‘Return of the Jedi’: Why this ‘Star Wars’ movie is the worst
“In a galaxy far, far away. . .” critics raved over the release of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. They praised the original trilogy’s ability to keep the thrilling momentum of the first two movies going strong. Many fans, however, just weren’t feeling it.
In 1977, Star Wars: A New Hope won over audiences with its quick wit and enthusiastic penchant for crowd-pleasing explosions. Three years later, George Lucas raised the stakes for the trio of heroes with Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
The final installation into the original trilogy should have been just as much of a success. Even notoriously hard-to-please critics like Roger Ebert called the movie “a complete entertainment”. So, where did it go wrong for the fans?
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi was the final installation into the original trilogy and it shows. Writers Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt helped George Lucas bring to screen the final story of the original trilogy.
The movie wraps up the hero’s journey for Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in his epic battle against Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker (David Prowse). While Emperor Sheev Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) tries to trick Luke into falling to the Dark Side, Luke fights to reconnect Vader to the Light Side.
It gave the audience gems such as the infamous sibling reveal and Vader tossing Palpatine down a reactor shaft. More importantly, the movie blessed the audience with a bikini-clad Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) choking Jabba the Hutt (David Barclay) to death.
The costuming & special effects were recognized at several award ceremonies, including the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTAS). Luke’s & Vader’s lightsaber fight is a testament to how special those effects truly were.
Critics praised the storytelling of writers like Kasdan & Arndt for bringing Lucas’s vision to life. Members of awards academies worldwide celebrated the movie’s feats of visually telling a compelling story. But, many fans remain just plain unimpressed.
Nerds love Star Wars for many reasons, among them Lucas’s worldbuilding abilities and its grittiness. Unfortunately for Lucasfilm, many fans see Star Wars: Return of the Jedi as lacking in both.
Fans argue it doesn’t make sense. Star Wars: A New Hope establishes the Deathstar took over twenty years to make; yet, ROTJ sees the second Deathstar built in four years. This makes even less when considering the second was bigger!
Fans also argue parts of the movie feel silly. They point to scenes like Jabba belching as evidence for unnecessary goofiness throughout the movie. Whatever the gripe, though, all fans who hate this movie seem to agree on one thing . . . .
The Ewoks are the absolute worst! Fans argue the Ewoks brought an unnecessary amount of silliness to an otherwise somber movie. They go on to argue its emotionally jarring nature makes it difficult to suspend their disbelief.
Fans also argue the Ewoks are a fur-covered ploy to enhance the sales of merchandise for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. They’re convinced the Ewoks had no real purpose in the movie. So, they assume they’re a cash grab.
However, many fans simply feel robbed of Wookies. The ‘Battle of Endor’ was originally supposed to be the ‘Battle of Kashyyyk,’ the homeworld of the Wookies. To them, Wookies defeating stormtroopers makes much more sense than Ewoks.
Perpetually angry fans
Star Wars is arguably one of the greatest franchises in modern movie history to the point where the original trilogy continues to influence pop culture. Yet, not every installation of the series has been well-received by fans.
While many argue Star Wars: Return of the Jedi is one of those not-so-good installations, others would say it could be worse. Also, neither the prequel nor the sequel trilogies have inspired much more love.
So, maybe it’s just the nerds with as much opinion as a genuine love for the movies. Maybe they’d have something to say regardless of their quality. It will stop them from continuing to consume Star Wars content. They’ll just continue to be judgemental about it.
Which Star Wars movie do you think is the worst? Do you love them all? Or are you an “I only watch the *insert trilogy*” kind of fan? Let us know in the comments below!