Return of the Jedi – Chris Stuckmann

Chris Stuckmann reviews Return of the Jedi.

About ChrisStuckmann

Quick, funny reviews of movies and games, new and old.


  1. Copied and pasted from my comment on youtube.

    Even as a kid Return of the Jedi was my least favorite of the original trilogy. It just has a lot of going through the motions, and glossing over a lot of things. I find it interesting that early on in the expanded universe, in the first book to come out after RotJ, a major sub plot was Leia’s anger over knowing Vader was her father. Same guy that almost killed han, tortured her, killed so many people she loved, held her in place while her planet was blown up. It even had a scene where Anakins force ghost showed up to talk to her, which was really sorely needed RotJ. Way to speak your mind about missed opportunities there Kathy Tyers.

    I also found the whole idea of luke going to the dark side by killing the emperor, a dude far more evil and menacing than the storm troopers, Rancor, and thugs he’s killed without thought by this point, to be very poorly thought out. I understand its a more personal kill, and the feelings behind it would affect Luke, but the whole Idea that he would become evil just from killing either him or vader, was really stretching it.

    And yes, the Ewoks were kinda lame.

    Harrison fords thirty extra pounds and lack of effort also really stand out. Perfectly protected and preserved in the Carbonite my @$$!

    I also wanted more of the ship battles, because oh my god they were awesome in this film. But in the first two, where there was a flow from beginning, middle, and end, here this ship battle was… well there was just glimpses really. Fade in’s and fade outs. I wish there was more of a focus since they looked so good, and I loved the designs of the TIE Interceptor, B-Wing, and A-Wing. All of a sudden we had new ships and the scope of this space battle was just so damn epic! I REALLY wanted a better understanding of what the new bad boys could do in relation to the X-Wing. It took almost ten years for new games, comics and novels to come out and describe the capabilities of them.

    • The Truce of Bakura. Pretty sure I still have it on my book shelf. I remember reading it in Junior high, which got me into more of the SW books. Some were really great (x-wing squadron series and Grand Admiral Thrawn(sp?)) Others……. ugh. I found them getting lamer and lamer as they pushed further into the story with a lot of re-hashed material. I eventually gave up on them in Senior High.

      • Well that whole universe is null and void right now. It peaked with the New Jedi Order series, Some hated it with the amount of death and doom it brought, but I found it a breath of fresh air. Then there was the Legacy Comic series which jumped the timeline 100 years but still managed to tell a damn good star wars story. But yeah, aside from those two, A timothy Zahn novel (guy who created Thrawn, who I wish Disney had the sense to bring into these new movies) every now and then, and standouts like the X-Wing and Republic Commando series, it really did get very derivative after a while.

        • SW Books? I haven’t read a lot of them. I’ve read some of the newer ones, but my personal favorites are the Darth Bane Trilogy and Darth Plagueis

        • Yeah, it’s why I gave them up 15 years ago. One one side I am glad Disney is disregarding them, on the other, it’s kind of sad to at least see the good books side lined. Never heard of the Republic Commando series. The only update and familiarity I have about anything published over the last 15 years is that R.A. Salvator apparently still receives death threats for a certain event and one of the twins apparently fell to the dark side.

          • Republic commando started out as a tie in with the video game, but the writer gave the clones personality, and wrote them as being taught Mandalorian Culture by their instructors, who regarded them, and still do, as adopted sons. It had a romance between a clone and a Jedi, as well as some pretty good military style writing.

            And yeah, some epic spoilers incoming…

            So yeah, R.A Salvator still apparently gets hate mail for writing the death of Chewbacca, when it was a consensus decision by multiple writers. There was an interview where the people behind NJO state that their original idea was to kill Luke, but Lucas Veto’d that idea and the idea of killing any of the big three. So, as the writers put it, they came up with the idea to “Shoot the family Dog.” as they put it. It was a pretty epic death scene though, and they did a good followup with the Chewbacca tribute comic series which had everyone who knew him sharing stories of Chewbacca and how they were affected by his death.

            And yeah, Jacen did go to the darkside. That was post NJO though, where the books really started to drag and get pretty lame. New Jedi Order really was the peak, since it was with a new and very interesting enemy and you really didn’t know just what was going to happen next. After that saga, the next series of books just felt like beating a dead horse.

            For anyone who’s interested, I could post a reading list of recommended reading. It pretty much goes by, Zahn, Stackpole, Legacy comic series, avoid anything by kevin J Anderson, and my recommendations for a few other standouts in the novels and comics, like the Yoda story during the clone wars series, Dark Rendezvous , where the writer decided to explore the idea that what if the prankster yoda in Empire Strikes Back wasn’t just a ruse, but what yoda is really like outside of the council chambers? Best line was where Yoda asks a padawan if she thinks Yoda won his job in a Lottery.

    • I could see him going to the Dark Side because he let his rage take over (Star Wars rules, not mine), but I never got why that would make him the Emperor’s apprentice. He’d still hate and want to kill him. It’s not like what we eventually saw with Anakin where the corruption was much slower and there was something for Anakin to gain by allying himself with Palpatine. Luke would have no reason, whatsoever.

      • That whole, don’t kill in anger thing, really needed to be expanded upon or rethought rather than taken as force dogma. Its just not good story telling. Leia was plenty pissed when she choked Jabba but didn’t go Dark side. And Anakin had plenty of kills in anger, but still didn’t really go complete evil until he bought into the Emperor’s lies and helped him against Mace Windu.

        Some writers have tried to revise that, making it more of a step by step corruption, like we saw in Anakin, rather than a 1 strike you’re out system. But sadly the accepted idea is the poor storytelling we saw in RotJ.

        I don’t hate the film, I agree with Chris’s review, it has plenty of good stuff, but a lot of stuff is very weak and poorly told/thought out.

        • Trust me, I like the movie. It’s actually the first movie I ever saw on opening day, and I have to say at the time the Ewoks didn’t even bother me. There was so much excitement in the theater that judging the film as whole, let alone picking the good from the bad would have been difficult.

          I agree with Chris that there were some things that should have been more deeply delved into. Leia just found out that the man who tortured both her and the man she loves is her father. How does that not rate a WTF!? moment.

          On the other hand, I never thought much of the Han/Lando thing. There seems to be some history of betrayal between them, which makes sense given their lives spent on the fringes. Remember, Han was willing to leave them to be destroyed by the Death Star at one point. Also, some bit of time must have past since both managed to get appointed as Generals and plan the attack. Han already had his commando team assembled, so it’s not like they just got back from Tatooine and any conversation could have been held offscreen.

  2. Saw it when it was first released, and it was a bit of a disappointment. As pointed out, the dramatic scenes felt a bit rushed, they could have been longer without hurting the movie, or slowing it down. My biggest problem with the movie was The Planet of the Teddy Bears. They could have been omitted without affecting the movie.

  3. I was about 5 when this first came to theaters and my parents didn’t take me to see it since I was too young and wouldn’t see any Star Wars movies until I was 7.

    I remember loving this movie when I was younger and when I went out to see the special editions in theaters in 97, I finally realized Empire Strikes Back was the superior movie.

    I’m going to echo the statement that I didn’t really like how the almighty galactic empire was taken down by teddy bears. I thought the movie would have been better without them.

    Although I think the star fighter battles were the best since A New Hope’s Death Star attack and the attack on the core in this movie was awesome and still holds up today.

    Great reviews of the Star Wars movies, Chris and I can’t wait to see your thoughts on episode 7 this December. We’re so close!!!

  4. Yeah, that never really occurred to me about Leia before. The movie really did seem to give 0 fux about what she was thinking. She was just kind of generically upset and needed a man to hold her… like he did in the space-worm on the asteroid.

    • Did anyone else feel like Leia got a demotion in this film. In the first two, she seems like someone at the top of the rebellion hierarchy and in this, she seems to have no role whatsoever until she finds out Han is leading the mission on Endor. She didn’t even know he’d been made a general.

  5. About the Ewoks and stuff like that:

    What I’ve noticed about the entire STAR WARS movie series are a number of tributes to science fiction, adventure, and movie serials of the past, in all the movies, subtle or overt, whether or not they enhanced the over all story. In PHANTOM MENACE there is a direct but subtle visual shout out to the Buck Rogers serial, and that pod race was an obvious hello to BEN HUR. I could cite further references but I’ll get back to the Ewoks now. The whole Endor scene and the Ewoks is a throwback to the jungle adventure genre, with teddy bear critters for tribesmen. I recall they were going to be Wookies, but that was scrapped for some reason. They did a bit of retconning in ATTACK OF THE CLONES with CGI Wookies swinging on vines, one of whom lets out a Tarzan yell with a Wookie accent.

    • Yes, those suppose to be Wookies instead Evocs and primitive laser weapon use by them still have more sens then stick-bow’s breathing power armors. After all they could obtain those is many ways without loosing they tribal feel.. but shame.. Lucas start takeover this series at the time (he didn’t have it at the beginning) and people didn’t know yet then that Lucas with too much creative control is bad thing.

  6. RotJ has never been my favorite in original trilogy but when I was kid I did like it far more than I do today.

    Oh and that base was not on Endor but on Forest Moon of Endor.

  7. First off, kudos for using the original footage. However, as a Star Wars fan you loose major points for calling Endor a planet when it’s a moon. As for the set pieces for the Forested Moon of Endor, they actually went to the Cali redwood forest to do a lot of the filming. That’s why they look so good. They filmed on location for a good number of those scenes.

    This was always my favourite movie. I don’t even remember the first time I watched it I was that young, it was also the only one we originally owned. I didn’t even know about the other two until I was ten when my mother ordered the trilogy. At least Empire explained the whole Jabba’s palace thing. Sorry, it’s still my favourite. I just love all those battles scenes, even if the ewokes are a bit silly, at least they were charming silly. Tell me you don’t at least get a little feels when one of them dies and the other is moaning over his dead body?

    Empire is my least fav of the original three. I think it might be a girl thing because most women I know also don’t like Empire that much. it’s not because they lose, need to see more of that in movies, it’s just a boring movie to me. A few scenes were great, the rest just didn’t resonate with me. Again, might be a boy/girl thing.

    Return of the Jedi is a long movie, and I got a feeling they would have loved to add more to it to flush it out, but three hours back in those days was unheard of, unlike today. At least they actually did do a few pauses to acknowledge emotions as opposed to just RUSH TO THE NEXT BATTLE. Something a lot of movies today could take note of.

    @wolf007: Ah The Truce of Bakura. It was the first SW book I ever read and a good read. Pretty sure I still have it on my bookshelf.

  8. This is still my favorite of the Star Wars films.

    I like that it had two really amazing climaxes that didn’t detract from one another. The rescue of Han Solo, and the showdown with Vader on the Death Star. In fact they seem to compliment one another in the escalation and both resolve themselves thoroughly and in a very satisfying way.

    The Ewoks never bothered me as much as most people. Maybe being a fan of the Lord of the Rings, I was more accepting of the small and unlikely people secretly being heroic and a lot tougher then they appear. The biggest sin was probably making the Ewoks look “too cute” because it’s apparent they’re as tough as bears, not just as furry.

    I dunno Chris…can you really say you don’t love this movie anymore? Overall I’d say the tone is about the same as the first, with Empire being the oddly darker film. I think those who liked Han Solo more as the central hero were disappointed, where as Luke fans like myself enjoyed seeing the transformation and reconciliation with his father and his destiny.

  9. Actually, the Ewoks are one of the little chess piece arguments I use against the prequels.

    I don’t mind Jar Jar as comedic relief, or even…um…cute? My biggest issue with Jar Jar is he not only proved useless in many ways, he was a detriment to Qui Gon and Obi Wan’s mission. The Ewoks, while obviously meant to be cute, proved to be useful. One parallel I draw often is they were like the American revolutionaries during the War of Independance , they knew the forest moon, and how to utilize their surroundings.

    That being said, I agree with you Chris, Jedi was a favorite in my childhood, and even with the risk of being lynched by fanboys, I even consider Episode 3 better as an adult now.

    I’m calling the Holiday Special as the secret review…time of year and all. As Han would say “Good luck….you’re gonna need it…”

  10. i love return of the jedi.. yeah its not as good as the other 2 but for me it still has holds up a alot

    i just wish the ewoks hadn’t defeated the empire using force ..that just seems too surreal

  11. Unless I’m remembering the film incorrectly, the tide of the battle seemed to be turning against the ewoks until Chewbacca and Wicket hijacked the AT-ST.

  12. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    Haven’t even seen any of the movies in the original star wars trilogy(and unfourtunately I’ve only see the George Lucas movies. Yeah make fun of me all you want but I’m 16 so those were the films I was exposed to as a kid). It seems though like you were nitpicking this movie but when I got to the end I definitely understood the reason why you didn’t like it as much as the last two(man that was a bad assumption of mine). Anyways cool review and since you said you have a special star wars review for us next month and that could only mean one thing:Star Wars Holiday Special and good luck surviving that one!!!!

  13. Actually, the idea of a second Death Star with the flaw removed makes total sense. Why let decades of R&D go to waste? The first one was only destroyed with an extremely difficult shot by a Force sensitive pilot and the actions of Vader’s incompetent wingman.

    It’s a movie convention that villains don’t simply fix flaws in old plans (e.g. not just shooting James Bond), but it actually makes more sense to do it and retry.

  14. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen those “Making of” documentaries, but I’m almost certain the Rancor was *not* stop-motion but rather a puppet operated similar to a marionette

    • I’d have to agree even though I don’t know for sure. Either it’s some of the best stop-motion you’ll ever see or (most likely) it was brought to life by puppeteers because it looks so fluid.

      Chris has got me wondering what his surprise review will be. The new ‘Star Wars: Rebels’, the ‘Droids’ or ‘Ewoks’ cartoons or even the movies from the 80’s – – – or perhaps he’ll throw us a curve ball and review the ‘Shadows of the Empire’ novel. So many options.

  15. Return of the Jedi is my favorite Star Wars movie. I didn’t think about the Lando thing. I guess I just assumed that Lando rescuing him was the physical apology. The Ewoks were adorable and I still love them. I still have my Ewok plushie. 🙂 I also remember loving Leia’s outfits as a kid. I thought they were fabulous.

  16. Why?

    Why was that shaft there?

    Why was there a shaft in the Emperor’s throne room just leading to the %&#%’n reactor?!

    Look, I know the DSII was under construction, but didn’t any of those independent contractors think it was a safety hazard?

    “My Emperor, we must do something about this shaft. It could be dangerous! At least let us put a grating over it or something.”

    “Nonsense, it’s not like I’m going to just fall in. I’m perfectly safe within this throne room.”

    “I have foreseen it.”

  17. I’ve lost count at how many “Nerd Battles” I’ve had over the years about this movie, but for me, it was the first Star Wars movie I saw. Luke has always been my favorite and considering I was 3 when this came out, I never minded the Ewoks. Luke is a badass in this movie and that’s why it’s still my favorite.
    When my husband and I found out about when Force Awakens would be released, we found a babysitter in advance because I was pregnant at the time and now holding our newborn who will probably be as nerdy as his parents.
    I know you won’t confirm it but is there a certain holiday Star Wars review coming soon? ^_^ Overall, good review. I enjoyed it.

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