so i watched return of the jedi the other day. i used to group it with episode i as the weakest of all the star wars movies, but now i’m not so sure. here’s what i figured out about return of the jedi (and it only took me 20+ years and 50+ viewings): it’s a comedy.
it’s the most comic of all the star wars movies and they’re all pretty funny. what i like best about the humor in return of the jedi is how serious it seems. like when yoda’s dying and breathlessly tells luke, “there is . . . another . . . sky . . . walker,” and then there’s a reaction shot of luke that goes on forever and then back to yoda as he disappears/dies. that has to be a joke. or how about this one. luke’s like, “there’s not much to see. i was born here, you know.” and han’s like “you’re going to die here. convenient.” that’s funny. or what about that guy crying after luke kills the rancor.
but here’s what i wanted to mention to you, lord:
you know that part where the ewoks are going to sacrifice everybody to their newly anointed metal-god, c-3po? there’s an interesting relationship between the ewoks and their god. so c-3po is trying to get the ewoks to release all his friends and the ewoks pretty much ignore him. it’s not until c-3po shows his power as their god that the ewoks release everybody. and his supernatural power is actually luke using the force, which, according to the star wars movies, isn’t supernatural at all. in other words, it’s pretty similar to certain strategies found in european colonialism and neo-liberal globalization.
luckily, i was reading heart of darkness the very same day. luke is taking kurtz’s advice to “appear to them [in this case, the “savage” ewoks] in the nature of supernatural beings — approach them with the might as of a deity.”