The Force Will Be With You Always

Okay it's been awhile since I finished up watching the Star Wars saga, but as we saw with my Brave blog I haven't been too prompt in getting around to putting my thoughts on paper...er computer screen (?) I already covered my thoughts on the prequels and A New Hope in previous posts(let's be honest though, I'll still probably revisit them here as well) but hadn't yet written anything on The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi. Now that I've rewatched them with fresh eyes after a few years away what did I find? Well...it can't come as too much of a surprise that I love these two more than ever.  They are the movies that made me fall in love with movies. Not only do they hold a special place in my heart, but they have a special place in the history of cinema as well.

Let me ask you this: How many film trilogies can you name that came BEFORE Star Wars? Okay it's true there were sequels and franchises before it...The Godfather, James Bond and Star Trek to name a few. But I feel like for better or worse, the Star Wars trilogy is the one that really defined and shaped the model of what franchises, and specifically trilogies would become thereafter (or at the very least, what most sought to emulate). The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi expanded upon the universe created in A New Hope, gave it depth and in the end, brought the now even richer story full circle. The Empire Strikes Back accomplished the THEN rare feat (and still arguably so,) of being a sequel that actually managed to surpass the original.... An original that changed film on its own, might I add. The sequel surely needed to live up to the precedent that blew people away the first time. But it was better. In fact, I'm going to say it right now. The Empire Strikes Back is a perfect movie. PERFECT. It is one of the greatest movies ever made and YESSSSS I'm a huge fangirl who is incredibbbbbbbbly biased. But I also have been studying film and film history for a long time too and have seen a LOT of movies.

Why is it so good? The storytelling of this movie and its impact on the course of film history is undeniable. One line of dialogue at once turned the entire series, as well as the world of cinema, on its head. But it's not just that scene that makes the movie great. The whole film is wonderful from top to bottom. It has a perfect blend of humor, action, drama and wonder that keeps the audience hooked (minus the crazies like my sister Laurie or my mom.) AND it's Star Wars at its Star Warsiest. It's here where some of the biggest things associated with the saga are introduced. Aside from Luke's lineage, you've got the Imperial March theme (as well as many other great themes too), the introduction of Yoda AND the Emperor...oh and Han and Leia's love story was at its best too.

So with all its greatness Empire Strikes Back was a pretty tough act to follow wasn't it? Sure was, and that's likely why Return of the Jedi is probably the most criticized of its trilogy. Watching it again I can see the criticisms... Neither Leia or Han have too much to do character wise; (even if they are plenty involved in the action..) they don't get a ton of added development or depth (and Han is accused of becoming a softie...but then again, at this point why wouldn't he?). And then there's the ewoks and how these little bears took down the empire. Yeah it's kind of silly at times....but it's a silliness I can totally get behind...and even adore. I'm not gonna lie. during this viewing I was in stitches over much of the scenes that took place on the moon of Endor....so honestly none of that ever bothered me and still doesn't... even if I can understand why it would bother others. But it has a magic about it that can appeal to people of all ages. The more I think of it, the more excited I am to show them to my future children someday. And I've already begun to teach my nieces and nephews the ways of the force :)

I asked him to rule the galaxy with me as Aunt and Nephew, apparently it didn't really have the same ring to it.

The bottom line with Return of the Jedi is though, with all the criticisms people make about this and that... none of it really matters because when it comes down to it, this installment is Vader and Luke's story, and the scenes in the Emperor's throne room are among the best of the entire saga. This was probably the one that reallly made me adore the series as a whole because I found Vader's redemption to be just wonderful and the ultimate happy ending, coupled with a powerful message. Never give up on people, everyone can be redeemed. Suuuuure he murdered a bunch of children and an entire planet and was responsible for many other deaths too...but we'll let the force be the judge right right?? Really though, these films....ALL SIX OF THEM are very dear to my heart. Flaws and all. They're not all perfect I am aware....but it doesn't matter to me. Haters gonna hate, but I choose to love. (Star Wars that I used to know I'm looking at you..totally am on George's side in that breakup)

So with that here is my personal thank you to my boy GL. Thank you George for helping me see the beauty of film and all its possibilities. Thank you for creating a world that I have wanted to live in from the time I was ten... and felt welcome revisiting anytime I wanted. Through the years it really was my safe haven and I always had something to look forward to with each and every one of them. People give you so much crap, but really.... the only reallllly TERRIBLE thing you did (other than Jar Jar....but he's like a fact at this point that no one needs to mention..) was that terrible Jedi Rocks song in the special edition of Return of the Jedi. (And of course there's always the Holiday Special...though that is good for a few laughs...and besides that wasn't really you was it?) The fast forward button makes any changes I disagree with easily forgivable. Now, if you could hurry up with that live action series you promised us years ago I would be eternally grateful...I need more Star Wars in my life! Love, Emily

Aw well...the blu ray special features (that I haven't begun to look at yet) will have to do for now. That and Star Wars Robot Chicken. If you're a star wars fan you HAVE to check them out. They seriously have the funniest insights that only someone realllly acquainted with the series could really get. I'll put a few of them down below for your viewing pleasure. Oh yeah and I watched Spaceballs too. Teehee. Honestly though, the reach of Star Wars in pop culture is never ending...it pops up all the time in anything and everything. From Arrested Development to Community, How I Met Your Mother, Friends, Lost and countless others the love for Star Wars never seems to leave the consciousness. It meant too much to too many people and its impact will forever live on! So that concludes my adventures in this galaxy for now.... until the next rewatch that is! I guess I could always watch Hardware Wars, Thumbwars or George Lucas in Love or the Family Guy entries. Any other suggestions? I promise I won't blog about them.. haha!

 Vader has an unexpected guest...

Luke's droid doesn't work out

Missed opportunity

Boba's world

Agree/disagree with my post? Feel free to share your feelings below but please keep this a respectful, hater free zone s'il vous plait!!


Joey said...

Well, of course the picture of you and Pete is my favorite.

But the fact that you posted the Spaceballs picture really does reflect how interspersed the saga is in pop culture. How many directors can say that about a work that started 35 years ago.

So the question for you: Would it have remained as relevant without the internet and all of the chat rooms, etc.?

Sarah said...

I do love The Empire Strikes Back. I agree that it is the perfect movie. And I still love Return of the Jedi. I always just thought the Ewoks were cute and funny. Who cares if it makes no sense that a bunch of big teddy bears could win a war against the storm troopers? The storm troopers are all lousy shots anyway. They probably got paid pretty badly because no one is really stepping up to the plate, you know?

But yeah, that musical dance sequence in Jabba's palace is about one of the worst things that has ever been filmed. Period. HATE.

I love all of the references in other movies and pop culture. It's just fun. And as for Spaceballs, it is one of my absolute favorites. And you can borrow Hardware Wars and Thumb Wars anytime you want!

Oh, and I do love that picture of you and Pete. He's still too young for the movies. I can't wait for the day when he REALLY gets into them. That will be fun.

Emily said...

I think it remained relevant before the Internet existed so yeah. And Sarah I agree with everything you said. I can't wait for the day when Pete really gets to watch them! I just hope I'm invited :)

Amelia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amelia said...

I like how you and Ben have shielded me from that musical dance sequence. Hopefully I'll never have to see it! haha. I also love that you used the Ted/Marshall interaction for this post, "It's caused they lived the Star Wars!!!!" Good times :)

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