Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Happy 30th Anniversary, Return of the Jedi!

We're a little late here, but it has been 30 years since Return of the Jedi hit theaters.  Does anyone have any memories of this one?  I was very, very young when this came out.  Like, in preschool.  And yet I still remember going to see it.  I remember that we had to move further to the back of the theater during the Rancor pit scene because it was so loud.  And I remember thinking it was awesome that Princess Leia was under that mask helping get Han Solo out of carbonite.  I probably also liked Ewoks but give me a break, I was barely potty trained. 

I sometimes wonder if I'd feel differently about this movie if I hadn't fallen in love with it at such a young age.  Maybe if I'd been older when I finally saw it I'd have been just as disappointed as everyone else and equally irritated with the ridiculousness of Ewoks defeating stormtroopers by hurling rocks and hitting them with sticks.  Seriously, does that armor do anything?  But it will always hold a special place in my heart.  In spite of all of its faults, I do love when she gets him out of carbonite.  And while Han and Leia's relationship story takes a way, way back seat, it's mostly because this really is Luke's movie.  Like it or not, he is the protagonist here.  But of course Han and Leia work as a great team and everything winds up fine in the end and we know, in spite of what the EU says, that afterward they lived happily ever after. 

Here's a fun little article I found on 25 things we didn't know about the movie:  http://news.moviefone.com/2013/05/21/return-of-the-jedi-30th-anniversary/  Amazingly, some of these things I didn't already know.  Although some of them are stupid and have more to do with other projects the directors worked on or some crap that I don't care about.  I did just learn that John Williams' son was the lead singer of Toto.  That family gave me so much musical happiness. 

Also linked on that page is an article that says that Al Pacino was offered the role of Han Solo and turned it down.  I don't know, I never heard that.  Even if true, can you imagine?  Just, no.  Although I often wonder if Harrison hadn't played Han or if Carrie hadn't played Leia or even if George Lucas didn't exist if I'd maybe have more of a real life right now, but let's not get into that. 

So, happy anniversary, Jedi!  We still love you in spite of your flaws.  Least favorite of the trilogy is still a pretty awesome movie.  And we will always look at the end of you where everyone is all smiling and happy and believe in our hearts that after that you all lived happily ever after. 

38 comments:

  1. Mr. Stats and I went to the premiere of Jedi about six weeks before we got married. While it is the weakest of the three, I think that's mostly because the first two were so strong. Richard Marquand was an odd choice; he'd done mostly what Mr. Stats and I call 'wallpaper movies.' But I've viewed it over and over, and the movie still resonates with us -- in fact, we liked it better the more we saw it. While the relationship between Han and Leia took a backseat, it was still satisfying. I was 27 years old at the time of the premiere. So yes, perhaps one would have felt differently had he or she seen it at an older age, but maybe not.

    On a creepy note, both Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand are both deceased, and became so not many years after episodes V and VI were released. But that's how life flows. Kershner in particular gave us, in my opinion, the strongest of the trilogy.

    SW has become a generational thing at my home. Missy Stats's fiance is a huge fan, and now my granddaughter has gotten into it, which actually prompted my attempts to write some fic.



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    1. Yep, Marquand passed away not long after ROTJ was made, but Kershner actually lived a lot longer and he died I think about 3 years ago.

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  2. Ah, yes! I actually have a very clear memory of seeing this one in the theater. I was six years old and had just gotten into "Star Wars" within the last year when they started showing it around the clock on HBO. I remember being stunned that Han Solo was still in carbonate, and thinking the Emperor was really creepy. And yes, I LOVED the Ewoks when I was a kid. I thought they were brilliant. We even taped "The Ewok Adventure" off TV when it aired (does anyone else remember that??) And it wasn't until I rediscovered the trilogy in high school that I realized "Ugh, these things are kind of shit."

    I went opening night. My dad's good friend brought all the neighborhood kids to the theater that night (Probably because he was the biggest adult SW fan we knew--he saw the original movie 30 times in the theater!--and was just as eager to see it as us kids). Oh, man! I was just jumping out of my seat in excitement.

    Another note: when I first saw the movie (and maybe it was because I couldn't read the opening scroll yet), I remember thinking the second Death Star was actually the first Death Star. And the reason it looked like it did was because Luke had ended up only severely damaging it, and not fully destroying it. Am I the only lame kid who thought this?

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    1. Grrrr...stupid auto-corrrect. Always changing carbonite to carbonate---I know they didn't turn Han into a fizzy beverage!

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  3. My experience of ROTJ is slightly odd since I saw it BEFORE ESB. Imagine how confusing that was for a 7 year old, like for example...why was Han stuck in that block of grey stuff, and huh, why did Princess Leia kiss him, and what? Why is Luke referring to Vader as his father? Very confusing. And I first saw it via the kid next door who had somehow aquired a pirate copy of it and I remember sitting in his living room squinting at the awful picture. I did go to see it at the cinema but the projector broke down and we ended watching diddly squat. I'm sure my mum, who I dragged along with me was thankful for that as she didn't have to suffer it, but I sure as hell wasn't and I bawled my eyes out!!

    Ahh the memories.

    And for the record, I was also a big ewok fan!

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  4. Ok, this will probably get me kicked out of the H and L fandom, but I can’t remember seeing Empire or Jedi in the theater either the original release or the re-release in the 90’s. (going to hang my head in shame now.) I could blame it on the fact as I was a pre-teen and teen when the movies came out and probably not paying attention to things. But I do remember being excited about Jedi and the change of the title from Revenge of the Jedi to Return. So maybe that makes up for not remembering.

    I have to admit l liked the Ewoks and still do. Point taken that it is hard to believe that they could help defeat the Empire, but they’re cute. Can’t help it. And I still like my stuffed Ewok. :)

    I actually prefer the old ending of Jedi for two reasons. One, I’m kind of peeved they cut out old Anakin and replaced him with Hayden. As my hubby has said, what if that was the only movie that guy ever did and they just cut him out? Nice. Second, I really have a hard time believing they would be celebrating around the galaxy after the battle. How did word get out? And we know from the EU that Coruscant fell months later. Being the stronghold of the Empire, I’d doubt they’d be celebrating so quickly. I just don’t buy it. And yet teddy bears helping in the battle doesn’t bug me as much. Go figure. :) But the ending with everyone all smiling and happy does make me feel like that they lived happily ever after too.

    Thanks for the link Zyra. That was interesting. But why did they say the new one is due in 2014?

    I found something on the SW blog that was interesting. It’s a ten minute movie of interviews they put together about people’s reaction to Jedi and how it impacted them. It’s all actors and comedians, but I thought it was neat. Sam Witwer’s comment about how Leia’s bikini impacted comic cons was hilarious.

    http://starwarsblog.starwars.com/index.php/2013/06/03/making-the-return-of-return-of-the-jedi-and-celebrating-30-years-of-a-film-i-love/

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  5. I love hearing how you guys saw it as kids, even though it makes me realize that I'm old :)

    The one thing that's good seeing it initially as an adult is that you can make a conscious decision to suspend disbelief for a few hours and really, really lose yourself in a good story. Maybe the Ewoks overruning the Storm Troopers was going pretty far over the edge, but it was in keeping with the spirit of the movie (the underdogs win, let's hear it for the good guys, pluck over technology, etc.) It was so good to have the 'happily ever after' scene at the end, seeing as Lucas' vision of a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away is actually very dystopian.

    Star Wars is a great example of a modern day morality play. The best part of it is that they gave us characters we could care about and cheer for as well as characters we love to hate :)

    I was also able to see it from my brother's perspective -- he was 4 when ANH premiered, and I remember him and his friends playing for hours on end with their Star Wars toys. So I got the whole spaceships/crash landing/droids/lightsabers and blasters/cool explosions point of view as well :) As a 40 year old adult, he still loves episodes 4, 5, and 6.

    We were discussing the prequels not long ago and we both came to the same conclusions. a) they did not give us characters that won our hearts and b) they didn't seem to have a whole lot of action in them.

    We are so seeing The New Republic :)

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  6. We had a bunch of the toys growing up. :) It was very cool. I don't know if today's generations will understand what it was like to grow up with blockbusters like the OT and the Indy movies. Things that captured the imagination like they did. And I doubt they will really understand what it was like to drool over Harrison in his heyday. ;) Oh, yeah. Just time warp him from Empire please.

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  7. I had the luxury of appreciating the movies for totally different reasons as I grew up. When I was little, I liked the Ewoks and Chewie and Yoda and the "cool" stuff like space ships and speeder bikes. I think I still want a speeder bike. I didn't care about Han and Leia's relationship, really. I didn't just like Luke better back then, I wanted to be him when we played Star Wars. Although that was probably mostly because he was the one who got the lightsaber, and who wouldn't want to get to use a lightsaber?

    I'm looking forward to the making of book, and hoping for some good new pictures. The latest Star Wars Insider had a new pic of Han I'd never seen that will be in the book. Always good things to look forward to there.

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    1. Granddaughter Stats' favorite character is Yoda. And she wants a lightsabre :)

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    2. Oh, Zyra. I hear ya. I didn't care either way about Han and Leia's relationship when I was a kid. I mean, i guess I was like "good for them", but I didn't really give it much thought. I *did* think it was cool when Leia pulled off her mask and we realized it was actually her in the bounty hunter costume. That impressed me.

      And yeah, I thought Han was really cool as a kid, but I think Luke was probably my favorite character, too. (I remember riding my bike and pretending it was either a speeder bike, or an X-wing. I have no memory of pretending it was the "Falcon"--although that *was* definitely the coolest toy!!) Yeah, Luke was my guy. Thinking about it, it makes a lot of sense though. First off, he's the main character (really), and he was more boyish while Han was this adult male type. He was probably a lot more relatable to me when I was young.

      It wasn't until high school that I got totally involved in the Han and Leia angle, and man! Han was so hot! He got my teenaged hormones revving! ;-p

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    3. As a young teen, I was very much about Han and Leia. Probably because I wanted to be Leia. :) But I get the whole Luke thing. I agree he is the main character and was more relatable to someone younger.

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    4. Yeah, I wasn't against the idea of their being a love story in the middle of my cool space movie, I just didn't really care that much about it. I think maybe it's because Luke is so non-threatening. As a kid, you could relate to him more. You wouldn't be afraid to go up to him when you were 7 and be like, "Hey, you're Luke Skywalker!" and expect him to shake your hand. Han was a MAN. A scary man who you wouldn't want to mess with :)

      I was in high school when I totally changed my tune as well. It's when I first started reading the EU, specifically COPL and was like, ooh, I love that they get married. They really are kind of awesome... And I'm sure by then I already had several Harrison Ford movie posters up in my bedroom, partly because those movies were awesome and partly because of course he's so hot :)

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    5. I wore my copy of ESB book out reading the love story over and over again. That wouldn't have been long after Empire came out. Does that just make me sad? :) But yeah, Han was the scary bad boy at first.

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    6. I was exactly the same age when Empire came out as my daughter is now. And I still have my original ESB paperback, which is literally falling apart right at the kiss scene.

      I just remember the whole time before it came out my girlfriend and I were the only Han fans at our school, everyone else wanted Luke to get the princess and we thought Han was the hot one. no wonder none of our 13 year old male classmates caught our interest. we had our sights set a LOT higher :-)

      jzhanfan on her tablet

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    7. oops posted that before I finished.

      I vaguely recall going to see ROTJ at the theatre but it took us a while so I already knew what happened, as I had read the entire novelization while standing in the aisle at Waldenbooks. but what I remember more at that time of my life was going to see Witness, my first R rated movie in the theatre.

      me again

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    8. I love you had your sights set a lot higher. :)

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  8. ROTJ was really the first one I saw, but the only memories I have of it from when I was a kid was the speeder bike sequence. I didn't really "watch" it until I was about 17, along with the rest of the films.

    I watched it last night on Spike, and for some reason, I was especially focused on how bad some of the dialogue was, and how that affected the performances. In particular, the scene on the bridge. I was also listening to the music cues and they also seemed awkward compared to the way they flow in ESB. I guess I was in a critical mood. Of course, I still love the movie.

    Ah yes, I can't wait for the new making of book!

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  9. I saw ROTJ as a teenager. I had seen SW and ESB and was completely in love with Han Solo (still am), so I was very excited to see what happened to him. I don't actually remember seeing it in the theater, but I know that I did. My biggest memory of the whole thing was thinking 'well, that's it. That's the end of it, no more Star Wars' and being very bummed out about it. Like, 'what is there to look forward to NOW?' I'm so happy that I've discovered the fandom in the last year (some 30 odd years later) because now there is more to look forward to.
    I watched ROTJ the other night and while there is much that I don't like, the biggest difference to me between ROTJ and the previous 2 is the dialog. We have sooooo many great one liners and snippets of dialog from the first two ('These are not the droids your looking for', 'Never tell me the odds', 'You could use a good kiss!' ), but there are no really good phrases that stuck with me from ROTJ.
    Recently I introduced my daughter to the OT, we watched them in order and she said that she liked ROTJ the best. Go figure.

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    1. Yeah, it's funny. When i was a kid I definitely like ROTJ the best, and I liked ESB the least. I thought it was boring. As an adult, ESB is my hands down favorite, and ROTJ gets delegated to third place.

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    2. I think I always liked ESB the best but for different reasons. That was the one we had on tape when I was a kid so it was the one I watched the most, so it was familiar. I know I liked ANH the least as a kid, mostly because I watched it the least. Seriously, at some point in my life I remember re-watching it and it was like seeing it for the first time. I still love all 3 though, just in different ways :)

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    3. Was there any red blooded female over the age of 13 who wasn't in love with Han Solo?

      Among my friends, we all thought Luke was adorable -- the kind of guy you'd go to when you were having problems with your boyfriend. But hands down, everyone wanted to date Han :)

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    4. Nope. Not after Empire. :)

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    5. I'm not ashamed to admit that Han Solo was the first guy that made me sit up and take notice...he was my very first crush. I was kind of the odd ball at school with this, because all my friends liked the current pop stars of the day and they all loved the young Tom Cruise, but I liked this much older guy from a Sci fi movie that they all thought was a pile of crap.

      Of course, we know I had the best taste ;)

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  10. Well, as a fairly recent fan of Star Wars, I actually rate Jedi as my second favorite of the Star Wars movies, although it's followed very very closely by the original. Empire still takes the top spot, of course. I think I like it most because of the Han and Leia relationship and how it's changed, plus I love Luke much more in Jedi than in the original. I, like everyone else, have a huge crush on Han Solo, and seeing the adorableness between Han and Leia here just makes me fall in love all over again. That isn't present in the original, and while I still absolutely love the original, it just doesn't match up for me. I think it's Luke though...I always just saw him as really whiny and always complaining...but I'm a Han fan so I guess it really doesn't matter.

    As for why Empire is my favorite, is that really even a question? I think the current background picture explains it all.

    -epcotexpert

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    1. I can see that. I still sadly have to place Jedi third. ANH was such a classic movie about good versus evil for me. And Leia was just too awesome.

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    2. I agree, Amara. I would place ROTJ third also. It's still awesome, of course, but ANH just beats it for me. ESB is my clear fav though. I think one of my criticisms about ROTJ is that Leia has lost a lot of her snark, and that was disappointing. Does being in love with a hot scoundrel do that to you? It was actually probably down to a mixture of Carrie not being totally there due to her drug problems, and the fact that Han and Leia took a back seat anyway. But still a bit of a let down.

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    3. Hmmm, maybe finally getting some from a hot scoundrel mellowed Leia out? Just a thought. :)

      I actually waffle between ESB and ANH being my favorite. I know, I know. But ANH is just so awesome. It started it all and Leia just blew me away as a kid. But there is so much in Empire to love.

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    4. Lol, yeah, like Han's ass!! ;)

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  11. I really can't decide between Empire and Jedi as to which is my favorite. And maybe that's because I still am disturbed by the whole carbonite deal. To a 3rd grader it was very disturbing to see a living person be frozen alive. Even by someone as evil as Vader.
    Being rather young the first time I saw Jedi I am partial to Wicket but not most other Ewoks.
    Technically being of the prequel generation we were all rather fond of Anakin for a time. My bestfriend even had a poster of him that we all loved. *Note: this poster has not survived since we have grown up
    I'm a fan of only 5 some years but once my friend and I discovered Han and Leia (as in their relationship, we knew they existed) we were hooked and we started writing. We never included Luke in our stories, never even thought about what had happened to him.
    I will admit, the only fandom that ever contested with Star Wars was Harry Potter which lessens the pain of being part of the prequel generation.

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  12. Oh sigh... I wish I could think of more nice things to say about Jedi, but I've neer been a fan. Even when I first saw it at age eight it was a disappointment. The portrayal of the H/L relationship and their inidividual characterizations have never sat right with me.

    One nice thing I can say is that in recent viewings I've come to appreciate Luke a lot more than I once did.

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  13. I was eleven when ROTJ came out and I remember being very excited about it, mainly because I had been devestated (and confused) by the fact that Han had been frozen in the last movie. In fact, I was surprised that he was still alive, because - you know - how does one stay alive all that time without food and air and stuff? I don't rememember actually seeing ROTJ in the theaters. I REMEMBER being mortified by Han's carbonite scene and I guess that was primarily because I was so used to movies 'wrapping' everything up at the end so I just couldn't fathom having to wait for another movie to find out how things turned out. That was a fairly new concept at the time, right?

    I liked the Ewoks and saw no problem with them defeating the Empire. I had no opinion about the romance aspect of the movies at all. Back then, I probably would've ranked ESB last (and boring). It was like the light bulb turning on over a comic strip character's head when I watched the movies again later with my kids (circa 2007ish?) when I said, "Holy crap, this is a love story!" Forgive me if I've told this story before, but it was a big revelation to me. :-)

    I missed the re-releases in the theaters, too. I was busy getting married around that time along with most of my friends, I have the bridesmaids dresses to prove it. I really regret that now, though.

    Oh, and I (cough, cough) like Luke better back then, too.

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  14. I confess to having been slightly annoyed with Luke's whininess in ANH, but upon seeing it again and again and again et cetera ad nauseam, I've come to appreciate him more. He really did develop a lot of depth as a character and by the time ROTJ came out, he was very grown up, had some depth to him, which wouldn't have been that obvious had he been anything other than a very callow teenager. The second trilogy really is his story, but it would not have been anywhere nearly as good without showing his support personnel, and showing their stories.

    Push, I had a closet full of ugly bridesmaid dresses in the late 70s-early 80s. Gods, they were awful.

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  15. My guess is that if the internet had been around in 1983 Jedi would be a lot more hated than it actually is. I mean, seriously. Without the internet most of us would have no idea how much we're supposed to hate certain things. Except the prequels. The prequels did not require reading internet rants to know they were terrible.

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    1. Do you remember websites like "I Hate Jar Jar Binks"? Positively ruthless.

      I'm fully expecting plenty of rotten tomatoes (and I love the website by that name, BTW) for VII, but admit it: whatever you say, you're going to see it ;)

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    2. I never said I wasn't going to. Unless something truly atrocious happens between now and then, I'm still going to be one of the first people in line. I've got my standard people I go to see all of the Star Wars movies with and we will not let each other NOT go see it with just as much hopeful enthusiasm as when we went to see the prequels, no matter how badly we were disappointed.

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  16. Pretty funny how many of you were Luke fans as kids, before you saw the light and moved over to the scoundrel side of the Force. ;) Am I the only one who has never been big on Luke? I can see why Luke might appeal to youngsters, but I just never liked him all that much.

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    1. I'm with you, Luke was okay, nice guy and all, but Han.. oh my!

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