July 23, 2012
Review by bionicbob — March 19, 2011 @ 12:29 am
WARNING: SPOILERS WILL APPEAR!!!
Return of the Jedi is one of those childhood movies that is at once both a milestone event
and an epic disappointment.
My little tush was in theatre seats in 1977, and I marvelled in awe at this new universe spread before me called Star Wars.
I was there again in 1980, when Empire shook our foundations with it’s dramatic reveal of Luke’s father and pushed our beloved heroes into darkness and dispair.
Then in 1983, our heroes returned in the final chapter in a rollercoaster adventure, that while it greatly entertained,it left me feeling completely dissatisfied!
Alot of it just made no sense to me.
At the end of ESB, everyone from Yoda to the Obiwan is telling Luke he is not a Jedi, that he needs more training.
But when ROJ opens, the recently defeated Luke is informed that he is now a Jedi!
What the….? Did I miss a memo?
Plus the death of Boba Fett just blew my mind.
The coolest movie character in recent years receives the lamest death ever put to film.
What was Lucas thinking?
Then there are all the supporting characters, all getting screen time but with very little important character development or really interesting moments.
Of course, that brings us to the Ewoks….. “ugh”…. nuff said.
Anyway, as I have said, I have watched ROJ many times, and yes it does entertain,
but for a concluding chapter to one of most important stories of my childhood,
it was a complete and utter disappointment!
BUT NOT ANY MORE!!!
Now, I have Spence’s wonderful edit that pretty much addresses every issue I had with the original ROJ.
This version is definitely very much the story of Luke Skywalker’s journey.
While all of our heroes are present, they are pretty much supporting characters
as Luke finally faces his destiny and confronts Vader and the Emperor.
The restructured opening 20-25 minutes is brilliant. The new crawl explains Luke returns to Yoda to continue his training, and it is while there he has a premonition (similar to what happened in ESB) that his friends are in trouble.
This is an excellent narrative device use by Spence. If I were so bold to suggest, it might have been even stronger is maybe an audio or visual effect was used to support Luke’s vision? Regardless, it is very clever and works wonderfully.
The recut Jabba Palace works beautifully. All of our favorite characters are reintroduced in slightly new ways that I found very enjoyable and more logical.
The removal of Boba Fett is masterful. Fantastic editting in this regard!
The Endor scenes work very well. The Ewoks have been trimmed back. They are still too damn cute and cuddlely for my tastes, but there is not much one can do about that without sacrificing pivotal plot.
The moving of the Emperor from the Death Star to the Super Destroyer, works very well too.
Some very nice F/X work done here. Bravo!
Lots of little trims have been done to the Han and Leia interplay, which I think actually made their relationship come off stronger and more believeable.
And the closing of the movie with Vader’s funeral pyre was an excellent choice. Closes the movie on the perfect note.
As you may be able to tell, I really enjoyed this edit.
Not to say there are not some minor nit-piks….. some minor audio issues, changing matte colours, and tiny errors on the closing credits… But as I said, to me these are all extremely minor and did not detract from the over all viewing experience for me at all.
I enjoyed the bonus features (though I have not listened to the commentary yet) and I think the abandoned concepts regarding the Flashbacks (as watchers of my Trek edits know, I love flashbacks) and having all the storylines converge during Luke and Vader’s battle were brilliant ideas and could have worked really well as part of the edit. But I totally understand Spence’s reasoning.
So all in all, a fantastic edit! Thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining and most importantly, satisfying!
Thank You Spence for restoring my childhood.