Star Wars Memories: Return of the Jedi

I somehow managed to survive freshman year of high school, and more importantly, my last ever P.E. class, and what better way to celebrate than to see Return of the Jedi. I ended the trilogy where it began at Cinemas West. Theatre design has vastly improved over the decades. With “stadium seating,” you no longer have to find a gap to see around the heads of the patrons sitting in front of you. I you arrive late, you don’t have to sit next to a wall; although that would be preferable to sitting next to some people. Some theatres, such as the AMC Prime, have reclining seats, which is very cool. I hate getting stuck in the small theatres inside the multiplex with the seats that force you to sit bolt upright.

Projectors and sound systems have vasty improved. The movie going experience keeps getting more immersive, to the point where it is actually better than watching a film at home. With all the improvements, and new theatres that are being built, my favorite place to watch movies keeps changing. But I will never forget my first.

It seems that trilogies rarely stick the landing, but Return of the Jedi does. That’s not to say that Jedi is a perfect movie, but it could have been worse. If anything, it’s the third best film in the original trilogy, as opposed to the worst; if that makes any sense.

Star Wars set the template for modern film trilogies, for better or worse. A New Hope has its own beginning, middle, and end, and makes for a brilliant stand alone movie. The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi together make one long film. There are those that object to the ending of Empire because plot threads are left unresolved, and the loose ends won’t be tied up until the following film. I can understand the point, since I had to wait three years to get any sort of resolution, but I feel the payoff was worth it.

In my post on Empire, I said that my favorite sequence from the trilogy is when the Rebels are on Hoth. My favorite single moment in the trilogy occurs in Jedi, and I can sum it up in two words: “Now, Artoo!” When Luke uses the plank as a springboard and catches his lightsaber in midair, it’s one of the great “Yes!” moments in the history of cinema.

It was the moment when Luke became a Jedi, and we finally got to see what a Jedi is capable of. It’s when I felt that Luke was finally able to battle Darth Vader on equal terms. The trilogy is a hero’s journey, and Luke finally listened to Master Yoda’s teachings and before our eyes has become the hero that has the ability to bring balance to the Force.

Of course, the Sarlacc pit is also where Boba Fett dies a comedy death. But that is another story for another time.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t really mind the Ewoks. I will admit they are a bit “cutesy” for my taste. I find it both interesting and odd that a tribal culture of small-statured beings could defeat an enemy as powerful as the Empire. Yes, they only had to battle Stormtroopers and not Vader and the Emperor, and Stormtroopers are kind of derppy, but still.

The idea that Leia is Luke’s sister seems a bit last minute, but it works. I have always liked it, and I like it even more, now that the story will continue in The Force Awakens.


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