As you probably noticed, we just passed the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, one of the great movies in geek history. Well, I also have another anniversary coming up, and and even though it's not quite as momentous an occasion, on May 24th it will be the 27th anniversary of the night I attended the gala premiere of Return of The Jedi (thanks to an incredibly cool and enterprising father). Now I've been going to the movies for a very long time, but this is the moment that stands out above all others, and that's why I decided to dedicate today's Summer Scenes We Love to one of the best nights of my young life...and the last time I was ever excited to see a George Lucas movie.
From a very young age I loved going to the movies, but the idea that I was getting to see a movie (let alone a new Star Wars movie) before anyone else just about blew my mind. That night I dressed up like I was going to the prom (or at least the 8-year old's equivalent), and felt like a rock star as I headed towards my seat clutching a formal invite and program that had been handed out at the door. To me, it was just about the most exciting thing that had ever happened, and I don't think I even took a single breath during the opening scene.
After the jump; blasphemous musical changes and Leia's short-lived moment of heroism...
I'm sure I don't need to remind you about the awesomeness of the final installment of the original trilogy, but even among devotees of the series, Jedi did received it's fair share of criticism. Some fans thought the final chapter was a little too kid-friendly after the tragic note that Empire had ended on, and I can understand the complaint. But Jedi was (in theory) the end of the trilogy and you had to know that the final picture was destined to end on an upswing. Besides, I was a kid at the time, and after the psychological freak-out I suffered after Empire, it was a relief to see Han Solo out of the carbonite and Leia pitching in with an rescue effort.
Unfortunately, you can't talk about Jedi and not mention the Ewoks, and oddly enough, I was always sort of ambivalent to them, and I know I wasn't the only kid immune to their furry charms. In the end, they were just kind of there, and in the harsh light of 'Jar Jar history' they don't seem so bad, do they? But the one thing I do know is that Lucas' decision to change my beloved Ewok 'Yub Nub' song in the remaster remains as maybe one of the worst crimes in his long list of bad decisions (but that's well-covered ground). But it's alright, because for me, it's all 'water under the barge', and no matter what Lucas did, or has done since, I'm always going to be grateful for that perfect night back in 1983.