Movie Review: "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" (1983)
Six years after the initial release of "Star Wars" on May 25th 1977 to just 43 locations on the U.S. domestic market, before conquering the world of cinema, comes the concluding "Episode VI - Return Of The Jedi" with a wide release of 1,002 locations to an highly anticipating audience on exact the same day in the year of 1983.
Executive Producer George Lucas, at age 38, organized to hold all the strings in building his originally-written "Space Saga" to full extensions by engaging Thriller-approved director Richard Marquand (1937-1987) to handle this science-fiction action movie, which brings the story between a over-years-of-disappearing father and his grown-up son to conclusion in the Emperor's Throne Room to the second light saber duel between Darth Vader, exposed as Anakin Skywalker in "Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back" (1980), and his son Luke Sykwalker, performed by all-in-black and calmly-directed actor Mark Hamill, at age 31, who delivers together with actor Harrison Ford as always-leisure Han Solo and actress Carrie Fisher in high-distress-fighting mode as Princess Leia in a legendary but at times too plainly-received opening sequence on the Planet Tatooine versus Jabba The Hutt; a notorious gangster boss in his palace of an even more infamous desert location of full circle beginnings concerning the character of Anakin, at age 9, getting discovered by the character of Jedi-Master Qui-Gon Jinn in "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" (1999).
The tripled production budget of appoximately 32.5 Million U.S. Dollars against 11 Million U.S. Dollar for the first "Star Wars" movie, shot in season 1976/1977, pays off with "Episode VI - Return Of The Jedi" in terms of sophisticated special effects work by Lucasfilm-inhabited affiliate entity Industrial, Light and Magic (ILM) producing from stop-motion monster attacks over motion-control space battles to chamber tension character light saber confrontations, which get the highest emotional pitches under another original score by John Williams and pin-pointed sound design supervised by Ben Burtt.
The screen-story written by George Lucas and then mutually-conceived into a shooting script with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan loses most of its undeniable tense moments of dark forces versus the hope and fighting spirit of the innocent
on the Moon Endor Sequence, when minutes as to say entire scenes get lost by on overly cute-appearing species of aliens, called the "Ewoks". What should have the hard-boiled redemption story of "Vader & Skywalker" becomes washed out soft by an endless, inevitable cross-cuts of three storylines with the blacks of an interior Death Star location, greens of Endor's forest landscape and dark blues of cold-metal space-ships to fire-breathing explosions in space.
Nevertheless an action-packed 130 Minutes editorial, which has run through several hands before final release, creates enough punch to convince the majority of moviegoers, who preferably have knowledge of "Episode IV" (1977) and "Episode V" (1980); If I take those precessor movies away, "Return of the Jedi" appears to be under trouble most of the time in close to every department besides the joy-spreading cast in static as to say standard visual coverage by cinematographer Alan Hume (1924-2010), also know for capturing "007" movies with Roger Moore (1927-2017) between 1981 and 1985, which in retrospective could have been more innovative under a different direction due to mostly unused major league production design by Norman Reynolds in the most disappointed scene between Luke Skywalker, when the leading character turns himself in, to Darth Vader on the Moon Endor, which hardly keeps the expected thrills at store from the once-in-a-lifetime confrontation between father & son in superior-suspense as action-sharing just-cause to be the better movie "Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) directed by Irvin Kershner (1923-2010).
© 2018 Felix Alexander Dausend
(Cinemajesty Entertainments LLC)