Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Long Time Ago

Magnet # 251: Star Wars Episode IV:  Return of the Jedi Poster

Material:  Metal, Paper, Mylar Shell

Purchased By:  Me

Now that's more like it - a great film with a stunning Drew Struzan poster to boot! Yep, today marks the anniversary of the release of Return of the Jedi back in 1983. Fans of the series had been waiting three years to find out the fate of Luke Skywalker and his friends, most notably Han Solo, who had been taken by Boba Fett to the notorious Jabba the Hutt. And they came to theatres in droves, making it the top grossing film of the year. At the time, critics praised the film, mostly preferring it to its predecessor, The Empire Strikes Back. But with time, opinions have shifted and the second film in the series is now generally preferred over the third. Perhaps it's because we all know how the series played out. Or it might be another matter entirely.

A guy at a comic shop once told me that he thought males preferred The Empire Strikes Back, while women like Return of the Jedi better. I don't know if that's always true, but it was in our case. Yep, Return of the Jedi is easily my favorite of all of the Star Wars films, with Episode IV: A New Hope close behind. I guess that leaves The Empire Strikes Back in third place, with the prequels trailing pretty far behind. He held that guys like the big reveal that Darth Vader is Luke's father in the second film and the cliffhanger ending best and that women like how all of the loose ends are tied up in the final film with a happy ending. Yep, I like happy endings. And I've recently discussed on here how I prefer endings that make good on answering questions and resolving whatever issues are left on the table, which Return of the Jedi definitely does. But I think the scene at Jabba's Palace is what makes this film my favorite of the bunch. It drove me nuts when Han was frozen in the carbonite and I was relieved when Leia was finally able to save him. Plus, there was just so much action during that part of the film, with Luke escaping the Rancor and the entire team defeating Jabba and his minions. It was fast-paced, engrossing, and moved very quickly. I wasn't quite as fond of the second half of the film, with the Ewoks on Endor, but I did enjoy when Luke was able to come to terms with his father just before Anakin's death. And, yes, it was very nice to have everything tied up nicely with the film. I remember getting pretty upset at the conclusion of The Empire Strikes Back, wanting to know what happened next, even though I didn't see it in theaters. Does that make me a girl? I don't know, but if anyone has more insight as to gender preferences with these films, feel free to post it.

Even though the Star Wars saga ended - chronologically speaking - at the theaters with this film, further adventures of Luke and his friends are available in print, both in novels and comics. Han and Leia get married and have twins, Luke becomes a Jedi Master with a family of his own, Lando continues to help while working as a businessman, eventually retiring, and Chewbacca dies valiantly saving Han's son.  And their children continue the drama as they choose to fight as Jedis or join the Dark Side.  If you've never checked these works out, but are a Star Wars fan, it might be worth a try.  It's a shame we never got to see Mark Hamilton, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher continue the stories of their respective characters on the big screen, but at least they went out on a high note.  Return of the Jedi may not be on my top ten list, but I always have fun watching it and seeing how the original trilogy wraps up.

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