STARRING: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew

1997, 133 Minutes, Directed by: Richard Marquand

As we walked out the cinema after seeing this third and final Special Edition version of the Star Wars movies, my wife turned to me and said: "It's sad. I mean, that this is the last one." And it is. By bringing back the Trilogy in this format, George Lucas did the series' fans a great favor. It was absolutely great seeing all three movies on the big screen again. An opportunity that shouldn't be wasted. If you're waiting for the Special Editions to come out on video: then forget it! You're missing the point . . .

Seeing Return of the Jedi on the big screen again after having first seen it way back in 1983 when it first appeared made me reappraise this film. Sure, it's the most inconsequential film of the Trilogy. Star Wars holds a special place in our hearts because of the shock of the new. The Empire Strikes Back will always be the best film in the series because it is the heart of the Trilogy - we were introduced to the central plotline of the entire series. No doubt the upcoming prequels will explain the background to the events chronicled in this film.

Return of the Jedi is more concerned with wrapping things up and giving its audiences a happy ending. That is why the film seems so rushed, why some of the resolutions to the story seems too easy.

But in all honesty, it doesn't do too bad a job at it at all. The magic is still there, the effects crisp and spectacular and yes, it is a natural progression to the events of the previous two films. The assault on the second Death Star may seem like a rehashing of old ideas, but maybe Lucas wanted to see if he could do it better than in the first one. (Being the perfectionist he is, that would probably explain it. After all, why bring out these special editions if that isn't the case?) And yes, this assault on the Death Star is better done than the one in the first film on a purely technical level.

Walking out the cinema it does seem unfair that we would have to wait two years for the next films in the series. It'll be such a long time to wait . . .



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Copyright © 1997-forward James O'Ehley/The Sci-Fi Movie Page (unless where indicated otherwise).