Happy 35th to the first Star Wars film I ever saw!
35 long years ago, what we thought was the end of the Star Wars saga finally hit the cinemas. It wowed audiences, filled us with gloom before lifting us back up with hope and answered the big question that had been on every fan’s mind for three years: was Vader really Luke’s father?
While most of the fandom claim Empire is their favourite Star Wars film, I differ a little and state Return Of The Jedi is mine, simply because when I was a young child, I had my brother’s Star Wars toys to play with and loved them (still do, ask Mags), and would almost weekly ask my mother to put on our copy of Star Wars on VHS to watch. She’d always found the first tape she could find and played it for me, the movie in question was Return Of The Jedi. I started at the end of the trilogy and loved it. It was years before I even realised there were other films.
We all know the plot to Jedi and if you don’t, you're not a Star Wars fan and probably don’t want to know. It’s a great tale with a few twists, and grips you the whole way through. The set piece battles are amazing to behold as they are brilliantly choreographed, especially the one I love the most, the space Battle of Endor. Which when you remember that Jedi was made in '82, is epic. The models used and mixed with a small amount of blue screen is just mind blowing, it looks better than a lot of films made since.
The entire cast shines so brightly here, our three mains (Hamill, Ford and Fisher) were household names by this stage and would have struggled to do wrong.
The three men who brought Darth Vader to life on screen were again brilliant, while Billy Dee Williams returning as Lando is still a joy to watch. But for me the best performance goes to Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine, he scared the shit out of me as a child and I loved it; Vader was evil but in the end redeemable, the Emperor was not.
And of course what helped make this such an amazing film is also John Williams’ score, without a doubt, he added the perfect atmosphere to Return Of The Jedi and the franchise as a whole.
Originally called Blue Harvest during production to fool fans who needed to know how the story would end, Return Of The Jedi is in my eyes the best film of the franchise.
The Empire Strikes Back left us at our lowest point, but Jedi brings us back up with its eventual happy ending and the return of Anakin Skywalker to the Light side of the Force, teaching us it is never too late to redeem ourselves.
And let’s face it, the final duel and Battle of Endor are both epic, plus that one moment when the Emperor beats down Luke with Force Lightning, making us all think the Dark side would win again, all point to amazing film making.