Reviewed by: Cheryl Sneeringer
“Return of the Jedi,” the third movie in the “Star Wars” trilogy, is a rip-roaring, action-packed, science-fiction adventure story. It is chock full of daring rescues, high-speed chases, swashbuckling sword fights, and dogfight-type battles among space fighter ships. It is the story of Luke Skywalker, noble and true—a young man in training to become a Jedi Knight. He leads a small band of rebel freedom fighters in a daring attempt to sabotage a massive space-based battle station—a planet killer—which would give ultimate destructive power to the evil forces of the Galactic Empire.
Although the movie was first released in 1983, the special effects are still mind-boggling and effective, even by today’s standards. The space battles are loud; the speeder-bike chases are dizzying; the walking tanks are impressive. There are dozens of different types of alien creatures, all imaginative and realistic. The aliens range from hideous, terrifying monsters to the cuddly, lovable teddy-bear-like Ewoks. There is Jabba the Hut, a grotesquely obese slug-like creature who is a mafia-style slavelord; there is a sand monster that seems to be all teeth, tentacles, and jaws; and there is a hideous, terrifying dungeon creature that kept me clutching my seat armrests.
This movie, like its predecessors, has a strong spiritual component, but its spiritual perspective is not Christian. The “god” of Star Wars is an impersonal force that draws its power from all living things (pantheism) and has a good side and an opposing dark side (dualism). This “god” itself encompasses both good and evil, unlike the true God who is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). It is good for Christians to be aware of the counterfeit nature of the spiritual perspective of the “Star Wars” movies, but if you can set that aside, the movies are worth the trip.
It is refreshing to see a movie where the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad, and the good guys prevail. The plot is simple and straightforward, but keeps you engaged at all times. There’s plenty of action, plenty of suspense, and plenty of noise. All in all, it’s a fun ride.
There’s no profanity, nudity (though Princess Leigh is seen in what amounts to a small bikini), or sex, but the scary monsters and the grossness of Jabba the Hut may be too intense for younger children.
Year of Re-release—1997