Director: Richard Marquand
I should probably that I actually did watch this just a few weeks ago, as Ch. 7 showed it before re-running the whole series on 7mate. But I only channel-surfed onto it by accident and missed the first half of the film… Still, rewatching it pretty much inspired me to do the whole series when 7mate showed it, which, as I mentioned earlier, I hadn’t exactly been planning to do and hadn’t really been looking forward to either. I enjoyed that second half of Return a few weeks ago, and I enjoyed both halves again tonight.
That said, I still think it’s probably the least of the original trilogy, although, that also said, it struck me on this revisit that I’ve probably underrated it in the past. It’s not actually a particularly weak film on its own terms, it just has the somewhat difficult task of tying everything up, you know, both trilogies if, like me, you watch the whole thing in “episode order”… of course, 32 years ago it only had to finish the work begun in two other films, but that was going to be hard enough. Still, it does the job it has to do in pretty entertaining fashion, and on rewatching all the films in close proximity like this, I think I’ve realised the real strength of this film, i.e. the real sense of how much the characters have changed. I mean, obviously the performers aren’t quite as young here as they were in 1976, but that also kind of translates into the characters too. Han isn’t quite so abrasive as in the first two films, Luke is all grown-up and no longer the boy from the old desert farm, Leia is, well, not quite who we thought she was at first, and as for Vader… yeah, that’s kind of the biggest character development here.
And then there’s the Ewoks. I like the Ewoks. Fuck the haters.
I still can’t imagine David Lynch directing this. Remember he was originally supposed to. Don’t know much about Richard Marquand, other than he seems to have mainly worked on British TV in the previous decades, and his film career was cut short just a few years later by his early death. And apparently he was really enthusiastic even then about the possibility of Lucas producing prequels (more so than Lucas himself was by that time) and would’ve been happy to make one. There’s a “what if” for you… Anyway—my continuing reservations about the prequels notwithstanding, it’s been kind of nice coming back to Star Wars after spending so many years wanting nothing to do with it; maybe I’ve just spent the right amount of time away from the series, I don’t know. And, of course, with the latest film in the saga due to arrive next month, it’ll be interesting to see exactly where the series goes over the next few years, especially now that George Lucas is no longer running the show.
As a final thought, I’m sure I’m not the only person who has trouble watching the end of this film without also thinking of this video…