Sci-Fi Movie Month: "Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi" Review

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The film is set approximately one year after The Empire Strikes Back. Rebel leader and Jedi Knight, Luke Skywalker struggles to bring Darth Vader, who is his father and a fallen Jedi, back from the Dark Side of the Force.
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Sci-Fi Movie Month: "Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi" Review

-- Rating: PG (Violence)
Length: 134 minutes
Release date: May 25, 1983
Directed by: Richard Marquand
Genre: Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-Fi

"Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi" is the final chronological installment of the six-part "Star Wars" franchise, and the third installment of the original trilogy. The film stars Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, the young Jedi and son of the infamous Darth Vader, voiced by James Earl Jones. The film begins as Darth Vader and the Empire embark on the task of rebuilding the Death Star. Luke Skywalker sends his trustworthy friends, R2-D2 and C-3PO, to break Han Solo out of prison on a faraway world while he prepares for battle.

After learning the true identity of his father, Luke Skywalker's life has become considerably more complicated. He must find a way to stop the Emperor's evil plan to build a Death Star capable of even greater destruction. To do so, he must bring Darth Vader over to his side, which proves to be a task easier said than done. Princess Leia comes along for the ride, disguising herself as a bounty hunter to avoid detection. The siblings are accompanied in their journey by Chewbacca and a few other loyal friends as they take on their most dangerous adventure yet on the forest moon of Endor, which is populated by a race known as the Ewoks, who happen to be sympathetic to the Rebel forces. With the help of companions new and old, Luke must appeal to what little goodness, if any, is left in his father, and save the universe from total conquest.

"Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi" is widely regarded as one of the best "Star Wars" films, introducing concepts that were expounded on in the newer prequels. The Ewoks are one of the most iconic species in the "Star Wars" universe. The small creatures, resembling bears, may be cute, but they serve as fiercely loyal allies for Luke and his friends throughout the film. All the old fan favorites, including Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2, return for the final film and play larger roles than ever. "Return of the Jedi" manages to tie up plenty of loose character ends while providing plenty of room for world expansion in the prequels.

"Return of the Jedi" follows "The Empire Strikes Back" and picks up the story with a more mature Luke Skywalker. After leaving his home planet, Tattooine, and wading into the realities of battle, Luke is still an optimistic young Jedi, but he has a more realistic perspective on the way the universe works. The always looming question of his past has finally been answered, even if the answer wasn't what he wanted to hear. Luke's primary loyalty may be to the Rebel forces, with whom he has sworn to fight for the rest of his life, but he has another agenda as well. At the end of "The Empire Strikes Back," Darth Vader revealed that he was Luke's father and gave the young warrior a choice. Luke is still grappling with his decision between the dark and the light, and he spends much of the film wondering whether he has the strength and courage needed to remain loyal to his friends or will simply cave in to the same pressures that led his father down a path of darkness and betrayal.

"Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi" is one of the most memorable films in the "Star Wars" franchise, and it is generally acknowledged as a superb ending to one of the most-beloved science fiction series of all time. While the final film shares the same enjoyable camp and over-the-top action sequences as the other two original films, it adds a level of depth and introspection that segue nicely into the darker overtones of the prequel films. The fight scenes are impressive for their time, featuring stunning choreography and fantastical settings that make it possible to become immersed in the world of the Empire. With the same iconic cast as the first two films, the acting in "Return of the Jedi" is some of the most memorable in the franchise.

"Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi" is an epic sendoff to the film franchise that established the science fiction genre on the big screen. Fans of the "Star Wars" franchise will not be disappointed in this film, which ties up loose ends and sets the stage for future films that delve even further into the characters and worlds that fan out from the original movies they already love. "Return of the Jedi" delivers on the usual action and adventure, adding a dose of realism and plenty of introspection for Luke, the main character of the original three "Star Wars" films. Audiences will leave the film wanting to know more about Darth Vader and the world of Tattoine, which creates a perfect transition into the later films.

Rating: 4 out of 5