"A fitting end to the trilogy (or is it now a six-logy? Sexogy?)."
NOTE: This review covers the Special Edition release of Return of the Jedi.Bunch of Muppets, my ass. While before 1997 I would have agreed with Clerks's Dante on his disdain for the third - uh, sixth - installment in the Star Wars series, the Special Edition team that tackled this episode made dramatic improvements to the film.
You all know what happens by now. Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is freed from the clutches of Jabba The Hutt, R2D2 serves mixed drinks, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) sports a leather bikini, Yoda dies, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) faces his father Darth "Don't Call Me Anakin Skywalker" Vader (David Prowse with James Earl Jones's larynx) and is tempted by the Emperor, and Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee "Colt .45" Williams) pilots his old Millennium Falcon on a mission to destroy Death Star II. Oh yeah, and there's a lot of C3PO-worshipping furry little Ewoks, basically miniature Chewbaccas.
The only new thing that kinda takes away from Jedi's integrity is the new "cabaret" scene in Jabba's lair. While it's a pretty cool number, it seems more cartoonish than the original. But you'll get no complaints from me on the other extras. Where there wasn't much to the Sarlacc the first time around, the SE team has made a new Sarlacc in the image of Audrey II from "Little Shop of Horrors". This time it actively chomps on its victims rather than waits for them to fall in. The new scenes of crowds partying in the streets of the liberated Coruscant add tremendously to the story. You now see the true effect that the Death Star's destruction and the Emperor's demise have on the galaxy.
Finally, the new music at the end is another drastic improvement. While the Ewoks' little song was cute (I think the lyrics, loosely translated, are "I get knocked down, but I get up again, and you're never gonna kick me down"), to me the original music just wasn't fitting for an ending to the Big Trilogy. While the new stuff sounds like a track for a new Paul Simon album, it still sounds more heroic, more appropriate for a concluding interlude.
Those whippersnappers who have never seen Star Wars until its special rerelease in 1997 will find Jabba The Hutt's acting a little wooden. No, this ain't the computer-generated turd-with-a-face that was in the New Hope SE. Just like the other two Star Wars films already made, time and progress have taken away from Jedi's aura. But while the film pales in comparison to the other two, it finishes a very close third.There really was no other reason to make this film than to wrap up the loose ends of Empire Strikes Back. But at least they did a nice job making it.