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RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983)

In the last of the Star Wars series, Darth Vader and his goons are at work on the indestructible Death Star.  With the imprisonment of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker sends the adorable androids R2D2 and C3PO to free him.  Meanwhile, Princess Leia, disguised as a bounty hunter, and the beloved Chewbaca accompany the droids in their heroic quest.  As the climax builds, the denouement commences at the Moon of Endor, where the Ewoks help the rebels battle Vader and the "dark side" with their benevolent Jedi powers.

The cast includes: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Sebastian Shaw, Ian McDiarmid, David Prowse, Alec Guinness, Kenny Baker, Denis Lawson, Warwick Davis, James Earl Jones (voice only), and Frank Oz.

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Promotional Line: "Return To A Galaxy... Far, Far Away"

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This third installment of George Lucas's 1st Star Wars Trilogy starts with several challenges facing our heroes and the rebel alliance. Han (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca ( Peter Mayhew), and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) are captives of Jabba the Hutt, and the evil empire is building a new death star. A secondary plot line follows Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), trying to complete his Jedi training, and how he deals with his conflicted feelings about Darth Vader, whose true identity was revealed at the end the 2nd Star Wars film. "The Empire. Strikes Back." Then, there is the budding romance between Han and Leia, that is glimpsed at in between action sequences. All elements come together at the end.

First order of business is Luke Skywalker's exciting planned rescue of Han Solo, Chewbacca and Princess Leia, from the clutches of the evil Jabba the Hutt, with the help of Lando and the robots. Freed, the trio, along with Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), Chewbacca, with the help of R2D2 (Kenny Baker), C-Threepio (Anthony Daniels), join an odd coalition of freedom fighters, which all work together striving to do their individual parts to defeat the evil empire and emperor.

Luke faces the challenges of Darth Vader by himself, while his friends work to get the new Death Star's defense shield down, which is located on the planet Endor, and other rebels, led by Lando Calrissian, prepare to once again blow up the now newly completed Death Star, as soon as the defense shield is deactivated.

"Return of the Jedi" introduces some great new characters to the "Star Wars" universe. On the bad guy side, there's the monstrous Jabba the Hutt, and a closer, chilling look at the evil emperor (Ian McDiarmid) and the infamous Darth Vader, who vacillates about his feelings for Luke, which ultimately leads him to do something completely uncharacteristic. David Prowse plays Darth Vader on-screen, while John Earl Jones is the voice of Darth Vader. Both do a terrific job portraying a character with an inner struggle.

On the good side are the small, cute, furry Ewoks, who are "fur balls" that fight bravely and help to save the day. Help comes in all sizes. Plus Lando Calrissian redeems himself, putting his best foot forward, making amends for his self-serving behavior seen in "The Empire Strikes Back."

There are many entertaining scenes and amusing dialog. When an Ewok takes off on a soldier's motorbike, to leave the front door of the bad guys station at the defense shield unguarded, Hans Solo quips, "Not bad for a little fur ball!"

There are many exciting action sequences, that are well acted, well-staged, well-directed, and well written, with the usual great pacing. My favorite action sequence is an exciting, fast paced battle aboard Jabba's anti-gravity Sail Barge. The scene is thrilling, action packed, and one of the best sequences in any of the "Star Wars" movies.

The creative energy seen in the special effects, the story, the characters, and the entire production all are first rate; making the third installment of the Star Wars trilogy a top-notch memorable entertainment event.

Filming made key use of several American locations. Buttercup Valley, Arizona was used to represent the desert planet of Tatooine. Redwood forests, near Crescent City, California were used to depict sequences set on Endor, the Ewoks' home planet.

 

If you enjoyed RETURN OF THE JEDI, you may like INDEPENDENCE DAY, STAR WARS, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and/or THE LAST STARFIGHTER.

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