"Return of the Jedi" (originally called "Revenge of the Jedi" before creator George Lucas decided that revenge was not Jedi-like) completes the initial Star Wars film trilogy.
The Rebel Alliance must destroy a new Death Star built by a resurgent Empire, while Luke Skywalker faces the evil lord Darth Vader. But first he must rescue his friend Han Solo from the clutches of vile gangster Jabba the Hutt. This film marks a return to the heroics of "Star Wars". The sombre, complex tone of "The Empire Strikes Back" is discarded in favour of a simpler, episodic approach. The action is aided by the stunning effects work of Lucas' ILM company. Set-pieces abound, the assault on Jabba's sail barge and the final attack on the Death Star are particularly noteworthy.
However, the episodic plot and abundant spectacle do not drown out the human interest. Such is the strength of the characters Lucas has created that their dilemmas remain centre stage. The conflict between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, which forms the core of the film, is particularly powerful.
Strong, albeit simply drawn characters are well realised by the actors, who all acquit themselves perfectly. The Emperor, when he finally makes his appearance, is memorably grotesque and menacing. Special praise must go to Darth Vader, voiced superbly by James Earl Jones; this character has the charisma of true villainy.
The "Star Wars" phenomenon has been seen as timeless modern myth-making; it has also been seen as the triumph of infantilism and a knockout blow to serious film-making. Whatever the verdict, "Return of the Jedi" is a fitting climax to the most successful space adventure of all time.
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