return of the jedi turns 30



May the 25th 1983, Return of the Jedi makes it’s theatrical debut, and we were there.   “Revenge of the Jedi” was the original name of the film until the last several months of the production.  Something happened story-wise that caused the big name change, and there was a rush to pull everything that was printed, whether it was posters or articles in Star Log, to be quickly replaced with the new title.  As anxious fans, this title change was an enormous event and we were all scrambling to get anything that had “Revenge of the Jedi” in the title.

Anyways it’s now May the 24th and a bunch of my friends, including Rod Andrewson, Scott Rigler, Brian Siken and a host of others made the big trek to Scottsdale, AZ to camp on the night before so we could be at the first screening of the final segment of the original Star Wars trilogy. It was a long night, and from our point of view, we felt like we were the only normal people in a sea of crazy fanatic fans.  There was girl that decided to walk out in the intersection at about 3:00 in the morning and pretend to control the traffic lights with her own Jedi powers.  At any given hour cars of thrill seekers would drive by and throw eggs into the crowd or hose everyone down with high pressure fire extinguishers. It was definitely a night to remember. The first showing was at noon so once we all got inside and to our seats, all the excitement began.  The Kachina was a big Cinerama theater and the best seats were about the 5th row from the front and in the center.  From these seats the screen seemed to wrap around and fortunately we got petty close to the E ticket seating. Finally noon comes and the movie begins.

Following one of SCI-Fi’s  greatest films of all time, “The Empire Strikes Back”, the anticipation for this installment was without measure.  The movie starts and the entire film is filled with screams and howls from the crowd.  The new visual EFX by ILM are breathtaking as well as the score by John Williams, but about half way through the movie I was really not thrilled by what was happening on screen.  As the stage was set with “Empire” as a dark, intense and very serious story line with deep character development, took a hard turn to whimsical and campy in Jedi… Teddy bears in the woods,  a pathetically wimpy  Han Solo who suffered from teen jealousy attacks.  Darth Vader turns into a softy and when he takes his helmet off we find out he is really Humpty Dumty.  The “other”, that Yoda had spoken of was Princess Leia who really didn’t hold up for any greatness.  And the final blow of Luke and Leia being twins.  I was very disappointed as the film played on but I thought it must have been because I was tired so I went again and, NO I was right it wasn’t anywhere near what I was expecting.  I went several more times to watch the speeder bike chase and the end attack on the Death Star but story wise I just hated where it went, or didn’t go.

Writers Kasdan and Brackett, as well as the directorial vision of Irvin Kirshner were deeply missed and their labors were tossed aside for cute, cuddly and silly humor.  Although the disappointment is still there 30 years later, I still love the film even though it was a far cry from what I was expecting to see.  Ewoks are still a lot more palatable than Jar Jar Binks.  HAAA HAAA! So with all that said, Happy 30th to RETURN OF THE JEDI!!!!

revenge poster

revenge poster

the Kachina!

the Kachina!

Jabba and Slave Leia.

Jabba and Slave Leia.

some of ILM's magic

some of ILM’s magic

the speeder bike chase, The highlight of the film.

the speeder bike chase, The highlight of the film.

Even more ILM Magic, It's a Trap!!!!

Even more ILM Magic, It’s a Trap!!!!

And may we present, Humpty Dumpty.

And may we present, Humpty Dumpty.

and to end it all we were treated to the atrocious Zug Zug song!!!!! OH what a world, Happy 30th jedi

and to end it all we were treated to the atrocious Zug Zug song!!!!! OH what a world, Happy 30th jedi

11 Responses to “return of the jedi turns 30”

  1. 1 evil_genius_180
    May 25, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I was four years old in 1983. 😛

    I love Return of the Jedi. Granted, it’s not as good as The Empire Strikes Back, but it’s still great. The Ewoks are cool. For the record, I also like Jar Jar (he’s funny.) I love seeing pint sized teddy bears with no technology to speak of beating the highly advanced Imperial army. They were ignoring the Ewoks, which was a mistake. The rest of the movie is great too. I have no issues with Luke and Leia being twins, even if Carrie Fisher is a lot younger than Mark Hamill (which was starting to show more in that movie.) The battle at the end was fantastic, or I should say the three simultaneous battles. It’s just a thrill ride from start to finish.

    As for Vader, he looks like a horribly scarred man, but I can see where you got the Humpty Dumpty reference. Since they had to build up his head so much for the scarred bits that go down deep into his skull, his head did wind up egg shaped. What makes me mad is how George Lucas decided to replace the accurately aged Sebastian Shaw with the much younger Hayden Christensen at the end of the DVD version. That doesn’t seem right, since Obi-Wan shows up accurately aged. I don’t see why Anakin/Vader’s ghost would be younger looking, he should show up as the age he was when he died. But then I don’t like a lot of things George did for the “Special” edition and subsequent releases. And, on a final note about Vader, he had to turn back to the good side before he died. Otherwise, Luke failed and who wants to see one of the movie’s heroes fail?

    • 2 johneaves
      May 25, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      I am so glad you loved this movie…. Empire set the bar for me but all in all I loved Jedi too. Somebody actually hollered the Humpty Dumpty line in the theater when Vader’s helmet came off.. IT WAS one of the funniest moments. There sure were a lot of cross overs between the original version and the new releases as you were mentioning with the end and the spiritual figures looking back at Luke… One thing I was rather sad about was the way the emperor looked in the transmission to Vader in Empire and what came to be in Jedi. I was really looking forward to seeing more of that cloaked villain with the strange eyes rather than an old man with a cane..

      • 3 evil_genius_180
        May 25, 2013 at 6:25 pm

        I know what you mean about the transmission in Empire. I hate it with Ian McDiarmid in there. It’s not his fault, (it’s George’s fault) I just think what they did originally was so cool and inventive. I read years ago that they used an old woman and gave her baboon eyes. Genius. Sure, what they did with the DVD release and putting him in there worked for continuity, but it sucks. That’s someone’s hard work they replaced. Plus, the hologram itself doesn’t look as good, in my opinion. I don’t know what kind of effects they did 33 years ago VS when they did that for the DVD, but I like the look of the older effect better. But, that’s just me.

        I just hope Disney will eventually come to their senses and release the original films remastered (remastered means a new master is made from the original film, nothing is added or subtracted) on Blu-Ray. It makes financial sense because there are enough people who hate the newer stuff and want to buy the originals that Disney will make money. And, as everyone knows, the current incarnation of Disney is all about making money, much unlike their founder Walt, who just wanted to make films and entertain people. Plus, THX already remastered the original films before doing the “special” editions, so it’s not like the work hasn’t already been done.

      • 4 evil_genius_180
        May 25, 2013 at 6:31 pm

        I just realized I got off track and you were talking about how the Emperor looked in Jedi VS how he looked in Empire, not what they did on the DVD release. (oops) I agree, it would have been cool if they’d made the Emperor look in Jedi more like how they had him look in Empire. Though, I don’t know how they’d have pulled off the human with baboon eyes thing in real life. Sure, they could have done something with makeup and latex, but the eyes probably would have looked fake. But, yeah, they could have made the Emperor cooler in Jedi. Another misleading thing is how the hologram in Empire towers over Vader but, when he arrives in the Death Star II, you find out he’s really a short, scrawny man.

      • 5 johneaves
        May 25, 2013 at 8:13 pm

        here here Evil G your right on with all of this!!!

  2. May 25, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I’ll take the Ewoks over Jar Jar Binks any day of the week.
    While return is the weakest of the original Trilogy it still is a great film. Like Chris said the end three battles is excellent and you are able to keep track what’s going on in each one.

    I have to say that I am a little scared what JJ Abrams will do with it. (Yes he is a Wars.)
    But I am not all that happy with what he has done with the new Trek films. Yes they are enjoyable but they are lacking a lot of what made Trek great for us old fan.
    Saying this JJ not completely to blame as his writers claim to be big fans of Trek and they keep putting in some major plot hole that none fan can see. The Hard Core Trekkie are ripping the films apart because of this.
    Can you imagine what the Hard Core Wars fans going to be like with Episode 7?

    • 7 johneaves
      May 25, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      There really is no way to win when a favorite series gets a reboot. The creative people involved are rather forced to progress to the new standards of action and visuals and a lot of what made us all fans gets set aside. At least we have our old loved films and shows to watch and as far as JJ goes I don’t think anyone could have done it better. He was brought on to rebuild a stale franchise and he did do it despite the clash between old and new He really rose to the epic chore and treated us to something grand and new with as much roots to the past as he could get in.. I am rather excited to see what he has in store for Star Wars as well as what is in store with TREK.

      • May 26, 2013 at 4:14 am

        There is no way to win even with a series that gets a spin-off as well.
        You will always get groups of fans that don’t like it for one reason or another.

        You will have a better understand than me on this as you work on the Show, but with Enterprise. It turned a lot of fans away with it premise and first two seasons. The third season was a major improvement, and the fourth was the best. (Except for the last episode.) But like I said because of the premise of the show it turned a lot of fans away.

        As I said I have my issue with JJ film and fans will. But what bugs me more is the bad writing. His first because of the major plot holes. With the latest film, part of the ending is a copy of TWOK, which to me is lazy and sloppy writing. Especially given the script was in development for two years.
        I just hope that the next film, we will get new writers that can give a script without major plot holes or bad writing!!

  3. May 26, 2013 at 1:06 am

    The weakest of the ‘original’ trilogy without a doubt. I think the biggest problem is the pace; the story takes forever to get anywhere and I think that the script was padded in places so the runtime could reach 2hrs.

    I think, they could have just had Han’s team go to Endor and blow up the generator without any of the Ewok stuff in between and focused more on Luke and Vader after Luke turned himself in. We could have seen more of Luke’s efforts to turn Vader away from the Emperor and that would have made the ending more believable.

    Kind of looking forward to episode 7, but I really do not like what JJ Abrams has done with the characters in his Trek reboot; to me they are just parodies of the originals and I am a bit worried about what he’ll do with these characters.

    • 10 johneaves
      May 26, 2013 at 6:59 am

      It defiantly is a different world as far as reboots and regenerations are concerned. What we loved will never come back the way we want it to be. So with that it’s a love it, hate it or just except kinda time… I actually spend more time watching old movies and shows than wasting any time on what has been coming out in the last 10 years or so.. I am way burned out on films where EVERYTHING is done in CG!!!

  4. 11 DeanneM
    May 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    I watched the Family Guy episode, “It’s a Trap!” last night not even knowing it was 30 years ago that the movie it parodied had hit the screen!! HA I suppose I should watch the movie now. 🙂

    I love all the original trilogy SW movies. Yup, definitely time for another run through!!!!

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May 2013

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