Recently I checked out Star Wars I – VI from my friendly neighborhood library. I thought I’d brush up as preparation for the December release of The Force Awakens. Since it’s been awhile since I watched the movies, I noticed things that I’m almost ashamed to admit I’d never noticed before. So, in the interest of pointing out what others have already picked up on, I give you my observations from rewatching Star Wars IV: Return of the Jedi.
- PG. This movie was rated PG. Wow. So much packed into this, no stupid rape stuff ala George R. R. Martin, not tons of sex, I don’t even remember any profanity, just awesome story. Did I mention Jedi has my favorite scene of all the movies?
- “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away…”
The startup sequence with the dramatic music gets me every time.
- The commander welcoming Vader’s shuttle looks really, really nervous. I don’t blame him.
- You know, Vader has a completely different accent than Anakin did. I’m not talking about the synthetic voice box either, but emphasis on certain words, his speech pattern. Perhaps massive mutilation motivated him to improve his diction.
- “R-Dee Toa”
What, is Huttese like Pig Latin?
- So R2’s in on the plan, and C-3PO is out of the loop? No surprise there, given how cowardly gold boy is. I know he’s comic relief, but R2 puts him to shame.
- Still with the crappy holograms! Come on, Luke!
- So did he plan on actually giving “these two droids” to Jabba? If so, that’s a pretty crappy thing to do. Droids are people too, you know. Still, I’m betting he saw the probable future through the Force and knew it wouldn’t work. Plus, he grew up on Tatooine, so he knows what an asshat Jabba is. I mean, he’s a gangster with a person mounted on his wall. Other than Luke’s daddy, you can’t get much worse than that.
- OK, I do feel a little sorry for C-3PO. As annoying as he is, he doesn’t know what’s happening and feels betrayed. I can’t blame him for that.
- Oh dear, this feels like… yup, an added scene. Was this an attempt to recreate the Cantina scene within Jabba’s palace? It’s awful.
- Well, fighting your way in with a Wookie as your prisoner is one way to crash a party.
- Leia is the best princess EVER. And now she’s a Disney princess too. It warms my heart to think of all the little girls dressing up as self-rescuing princesses this coming Halloween.
- “I’m out of it for a little while, everybody gets delusions of grandeur.”
I don’t blame him. Han rescued Luke at least twice in the last two movies, once during the trench run in IV and once on Hoth.The last time he saw Luke, he was still a whiny kid. Little does he know the awesomeness to come.
- Luke comes into Jabba’s palace using Vader moves and “Jedi mind tricks.” And it’s awesome. I know I’m using that word a lot, but no other word fits as perfectly. He’s already using both sides of the Force.
- Couldn’t Luke have brought his lightsaber with him? I know you don’t bring weapons to a negotiation, but it didn’t look like he was searched.
- Fighting the monster beneath Jabba’s palace, it’s the first time I realize how much I like Luke Skywalker. I mean, he’s tough, but he’s also scared – as any sensible person would be. He’s not fully trained, so you see a lot of that tough talk was just talk. He’s still scared, yet he came to help his friends. He’s not that whiny kid anymore.
- I wonder what the story is with the guy that mourned the monster under Jabba’s palace. I read one once, but I’m not sure if it was cannon. I think he was supposed to have raised the beast from a baby, so he was like its daddy. I keep wanting to say mother, but I don’t know why since it’s obviously a guy.
- Jabba really needs some face cream.
- Wait, Bobba has a jetpack AND a cape? Isn’t that a fire hazard? No capes! Oh, yeah, and anything that could set your butt on fire.
- I doubt Leia knew she’d be chained half-naked to Jabba. She must have known she might be captured if her bounty-hunter plan didn’t work. So did she know about Luke’s plan, or was it a separate plan? Either way, she didn’t wait to be rescued. She rescued herself, then pitched in, and helped. My hero!
- “Meet you back at the fleet.”
Ah, so she did know. Awesome.
- “And now I sense you wish to continue your search for young Skywalker.”
That long pause before Vader answers the Emperor? He’s thinking, Holy crap, he’s on to me.
- I think the Emperor needs some face cream too. Ick.
- “Then I am a Jedi.”
Luke waits for confirmation, uncertain what else he needs to do. Yoda tells him he must confront Vader to become a Jedi. Yet he tries to avoid confirming that Vader is Luke’s father. He tells him it’s unfortunate that he rushed to meet him when “incomplete” was his training, yet two minutes earlier he said he didn’t need any more training.
- When Yoda’s body disappears like Obi-Wan’s did, I can’t help wondering if that “crude matter” is a crucial ingredient in the making of a Force-ghost.
- “So what I told you was true… from a certain point of view.”
Ummm, total BS.
- “Your father was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force… and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed.”
Seems Obi-Wan is forgetting about how Anakin massacred the camp where his mother had been hurt. Granted, little Ani was innocent and scared, but older Anakin wasn’t a great guy or friend.
- “I can’t kill my own father.”
“Then the Emperor has already won.”
Did I mention I don’t particularly like older Obi-Wan? He thinks the right thing for Luke to do is commit patricide. The Jedi and the Sith both have problems, the Light and the Dark sides are both necessary. Obi-Wan’s short-sightedness is an example of this.
- “Well, look at you- a general, huh?”
How many generals do they need?
- Oh hell, EWOKS. To paraphrase another Harrison Ford quote, Ewoks. Why’d it have to be Ewoks?
Wookies would have been so much better.
- All the cutesie Ewok things are the worst thing about this movie. Even having the Ewoks themselves wouldn’t have been so bad, if they were consistently tough. But when Leia first meets one, he’s afraid of her hat.
- Is “Yub Nub” every other word in Ewokese?
- “My son is with them.”
“Are you sure?”
“I have felt him, my Master.”
“Strange that I have not. I wonder if your feelings on this matter are clear, Lord Vader.”
Foreshadowing. Dum dum DUMMMMM…
- Luke tells Han not to shoot the Ewoks. I know he’s being compassionate here, but I’m on Han’s side. Not really, but you’ve got to admit it’s tempting.
- Luke has no problem helping C-3PO impersonate a deity. Dark Side to the rescue!
Actually, couldn’t he have used the “Jedi mind trick” on one of the Ewok leaders?
- Did Leia’s adopted mother die when she was very young too? Is that the mother she remembers?
- “My sister has it. Yes, it’s you,Leia.”
That look on her face? Holy crap, Vader’s my father too.
- “Somehow I’ve always known.”
So you knew he was your brother when you kissed him? Leia kissed her brother! Ewwww.
- Oh, poor jealous Han. If only you knew.
- I just realized, the Halloween I was pregnant I should have gone as the Death Star. The huge bump would have been perfect.
- “Conduct your search, and bring his companions to me.”
Luke looks surprised here. Uh oh.
I suspect he’s underestimating the Dark Side of the Force.
- “It’s a trap!”
Not just for the Rebels. Luke, don’t give in to your anger!
- C-3PO actually distracts the stormtroopers as part of R2’s plan. I don’t believe it. He was actually brave. Character arc!
- I think part of why the Ewoks defeat the stormtroopers is that the Ewoks can actually hit a target, even if it is with a rock.
- “Why did you have to be so brave?”
R2 gets fried trying to break into the shield generator, yet Han thinks he can “hot wire this thing?” R2 is the most underappreciated hero of the bunch.
- “If you will not turn to the Dark Side, than perhaps she will.”
When Luke is fighting his father, he hides to avoid hurting him. Yet, when he starts fighting again, it’s not because he hates the Emperor or the Dark Side; rather he fights for love. He fights to protect his sister, to save rather than destroy.
THAT is why he brings balance to the Force.
- “Open the back door.”
-of the shield generator. That doesn’t look like the back door!
- “Now fulfill your destiny, and take your father’s place at my side.”
The hand. He realizes he’s at the same crossroads his father was before becoming became Vader. Wise, indeed, Luke Skywalker is.
What a perfect cinematic moment. So much summed up in such a small space of time, so much backstory, so much meaning. This is another “flash fiction” scene, tons of story with minimal telling.
- “Father, please! Help me!”
Luke is dying, and yes, he’s calling for help, but he’s also still trying to save Vader. How awesome is that?
- The Emperor makes his “evil face”- well, eviller, while shooting Force-lightning at Luke. I wonder if that’s where evil Anakin got his idea for making his own “evil face.”
Have you ever noticed that in the prequels, when Anakin tries to look evil, he just looks really, really constipated. Could all that death and destruction been avoided if someone had just given the kid some Pepto?
- “No, you’re coming with me… I’ve got to save you.”
“You already have, Luke.”
This is my favorite scene in all the films, what every episode has led up to.
Luke may have been the “promised one” that brought “balance to the Force,” but Star Wars is all about Anakin. I never realized it before the prequels, since Luke is the hero of the original trilogy, but it’s the story of a good person’s journey into evil and his eventual redemption.
- “When he comes back, I won’t get in the way.”
Such a far cry from him teasing Luke about Leia in Episode IV. Character arc!
- “It’s not like that at all. He’s my brother.”
And Han’s confused expression? But you kissed him, ewwww! Hey, does that mean you’re into kinky stuff?
- Cinematically, the scene where Luke is burning Vader’s body and it pans up to the treeline and the sky reminds me of the scene from movie IV where he’s standing on the ridge and you see Tatooine’s moons in the background. In both scenes, the same music swells, and I get the feeling things have come full circle.
- Oh, no. More added scenes.
Everyone throughout the galaxy is apparently cheering at the destruction of the Death Star II. “Wesa’s free!” Is that Jar-Jar? Ugh.
- No Yub Nub song? Come on! That was the ONE THING I liked about the Ewoks! Thanks alot, Lucas!
- Oh,just… Force-ghost Anakin looks like young, obnoxious Anakin? Why? It makes no sense. Maybe if the other Force-ghosts looked younger too, but they don’t. It’s just… wrong.
- And this isn’t a particular observation of Empire so much as of all the Star Wars stories; it’s no secret that the Star Wars movies work very well as Buddhist parables. Many articles have been written about this, as well as some really good books such as The Dharma of Star Wars (which I highly recommend). Luke saves his father by taking the Middle Path between the Light and Dark Sides of the Force and by countering hatred with love. What a fantastic illustration of the teachings of the Buddha!
I hope you enjoyed this. I will try to space out my postings on a weekly basis for the other movies. May you come visit my blog again, and May the Force be with you.
*My thanks to D Paul Angel for suggesting I create this post.
**Though I had originally thought I’d watch the series beginning with Episode I, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. So my observations may change as I remember or misremember things from the prequels.