Updated: Dec 21, 2021
On today’s episode of Duel of the Ranks, we conclude the original trilogy with our analysis of Return of the Jedi. It’s Charley’s favorite film of the saga, and Brody’s favorite of the original trilogy. With all of the warm and fuzzy feelings at the end, what’s not to love? Though, isn’t it just frosting on the cake of the previous two films? Are Ewoks really ideal warriors? Was Boba Fett overrated? Tune in to our opinions on the metal bikini episode!
“I just love how this movie caps off the trilogy with such a high note.” - Amanda
We all love the ending. Brody and Charley particularly love the special-edition edits made for the re-release with the new music and victory parades on the different planets. Brody also likes that it’s the first time seeing Ian McDiarmid in-person as the Emperor. For Amanda, “It’s the first time we get flippy jedi tricks!” Speaking of firsts, we get to see a green lightsaber, force lightning, scout troopers, Ewoks, and blood-red Imperial guards. I enjoyed the new and dark music for the scenes leading up to Yoda’s death as well as the operatic suspense during the Luke and Vader duel. Amanda loves seeing Luke MacGyver his way out of the Rancor’s chops while in his all-black, broodish outfit; declining to use his Jedi abilities at that moment.
“I like frosting, but it’s just frosting.” - Christian
Now for the hot takes. I’m excited to say we finally have a designated segment specifically for our hot takes, which we launched during this episode. This allotted time will help us concisely list the issues we want to talk about instead of randomly peppering them into discussion.
Boba Fett was drunk (or he was on death sticks)
Luke is gay…he and Wedge are a couple
Make a reboot film
It’s the worst (least best) of the original trilogy
Replace the Ewoks
“You want kids to see this teddy bear murdered and wailing?” - Christian
Before we all lose our minds with the outlandish declarations above, let’s take a breath and get the numbers out of the way….. Well, how about that. I rated it higher than Brody!
Overall Score = 82.5
“This show is going to make me realize things even about myself that I don’t personally enjoy.” - Brody
While discussing, we came across some perturbing elements of the movie. Brody didn’t like that Yoda basically trolls Luke. He reveals there’s another Skywalker, and immediately dies. Boba Fett was irresponsible in getting closer to the action when he didn’t need to; he had a gun for crying out loud! Amanda has a hard time believing Luke is as powerful as everyone says he is; he hasn’t earned the title of Master yet with what we’ve seen so far. I think the Ewoks are out of place in the film, serving as more of a liability for the rebellion. Are they here for the kids? Are the kids here for Leia’s metal bikini too? Charley even points out that Leia has to help the furry fella down from a dead tree! I don’t take it as far as Brody though. He’s in favor of the Ewoks getting slaughtered by the Empire…to show how dark the Empire is of course. In the words of Amanda: we’re happy the Ewoks exist, but maybe they could’ve cut down a bit on screen time.
“Han really hates C-3PO in this movie.” - Christian
Now there’s a lot in RotJ to help us see the glass half full. Charley makes a great point saying the Ewoks are a needed contrast, keeping it light while the Emperor keeps it dark. He also mentions the great parallels for Luke: he flees Tatooine in A New Hope and then conquers his adversary in Return of the Jedi. His hand gets cut off in The Empire Strikes Back and he returns the favor to his father in this film. Jabba looks great, and by that we mean ugly! The practical effects were great for that slug and many others in his palace and on his barge. I like the genius of George Lucas showing how evil the Emperor is in order to see Vader in a more positive light. This does very well in setting him up for his redemption. Amanda and I enjoy that in this film, Leia isn’t just a princess, she’s a Skywalker. She scores a great revenge kill (Jabba)! Though, we wish she would’ve had screen time using the force or showing off more of her Skywalker side.
“It’s really the capstone of the immersive universe.” - Charley
Amanda had an idea for the Book of Boba Fett to open up on Mos Eisley with an AA meeting between him and some creatures from Jabba’s palace. Though, Charley thinks Boba sucked from the beginning; we haven’t seen much of anything from him this whole time. However, despite all the flack we gave Boba Fett, Return of the Jedi is a wonderful film that we all love. I’m not sure you could make a better reboot. Speaking of rewrites, I had a cool idea for Solo. Listen till the end!