to the New York Times in 1983. Ebert was one of the critics who praised the new installment to no end.

However, a UK based reviewer named Pat Gibbs had far less flattering things to say about the classic film. “While a certain amount of drama is found in these revealing scenes, it is somewhat dissipated in the romantic relations between Leia and Solo (which result from Luke disclosing that Leia is his sister). The dialogue given to the lovers is laughable, and their performances match it. So what is presumably intended as a great romantic finale comes to little, which might equally be said of the film as a whole.” Ouch.

While I personally believe Return of the Jedi to be the weakest of the three original films, I cannot deny that it has aged far better than the other two. I would say it is probably easier for a little kid or younger person to sit through as opposed to Star Wars or Empire. The connection between Luke and Vader is very strong, and the ending is actually something to smile about. 

Everyone is together, peace is back.

When I look at the latest Disney trilogy, I’m not pleased. It’s a complete rip off of the Original Trilogy, and all it does is murder the classic characters. I understand that Disney has its reasons and that they were trying to achieve comfort, but I’d prefer original movies as opposed to a soft reboot.  The new movies end in Rey stealing Luke Skywalker’s name and a forced romance. 

Say whatever you want about Return of the Jedi – but in forty more years, people will still be watching it. You can’t say the same for Disney Star Wars.


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