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Opinion: Return Of The Jedi is Very Underrated. Do You Agree?

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I think ROTJ has some really strong moments, some of the best in the entire Trilogy in fact. But at the same time, it also has some of the weakest.

Use the Force, Jon Yowza.

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Quite the contrary, I think ROTJ is a terrible film that only gets a free pass because it’s in the OT (just my opinion - I’m in no way seeking to insult anyone here!).

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I like ROTJ a great deal and it has a lot of subjective importance to me, but it’s certainly the weakest of the original trilogy.
To me, it’s still miles above ROTS.

Well done. I will disengage self-destruct initiative.

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Hoop28 said:

I think ROTJ has some really strong moments, some of the best in the entire Trilogy in fact. But at the same time, it also has some of the weakest.

I agree with this assessment. The final space battle is simply wonderful, with some visuals that (IMHO) hold up really well even to this day. The speeder-bike chase was also pretty epic and really well done.

The Jabba plot at the start dragged a little at times and Boba’s demise was an anti-climax, but this opening section was otherwise ok with a good Rancor fight. I feel a little indifferent about McDiarmid’s emperor, although he was better here than in ROTS.

At the crappy end of the spectrum, what were they thinking with the ewoks… The whole battle of Endor plays out like a farce to me now, even though I enjoyed it when I was 8. I guess that’s what makes IV and V stand out for me: I enjoy them as much as an adult as I did as a child.

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Shopping Maul said:

Quite the contrary, I think ROTJ is a terrible film that only gets a free pass because it’s in the OT (just my opinion - I’m in no way seeking to insult anyone here!).

Well, you think TROS is what ROTJ should have been like, so I don’t think you really have the right to criticize other people’s opinions. (I’m not being entirely serious here)

I personally feel like ROTJ deserves its current status. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and some parts in the first two acts are very weak, but I think it’s more than made up for by the spectacular third act. It features some of the best acting, effects, and storytelling in the entire saga, and ends the trilogy in an incredibly satisfying way.

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I have to admit, I’ve been in the “ROTJ isn’t good” camp for a while now… but lately I rewatched it and I remembered how good it really was.

It’s the type of movie that sounds bad on paper but when you watch it it somehow works. A lot of moments require you turn your brain off (Luke’s plan, the Ewoks, the 2nd Death Star etc) but these all lead to payoffs that make it worthwhile (unlike some other movies cough cough). It’s also probably the most emotional of the Star Wars movies. Possibly tied with Empire. But you can really feel for Luke’s struggle with the dark side in the final confrontation, mirrored with the complete hopelessness of the situation outside. That’s something neither the PT or ST ever come close too, and boy did they try.

I wouldn’t call it a good “film”, but it is a good “movie”, and a great “blockbuster”.

Maul- A Star Wars Story

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StarkillerAG said:

Shopping Maul said:

Quite the contrary, I think ROTJ is a terrible film that only gets a free pass because it’s in the OT (just my opinion - I’m in no way seeking to insult anyone here!).

Well, you think TROS is what ROTJ should have been like, so I don’t think you really have the right to criticize other people’s opinions. (I’m not being entirely serious here)

As always no offence taken - I always enjoy our chats!

But you’re absolutely correct. I think all of the ST films are just copies of their predecessors (TFA is ANH, TLJ is TESB with a dash of ROTJ, TROS is ROTJ on steroids etc), but TROS is the only one that feels like an improvement on the original to me. I could probably go into why, but that may be a rabbit hole no-one wants to venture down…

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It has 8.3 score on IMDb. That is pretty great score for IMDb and I think that is about right.

真実

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It is a good movie. Not as good as Star Wars or Empire, but a good movie.

There are some aspects of the film which could have been better though. While Luke Skywalker’s arc is strong and the central part of the picture, Han and Leia have little to do.

Anyway if Lucas was not so quick to finish the Saga i would have preferred to see Luke training as a Jedi, going through some stuff and confronting Vader. And then finding out about his sister and facing the Emperor in the second trilogy.

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I honestly much prefer Return Of The Jedi over The Empire Strikes Back. It’s a fantastic conclusion with some of the best, most emotional and most exciting scenes in not only the OT but the entire Saga. I’d probably rank it my third favorite SW movie overall.

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I love Return of the Jedi. As a kid it was my favourite, as I got older I preferred Empire but still really thought Jedi was a brilliant film from beginning to end. I went through a period of actually preferring it to Empire for being a bit more “fun” until the very dark finale but I just think the original trilogy oozes quality in every film.
I even like the Ewoks! It does have great drama and a sense of resolution to the overall story and so many great action setpieces in it. Everything from Luke turning the tables on Jabba to the speeder bike chase and the stuff with Luke, Vader and the emperor in the finale is just iconic and quite well written.
The movie ties up everything nicely too.

I think its “ranking” in the original trilogy has become more of a debate in recent years among Star Wars fans but I think it’s always been generally regarded as a very good film and got a lot of great reviews at the time and since then. Unfortunately it suffered the most out of the so called “Special editions”.

Thanks to ALL members of the forum whose tireless preservation efforts have allowed me to watch the original films as I remember them.
You all rule.

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This again? 😉

The main problem for me is that Ford and Fisher mail in their performances. They also do not work in Vader’s plan to overthrow The Emperor (with Luke’s help) as he had revealed in ESB. I like the Ewoks, but can understand why others don’t.

Hamill gives his best performance for sure. Vader becomes a person rather than just a villain as well. I love The Emperor of course. The space battle is just incredible; who can forget https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dv45FxbXb_0

“It is only through interaction, through decision and choice, through confrontation, physical or mental, that the Force can grow within you.”
-Kreia, Jedi Master and Sith Lord

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Hoop28 said:

I think ROTJ has some really strong moments, some of the best in the entire Trilogy in fact. But at the same time, it also has some of the weakest.

I agree with the above statement wholeheartedly, and I think calling it both great and terrible (especially the latter) is ridiculously hyperbolic. On the grand scene of all cinema it’s a fairly mediocre film, but to call it an awful film is IMO quite ridiculous.

As for the Ewoks;
EC Henry made a pretty good video explaining how they work within the film, and he didn’t even mention the pretty obvious themes that Lucas had been playing with since the early drafts of SW.

A Defense of Ewoks
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prNOwClygdI&list=PLYn2a0e2FVIKni_wHXR5CJYBnnnYH7mIB&index=22&t - from the EC Henry YouTube channel (3:30 mins long).

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I can only pick out a few flaws or missed opportunities, like Leia not getting the emotional reaction to finding out who her father is that Luke was allowed. I’ve never understood the hate for the film.

Yes, Luke’s plan to rescue Han is probably best enjoyed if you don’t think about it too much, but Return of the Jedi is like Revenge of the Sith in that they both have to spend the first third of the film taking care of a previously established situation (Han in carbonite, Dooku has to die at some point) and it’s my opinion that both do this in entertaining fashion.

Although I do sometimes wonder what the early concepts for the film might have been like on screen - Kashyyyk, ‘Imperial Centre’ etc. before they were channelled into Endor and DS2 - because it sounds like a film with more scope, I think ROTJ is a very dynamic and satisfying final chapter. I’m interested in hearing more of the issues people have with it because I’ve never been able to think of many.

“Remember, the Force will be with you. Always.”

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ZkinandBonez said:

As for the Ewoks;
EC Henry made a pretty good video explaining how they work within the film, and he didn’t even mention the pretty obvious themes that Lucas had been playing with since the early drafts of SW.

A Defense of Ewoks
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prNOwClygdI&list=PLYn2a0e2FVIKni_wHXR5CJYBnnnYH7mIB&index=22&t - from the EC Henry YouTube channel (3:30 mins long).

Here’s a fun article:

Ewoks Are the Most Tactically Advanced Fighting Force in Star Wars

https://www.wired.com/story/ewoks-star-wars-tactics-endor-moon/

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I’m not the biggest fan of ROTJ myself. I find much of it rather dull. The whole Jabba opening is far too drawn out for me. They really didn’t need to spend 35 minutes on all of this.

I don’t hate the Ewoks. They’re just boring. Another 30 minutes wasted.

I liked Luke in ESB but he’s kind of an emo fascist in this? I get what they’re going for with the Vader parallels, but the haircut is awful and the black costume doesn’t really suit Mark either.

Leia and Han are mostly lost in this. Han becomes a bumbling idiot for most of it and seems to play most of the comic relief. Harrison’s sleep walking through this performance. Leia is mostly passive and withdrawn after the Jabba stuff. She seems to have taken a backseat in the Rebel Alliance. Shouldn’t she be right up there with Mon Monthma and Ackbar? They didn’t even tell her Han signed up for the Endor moon mission? And Lando seems to have been promoted over her?

Don’t care for the rehashed Death Star plot. But at this point, Lucas just needed to end things in a tidy way. Lazy, but it works.

The movie mostly limps along until the climax which starts at about the 90 minute mark. From there, it’s pretty great.

Artistically, ROTJ also looks rather flat and ugly compared to Empire. I’ve read this may have been due to a change in film stock and budget saving practices?

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ShiftyEyes said:

Artistically, ROTJ also looks rather flat and ugly compared to Empire.

That is entirely subjective. To me it looks great. For example, throne room scenes are visually excellent.

NeverarGreat said:

A lot of the flat look has to do with the fact that Marquand came from a primarily television background, in which flat lighting was the norm.

Lighting is pretty much the cinematographer’s job. Of course, the director has some high-level input but I doubt Marquand was telling Alan Hume “I want scenes to look flat” (btw, what does “flat” even mean?). Every film in the trilogy had a different cinematographer, hence the different styles are quite apparent. Which one if better, is in the end entirely subjective.

To me ESB and ROTJ cinematography styles feel much closer to each other than ANH.

真実

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OutboundFlight said:

I have to admit, I’ve been in the “ROTJ isn’t good” camp for a while now… but lately I rewatched it and I remembered how good it really was.

It’s the type of movie that sounds bad on paper but when you watch it it somehow works. A lot of moments require you turn your brain off (Luke’s plan, the Ewoks, the 2nd Death Star etc) but these all lead to payoffs that make it worthwhile (unlike some other movies cough cough). It’s also probably the most emotional of the Star Wars movies. Possibly tied with Empire. But you can really feel for Luke’s struggle with the dark side in the final confrontation, mirrored with the complete hopelessness of the situation outside. That’s something neither the PT or ST ever come close too, and boy did they try.

I wouldn’t call it a good “film”, but it is a good “movie”, and a great “blockbuster”.

I’ve been studying and really, really trying to analyze and watch parts of Return of the Jedi for some time now. I think, despite the impressive amount of work on it, the plot does not hold up, not even really in the throne room scene or the bridge scene between Luke and Vader, which was Marquand’s favorite scene in the whole film. The bridge scene might even be the worst scene in the film in terms of continuity with Empire.

The throne room scene is overrated- super, super overrated. Maybe it’s point in the plot was different, but it’s worth noting that this is not like Empire’s set piece by set piece or art to art confrontation like between Luke and Vader in Bespin, so much alive and dynamic compared to throne room.

Okay, so the majority of the throne room scene is like this:
Luke and Vader walk up to the Emperor, who foolishly dismisses his guards out of ego (remember he was afraid in Empire that Luke could destroy him). The emperor then hammers home that Vader can’t be turned from the dark side (well, emperor, it’s up to Vader to decide that. And even so, I think Vader has good in him (out of choice to spare the last general in Empire) or is just corrupted by the dark side- I don’t think that he actually belongs to it.) Luke then says that anything that they do here is irrelevant because the emperor and Luke (and Vader) are going to both be dead [the rebels will blow up the Death Star II].

Now this is an important line because Luke, apparently, believes it at the moment and fully expected it going into the throne room.

Now the emperor dismisses this, saying that they are safe from the attack (how would Luke even know if he’s telling the truth here?), commands an attack from a button on his large chair that can spin (did Vader’s chair even do this in Empire?), and the DS II starts blowing up… a few large ships. Not everyone, just a few large ships. Wait, the rebels are in a trap with the Empire’s fleet. So, the emperor says that ALL THE REBELS will die. However, from what I remember, the rebels could actually leave, but they were staying around to wait for the rebels to break down the shield barrier on Endor “We’ve gotta give them more time!- Lando”. So, they really weren’t being destroyed entirely- they could just leave (with some casualties) if push came to shove.

So, Luke decides to defend himself, but the emperor causes him to doubt and says that it’s inevitable, which causes Luke to finally cave in, despite initially having the confidence that ANYTHING that they did here was pointless because THEY WERE ALL going to die.

Also, it’s weird that Luke doesn’t believe that the emperor’s lying to him and that he’s witnessing that destruction happening quickly in outer space. Luke’s usually skeptical of other claims- Luke’s destiny being with Vader and the revelation scene with Vader. While he denies that the emperor would convert him, I am surprised that an emotional conflict [death of the rebels] doesn’t come with more doubt or skepticism from Luke.

Then, Luke tries to kill the emperor [the smart thing because the Emperor sent a command to kill the rebels, in doing so, he is preventing more deaths from occurring], and this is blocked by Vader because the fight is pre-arranged. Apparently, according to The Making of ROTJ book, the emperor would have struck Luke down if Vader hadn’t moved. This begs the question though, how is Luke even a threat to the Emperor (which is why the Emperor was afraid of him in Empire and wanted him as an ally- to prevent himself from being destroyed by Luke) if the Emperor would have struck him down, anyway? And then, the Emperor would have been angry with Vader.

Then, Vader and Luke fight, I guess- [or it’s hide-and-seek] with the Emperor giving his rather inane taunts in the background (Use your aggressive feelings, boy! Let the hate flow within you.). I think it’s overrated to see the Emperor as the mastermind villain in Return, I really do. The whole fight seems bogus to me, especially when Vader could have aided Luke when he tried to strike at the Emperor earlier.

Then, we have Luke going into his stoic (insane) mode where he proclaims his view [or delusion, since his desire to save Vader is only present in Return. He gave no indication of it in Empire, and he didn’t have a conflict over killing his father or not.] that Vader is good still, which is besides the point; Vader can be both incredibly bad AND good. The horror lies in what Vader has already accomplished (killing most of the Jedi, some of the rebels, Biggs, torturing Han and Leia, etc.).

Then, Vader and Luke try to seek each other out. Luke trying to keep his emotions in check is ridiculous, if I must be the first person to say this. In Empire, he didn’t care about his feelings, besides avoiding to hate, and he did so maturely by focusing on the right thing- defending his friends. Honestly, it makes Luke look juvenile when he’s supposed to be a man in this film to have him hiding in the background trying to suppress his feelings. Who cares, honestly?

Then Vader gives Luke a reason to hate, except that this reason is actually poor- it’s Leia may somehow turn to the dark side. Not- “I killed your best friend. I killed the rebels. I tortured Han and Leia. I indirectly killed your aunt and uncle. I killed Obi-wan.”. It’s a vague reason, and the only reason that Luke cares is because he believed that Leia was the only hope for the rebels, even though they could have found someone else who was force-sensitive or else to connect with the force. Even in Final Fantasy XII, where there’s a similar scene, it’s revealing that a death occurred from a specific person.

So, Luke looses it, complete with hell imagery from the red lights on the elevator shaft. Luke’s going dark? Okay. I guess we go all in with this, even though Luke threw himself off of a pillar in Empire to prevent himself from joining Vader and the dark side.

Anyway, the “awesome” music, which is actually and probably a more somber music and horrifying, as Luke is finally losing it.

Then, the Emperor congratulates him, as a smarter villain would have simply stayed quiet. There’s a nice moment where Luke realizes who he’s almost become- a monster without compassion.

Then, Luke transitions into stoic/proud Luke again, ruining the moment with a monologue about how, again, he will not turn to the dark side.

(I remember how a person in my class during gym/P.E. in a game of tag said SW-style that he wouldn’t turn to the dark side. I made sure that I tagged him.).

Also, Luke tosses his lightsaber away, instead of keeping it, because… he was warned by Yoda to beware of the Emperor’s abilities? Also, did Luke not realize that the Emperor could use/sense the force by knowing his emotions?
In addition, Luke’s tense breathing here indicates danger, so Luke KNOWS that he is doing something risky. Why not keep the lightsaber for safety? Is Luke intending to die here? What is going on?

Then, the Emperor shocks Luke because Luke is a punk (young fool), apparently, and young fools who defy the Emperor must die. If Luke isn’t that powerful (by rejecting the dark side) why kill Luke, though? Couldn’t you just leave the guy alone? If he’s of not much help by not being of the dark side according to your perspective, why even kill him? If you were confident in DS II destroying ALL OF THE REBEL ALLIANCE, why is Luke even a concern to you?

Then, Vader watches [sadistically] with little remorse [by stalling when he had ample opportunity to kill the Emperor through any other means than lifting him up- tossing objects at him from a distance, force choking, tossing an ignited lightsaber at him, etc.]. There’s a rough draft where Vader is reluctant to kill Luke when the Emperor orders it after Luke makes his stand, and it’s only when Luke is threatened that Vader takes action, as far as I remember. Here, Vader watches for a … while.

Then, Luke begs for Vader to save him (ala begging Obi-wan to save him in Empire). Luke, you made your stand to defy the Emperor, you threw away your lightsaber, did you not expect the Emperor to retaliate or at least send in some guards to hurt you? Why even make your stand (to die) if you’re going to beg Vader to save you?

Then, Vader saves Luke by using a method which hurts his suit. But it’s done, it’s over.

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That feels like a lot of nitpicking, and I’m not sure if it’s really valid. The whole point of that scene is that the audience can’t be sure if Palpatine is telling the truth. He’s manipulative, what he says to one person can be different from what he says to another. He acts like he doesn’t care about Luke, but in reality he’s afraid. He knows the light is more powerful than the darkness, and tries his best to eliminate the closest threat to his power. But he didn’t realize that the closest threat to him was his own second-in-command. Him not realizing that Vader will betray him is a key plot point, it’s not a hole in the story or anything like that. He claimed that Luke had a lack of vision, but in reality he was the one who couldn’t forsee his own demise.

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To answer the OP, I think ROTJ is correctly rated. The consensus is: it’s not as good as Star Wars or Empire, better than most of what came after, lowest lows of the trilogy and some of the highest highs. And I think that sounds about right.

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Return of the Jedi is my favorite Star Wars movie. Star Wars sets up the world and characters, Empire creates a story that makes us give a shit, and Jedi ties it all up. It’s perfect.

It’s all star wars and that’s the problem!