Probably the best edited version of ROTJ. Not every cringe moment is cut (kind of depends on how much you like Boba Fett) but enough of them to be a major improvement. This cut strikes a nice balance between purity and revisionism. If you want something more radical, go to Spence...but if you want a version of ROTJ that is both good and true to the original film, I recommend.
I love the original trilogy. A lot. Those films are some of my all-time favorites. However, Return of the Jedi always seemed a bit…off… to me. Not bad, mind you, just off. [One reviewer mentions “cut scenes”. I think that’s a pretty good description of how some parts of ROTJ feel.]
As I thought about it, I came to realize that this “off balance” feeling the original version of the film has is due to three key distractions in Return of the Jedi:
1. Jabba’s palace silliness. The focus should be on Luke rescuing his friends, but instead we’re treated to a musical number and other cartoonish elements.
2. Han Solo seems jealous of Luke, which shouldn’t have been a focus of the film. His jealousy made his character arc move weirdly backwards. He seemed very immature and lame in Return of the Jedi, at times.
3. Obviously, the Ewoks. Nothing against them or their cuteness, it’s just that the battle as was presented in the original version of the film was unrealistic and thus distracted from the prime conflict of the film: Luke becoming a Jedi and confronting his father.
This edit takes care of all three. Lapti Nek/Jedi Rocks [and droid screaming] is excised, Han’s problematic lines are (sometimes quite brilliantly) removed.
The Endor ground battle was fantastic. It’s completely believable. Han and Leia get trapped in the bunker, C3PO and the Ewoks realize this and get help. They arrive as a distraction when the rebels are brought outside with their hands up. The Imperials go after them, and get a nasty surprise from the Ewok’s bow&arrows. From there on out, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and the rebels fight the fight and get their job done. The Ewoks do their part and run around and distract the empire. They try to fight but their sticks and stones just can’t beat the imperials. Finally, Chewie breaks into an AT-AT, does some real damage, Han and Leia get into the base, and the rest is history.
The only place this lost points were some audio transitions that didn’t necessarily sound natural. Unfortunately, I think these kind of things are unavoidable when you are not the person who made the film—and thus you don’t have full access to all the audio resources used for the movie.
Anyway, the result of the edit is a version of Return of the Jedi that retains everything we love about the film. It is still a worthy conclusion to a great trilogy, but now it is also fantastic film in its own right. I would recommend this edit to anyone who has had the same feelings of Return of the Jedi as me.
Darthrush has truly done god's work here. When reading the cutlist, I did expect an improvement, but just a milder one. What I ended up watching was not a mere improvement. Darthrush has turned the black sheep of the original trilogy into a masterpiece on par with the other two movies. No longer is the whimsical tale of some ewoks messing around on Endor somehow kicking the Empire's ass, but rather the story of the redemption of Darth Vader and the victory of the rebellion against all odds.
The pacing of the movie is the most beneficial of any change. He could have left out most of his other changes he made to this edit, but it still would have been a worthy replacement to the original if the pacing was improved. Needless to say, Darthrush delivered. The movie flows like a dream, just like the other 2 movies, not only on a movie-wide scale, but even many individual scenes flow noticeably better.
My biggest fear going into this edit was the erasure of a lot of Han's scenes. Sure, the butchering his character got in the theatrical release was awful, but I was worried that the complete absence of such an iconic character from the climax of the trilogy would be just as damaging. Thankfully, even when all of the bad Han scenes are cut out, he still has a decent amount of screen time and there isn't a hint of a toned down personality. The Han in this edit is the one we all know and love, not some awkward, unfunny, jealous mess that he originally was.
The screen time given to the worst part of the movie, the ewoks, is handled masterfully. They get *just* enough screen time that they give some flavour and variety to the setting without completely destroying the tone. Making them less cuddly and cute was well done, and they're purpose as an early distraction, without actively fighting back the enemy, is well implemented. Now that their scenes gradually devolve into defeats against the empire, it actually strengthens the narrative, as both the rebellion and our new friends are being brought to their knees.
I can't talk about every little change he made in this edit due to how many there are (though I would love to if given the time), so for the sake of brevity let me just say that every tweak was done in good taste and every single one subtly improves the movie. From the music/audio ques, the tiny trims and even added vfx, the level of subtlety in this edit is masterful to say the least. Even the jumps between theatrical and special edition footage was remarkably tasteful.
To cap this review off, this ending is just perfect. The best of both versions, really. SE music, city celebrations and eyebrow-less vader face, original force ghost intact and 'wesa free' gone. Vader fading away like yoda and obi-wan is not only a great touch on it's own, it's coincidentally been strengthened by the end of Rise of Skywalker.
If you're reading this, please just watch this edit. No longer do I sigh and switch my brain off when I near the end of a star wars marathon. This edit enhances a genuinely mediocre film into a conclusion worthy of a New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. Granted, we all know that Adywan will present a superior edit when he returns from his righteous crusade to perfect this movie, but until that day, this will remain my go-to for this movie.
Oh boy, has there been a lot of current backlash of ROTJ for awhile now, even since it's initial release back in '83. Who hasn't heard about the common complaints from this film; "the ewoks are too cutsie and don't work as a story telling element, the dialogue is reminiscent of the prequels, Han Solo's character took a massive step down and again serves no purpose..."
Well, while I can see where most complaints come from and agree with some, I still hold this film near to my heart. It has plenty of good elements to overshadow the negative attributes. The 1st and 3rd acts are some of the best SW material we've gotten so far, from the creative practical effects, character development and some pretty deep and mature emotional drama (not to mention the absolute best space battle in the saga), ROTJ is a good, just not great film.
@Darthrush has taken the film once again back into the editing process, to remove most of the genuine problems me and others share giving us a much more solid film. How does this fare? I'm proud to say that this will take a well deserved spot among my SW collection, with it's smooth and careful crafting that removes many problems such as Han and Lando's all too quick patching things up, much of the childish elements and cheesy moments thankfully gone, out of place humor that undercut some more intense and dramatic sequences, most of the uneeded expositional dialogue, and an overall tighter experience that I believe many can and will enjoy.
I do have a few squanders here and there, but nothing that immediately stands out to distract. Once or twice, I could tell when the audio transitioned from one edit to another such as the cutting out of an exposition scene with Vader and the Emperor, and I did notice when a new source popped on screen from color variation and missing film grain (from Harmy's ROTJ). But those are honestly nitpicks in the grand scheme of things, as this is a much better closing to the beloved SW OT.
Great edit, took out many things that did not need to be in this film. Unfortunately Boba Fett is something that didn't need to be in this film so if you make another version I suggest you cut alot of him out. This was a smooth edit, I never noticed it was fan made even with the addition of your own special effects like Vader vanishing after death. Great work.