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CT 30th Anniversary of ROTJ

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by Feelicks, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. Ord-Mantell70

    Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Master star 3

    Mar 9, 2009
    Fond memories.

    Saw the film in 1983 at age 12. Was so eager to see how everything would finally wrap up, after ESB's cliffhanger ending. That's around that time that I really became fascinated by the story actually, when the focus began to shift a little more towards Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker's tragic past and eventual redemption, and the PT was looming ahead.

    The final space battle, and the confrontation between Luke, the Emperor, and Vader in the DS really blew my mind. I liked Jabba's palce scenes and many others too.

    Above all, I'll remember this :

    - Yoda's line : " Luke...Do not...Do not underestimate the powers of the Emperor, or suffer your father's fate you will...".

    - Luke and Leïa's scene on Endor : the dead mother, sibling revelation, Luke explaining their father can still be saved and brought back to the good side. One of the most moving and beautiful scene of the Saga to me. Great acting from both Hamill and Fisher. Awesome night scenery as well.

    - Vader's throwing of the Emperor in the shaft, and the unmasking scene : beautiful dialog, music, and execution.

    - Luke burning Vader's suit and the funeral pyre, covered by the Force's musical theme.

    - the last shots, with Luke looking at the 3 Jedi ghosts and smiling. Wonderful ending.
  2. Ord-Mantell70

    Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Master star 3

    Mar 9, 2009
    By the way, does anyone know if the book will be published in paperback format this time ?

    It was for TMOSW, but not for TMOESB....Probably due to the number of big sketches and pictures involved.

    Those big large books are so inconvenient to read in bed...
  3. Ingram_I

    Ingram_I Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 7, 2012
    "I'm with you, too!"

    Get this: Return of the Jedi was the first movie I saw in theaters. I was just a little guy. My eyes were as big as silver dollars; never blinked, or so I‘m told.

    I’m all over the place with these six installments. It’s a turbulent relationship. If this film isn’t my favorite on all accounts, it is nonetheless the one for which I have the most love, if that makes any sense. A New Hope, of course, helped give rise to the modern blockbuster and paved the way for a new era of FX-driven whimsy, but the film itself remains something of a prototype anomaly of-and-from its time, clothing space opera in 70s teen culture (and hair), with heroes energized with a similar kind of loosey-goosey spontaneity carried over from the kids of American Graffiti. The Empire Strikes Back took the saga one step away from our transplanted reality and further into its own atmospheric creation, but likewise remains forever in the phase shift between both decades and both OT installments on either side.

    The thing about Return of the Jedi is that it’s the first of the Star Wars films to commit entirely, unabashedly, to its innocent pulp premise, without the slightest trace of postmodernism (save, perhaps, for Han Solo simply being Han Solo). Comparable to where The Avengers is now in terms of comic book/superhero movies, Episode VI was nestled deep in the navel of that very special time when early 80s wonderment had fully established itself on screen and amidst youth-to-prepubescent culture. Star Wars was now fully suburban, household, part of the family and pretty much the axiom of every boy’s world (think Elliot’s bedroom in E.T.) to such a degree that it would go on to own the rest of the decade and, well, an entire generation.

    I’m a native of Northern California. I grew up in a suburban neighborhood but our small city (or big town) was and still is immediately surrounded by larger rural areas; woods and foothills and larger mountains in every direction save south. Even directly behind my house was a wooded area that stretched and snaked on through to the outskirts. The Redwood Coast is less than a two hour drive west, and I spent a lot of time camping there as a kid, and even ended up living there later on. My point here is that, in addition to being a Lucasfilm, Marine County born production, even within the context of its storied setting Return of the Jedi felt weirdly local, and thus more personal.

    It really is a kind of woodsy, outdoor adventure that seemed familiar to me but equally fantastical at the same time. I really dig the torch-lit world of the Ewok village and how the coniferous environ of Endor’s forest moon is mixed with Imperial landing platform during the nighttime scene, bathed in a halogen glow. Even Luke’s exchange with Ben Kenobi on Dagobah evokes a camping trip experience; max out the volume on your surround-sound to appreciate the rich texture of background wildlife mixed with Ben’s ghostly chamber voice as he recounts the Prequel arc in a way that brings the whole saga to a precise point of summation for both Luke and the audience. I always loved that scene. It’s quiet moment of reflection before the big end.


    On a simpler level, Return of the Jedi is the most action packed and spectacle oriented of the OT. Its got more monsters and creatures and Muppeted misfits. Jabba’s palace is such an explosion of in-camera animation with countless off-beat alien denizens existing both within the frame and seemingly just beyond. I mean, look at that mopey looking creature to the left of the image below:


    Who is that guy? I don’t know, but I like him, cuz he’s there, and neat looking. There’s even an entire scene devoted to a torture room where the only speaking characters on screen are droids; worlds within worlds; little stories happening everywhere. How cool is that?!


    I never had an issue with the Ewoks, either. George Lucas wanted to liven things up, perhaps to the max, with this installment. The Ewoks were a part of that process. Yes, they were a compromise to not having the budget and practicality for countless Wookie costumes and, of course, they were alternately seized for their commercial value (uh, just like every other alien, character and spaceship from the previous films). But so what? Is that alone supposed to be an argument against them? I think the Ewoks are fun. They serve their thematic purpose as primitives outsmarting a technologically superior Empire, which is indeed presented with a marked degree of jest. This is one of the major qualities of Star Wars as a whole.

    James Cameron attempted his own 'natives versus warmongering technocrats' but failed, in my book, precisely because he took the whole affair way too seriously, inflating it with ham-fisted morals and overwrought self-importance; what took him nearly three hours Lucas got across in 30 minutes, free from pretention, with a cheery smile. Yet beneath all the silly slapstick mayhem is the ever-so dry sense of irreverent humor; the very fact that the evil Sith Lord of the galaxy and his Imperial dominance are being circumvented in part by a tribe of singing teddy bears. It’s hilarious. Absurdity makes a point just as clearly as straight-faced seriousness. I can go on and on about a number of other aspects that I love about this film but I'm starting to ramble so I think I'll leave well enough alone for now.

  4. thesevegetables

    thesevegetables Jedi Knight star 4

    Nov 11, 2012
    Almost crying?
    I think.
    Ewok parties are awesome.
    I loved the optimistic note ROTJ ended on. And the general look of the film. And a lot of stuff.
  5. Iefan

    Iefan Jedi Knight star 1

    Jan 31, 2013
    Long live ROTJ. Arguably my earliest Star Wars memory is C3P0 and R2D2 going up to Jabba's Palace and talking to the Gatekeeper..
  6. DantheJedi

    DantheJedi Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 23, 2009
    One thing I remember about ROTJ was that it was the first movie with pre-release hype that I can remember. I was six and all of a sudden there was this buzz about a new Star Wars movie coming out. The Kenner SW figures I remember seeing at the store were going from carrying The Empire Strikes Back logo to Return of the Jedi, and my mother got me a blue T-shirt with the movie logo on it from Sears.

    When the whole family went to see the movie, I was blown away, to be perfectly honest. It was the best cinematic thrill ride a six-year old could ask for.
  7. Blur

    Blur Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 11, 1999
    Not sure about this, but I suspect the Making of ROTJ may only come out in HC - I can only find the HC listing on Amazon.
  8. Ord-Mantell70

    Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Master star 3

    Mar 9, 2009

    Terrific scene : awesome set, sounds, and dialog referring to the backstory/PT events and Anakin Skywalker/Vader's past and future. That's actually the scene where the name Anakin was heard and revealed to the audience for the first time. The background wildlife noises during Ben's speeches always strucked me too, when re-watching the movie. It really belongs to that scene's mood indeed.

    The other Dagobah scene with Yoda and Luke is really good too. Those Dagobah moments, at least the idea to bring Yoda's back, were suggested by the late Richard Marquand (director) if I remember well. Wonder wether it's Lucas or Kasdan who wrote the main part of those great dialogs. Likely it's the later. Never took a look at the relevant drafts.
  9. aepawlik87

    aepawlik87 Jedi Youngling

    Feb 21, 2013
    Such a PERFECT end to such a PERFECT trilogy. And thank goodness Lucas was finally able to fix it by adding that song from Jabba's palace in the special edition... God dammit George. I'd hate to be that guy who starts the argument about that, but c'mon. The original was incredible though.
  10. lbr789

    lbr789 Jedi Knight star 1

    Jan 27, 2013
    Ewoks no Ewoks, it just might be my favorite of all 6 (though I can never truly decide).
    Happy Anniversary, and long live RoTJ!
  11. gezvader28

    gezvader28 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Mar 22, 2003
    there's tons of great stuff in it - Luke and Vader's conflict is resolved perfectly , loads of great action scenes , the best space battle etc.

    on the downside - I never liked the ewoks or some of jabba's puppet-friends , Han seems stupid and Luke being Lea's brother doesn't work . It just felt like it regressed , not as good as ESB .
  12. J_Girl

    J_Girl Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 18, 2001
    I was a few weeks shy of 15, saw it opening day and remember everyone in the theater cheering and hooting each time a known character was introduced on the screen, especially when Boussh's helmet was removed and Leia was revealed. I loved that! I don't remember how many times I saw it in theater that summer. I stopped counting at 10 or finally ran out of allowance by that point, I can't remember which.

    Jabba really grossed me out! The Rancor was scary! Loved/Hated the ewoks - although them using the stormtrooper helmets as an xylophone was pretty cool. The sarlacc was awesome and not stupid looking Little Shop of Horrors version it is now. The whole Tatooine segment was the best! :cool: When they all stood together at the end of the movie, I still want to cry.
    Ord-Mantell70 likes this.
  13. Cryogenic

    Cryogenic Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 20, 2005
    Please don't leave well enough alone!! PLEASE KEEP GOING!!!

    Superb post.

    And you just about included the dinkiest, most special moment of all with that final image, didn't ya?

    Who's inside that trash can, anywayz? You gotta love how the saga wraps back round on itself like that (child-like curiosity; sort of fourth-wall-breaking).

    In many ways, ROTJ is the most "prequel-ish" of the OT, like:

    - its added length: while ANH and TESB hew close to the 2-hour mark, ROTJ gleefully stretches the run-time to 2-and-a-quarter hours (it also has longer, prequel-like end credits), making it more extreme in a way

    -the beautiful moments of German expressionism (blinds, staircase slats, eerie shadows, etc.), leading to heightened abstraction in the film's climactic lightsaber duel

    - the three-pronged action capper: TESB technically had two, but ROTJ dares to add a space battle to the mix, giving us a rich confection of sound and fury

    - Luke wielding a green blade, deepening the colour associations here, and giving us the classic RGB lightsaber colour palette

    - the bright, campy surrender to the absurd

    - locking down the look of Jabba

    - bringing an enhanced sense of "return" from the title down: planets, mechanical hand motif, snapping back from the gloom of TESB to the lighter tone of ANH, etc., where Lucas' "rhyming" scheme becomes much more apparent

    - a sense of fateful reckoning: this, in some ways, is the most "mythic" of the Star Wars movies, IMO

    - canonizing the demonic, comic-book menace of the Emperor (you could sort of imagine him as this more aloof alien mystic based on the original hologram scene in TESB)

    - putting the "truth" of Darth Vader's identity front-and-centre (here it's all but impossible to tell yourself he was simply lying to Luke in TESB)

    - adding bold, creepy chorals to the musical tapestry of the saga (there was the tiniest hint of choral work for Cloud City in TESB, but ROTJ bridges the gap and allows for a sort of pre-echo of the Greek chorus used in the prequels for various pieces, including its two show-stoppers: Duel of the Fates and Battle of the Heroes)

    - a "primitives versus an invading superpower" theme, which would be revisited to good effect in TPM, painting the saga's arch villain as an intransigent racist, amongst other things

    - allegorizing a classic struggle between nature and machines: a key Lucasian theme (it's never more potent than here)

    - opening up the possibility that villains can die improbable, even ridiculous deaths (Boba and the Sarlacc; and to a lesser extent, the Emperor being tossed out like trash)

    - suggesting something sad and magical about the comportment of "the mother" of the saga ("kind, but sad")

    - making it pretty explicit that the Force runs strong in hereditary lines

    - having more of a trash, exploitative, pulpy feel (as you've noted), and weighing that against the more profound issues being explored

    - showing that a lead protagonist to a SW movie can actually be pretty stoic, even cold (Luke is so changed here -- outwardly, anyway)

    - conveying a major tonal shift and taking flak for it (the start of TESB at least has, IMO, a sort of fake verisimilitude with ANH in its interpersonal dealings ("Laugh it up, fuzzball!"), but Jedi largely repudiates the sepulchral seriousness of TESB's main body)

    ...well, I could go on.

    For all that, ROTJ also led to one of the greatest fan edits of all time. Google "star wars yorkshire version".

    An absolutely worthy entry!!!! Maybe, like you, the one I sorta love most. I didn't see it in 1983, but that's the year of my birth.

    And I like forests, too. Not nearly as much as I should, mind you, but I like 'em.

    You know... whenever I start thinking about this movie too long, both its forest/conservation treatise, and the final actions of Darth Vader, rising up against his own shadow, exert a pressure. They seem to be asking a question: WHAT HAVE *YOU* DONE TODAY?

    With that, I better get busy. See ya later.
  14. Darth_Kiryan

    Darth_Kiryan Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 13, 2009
    ....i wasn't even born yet. or considered.
  15. TheWolfmanGuitarist

    TheWolfmanGuitarist Jedi Youngling

    Mar 6, 2013
    I was 5 when I first saw it. To this day, it is my favourite film, not just of Star Wars, but of anything.

    Return Of The Jedi had the biggest impact on me out of the OT. It was the grand finale - Luke VS Vader, The Emperor arrives, Jabba's freakin' palace, the Rancor, the forest moon of Endor, the Empire builds ANOTHER Death Star. For me, at the time, this wasn't "retread", this was "Oh, no! They just barely blew up the first one! And Luke's got bigger problems right now!". The death of Yoda. That scene. I can still tear up.

    The acting from Hamill, McDiarmid, James Earl Jones, Frank Oz bringing Yoda to life, everyone (I never really got negative about Ford and Fisher's acting here) - it was all superb. The editing in that 3-way climax was so well done, I can't describe how much i loved it all coming together.

    I love the Jabba Palace sequence. Some might tear it apart a thousand different ways, but in the end, it was a really fun, exciting sequence to watch. From C-3PO's terror, to Leia bargaining with Jabba, and then Luke's arrival, to the Rancor fight, and finally the entire situation devolving into a chaotic swashbuckling skirmish aboard the skiffs, like something out of a pirate adventure.

    But my personal favourite:
    Luke: "Never. I'll never turn to the Dark Side. You've failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me." Stands proud.
    The Emperor, with the ultimate grimace on his face, that ultimate defeat: "So be it...Jedi."

    I consider that one of the greatest moments in cinematic history.
    This b*stard, the ultimate evil in the galaxy, finally stands before someone who can stop him. A Jedi Knight. The Emperor's ultimate fear is realized in Luke's proud, unwavering words. Palpatine's whole plot to turn Luke and make him his new apprentice unravels right there.
    He ends up going into a mad fit, trying to kill Luke. I guess, somehow blinding himself with his own power, his own overconfidence, not even realizing Luke was right about the conflict going on in Vader. And Vader. The camera on Vader during the most critical moments of his miserable existence. Who couldn't feel that pain within Vader? And then he makes that grand move across the frame, toward The Emperor. He sheds his evil self, then and there, sacrificing himself to save his son. His son. And in the greater scheme of things, Vader undoes The Emperor's evil hold on the galaxy, finally bringing balance to the Force.

    The Battle Of Endor - Space, Forest, Throne Room - I've already posted about this but I'll just say - one of the greatest spectacles ever captured on film. Movie magic.

    And the aftermath - Vader's death and funeral - the galaxy celebrating - the forest celebration in the Ewok village - I don't think I could keep a dry eye. The special edition's celebration score, I have to say, outdoes the Nub Yub song. At first I reacted with the whole "Oh, no, they changed it." but after watching it, and when Luke rejoins his friends, the score takes this choral turn, like an emotional beating comes at you. Every character there deserved a happy ending, the saga deserved a happy ending. I couldn't be happier with it.

    Return Of The Jedi - my favourite film of all time.
    Neonic, oierem, lbr789 and 2 others like this.
  16. Blur

    Blur Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 11, 1999
    Perfect post, WolfmanGuitarist.

    I am getting a new appreciation for ROTJ now that I recently got the film on Blu-ray. Everything looks so much crisper/clearer; I am able to see the detail on many things I didn't notice as much before, including the material on Lando's tunic (as he's hanging from the skiff), the texture on the Ewoks' fur, etc. It's almost like seeing the film for the first time...

    I didn't always like the Ewoks. Even up through the '97 ROTJ SE, I felt that these cute teddy bears/stuffed animals really marred/ruined the film. However, in more recent viewings I finally get what Lucas was doing here. The fact that they're diminuitive is the whole point; it shows the triumpth of "the little guy" over a superior force, with some help from the Rebels, of course. I guess what was throwing me off was that I used to want the Ewoks to be Wookies, since I had read years ago that Lucas originally wanted this, but decided not to because: It would have been much more expensive & logistically difficult (i.e., it was a lot easier to find people to play the Ewoks & to outfit them with the fur, than it would have been to find a large group of 7-foot tall men & women to play the Wookies), and Chewie had already been established as someone who was familiar with advanced technology, so to show Wookies with primitive weapons would have been contradictory. And, if the Wookies had defeated the Imperials it wouldn't have been as impressive since the Wookies are obviously so much stronger anyway.

    (That being said, The Wookie battle against the invading robots in ROTS was great & perfectly done, though I wish it had been longer).

    Vader's redemption & destroying the Emperor (at the cost of his own life) was very moving & poignant - as a kid back in the day, this was one of my favorite scenes in not only the SW Saga, but any film, period.

    At one time, the order that I preferred the OT films was: ESB, ANH, and ROTJ. Now, the order is more like: ESB, with ROTJ & ANH tying (and ROTJ is now somewhat overtaking ANH).
    TheWolfmanGuitarist likes this.
  17. TheWolfmanGuitarist

    TheWolfmanGuitarist Jedi Youngling

    Mar 6, 2013
    And yeah, on Blu-Ray, on a big tv in a dark room, it's wow! Everything looks great. Can't get enough of the Millennium Falcon and a handful of Rebel Starfighters blasting through about a thousand TIE Fighters around them. Just so cool.

    I never got the hate for the Ewoks because to me, like any of the other creatures in Star Wars, they were aliens, first and foremost. The first time we see one, he's got a spear aimed at Princess Leia. The little hyper maniac, we don't know if he's just gonna start stabbing or what. Then when they all emerge from the trees, after capturing our beloved heroes in a trap, the very next scene is "We're having a feast!". Like savages haha I guess these are all thoughts from childhood. I was a big Alien/Aliens/Predator fan as a little kid, so film aliens always got me a little worried that something bad was right around the corner LOL

    Agreed completely.
    lbr789 likes this.

    DARTHSHAME Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 19, 2003
    Wow. I remember watching ROTJ with my family at a drive-in. I was in grade school at the time. A great moment from my childhood. I admit that my younger sister and I were really cheering on the Ewoks. Now, I can barely watch their scenes. [face_sigh]
  19. Orochi Oni

    Orochi Oni Jedi Knight star 2

    Mar 8, 2013
    This was my favourite Star Wars movie as a kid. Now it's a tie between this and Empire.

    I'm not quite old enough to have seen the original films when they were first released in the cinema, but I used to get my Mother to rent ROTJ from the local video shop about every other week when I was a kid. I couldn't even begin to guess how many times I've seen this film in my lifetime. [face_laugh]

    Long live Return of the Jedi! [face_party]
  20. Bobatron

    Bobatron Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 3, 2012
    Eek. You say that like filmmaking in the early '80s was primitive. I refuse to call 1983 a long time ago.
    I saw TESB in theaters but the viewing in the theater for ROTJ was the one where I actually knew what was going on and recall how I felt in the theater with each gripping twist and turn, and the sense of a new SW movie being out there with new characters to get from the toy stores. Ewoks have never bothered me (except in their own TV movie) and don't bother me now. It just feels like less of a conclusion now though.
    whostheBossk likes this.
  21. Kenneth Morgan

    Kenneth Morgan Chosen One star 5

    May 27, 1999
    I waited until after seeing the movie to get the book. It's still my favorite of all of the movie novelizations (and, yes, that includes the much-praised ROTS book).

    As for the movie, probably my most prominent memory of the first time I saw it was of the audience (including me) shouting at Vader, "Come on! Help him!" as the Emperor was zapping Luke. Then, when Vader grabbed him, we all let out a huge cheer. Flash foward about ten years, when I saw one of the last public showings of the original, non-SE version of the OT. During the same scene, the audience was in utter silence, up until Vader grabs the Emperor. Then, another huge cheer.

    ROTJ is also the movie that finally made me really like Luke (maybe it was the black Jedi uniform and cloak?), and I'm still amazed at how, in the space of seconds, I can go from laughing at Han's reaction to "He's my brother" to tearing up at Luke at his father's funeral pyre.

    With all due to respect to fans of "darker and edgier", I'll take ROTJ's happy ending any day of the week.
    lbr789 likes this.
  22. Darth_Nub

    Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 26, 2009
    I remember the first time I went to see ROTJ a bit better than the second - because the first attempt was aborted.
    Sold out.
    There's some guy who was a middle-aged employee of the Warringah Mall Hoyts Twin Cinemas in 1983 who can attribute whatever further years of life he either had or has past then to the simple fact that I didn't carry a firearm or a knife at the time.

    Nevertheless, my parents had to endure several days of seething rage from a nine-year-old that would have had Palpatine himself despairing that so much anger could exist in the universe.

    Truth be told, though, once we did all see it, it was a bit of an anti-climax. I'd already read the storybook & knew what happened, all I really wanted to see was what Vader looked like under the mask. My father wasn't impressed at all - despite my clearly irritating infant obsession with SW, he thought ESB was fantastic - but ROTJ didn't even come close for him.

    I did love the bit when the Scout Walker got smashed with the two logs - huge, huge laugh from the audience. Everyone loved the Ewoks & their antics the first time around.
  23. Womp Rats Back Home

    Womp Rats Back Home Jedi Youngling

    Mar 11, 2013
    Can't believe it's been 30 years. Here's a question for those of you saw ROTJ in theaters back in 1983:

    What was it like to wait 3 long years between TESB and ROTJ? Did you ever daydream about what might come next? What did you picture?
  24. I Are The Internets

    I Are The Internets Force Ghost star 8

    Nov 20, 2012
    I used to love this movie, but now I don't. I used to think this was the best SW film.
  25. Kenneth Morgan

    Kenneth Morgan Chosen One star 5

    May 27, 1999
    One other memory, not of the movie but of the ad campaign.

    I remember seeing the release poster in a newspaper ad and being struck by a couple of things. First, the unusual design of the poster (just two hands holding an activated lightsaber, and no Vader) and a note at the bottom of the ad: "May be too intense for young children".

    Does anyone else remember that ad?