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CT Why is Return Of The Jedi considered the weakest of the originals?

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by Feelicks, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. Feelicks

    Feelicks Jedi Knight star 1

    Dec 7, 2012
    Of all the claims commonly made in the Star Wars fandom, one I will never get is that ROTJ is the weakest of the OT, and even in some cases, the weakest of the saga. It had everything the previous two films had. Great acting and story, amazing score by John Williams, memorable scenes, action, suspense, and romance. Everything that was great from the first two films was cranked up to 11. Better special effects (such as probably the best space battle in the series, the Battle Of Endor), seeing Ian McDiarmid in all of his greatness, Anakin's redemption, the Jabba's palace scenes, and heck, I didn't even mind the Ewoks. I would've preferred Wookies myself, but hey Ewoks ain't no Gungans, and I'm fine with that. The Ewoks actually served a purpose in the story, unlike the Gungans in TPM. If The Ewoks didn't aid the rebellion in the ground battle, the Rebels pretty much would've been screwed. In TPM, the droid army would still be deactivated due to Anakin, whether the Gungans fought them or not. ROTJ is my favorite film in the saga, and I even consider it better than ESB in some areas.

    Do you think that ROTJ is a weaker film than the others, or do you consider it to be of higher quality?
  2. Game3525

    Game3525 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 25, 2008
    ROTJ is fourth on my list(behind ESB, ROTS, and ANH). There are some great scenes and it is still a good movie, but IMO it has the burnout factor.

    It seemed that everyone wanted to get this damn thing over with.
    Sean Sinclair likes this.
  3. 16AndPregnant

    16AndPregnant Jedi Knight star 1

    Jan 19, 2013
    Slave Leia and Death Star II scenes (Emperor, Luke, Vader) >>>>>
    Yeahvin4, Darkslayer and Sith-Mullet like this.
  4. Olivia493

    Olivia493 Jedi Youngling

    Feb 19, 2013
    Because Jabba is the scariest character in the universe...but it's still my favorite episode
  5. ezekiel22x

    ezekiel22x Chosen One star 5

    Aug 9, 2002
    Not my favorite of the saga for a variety of reasons--mainly the rescue of Han section feeling a bit plodding and disconnected from the overall saga narrative, the retread nature of Death Star II, and the Imperial city planet not making it past the early drafts.
    TK327 and Immortiss like this.
  6. Joe

    Joe Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Dec 25, 2012
    I feel it suffers because it crammed a lot of plotlines in very quickly, and can feel rushed. Having to follow up ESB, arguably the best of the series, didn't help it.
  7. EvilQ

    EvilQ Jedi Knight star 1

    Feb 8, 2013
    The Ewoks effectively undermined the srs bsns going on in the rest of the film. They were basically the Gungans of the OT.

    How the hell could anyone take spear-chucking teddy bears defeating "an entire legion of my best troops" seriously? :rolleyes:

    Remove the Ewoks and RotJ instantly becomes a better film.
  8. Olivia493

    Olivia493 Jedi Youngling

    Feb 19, 2013
    But the Ewoks were sooo cute!
  9. CloneTrooperFox

    CloneTrooperFox Jedi Knight star 1

    Jan 27, 2013
    Teddy bears ewoks. Same thing. ;)
  10. The Supreme Chancellor

    The Supreme Chancellor Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 4, 2012
    In TPM the gungans were a distraction to draw the droid army away from the city. It allowed Padme and the Jedi to infiltrate the palace and capture Gunray. Nobody was aware that Anakin would steal a ship and accidentally win the space battle.
  11. Deputy Rick Grimes

    Deputy Rick Grimes Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Sep 3, 2012
    Cause people hate the Ewoks :p
    Sith-Mullet and Lee_ like this.
  12. Jarren_Lee-Saber

    Jarren_Lee-Saber Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Apr 16, 2008
    Ewoks ruined it. And the overly long scene in Jabba's palace.

    Its my least favorite of the entire Saga.
    Alienware likes this.
  13. drg4

    drg4 Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 30, 2005
    I consider ROTJ the low-point of the series--apart from everything else, the movie lacks the transporting, ethereal beauty of TESB and the PT--but don't let the critiques bother you. Embrace the films you love. (Heck, I'm partial to Alien 3, and everyone hates that series capper!)
    Jarren_Lee-Saber likes this.
  14. HanSolo29

    HanSolo29 RPF/SWC/Fan Art Manager & Bill Pullman Connoisseur star 7 Staff Member Manager

    Apr 13, 2001
    I'll fully admit that I like ROTJ and even considered it my favorite for quite sometime. Even now, I would rank it a close second behind ESB. I agree with the OP that it captured that same sense of adventure that the first two films had and I loved every minute of it. In fact, I would even say that my favorite parts of the film are from the scenes on Endor prior to the start of the battle. There were some great character moments in there between the Big 3. And the Ewoks - heck, I don't even mind them. They worked in the context of the story and I'm fine with the way they assisted the Alliance to defeat the Empire.

    Overall, it was a very satisfying conclusion to the Trilogy.
  15. The Supreme Chancellor

    The Supreme Chancellor Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 4, 2012
    The Jabba scene is needlessly long, but the second half of ROTJ makes up for it. The emotional scenes with Yoda and Luke against the Sith trump anything else in the OT for me.

    I absolutely love watching ROTS and ROTJ back to back because of the feeling of utter destruction and loss and then watching Anakin's redemption after all the atrocities he had committed.
    Darth Zannah likes this.
  16. Placeholder

    Placeholder Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 30, 2013
    Ewoks overthrow the empire.
    Sean Sinclair likes this.
  17. Leias_Left_Bun

    Leias_Left_Bun Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 18, 2013
    I consider ROTJ by far the weakest movie in the OT.

    The Ewoks are a cloying nuisance, but for me it begins and ends with bad writing. To start off, Han's rescue sequence drags on too long, but more importantly it makes no sense. What was the plan? Suppose Leia and Han had been able to escape after she unfroze him. Then what? Now they would have to go in an perform yet another rescue, because there is no way that Han will consent to leaving Chewie behind, and presumably they'd want to rescue the droids as well. If Lando is supposed to rescue Chewie later because he has inside access, then why not just have Lando rescue Han in the first place and skip making Chewie and the droids more prisoners for Jabba.

    As an aside, a scene torturing droids? WTF? It makes no sense and certainly isn't funny.

    While the Darth-is-Luke's-father plot twist was unexpected and powerful, the brother-sister twist was lame and feels tacked on just so they can wrap up the romantic triangle with a pretty bow.

    Oh yeah, and this always bugged the heck out of me: Why is Luke suddenly a fully-trained Jedi knight with no additional training from Yoda? In ESB, Yoda strongly warns Luke that he must not try to rescue his friends before he has completed his training. Luke ignores Yoda's warning, and as a consequence gets his butt handed to him by Darth Vader on Bespin. But as ROTJ opens, Luke is now a fully-trained Jedi knight with no additional training from Yoda! Why? Because he lost a fight with Vader? Because learning that Vader was his father somehow endowed Luke with all the training and wisdom that he needs to become a Jedi knight?

    Back in the day when ROTJ came out, I remember very clearly reading from some official source that it was supposed to be six months between the end of ESB and the start ROTJ. So in all those six months Luke never found a few days to go back and see Yoda again?

    Then you add in important plot points recycled from the first film and the fact that Kasdan didn't even try to give anybody but Luke any depth of character. Fine, Luke is the lead and it's his film, his trilogy. But that shouldn't mean you have to turn Han and Leia into cardboard characters. They are important characters, too.

    Yes, ROTJ has a few nice moments here and there, and it has the benefit of being the payoff film. But it should have been so much better.

    While I don't agree with everything the author of this article says, it does do a pretty good job of summing up the many reasons why ROTJ is an inferior film:
    Yanksfan, Sith-Mullet and Immortiss like this.
  18. Count Yubnub

    Count Yubnub Force Ghost star 5

    Oct 1, 2012
    Exactly--if the gungans hadn't drawn the army away from the city they likely wouldn't be able to reach the fighters in the first place.
    Darth Zannah and Andy Wylde like this.
  19. Ord-Mantell70

    Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Master star 3

    Mar 9, 2009
    Because of this :


    No, let's be fair. Lucas and his team aren't directly involved this time...

    More seriously, I tend to think that the Ewoks issue, the Monster factory syndrome at Jabba's palace, plus the rehash of the Death Star and a too predictable happy-end might be responsible for that.

    But to me, although definitely not as compelling and achieved as ESB (for the reasons above), it's still a pretty good one, with lots of great scenes and moments. I almost rank it on par with ANH.
    Sean Sinclair likes this.
  20. Ord-Mantell70

    Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Master star 3

    Mar 9, 2009
    Good points.

    I agree about Luke beeing suddenly a fully-trained Jedi who has completed his training. Although he has resist the dark side, rejected Vader's offer, and has surely matured, it's quite unfathomable...

    It's true Han Solo and Leia have been rather neglected in terms of character's development, compared to Luke. But not to the extent of cardboard characters to me. Especially Leia. She's revealed to be Luke's sister and Vader's daughter. Wether you like it or not (the sister plotpoint), it's a real development and add something to the character. She's now connected to Vader's scheme("Especially for... sister...Now you have a twin sister....If you will not turn, than perharps she will..."). Luke and Leia's scene in the Ewok Village is really dramatic and emotional to me, when she talks about her real mother and discovers who she really is.

    I'm afraid Kasdan couldn't do much better actually, as it is Lucas who designed the story and the main body of the script.

    [face_laugh][face_laugh] [face_laugh]

    NOOOOOooooooo !!! [face_laugh]
    Darth Vader likes this.
  21. bellatroll

    bellatroll Jedi Knight star 1

    Feb 21, 2013
    Besides the Ewoks, its a great film. I mean, srsly, "elite stormtroopers" defeated by living teddy bears? It would have made much more sense had they been wookies.
    Yanksfan, Sith-Mullet and Darth kRud like this.
  22. Leias_Left_Bun

    Leias_Left_Bun Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 18, 2013
    Maybe "cardboard" characters was overstating it, but I can't agree with you that Leia's character was particularly well-developed in ROTJ (though the metal bikini did show us that Leia herself was very well-developed). The whole plot twist was all about Luke really; it was something that happened to Leia, and all she really got out of it was one scene of bonding with Luke where she's basically reacting to him the entire time. And Lucas/Kasdan didn't even think to look at this scene from Leia's POV at all. Not only has she just found out that Luke is her brother, but she also discovered that Darth Vader, the most evil villain in the universe and a man who personally tortured her, was her father. That should have been a mind-blowing moment for Leia, and we get a complete non-reaction, as if Luke had just asked her to pass the salt. I don't blame Carrie. I blame Lucas and Kasdan because it's clear they weren't even thinking about Leia when they wrote that scene. I'm glad you enjoy it, but to me that scene was all about Luke.

    Ditto for being part of Vader's scheme. So Leia is a pawn for Vader now? That's supposed to be great character development? It's a plot twist where Leia is playing a completely passive role, and I would remind you that she was Vader's pawn in ESB too (used as bait to lure Luke to Cloud City).

    You are right that there was only so much Kasdan could do with Lucas' story. But way back in the day, I clearly remember an interview with Lawrence Kasdan where he talked about how he and the rest of TPTB felt that Han and Leia (especially Han) had essentially stolen the spotlight away from Luke too much in ESB. So when they were writing ROTJ they wanted to make sure it wouldn't happen again and consciously wrote down Han's role. I'd say mission accomplished, but they overdid it.
  23. Vthuil

    Vthuil Force Ghost star 5

    Jan 3, 2013
    I think it's fairly obvious that ROTJ, for better or for worse, is much more focused specifically on the personal story of Luke (and his father) then either of the preceding OT films.
    Slicer87 and Beautiful_Disaster like this.
  24. Unchosen One

    Unchosen One Jedi Youngling

    Dec 27, 2012
    I agree that RotJ is the weakest and my least favorite of the OT probably... it's easy to fall back on the "Jabba plot took too long" or the "Ewoks are dumb" excuses for why it is, but really it's just because the way the characters are portrayed in the film are a bit of a departure from how we're used to them for two movies by then. Luke is no longer the impatient, adventurous freedom fighter - he's a stoic, reserved Jedi in black. Han is no longer the sarcastic, cocky, scoundrel we love - he's kinda bumbling and tamed by Leia. Leia isn't the snappy, kick-butt Rebel patriot - she's very passive and vulnerable throughout, with the exception of strangling a 2,000-lb slug with a dog chain...

    That's my perspective anyway, why for me Return of the Jedi tends to be a little more hollow than ANH and ESB. The characters kinda don't act like themselves the way we're used to seeing them. It's kind of disorienting, at least to me, when I watch it.

    The movie does have a long sequence in the middle where we are kinda waiting for something to happen, namely the long woodland excursion to the Ewok village following the speeder bike chase and before the Battle of Endor starts. Lots of Emperor sitting around going "so are you going to turn to the dark side yet?" following this, too.
  25. Force Smuggler

    Force Smuggler Force Ghost star 7

    Sep 2, 2012
    Some hate that we see a second Death Star. Rehash of ANH
    Sean Sinclair likes this.