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Return of the Jedi is grossly misunderstood

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First off I’ll say it right out, ROTJ is my favorite Star Wars film. I’m also a hardcore purist and nothing else exists in my happy brain except for the original theatrical trilogy. It’s a wonderful world to live in, like it’s 1983 again, the best time in Star Wars history.

It’s my theory that, in the Way I seem to remember it, sometime after Revenge of the Sith came out and before we ever could imagine a sequel trilogy existing, the internet and pop culture started to rate the Star Wars films and decided that Empire was the best of all the films. I can’t really argue that it’s not. I’d accept any of the original 3 as an answer to that question.

Seems like everyone then decided that A New Hope was next and then Return of the Jedi. Some poor confused folks actually thought that Revenge of the Sith was better than ROTJ. And it seems most of the reasoning behind this was that Jedi has teddy bear Ewoks for kids and toy sales. I hear a lot of “Harrison wanted Han to die and they didn’t do it because of toy sales”, again.

This all seemed to be accepted as some reason to shit on ROTJ. I’m disgusted to read the current opinions as more and more people rate these new Disney films as better than ROTJ. These people are out of their sad minds.

Take a little inventory of the scenes, characters, performances, story development. It’s fantastic.

Jabbas Palace, for Christ’s sake! The emperor! Wrapping up the whole story incredibly well. Anyway. I’m gonna add more to this because it’s important god damnit.

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I’d probably agree that RotJ is the weakest of the OT, but imagine Star Wars without Vader’s redemption. It’s still a great movie.

Death of the Author

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Ewoks are not cute. If you went on a camping trip and a large group of small bears speaking another language armed with spears surrounded your campsite, I doubt anyone would be thinking how cute they are, especially when the cooking starts.

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Rodney-2187 said:

Ewoks are not cute. If you went on a camping trip and a large group of small bears speaking another language armed with spears surrounded your campsite, I doubt anyone would be thinking how cute they are, especially when the cooking starts.

My problem with the ewoks isn’t the fact that they’re walking teddy bears, it’s the dumb slapstick they were given. If they had toned down the slapstick and given the ewoks a bit more of a threatening appearance, I.E. armor, sharp teeth, sharper weapons, I doubt you’d see people complaining about them much.

Use the Force, Joh Yowza.

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It’s a children’s film intended to be a fairy tale. It wasn’t accidental it was the intent. I also don’t see how Ewok’s in a fairy tale are any more absurd than Jawas or Ugnauts.

In a tale with magic swords, and wizards and evil knights, and a Princess.

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It’s my least favourite of the OT. I do have fond memories of seeing it in 1983 (the only OT STAR WARS film I saw on original release).

I think the final chapter could’ve (and should’ve) been so much more. What sinks this for me, is the tired script and some of the performances.

The second Death Star is unoriginal, the Ewoks are a rubbish creation. The Emperor is a corny, cackling fool and Vader is weak and ineffectual.

I’ve never liked Luke’s black outfit, Chewbacca’s new hairdo - and Solo looks like he’s put on weight.

Jabba, is a fine creation. Looking and sounding impressive. Some of the courtiers at his palace, veer in the Jim Henson ‘Muppet territory’ in their designs.

The Rancor beast is fun. Wish the sequence in the pit was a little longer.

The Sarlaac beast looks bad. The new SE version isn’t much better.

I wish Boba Fett wasn’t in this. His character does nothing, and has no dialogue - apart from a death scream.

The ‘throne room’ scenes are decent, but can’t help thinking the official novelisation did a better job with the scenes. Don’t know if it was filmed or not, but the additional dialogue between the Emperor and Luke, about Yoda, should’ve made the final cut.

A disappointment, after the quality of the first two films. This is still much better than the prequels and sequels.

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When I was a kid I rated the ANH, TESB, then ROTJ. For the last 30 years I’ve rated them TESB, ANH, then ROTJ. It is not because ROTJ is flawed in any way, it is just because both of the others are so outstanding. And while I will say several of the newer movies are nearly as good as the OT, will 11 movies to rate I still have the three OT movies at the top. The Ewoks never bothered me at all.

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I’ve always loved the Ewoks. I think Sam Witwer said it best when he said they show us what Yoda taught us. Size matters not. They also I think show us that technology isn’t everything and has its failings as they were able to defeat an Empire through skill and cunning abilities.

"Pleasure’s fun. It’s great, but you can’t keep it going forever; just accept the fact that it’s here and it’s gone, and maybe then again, it will come back, and you’ll get to do it again. Joy lasts forever. Pleasure is purely self-centered. It’s all about your pleasure: it’s about you. It’s a selfish, self-centered emotion, that is created by a self-centered motive of greed. Joy is compassion. Joy is giving yourself to somebody else, or something else. And it’s a kind of thing that is, in its subtlety and lowness, much more powerful than pleasure. You get hung up on pleasure; you’re doomed. If you pursue joy; you will find everlasting happiness.” - George Lucas

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I’d say misunderstood is a wrong term. I’m pretty sure everyone understands it. Underappreciated, maybe, yes.

Also we have many of these threads already, pick your choice:
https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/ROTJ-is-the-best-Star-Wars-film-discuss/id/15430
https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Opinion-Return-Of-The-Jedi-is-Very-Underrated-Do-You-Agree/id/79041
https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Return-of-the-Jedi-Why-so-much-hate-What-do-you-guys-think-of-it/id/46205

And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.

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I do not get the original post. ROTJ is still rated among top 100 films of all time on IMDb (which arguably the most relevant film rating site out there). You cannot take a few outliers and then generalise based on them.

Hoop28 said:
and given the ewoks a bit more of a threatening appearance, I.E. armor, sharp teeth, sharper weapons, I doubt you’d see people complaining about them much.

Humans do not have much of a threatening appearance either. Humans do not have sharp teeth and they look and act quite silly and harmless compared to for example a bear or a shark, yet humans are infinitely more dangerous than anything that actually looks threatening. Also, for the most of the modern history, humans did warfare without any armour and were basically dressed like clowns on battlefields (e.g., Napoleonic Wars, etc.). To quote Kyle Katarn: “so I guess looks don’t count for much”.

真実

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One thing I like about the ewoks is how they’re cutesy and therefore easily underestimated. It’s clear that even with limited resources, they’re frighteningly ingenious when it comes to making weapons, and they have no qualms about burning living beings to death for food. Sure, the deceptive appearance is pretty comical, but let’s not be too uptight about Star Wars having to be edgy and dark. It isn’t. I agree with another point made by Sam Witwer, that the storyline around Luke confronting Vader and the Emperor is obviously taken seriously and is enough to ground that portion of the film in dramatic sincerity; the ewoks are there to offer a lighter contrast to that drama, making for a more dynamic film. It’s also worth pointing out that even Shakespeare’s King Lear has some comic relief, and that’s probably his most depressing tragic play.

RIP William Shakespeare. You would have loved the ewoks

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

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Bobafettdied said:

Seems like everyone then decided that A New Hope was next and then Return of the Jedi. Some poor confused folks actually thought that Revenge of the Sith was better than ROTJ. And it seems most of the reasoning behind this was that Jedi has teddy bear Ewoks for kids and toy sales. I hear a lot of “Harrison wanted Han to die and they didn’t do it because of toy sales”, again.

Yea every SW film since 2005 (except for Solo and TROS) was called “the best one since TESB” by someone or other. I think there is such a strong desire, by some, to see an SW film on par with the original trilogy that they try to convince themselves that the latest one is better then ROTJ, since that is generally considered the least amazing of the OT and is, by extension, the lowest bar to reach.

With that said, I do think that ROTS is as good or better but I’m a PT fan so its more of a complement to ROTS then a knock on ROTJ. Both films are among my all time favorites.

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Misunderstood is an odd choice of phrase. People understand were the problems lie. Most would agree that in terms of pacing it leaves a lot to be desired, especially in the second act. And Han’s character arc being… guy who opens door isn’t exactly compelling stuff. But on the other hand people that think it’s worse than any of the subsequent films are dead wrong, in the same way that those who say that 4th Indiana Jones movie is better than Temple of Doom.

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daveinthecave said:

Bobafettdied said:

Seems like everyone then decided that A New Hope was next and then Return of the Jedi. Some poor confused folks actually thought that Revenge of the Sith was better than ROTJ. And it seems most of the reasoning behind this was that Jedi has teddy bear Ewoks for kids and toy sales. I hear a lot of “Harrison wanted Han to die and they didn’t do it because of toy sales”, again.

Yea every SW film since 2005 (except for Solo and TROS) was called “the best one since TESB” by someone or other. I think there is such a strong desire, by some, to see an SW film on par with the original trilogy that they try to convince themselves that the latest one is better then ROTJ, since that is generally considered the least amazing of the OT and is, by extension, the lowest bar to reach.

With that said, I do think that ROTS is as good or better but I’m a PT fan so its more of a complement to ROTS then a knock on ROTJ. Both films are among my all time favorites.

I’ve never gone that far. My comments have always been best since ROTJ. And for me I haven’t really rated Rogue One, TLJ, and TROS in relation to each other. Solo didn’t feel quite as epic, but was so much fun. TFA had some issues in my opinion. I really love all 11 movies and among them I rate the OT at the top (with TESB at the top among them) and AOTC and TFA at the bottom (but still so far above Battlefield Earth that all 11 almost seem equal).

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Star Wars was toyetic from the beginning. Lucas in the best deal ever, got the sequel and merchandising rights for nothing from FOX in lieu of not asking for a million dollar directing fee.

They had no faith in the film and thought it was a turkey. Their short sighted desire to save money let Lucas walk away with billions of dollars.

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I think a lot of OT fans in particular view RotJ as the point when the franchise started to tip in a direction they didn’t like, with George apparently exerting a greater degree of creative control and leaving less room for collaboration. Some say that it marked the beginning of George “selling out.” Often, people back this up with comments from Gary Kurtz or Lawrence Kasdan, who were both clearly unhappy with the direction taken in the story, wanting a more downer ending that challenged the audience. George wanted a more clear-cut happy ending, of course, and I think that was the right call in the long run.

These days, I think people gravitate toward criticizing RotJ because out of the three films, it’s the one that’s generally regarded as having the most issues to pick on. It’s the “low-hanging fruit” of the OT that’s used to show that the trilogy isn’t perfect. I personally think most of the issues people point to are fairly surface-level stuff that doesn’t really damage the movie as a whole. A second Death Star makes sense in-universe. Han surviving was the right choice, though I wish he had gotten more to do as a character. Vader seeming out of character is consistent with his conflicted state of mind from the very end of ESB onward.

My main criticism of the film would be that the pacing drags on Endor at times. Besides that, I think it’s great.

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For me it’s not the Ewoks, the problems start with the cartoon-y rubber monsters/Jabba’s palace. But there’s also less subtlety in the acting, everyone is shot in close up, and Han Solo apparently lost IQ points after being frozen in Carbonite. It’s just not as well directed and the characters are sort of one-dimensional versions of themselves, which is especially jarring after everyone was given a little more depth in ESB…I have the same complaint about the Indiana Jones movies after Raiders, too.

And I LIKE Return of the Jedi! One thing I noticed during the '97 re-releases is that it plays better on a bigger screen. It’s beautiful and there’s lots to look at.

This has been Joel’s unsolicited opinion.

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Servii said:

I personally think most of the issues people point to are fairly surface-level stuff that doesn’t really damage the movie as a whole. A second Death Star makes sense in-universe.

Return of the Jedi is a great movie, but I kind of think this is a stretch. The last one didn’t work, why would a second one with essentially no changes work this time? Palpatine gets a surprise attack on the Rebels I guess, but he still dies, they still lose the Sanctuary Moon, and the loss on Endor doomed the Empire.

Death of the Author

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Servii said:

I think a lot of OT fans in particular view RotJ as the point when the franchise started to tip in a direction they didn’t like, with George apparently exerting a greater degree of creative control and leaving less room for collaboration. Some say that it marked the beginning of George “selling out.” Often, people back this up with comments from Gary Kurtz or Lawrence Kasdan, who were both clearly unhappy with the direction taken in the story, wanting a more downer ending that challenged the audience. George wanted a more clear-cut happy ending, of course, and I think that was the right call in the long run.

I would say “a few OT fans” rather than “a lot of OT fans”.

真実

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SparkySywer said:

Servii said:

I personally think most of the issues people point to are fairly surface-level stuff that doesn’t really damage the movie as a whole. A second Death Star makes sense in-universe.

Return of the Jedi is a great movie, but I kind of think this is a stretch. The last one didn’t work, why would a second one with essentially no changes work this time? Palpatine gets a surprise attack on the Rebels I guess, but he still dies, they still lose the Sanctuary Moon, and the loss on Endor doomed the Empire.

Just because your expensive military hardware is destroyed in a battle, you do not simply stop making that hardware. When a country lost a capital warship during the World War I or World War II, they did not just say “oh that did not work, let’s stop building new ones” or “oh that did not work, let’s just stick to building small torpedo boats instead”. Even after it was crystal clear that a battleship are completely worthless compared to an aircraft carrier, countries still continued to build them. So the argument that Empire should not build another death star just because the first one was lost is beyond ridiculous.

While one might argue that DS2 is unoriginal from story perspective, it is very logical from in-universe military and logistics perspective, which is backed up by numerous real history examples.

真実

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In my opinion the only reason ROTJ ranks three is that it was not as innovative as ANH and didn’t delve as deep into the characters as TESB. It is the finale of the trilogy. So it has a job to do and I think it nailed it. The first part of the story is wrapping up the threads of TESB. Then we get to the new part of the story and the Death Star II and the Emperor. It is a race to destroy the Death Star before the plan falls apart. And the Ewoks turn out to be cute in appearance but vicious fighters. And the greatest danger to the Rebels is another Death Star. We saw what the first one could do and they are building another, undeterred (and likely omitting the flaw that allowed the first one to be destroyed) and a bit arrogant. Lucas’s story is spot on and perfectly in line. If there is any flaw, it would be with the directing and editing.

And this whole thing was George’s story. So I really can’t fault him for making sure the story came out as he envisioned it. He had a lot of collaboration on the other two films, but the story was his and always needed to follow his vision. I think there was room for collaboration, but when you have the creative genius saying the story needed to go a particular direction, it needs to go that direction. And I think he proved that he was right. The scenes with the Emperor are powerful. The final stage of the battle with Luke and Vader is one of the most powerful sequences in all the 11 films. And far from having nothing to do, Han is responsible for destroying the shield generator and enabling Wedge and Lando to get in and destroy the Death Star. And the way the three different stories are woven together is genius and it flows so well. Sure some of the parts on Endor are a bit slower, but have you seen Star Trek The Motion Picture? ROTJ never drags. Most of it is the “faster and more intense” that Lucas was going for. I would definitely not say that ROTJ was where Star Wars went off the rails. For me that is AOTC. ROTJ very clearly finished the original trilogy and did it well. I have never found a flaw to make me think otherwise.