In anticipation of Star Wars returning to the big screen, I have been watching the original trilogy again (just like most of the world). The original, A New Hope, is still fun and exciting and generally great. Empire is still easily the best of the bunch with its darkness and constant mutterings of “It’s not my fault!” Return of the Jedi? It’s really fucking weird.
The weird is what’s great about Jedi. Sure, the fulfillment of Luke’s journey to manhood and his father’s redemption is the heart of the movie. The window dressing for all of that is as bizarre as Star Wars gets.
We start at Jabba’s palace, which features some of the lowest scum in the galaxy, as well as adorable muppets. Look at Max Rebo! He’s basically that stuffed elephant that you needed to sleep as a kid. Awwwww.
The entire music scene in Jabba’s place is bonkers, and it seems to get even worse with each subsequent home video release. Sy Snoodles looks like a rejected mutant from Toontown in Roger Rabbit that was made even more disturbing when CGI’d up. George Lucas also decided to inflict the world with Joh Yowza. Yes, Yowza. He’s that furry baritone guy with the big CGI mouth that clearly was never a muppet. He is a sucky pile of suck.
Throughout the Jabba opening, Han Solo is blind due to his time in carbonite. Jabba makes Leia wear a metal bikini (that brought a number of Star Wars fans into puberty). There’s a little guy whose only purpose seems to be cackling and getting shocked by R2D2. Notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett has just decided to hang out for a while. I guess Jabba has all the primo drugs.
My personal favorite part of Jabba’s pad is the monster he keeps underneath the main room: the Rancor. It’s a scary ass pile of stop motion fun that Luke has to battle without his lightsaber. Once the Rancor has been crushed under its own door, most of the guests and guards in attendance are stunned and angered. Everyone with the exception of one fat man. The Rancor Keeper’s tears make me laugh every time. For some reason, George Lucas thought, “You know, someone needs to have their heart broken by the death of this stop motion monster that lives in Jabba’s basement.” Bless you Rancor Keeper.
How must Luke and his friends pay for killing such a noble creature? They get the Tatooine version of cement shoes as they’re driven (flown? hovered?) out into the middle of the desert to be thrown into the pit of the Sarlacc. The Sarlacc started out as just a hole with teeth and a few tentacles, but has since been transformed into some venus fly trap thing.
As Luke is being forced to walk the plank (which has a greater resemblance to a diving board), he enacts his plan. Blind Han flails about wildly and manages to take out notorious bounty hunter and intergalactic badass Boba Fett by accident.
Lando Calrissian almost gets nabbed by the Sarlacc and screams in the funniest way possible.
C3PO almost gets taken out by cackling monkey lizard thing Salacious B. Crumb (easily the best name in the Star Wars universe).
And metal bikini Leia chokes out the most notorious gangster in the galaxy with her own chain.
What a way to start a movie.
The bulk of Jedi takes place on the moon of Endor, but everyone just calls it Endor because whooooo caaaaaares. Endor is populated by Ewoks, who are small adorable teddy bears that clearly were created to appeal to small children. Small children get their parents to buy them Star Wars toys and ultimately matter more than 30-year-old guys painfully assembling scale models of the Millennium Falcon. Whatever George Lucas, you still should have given us a Wookiee planet in the original trilogy. My voice matters! (it doesn’t)
The Ewoks’ first adorable hijinks occur when they capture fan favorite Chewbacca, along with ace smuggler Han Solo, Jedi Luke Skywalker, and their two droids in a big net with a huge slab of meat. Oh Chewbacca, always thinking with that stomach of yours!
The Ewoks, having captured our heroes in a simple net, then try to eat them on a spit roast. You guys don’t want to eat Han, he’s all skin and bones. Mama Solo has been trying to get him to bulk up for years, but what can you do?
However, Luke uses the force and convinces the Ewoks that C3PO is a golden magical god and not just a neurotic English robot. This moon-planet-whatever of teddy bears then manages to bring down an entire well-armed platoon of Stormtroopers before going on to star in further home video adventures where they team up with adorable children to battle giant spiders and shit. I really love all the dumb Ewok gadgets and traps. There’s hang gliding Ewok, logs rolling down a hill, and two logs on ropes.
Star Wars fans hate Ewoks so much that the most popular one might be the one that dies on-screen. It’s a magical relationship. Eventually Luke, the rebel fleet, and the Ewoks win and they all get to celebrate with punch and pie and playing the xylophone with the skulls of those they’ve defeated that day! There’s even differing music depending on what version you watch. I, personally, prefer the original Fraggle Rock type song as I am a Star Wars hipster.
The newer version just sounds too much like the music you hear while waiting in line for a tropical themed water ride at a major amusement park.
Last, but not least, Return of the Jedi features the greatest Star Wars character of all, walking fish man and master of traps Admiral Ackbar. The definition of acceptance is taking orders from a walking fish man without batting an eye.
You’re bizarre, weird, and make nearly no sense at all, Return of the Jedi. Good job.