Do you remember seeing Return of the Jedi in the theater in ‘83?

posted by thestopbutton on March 30, 2007 at 6:45 am

I used to always get in the argument that, culturally-speaking, the release of “Jedi” was significant. I want to do a limited run (50 – 100) ‘zine of recollections from people who saw Jedi back in 1983, in the theater.

If anyone likes the idea, wants to submit a thing, has a question, let me know through .

Comments (33)

jimpiscitelli
jimpiscitelli on March 30, 2007 at 8:43 am

I do remember seeing “Return Of The Jedi” back in late 1983 at the Lake Theatre in Oak Park (when they showed second-run movies). This was when that theatre was a single-screen before it was spilt into three theatres in 1985.

Coate
Coate on March 30, 2007 at 10:27 am

Sure do! And here were the best places to see it:

View link

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on March 30, 2007 at 10:34 am

My memory of seeing this movie is quite vivid as this was the event film of the summer of ‘83. I purposely flunked a biology exam so that I could make the early afternoon show at one of the few venues that had it in 70mm in the DC metro area. This happened to be at the now closed Mac Arthur in Washington, DC. It had the largest screen and was the largest theater that booked the movie and with my familiarity with it from past 70mm events seen there, it would no doubt be THE destination point for this event! My friends were dependent on me for the ride as I was the only one in our group that had wheels (an old wagon with the vomit hideaway seat) and a license to drive.

Upon our arrival, there was the looong line that went past the theater along Mac Arthur Blvd. The theater had been triplexed for about six months but Auditorium 2 maintained most of the original theater and boasted a slightly larger screen than the original. It was a warm day and one of the Ushers was selling refreshments on the street, walking up and down servicing the crowd. A few fans even dressed up in costume for this event.

Upon filing in to the sold out show, we were able to get those sweet seats about 1/3 of the way from the front of the screen and in the center. The film begain with the familiar 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm logos, as the crowd erupted in cheers and the last movie in the Star Wara saga had just begun.

Now one thing has perplexed me over the years, especially with the release of Revenge of the Sith and that has to do with the soundtrack. The last film’s soundtrack even though they had the best state-of-the-art digital technologies did not, in my opinion, match some of even the simpler sounds from the Original Trilogy.

For example, when the Emperor uses dark force lightning to kill Luke, it had an almost thunderous, deep frying pan-type sizzle that strongly conveyed his evil powers in 6-track Dolby stereo. People were screaming, shouting at the screen for Vader to do something as Luke was screaming..wreathing in pain from the electrocution. Powerful scene back then backed up by an equally delivering sound effect.

Fast Foward to 2005, when Mace Windu and Yoda get zapped with it, it doesn’t have the same snap or gutteral impact, certainly not lightning but more of a light show. It didn’t make any difference if it was a DLP showing at a THX cert theater like Bow Tie Annapolis, or the DP show at the Ziegfeld, or the usually first rate 35mm EK special print they had at the Senator in Baltimore, which by the way, was the most disappointing film event experience I have had there. Light sabers also suffered from a more subdued vibrato, with the exception of Anakin firing his lightsaber up to slay the Younglings and Mace firing his up for the first time, in the arena, in Clones.

Event movies like this certainly bring people together to fill the movie houses, but other than that, how is it culturally significant? Other than bringing people together from different backgrounds for that communal experience, its not much different than say a major sporting event, or even a spiritual revival at church. But significant? No. Its just a movie event.

vic1964
vic1964 on March 30, 2007 at 11:06 am

In London Ontario Canada we were lucky to have the Park theatre,800 seats,2 and half story tall curved screen and 70mm 6-track Dolby Stereo.Wow it was great!Empire played the same way 3 years earlier and 1 year earlier a Star Wars/Empire double feature played in 70mm here!Those were great times.

pbubny
pbubny on March 30, 2007 at 3:36 pm

I had just graduated from college and was working a not-quite 40-hour week, so I was unable to take off for the very first show on opening day. They did let me off a little early to get to the 7:30 show—by which I mean I got there around 5:00, waited on a fairly short line to buy my ticket—and then sat in the theatre lobby, which was already filling up, for the last hour and 45 minutes of the previous show. I could hear dribs and drabs of that previous show (loud sound effects, crescendos in John Williams' score, the audience erupting) from out in the lobby, which became progressively more crowded with fans waiting for their chance to see and hear what all the excitement was about.

Once I got inside and the 7:30 show began, the audience was about as enthusiastic as you would have expected, and as a “Star Wars” fan of six years' duration I was caught up in it. It was what I had waited three years for, and I wasn’t disappointed. After it was done, though, it occurred to me that the real stars were not Luke, Leia, Han and Co., but the special effects supervisors. This was the first “Star Wars” movie to give me that impression, and naturally I didn’t know at the time that this would be a foreshadowing of the priorities in the prequel trilogy. (I did see “Jedi” three more times that summer and once more on its 1985 rerelease; once has been enough for any of the prequels.)

The theatre was the now-defunct Eric Twin in Lawrenceville, NJ, a suburb of Trenton, and although the “From Script to DVD” list of 70mm engagements doesn’t include it, I’m positive the Eric showed “Jedi” in 70mm, as it had shown “Empire” three years earlier in that format. The Trenton-Princeton area movie theatres were not listed in either New York or Philly newspapers' movie ads in those days, and so any 70mm engagements would have been advertised on a strictly local level. The Eric, by the way, was probably not quite as overwhelming as the MacArthur in DC or the Park in London, Ont. as described above—it was more like the post-twinning GCC Menlo Park in size and scope—but it did the job. I got my chance to see “Jedi” on a truly enormous screen later that summer.

BTW, JodarMovieFan—I think the difference between the sound quality of “Jedi” in ‘83 and “Sith” in '05 boils down to 6-track mag vs. any of the digital sound formats.

thestopbutton
thestopbutton on March 31, 2007 at 8:44 am

JodarMovieFan + Paul Bubny,

Mind if I use your posts?

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on March 31, 2007 at 9:51 am

Sure. Do I get any residual points for income earned, either directly or indirectly, credit of any kind even incidentals? :)

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on March 31, 2007 at 10:07 am

Sure. Do I get any residual points for income earned, either directly or indirectly, credit of any kind even incidentals? :)

Paul, as far as the sound format, I would think digital would have been superior given its pristine advantage over analog six-track, even Dolby. In reading some posts from moviegoers who have noticed the same thing, the general consensus is that the film’s sound editor is to fault.

I forgot to mention that I saw this movie again, in New Delhi, India, no less at one of their movie palaces, in 70mm 6-track, non-Dolby in Dec1985 or Jan 1986. The soundtrack was rock concert loud but lacked the noise reduction of Dolby to at least reduce the snap, crackle and pop of a print that, I’m sure, was played many, many times given the film scratches and fade. The distinction with this viewing was that during the scenes with the Emperor, there was a discernible choral ‘theme’ like a ghost wooo..WOOOOO…woooo heard in the rear. I could not make out this ‘new’ sound during the many viewings at the Mac Arthur, in ‘83, or even the brief re-release at DC’s Uptown in Aug '85. I wonder if perhaps there were several master prints that could explain the subtle difference of this addition to the soundtrack.

pbubny
pbubny on March 31, 2007 at 10:26 am

Stop Button: Feel free to use my post.

Jodar: I hear what you’re saying about digital vs. analog 6-track, but in my experience at least, none of the digital formats known to me (Dolby Digital, SDDS, DTS) have managed to produce quite the sense of three-dimensionality that the best 6-track mag presentations could manage. Maybe more detail, and a quieter background from a digital soundtrack, but it all sounds a little two-dimensional by comparison to analog mag—I’m usually aware that it’s coming out of a bank of speakers. When the Viet Cong guerilla tossed a bomb into the helicopter in “Apocalypse Now” at the Ziegfeld in 1979, the concussive effect of the resulting explosion actually made me shudder as though it were going off in the theatre. I expected to be hit by shrapnel! I’ve heard a fair number of explosions in digital sound since then, and they may have been far louder but were never as real-sounding. (Any audiophiles reading this might see a similarity between the LP vs. CD debate that still rages in some quarters, although I don’t necessarily take one side or the other in that particular argument.)

thestopbutton
thestopbutton on March 31, 2007 at 11:00 am

Paul:
Send me an e-mail so I have your contact info around for when I’ve got printed copies to send one…

Jodar:
You’d get a copy… lmk.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on March 31, 2007 at 12:34 pm

Paul: Regarding the Digital vs Analog, I beg to differ with you. Let me see..the 3-D-sound envelope you refer to can and has been achieved in my moviegoing experience.

At the Senator, in Baltimore staring in ‘99, they installed a Dolby Digital EX system with a unique rear channel set up that adds more 'life’ as it were to sound. Since then, along with thousands of regular patrons over the years, we have enjoyed event films there where I can say I’ve experienced that 3D sound envelope you mention. Here is a short list of my first hand experiences:

In Phantom Menace, during the pod race sequence, the sound is loud, distinct and powerful enough that when you sit at least ¼-1/3 from the screen, you get the sensation of movement. You, along with the others move in tune with, or away from the pods as they accelerate, bob and weave. This same sensation was achieved in Clones, when Obi-wan tries to escape the sonic charges from Jango Fett’s ship. Remember that super loud BOOOOOOONG sound following a second of dead silence? Then the shockwave starts and the resulting theater’s sound and picture caused patrons to also move, as if to avoid the coming shockwave and oncoming asteroid matter and space debris.

The last Lord of the Rings movie, seen again at the Senator, and its Dolby Digital EX set up, also re-created the same enveloping 3D sound during the major land battle at Gandor with the Oliphants. After the Orcs flee from the army of Theodon, the Oliphants are on the march with their massive swinging and swaying tusks. I can remember that the whooosh sound of the trunk swinging and sweeping and then tossing multiple horse riding soldiers into the air, made patrons move in their seats as if to avoid being ‘hit’ by the approaching beasts! A powerful scene delivered and experienced!

I suspect independents like the Senator are more presentation saavy and regularly perform sound tests and maintenence to ensure their investments deliver. And, for the most part, they do! :) I’m not sure what your experiences may be where you are. Perhaps your experience with digital sound was at the multiplexes, which, at least in this market, usually don’t care about such things. In my experiences, the THX certified cinemas, are better since they have to maintain a certain standard to remain certified. When I saw the first Matrix at the THX-certified GCC (now AMC) Springfield (VA) 1, Neo and Trinity enter the building with a shootout to save Morpheus, I could here the crisp metallic clanking sound of dropping spent shells. Seen again, at the Uptown in DC, there wasn’t that metallic crispness to the sound for the same scene.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on March 31, 2007 at 2:09 pm

I remember seeing “Return Of The Jedi” at the long-gone General Cinema Northeast 4 Theatre, in Philadelphia. This theatre opened as General Cinema’s Cinema I & II in the late 1950’s-early 1960’s.

pbubny
pbubny on March 31, 2007 at 4:27 pm

Jodar, you have a point in that most of the theatres where I once saw (and heard) movies in 70mm presentation are long gone, and it may be that the ‘plexes that have come along to replace them just don’t do sound as well, even those with relatively good-sized auditoriums. I don’t know whether it’s the amps, the acoustics, the volume setting (not “loud and clear” but “loud and smeared”) or some combination of the above, but I’ve only rarely encountered the kind of 3D soundfield you describe in the era of digital soundtracks. Too often I come out with a headache and a diminished sense of involvement. Still, it’s probably the theatres and not the sound formats that are to blame—I should’ve insisted to my wife that we see “Sith” at the Ziegfeld rather than the local AMC!

SonoNothing
SonoNothing on March 31, 2007 at 7:15 pm

I saw Return of the Jedi on my 6th birthday in 1983 with my brother (who had skipped school a few days earlier to get into the opening night show). The venue was the Illinois Theater in Jacksonville, Illinois, which is where I had seen my first movie two years before during the 1981 re-release of Star Wars. Three things have really stuck in my mind from that night at the Illinois almost 25 years ago. The first is that my brother had to translate Jabba the Hutt fro me because I could barely read during the summer of ‘83. The second is the collective “aww” when one of the Ewoks was killed during the Battle of Endor sequence. The third was when Luke removed Darth Vader’s helmet near the end of the film. Everyone was so focused in the monet that it was incredible. The funny thing is that 22 years later I would end up taking my son to the sasame theater to see Revenge of the Sith. I saw the helmet come of at the age of 6 and he saw the helmet go on at the age of 5 and ½.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 31, 2007 at 8:04 pm

I remember seeing “Jedi” opening weekend at the Loew’s Astor Plaza… It was the culmination of a long 3 year wait to finally have all those loose ends from “Empire” tied up. How would Han Solo be rescued? What about Vader’s admission to Luke that he was his father? And Yoda’s cryptic line “There is another” to Obi Wan? I was also eager to see more of the Emperor and to see Jabba the Hut realized for the first time (remember this was before the Special Editions of the original trilogy restored Jabba’s scene with Han to the first film).

I remember getting into the film right away – just as I had with “Empire” a few years earlier – and loving John Williams’ brilliant thematic scoring. The foreboding choral passages that accompanied the Emperor’s scenes particularly got me into the mood of the film. And that chase through the Endor forest struck me as even more thrilling than the pursuit of the Millennium Falcon through the asteroid field did in the first movie. The POV cinematography was most impressive on the Astor Plaza’s huge screen and the sounds of the forest rushing past the audience in 6-track Dolby really had us completely immersed in the action.

I can recall finding the Ewoks a bit cloying and feeling around the middle of the movie that this was just not as good as “Empire” had been, but the final battle between Luke and Vader was as compelling as anything in “Empire” and made me forget about the minor criticisms I had been formulating earlier during the movie. The point where the beaten and fatigued Vader summons his last bit of strength to turn on the Emperor and save Luke was as satisfying a moment as I have ever experienced in a motion picture. There was an immediate and electrifying roar of approval from the packed house as Vader sent the Emperor to his doom.

In retrospect, “Empire” is still my favorite of the original trilogy – which is to say, of the entire series. But it sure was difficult walking out of that theater in 1980 knowing that the answers to all those lingering questions would be some three years away. I think comparing the two films as movie going experiences, I was much more satisfied at the end of “Jedi” – warts and all – then I was after “Empire.” I might add, that I think the changes Lucas made to “Jedi” for the special editions have improved the movie greatly. I mean, is there anyone on the planet who preferred that horrible children’s TV show theme song that the Ewoks sang at the end of the original version to the more appropriately primal rhythms overdubbed in the special edition?!?

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on March 31, 2007 at 9:33 pm

Ed, you raise an interesting issue/debate about the ‘song’ sung at the end of Jedi. My first reaction to hearing it, along with my friends, was that there was a religous overtone. The chorus sounded like “celebrate the Lord” or maybe thats what I wanted it to sound like being that my friends and I attended private religous schools at the time. And the audience seemed to like the light spirited fair with the Ewoks playing drums on the severed heads of the storm troopers. Throw in the music, the spirit forms of the ‘saved’ Anakin, Yoda and Obi-wan and, finally, the group shot and fade out to the familiar fanfare theme was a satisfying ending to the saga.

Starlog, Cinefantastique and Cineflex, at the time, made no mention of Lucas being unhappy with the ending. I believe it was a Starlog editorial that cleared up, at least for me, the lyric to the end of Jedi as ‘celebrate the love’ but the writer thought, like we did, that it was ‘celebrate the Lord.’ The 1997 Special Edition changes made sense and, unlike a lot of fans, I respect the fact that it is Lucas' film, its his story, his baby, so he can do whatever he wants to finally see his vision of what Star Wars is fully realized. Now whenever the 3D Digital versions come out, I bet there may be some further changes. I, for one, didn’t like the insertion of a Hayden Christensen’s Anakin, as opposed to Sebastian Shaw’s Anakin. Its doesn’t make sense physically as the character has aged since he became Darth Vader and eventually died as an older man. Yoda should also be replaced by a CGI animated character to give him more realistic movement.

This is an interesting discussion thread, but for me, I think the Star Trek films, at least the TOS ones were more significant, with a more…rabid fan base and sometimes raucous audience for an entertainment phenomenon that has lasted some 40 years. If there is ever a discussion of that film series' experiences, I could write volumes. ;)

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on April 1, 2007 at 4:25 am

Born in 1976, I was too young to see the other Star Wars two movies when they came out. I was just old enough to see Return of the Jedi. I don’t remember anything about the movie itself. What I do remember is that my mother must have brought me opening weekend to the movie without suspecting how popular it would be. We saw it at Cinema City in Hartford, Conn. I remember the line for tickets being all the way down the front of the building, around the side of the building, and then across the parking lot. There must have been hundreds of people in that line. The show we wanted to see sold out long before we got to the front of the line, so we bought tickets for the next showing of the film.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on April 1, 2007 at 4:26 am

Oh yeah, I do remember a couple of things about the movie. I remember loving the Ewoks. I also like dthe scene where they ride those things that look like jetskis in the air.

vic1964
vic1964 on April 1, 2007 at 9:28 am

As good as Dolby Digital and DTS can be they are still below cd quality sound in general, although that is soon to change with Digital Cinema.The sound quality of big magnetic audio tracks on an up to date system cant be touched if the print is new.Also theatre accoustics in a stadium seating, square room can be bad for sound.Theatre palaces were designed with good sound in mind.In my home theatre i easily out perform the typical multiplex.THX houses with surround EX are close and in some ways better but overall 70mm 6-track Dolby Stereo sound has yet to be topped.The best sounding 70mm i ever heard was FAME,THE WALL,APOCALYPSE NOW,EMPIRE,JEDI,RAIDERS,TEMPLE OF DOOM,BRAINSTORM and STAR TREK films.

Cinecitta
Cinecitta on April 1, 2007 at 3:59 pm

I remember going to see ROTJ at the UA 150 in Seattle. It was a few weeks before I graduated and I drove myself and a couple friends the 1 ½ hours + ferry ride to Seattle to see it. We bought our tickets that morning around 11 a.m. and waited in line that hot, spring afternoon for about four hours.

It was my first time in that theatre. Huge, domed theatre with gigantic curved screen. In fact, that was the closest thing to a movie palace I had ever been in up to that time. I remember being swept away by the size of the picture and the sound. Our home-town theatre had a decent sized screen but was just getting stereo around that time.

At the time I noticed two flaws with the film and although I’ve forgotten what one was, the other is painfully obvious to this day… When there are closeups of the emperor’s face, I noticed they were using a thin beam of light to highlight his eyes. I guess the beam of light spilled inside his hood as well. It looks like someone took a magic marker and blacked out the spill inside his hood in every frame to the left of his left eye. I just remember thinking that with all those special effects they couldn’t hide that?

My only other memorable experience at that theatre was seeing Octopussy in the smaller theatre (known as the UA70) next door. The newspaper ad said “Octopus”. The best moment of that show was when Bond was asked the question, “who are you?” the entire theatre (myself included) erupted with “Bond, James Bond”.

JSA
JSA on April 2, 2007 at 9:28 am

In the aftermath of “The Empire Strikes Back”, “Return of the Jedi” was on my top spot as the most anticipated film of the 80’s. All those questions and cliffhangers had to be answered. I would be checking with the latest sci-fi magazines for any bit of news or rumors regarding the production and/or plot. One of my brothers obtained a small teaser poster from a magazine with the “Revenge of the Jedi” title, which was the envy of our friends.

Finally the day came in. I was living in Puerto Rico at the time, and ROTJ opened a few weeks after the general release on the US mainland. I did not attend opening day, since I had promised a friend that I would help him paint his house. But Jedi was all that we could talk. The next day, I was in line early with my brothers and some friends at the fabulous (and now defunct) UA Cinema 150 in Laguna Gardens. The theatre had a very impressive giant D-150 curved screen and a spectacular sound system. Of course, there was a huge line around the theatre. The sense of anticipation was high, and people were having fun, meeting new friends and sharing favorite Star Wars moments. Then the theatre’s doors opened. The rush to get in was incredible. I’d never seen anything like it, and I have not seen anything like it since. It was a strange, but benevolent stampede, no one getting hurt, but everyone caught in this wave of euphoria. Then, show time: when the curtains opened to reveal the 20th Century Fox logo, the house went down. The whole experience was surreal. It’s hard to explain, but it was as if we were watching these images real-time. Lots of cheers, surprises and revelations. A big applause came towards the end, when the ghostly images of the 3 “classic” Jedi”: Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Anakin Skywalker make their triumphant appearance.

Yet, for all that it was worth, for all its excitement and satisfying conclusion; I felt at the end that something was “missing”. Or maybe, it was some kind of premonition that we would not see something like this again. But almost immediately, I ranked ROTJ as the lesser of the 3 Episodes. I did not feel the urge, as in “Empire Strikes Back” (my favorite of the series), to see it again right away. Was it the Ewoks?

In some ways, my “premonition” was correct. When the Episodes IV-VI trilogy was released recently on DVD, I went straight to the source. I watched the films in their original form, without the special edition add-ons. I like ROTJ a bit more now that then. Why? Maybe because I see the original trilogy as a whole. Also, because of the sense of nostalgia these films evoke. And lastly, because there was an emphasis to create a sense of characterization, adventure and story within the sci-fi genre that has not been seen since.

JSA

deleted user
[Deleted] on April 2, 2007 at 4:55 pm

Do you remember seeing Return of the Jedi in the theater in ‘83? Yes and unfortunately so. The third installment of Star Wars and the sixth episode of Journal of the Whills complete with little furries and a Humpty Dumpty Vader. Extremely humorous to the well experienced cinematic viewer, but Holy Scripture of Film to the cinematic neophyte who may also worship the mundane made for TV films of Spielberg, Scorsese, Coppolla, Stone, Howard, Smith, etc., etc., etc. As American Film went nose dive starting in 1975, as evident in Nathaneal West’s 1930s novel and American Film Masterpiece by John Schlesinger
The Day of the Locust
the bearded ones took to the helms of a fallen industry and stamped out glitzy mediocrity to the unwashed masses. And so an industry once proud of superior product is flowing with facial hair trimmings falling upon the cocoa puff cereal eaters entranced by the likes of Mighty Mouse, Heckle and Jeckle, Captain Kangaroo, Mister Rogers, Sesame Street, Star Trek, The Munsters, Brady Bunch and we could go on and on. An artistically controlled and motivated film industry exists only in embryonic psyche of observers hungry for quality product that can transcend the ages of storytelling begun by word of mouth and body movements countless eons ago – a story and moral values of human triumph over negative forces without mythological deceptions regardless if Joseph Campbell tragically endorsed the Lucas tragedies and part of contemporary mythos or pathos or should I say downright pathetic to be light engraved of the emulsion of film.

deleted user
[Deleted] on April 2, 2007 at 5:08 pm

I closed out too early on this comment, here is the rest:
In closing – ALWAYS REMEMBER these “guidelines"
when considering your acceptance of any form of
communication – be it personal, news oriented, a book, music, a film -
any communication –

1 – Keep you personal integrity undiminished
2 – Develop sound theories and applications for
artistic talent and its manifestation
3 – Hold as worthwhile only those things in life that bring dignity,
purpose and meaning to human existence based on ethical standards, not
fluctuating moral dilemmas promoted by misdirected “authorities"
of art, science, politics, and religion
4 – General consensus or popularity of an item or work
does not qualify it as worthwhile or fit for human consumption

LAST BUT NOT LEAST -
5 – Just because someone wants to take a “dump”,
does not mean you have to be their toilet!

Coate
Coate on April 2, 2007 at 9:44 pm

Archives,
Can you pontificate your elitist gibberish any louder? I’m surprised you didn’t type in ALL CAPS!

Jeez, “Return Of The Jedi” is hardly the disaster many make it out to be. And I’d bet a fortune that a lot of those who today consider “Jedi” to be a royal turd were on line opening day (and proudly wearing their Yoda underoos).

Coate
Coate on April 3, 2007 at 11:16 am

I guess I was so irritated by the ramblings of “Archives” that I forgot to complete my post! That final bit one post above should’ve went like this:

And I’d bet a fortune that a lot of those who today consider “Jedi” to be a royal turd were on line opening day (and proudly wearing their Yoda Underoos), and were the same folks who returned for a second, third or tenth viewing throughout the summer.

I realize boxoffice gross isn’t a scientific measure of a film’s worth, but had “Jedi” been as bad as many claim it to be, I doubt it would have performed to the tune of $250+ million; if it was crap it would’ve had the incredible opening first week that it did ($40+) and then would’ve topped out at around $75 or $100 mil.

JSA
JSA on April 3, 2007 at 4:27 pm

Archives,

While I may agree on the basis of principle with some of your major points, I respectfully disagree at the detail level. There are much worse offenders – as compared to ROTJ – causing the ills you describe. You may detest “Jedi”, and I may consider it the low point of the original trilogy, but the truth is that “Jedi” delivered the goods. Michael Coate is right in his assessment regarding the success of the film. Even by applying your guidance principles I fail to condemn it. I took ROTJ for what it is: escapist fare. I did not expect to be enlightened nor illuminated. I did not expect to come out wiser. But I did expect to be entertained. To me, it was another fun event shared with friends and brothers in that cool summer of ‘83. I have higher expectations, in terms of intellectual or artistic value, for other films. But by this account, I do not discredit “Star Wars” or Mr. Lucas in any way. It is the way I categorize my film viewing experience. In addition, I was not “forced” (no pun intended) by external pressure, direction or dogma to see ROTJ: I made that choice on my own. By the same token, I also made the conscious choice not to embrace the subsequent initial trilogy, not out of intellectual reasoning, but simply because I had very little interest in “what happened” before. And I do not judge the personal choice of the millions who saw “The Phantom Menace”, in terms of moral imperatives. And while I generally agree that general consensus or popularity does not qualify relative worth of a film, the opposite can also true. Popularity can be a measure of merit, but not the only measure. Critical praise and positive box-office returns do not need to be mutually exclusive. Take “Ben-Hur” for example. A film that won 11 Academy Awards, was also the box-office champion during the late 50’s, and to this day is recognized as a masterwork.

Regards,

JSA

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 16, 2007 at 5:52 pm

Pretty sure I saw this at the original Old Orchard Theatre in Skokie, IL.

thnj
thnj on August 25, 2007 at 11:23 am

I (somehow) got to see this on opening day at the Seaview Square Cinema in NJ. I just remember the huge line of people starting outside. It was amazing that we got in because on subseqeunt viewings at the same theatre I had to wait hours and hours and hours in pre-ticket holder lines and ticket holder lines, etc.
Opening day was the funnest experience I ever had in my life at any movie. Every time a good guy made their first appearance onscreen the place would roar with applause, and every time a bad guy died the same would happen. When Darth Vader threw the Emperor into the pit everyone in the theatre got to their feet and the place exploded with cheers. At that point a few tears came into my eyes…

markp
markp on January 23, 2008 at 8:53 pm

I had the pleasure of working at the now demolished Menlo Park Twin Cinema in Edison, N.J. for all 3 Star Wars movies. The lines, the crowds, the continuous sell-outs. Its something I still picture in my mind even today. Truly a great time in a different era.

Coate
Coate on May 26, 2008 at 7:21 am

Yesterday was May 25…and the 25th anniversary of the release of “Return Of The Jedi” (and 31st anniversary of the original “Star Wars”). Here’s a link to a little tribute thing I put together and posted on my Yahoo group. Enjoy the flashback!

MPol
MPol on October 13, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Return of the Jedi, too, was a cool movie—even cooler than Star Wars.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 18, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Have a buddy that has a “REVENGE OF THE JEDI” one sheet that was sent out to theatres.I think he keeps it in a safe.

MMadrid
MMadrid on October 2, 2016 at 1:37 am

I have a 70mm print of the domestic and international “Revenge” trailer. I loved that movie as a kid

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