Upon finishing Return of the Jedi earlier today, I realized that I’m pretty sure this is my favorite Star Wars movie. I know that’s not a popular opinion, as people have a few problems with this movie (most of them small and furry) but it really took me back to being a kid again. Growing up, Jedi was always the Star Wars movie I would watch the most. I think it contains just about everything you could want from an epic adventure movie, and these characters at their most developed and interesting. With Return of the Jedi, George Lucas put a nice, shiny bow on the Star Wars saga, and the story of the Skywalker family (until now, that is).
When I think about why Jedi is my favorite Star Wars movie, it all boils down to Luke and his arc, going from farm-boy to Jedi knight over the course of the three movies. He’s just such a badass in Return, from his entry into the movie acting as mastermind of the Han Solo rescue, to the end, successfully turning down the strong pull of the dark side and redeeming his father Anakin. When it was foretold that Anakin would bring balance to the force, that he was the ‘chosen one’ way back in Phantom Menace, the balance he would bring would actually be in the form of his son, Luke. This ‘balance’ is one of the ideas I actually want to dig into more, because there were some really interesting choices for how it was portrayed as it pertains to Luke.
One of the things I noticed on re-watching Jedi is how often Luke is in black. In a series where colors are very consciously chosen, and almost always have meaning, why is the main character (who is apparently good) in black or dark clothes so often? I believe now that Luke isn’t just the ‘light side’ to counterbalance his fathers ‘dark side’, but that he has found the actual balance in the force. Maybe this is something everybody but me pieced together as I haven’t looked into it yet, but I found it fascinating. The notion that Luke has found peace somewhere in the middle is an awesome idea, and one that could have HUGE repercussions going forward in the series. I was just talking to a coworker the other day about how I think Luke is not only going to be the Obi-Wan in these new movies, but far more powerful than any Jedi in history; all because he wields the balance of the force.
Other than that, I just absolutely love the set pieces in this movie. The sail barge is a personal favorite, but even the classic three-piece final battle of destroying the Deathstar, Endor, and Luke’s showdown with Vader is up there with my ‘top Star Wars moments’. However, what isn’t one of those moments is the celebration montage that Lucas added to the end, seemingly to try and bridge the gap between the prequels and the original trilogy. I audibly yelled at my TV the second I heard a Gungan say ‘Weesa free!’ on the Naboo segment. NO. NO GEORGE, STOP.
Even with Lucas trying his hardest to ruin his classic finale, I can still say that this is my favorite Star Wars movie. Before revisiting these I would’ve said Empire was my #1, but man I love me some Return of the Jedi (Ewok apologist 4 lyfe). It’s been awesome to go back and brush up on my Star Wars lore ahead of The Force Awakens, and I’m coming in just under the wire. As I write this, I’m seeing Episode VII in less than 5 hours, and have only heard great things from everyone I know. I’ll probably have something written about it either tomorrow or Sunday, so keep an eye out for that. If you’ve been following along, thank you! I still mostly do this blog for myself to improve writing as well as keeping my brain from dying, but if you guys get any enjoyment out of it, that rules. Thanks for reading, and may the force be with you!