The Forest is Strong in This One
So we come to "Return of the Jedi" what for a long time was the final "Star Wars" and the movie which not only gave us the cuddly Ewoks but also gave us Carrie Fisher in that bikini. But that is me being distracted because what "Return of the Jedi" was also the bringing together of everything about the first two movies as we continue to have character and story development but we got an equal share of action and adventure. And of course it brought it all too an ending or at least an ending till in 2013 we learnt that having already given us the three prequels we would now get further chapters in the "Star Wars" series.
So as to story, well something which is common throughout Episodes IV, V, VI is that what we get is surprisingly simple and easy to follow. As such "Return of the Jedi" starts with the elaborate and action packed rescue of Han Solo from Jabba the Hut which yes gave us Carrie Fisher in what was probably a very uncomfortable bikini but also made her one of the sexiest sci-fi characters of all time. Anyway I get distracted again; easy to do, what follows on from there is basically the rebel alliance trying to destroy a new and even more powerful death star requiring a trip to Endor which introduces us to the cuddly Ewoks. But we also get the continuing saga of Luke's battle with Darth Vader who under the control of the Emperor wants to turn him to the dark side and Luke's revelations about how his father went bad and that he has actually got a twin sister.
Now whilst I will always love "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" above all others and accept that "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back" is technically better there is no denying that "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" keeps up the high level of quality whilst doing a good job of combining the first two movies focuses. As such in Episode VI we do get both sides of the coin with plenty of action for those like me who grew up and still love the action and adventure side of the movies but we also get further developments in the characters most notably that of Luke as he discovers more about the past. In a way whilst making "Return of the Jedi" entertaining for all it is also the movies weakness because it makes it feel like it is sitting on the fence trying to please all people, that doesn't mean it is any less good just not as focussed.
Now as we all know George Lucas tinkered with the original trilogy over the years and I remember watching "Return of the Jedi" in its original format and thinking it looked great. The whole visual side of it be it the opening with the rescue of Han Solo from Jabba the Hut or the action on Endor with the speeder bike chases was always great. But Lucas's updates have for me sadly spoiled things not only with some painfully obvious introduction of CGI characters such as a different musical number at Jabba's Palace but most noticeably the final Jedi ghost shot where Sebastian Shaw has been digitally replaced by Hayden Christensen. It means that whilst it is again nice to see a cleaned up print of the movie the tampering with the original has spoiled it.
What this all boils down to is that "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" was and still is a great finale to the original trilogy bringing matters to a close quite nicely. I would say that whilst watching newer additions has the benefit of a cleaner, sharper picture if you can get your hands on the unaltered original version it is the one you should watch before any of the other newer versions.