Here’s one that has been around for a while but we have not reviewed previously. The third instalment in the Star Wars trilogy full length in it’s original incarnation before the 1997 digital re-hash. Return of the Jedi is actually Episode 6 and is now proclaimed as the conclusion to the entire Star Wars series.
The story in the third in the series is not particularly good as it is pretty much just a remake of the original film. But for what it’s worth and for those that either haven’t seen the film or can’t remember it – and there can’t be many – here is a summary.
A similar opening to both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back with the Fox logo, the scrawling text and then the giant Star Destroyers seen from below. Impressive. And unlike the Super 8 version of Empire the opening scrawl is in English.
The central element is the Empire constructing a new death star above the planet moon of Endor. Emperor Palpatine is overseeing the finishing touches himself with Darth Vader in attendance. The Rebel Alliance knows of the new death star and has plans for its destruction but before an attack is launched Han Solo must be rescued from the clutches of Jabba the Hutt. Luke Skywalker has sent the two droids R2D2 and C3PO to bargain for his freedom. Princess Leia (disguised as a bounty hunter) and Chewbacca (disguised as her prisoner) go along as well. The droids are not aware of the plan Luke has made and are surprised when his hologram message proclaims that ‘Artoo’ and ‘Threepio’ are gifts for the mighty Jabba.
Leia manages to free Han from the carbomite encasement we saw him imprisoned in at the end of Empire but is caught in the act. Han is suffering from hibernation blindness but fortunately his sight returns in time for the climax of Luke’s final rescue attempt. Leia becomes Jabba’s sex slave but she gets her own back later on by throttling him to his demise. All escape to safety and the team is briefly reunited. Luke however has to return to the swamps of Dagobah to complete his training with the Jedi muppet Yoda. He arrives just in time to witness Yoda’s death but not before he has confirmation he has already qualified as a Jedi and also Darth Vader is indeed his father. And there’s more... Leia is his sister.
The highlight of the film is the speeder bike chase through the forests of Endor. Breathtaking! Interestingly this was a major influence leading to the Pod Race sequence in The Phantom Menace.
I remember I groaned at the ‘Princess Leia is your sister’ point when I first saw the film at the Leicester Square Theatre (now the two screen Odeon West End). I considered that Darth Vader being Luke’s father in The Empire Strikes Back was all a bit silly and to now have Leia as his sister was just plain daft. Of course, we have since learned that Lucas [apparently] always intended that Luke was Vader’s son and they came up with the idea of Leia being his sister to save the climactic light sabre duel at the end of Return of the Jedi. This is when Luke is refusing to fight and Vader threatens to turn his sister to the dark side if he will not turn. An enraged Luke then attacks his father with such ferocity that Vader is soon defeated.
Another one of those films that just had to appear on the bootlace to keep people like me happy. I certainly don’t think this is the best film in the universe but whatever I think of the lack of story, the furry little ewoks, the puppets all over Jabba’s palace, Carrie Fisher being dressed as a sex slave etc., there is no getting away from the fact that this is a big screen film that cannot be enjoyed to the same extent on a television. Unless you fancy a dodgy DVD from Malaysia you only have one other realistic choice besides the 8mm print and that is the US laser disc. The widescreen UK laser disc was excellent but sadly it was the 1997 remastered version of the film with the needless extra bits spliced in.
This is the 1983 Star Wars blockbuster offering, it’s on Super 8, it’s in scope and it looks fantastic; albeit a bit dark in places due to the original being a 35mm print. Not the greatest print quality ever put out on Super 8 but not too far behind the best so worthy of a proud place amongst all those other great scope releases. The supplied sound is mono and of good quality. Many copies by now have been re-recorded into stereo so worth checking if you see one on a dealer list.
Print A Sound A John Clancy
Return of the Jedi fact sheet:-
One special effect sequence required the same piece of film to be passed through the camera over 80 times.
A tennis shoe appears as a member of the rebel fleet for a single shot.
Alec Guinness requested no payment for his brief appearances in the film. He worked as a favour to George Lucas who provided him with his biggest ever pay day for Star Wars.
This is Ian McDiarmid’s first appearance as Emperor Palpatine. A role he reprises in The Phantom Menace.
Harrison Ford wanted to have his character killed off but Lucas wouldn’t allow it. Lucas wanted the film to conclude on an upbeat note.
Richard Marquand, the film’s director died on 4th September 1987 at the age of 49.
The film’s original title was ‘Revenge of the Jedi’ but was later changed to ‘Return’ as it occured to Lucas a Jedi would not look for revenge.
The original teaser trailer to ‘Revenge of the Jedi’ has appeared in scope on Super 8.
The working title of the film was ‘Blue Harvest – Horror Beyond Imagination’.
The original intention was to have Wookie’s on Endor but Ewok’s were invented to replace them as Chewbacca had been introduced as a sophisticated space faring Wookie in the first film.
Industrial Light & Magic won a special acheivement award for Return of the Jedi at the 1984 oscars.
The film cost $32.5m. It has taken $573m in all incarnations at the worldwide box office.
The Super 8 release is the best way to see the film after the cinema. So there!