If you look at the top ten films of all time (aka the best of Sam Strange), six of them will be Star Wars films. This historical series has changed the life of every man, woman, man-child, child, and child-child who have come across its middle school charms, high school themes, and technical school wizardry. In an effort to come to terms with what I have done to the world, I will now remember all six films…

The Phantom Menace
Attack of the Clones
Revenge of the Sith
A New Hope
The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars Episode VI:
Return of the Jedi


By the time we got to Return of the Jedi, our budget was pretty much nonexistent. The end of this film was supposed to take place in a country filled with Chewbaccos, but we couldn’t even afford full-sized actors, hence Ewokies. There’s a pretty large airplane battle at the end, but if you look close, all the planes are little toys being “flown” around by interns with sky-colored gloves on. I had to sell two of my kids just to ensure we had enough film stock. But the biggest sacrifice involved the structure of the film itself: we were unable to afford a second act.

Return of the Jedi is actually two smaller films. One called Return of the Jedi, and one called The End of The Empire Strikes Back. Before we could move the story any further, we still had to rescue Hand Solo from the clutches of Bobo Fett and his fat slug employer, Jub-Jub the Hub. Anakin doesn’t appear in this part of the movie because it takes place back in Tat-Tat, and we all remember how he feels about sand.

Jub-Jub the Hub lives on a flying casino, which is guarded by an army of War Pigs and guys who have skin for hair. To rescue Hand, the rag-tag group of rebels watch Ocean’s Eleven a bunch of times and try to come up with something even more convoluted. Of course, their awesome plan trips over itself in the first five seconds, so they resort to blowing shit up instead. This works a lot better.

Lots of crazy things happens. A freed but blind Hand Solo accidentally kills Bobo Fett, which has an immediate effect of the value of his action figures. Lucas fights the Cloverfield monster, Lando almost gets swallowed by a vagina, and Laiya counters the drop in Bobo Fett sales by dressing up like a Trojan whore. She strangles Jub-Jub the Hub to death, but they blow up his casino just to make sure.

While all this is going on, Anakin is overseeing the construction of a new moon shaped airplane. He is particularly tense because Pal-Pal is expected to arrive any minute now. To make matters even worse, there has been an uncomfortable rift between he and Pal-Pal since Lucas showed up on the scene. Anakin tries to alleviate his anxiety by choking people, but it doesn’t work anymore.

He starts thinking about the Queen and how much he misses her. He remembers all the good times he had with Obi Kenobi. He knows everyone laughs at his breathing sounds, but if he killed them all, who would run the Empire? He pushes aside his strawberry pancakes. “I’m not hungry anymore.”

While all the good guys go to the new rebel base, Lucas makes a quick stop in Degubu to keep a promise to an old friend he just met a month ago. When he gets there, he’s disappointed to find that Jedi training is canceled due to Yogi’s dying of old age. “Keep your promise, did you?” Yogi asks. “Yes, Master,” Lucas answers as he pulls out a can of Mountain Dew. Yogi drinks it, but nothing happens. “Hm. Too late, too little, perhaps.”

“Yogi,” Lucas asks. “When I fought Anakin he said he was my father, but Obi Kenobi said my father was some other guy named Anakin.”

“Lied, Obi Kenobi did. Not great, Jedi are, at developing trust, of apprentices. Up with his ghost, take it.” Then Yogi dies and his little body disappears just like Kenobi’s did.

Lucas walks outside to yell at Kenobi’s ghost. “You lied to me!” Kenobi musters everything he knows about bullshit John Lennon lyrics and drops this bomb: “A lie is only a certain point of view of the truth. Heh.” Yogi’s ghost shows up with a two liter of Mountain Dew. “Meditate on this logic, you shall.” After he leaves they both have a good chuckle at Lucas’s expense. “Wait until he finds out Laiya was his sister all along!” Yogi laughs so hard Mountain Dew comes out his nose. “Ah! Burns! Burns, it does!” This only makes them laugh harder.

Back at the rebel base, everyone is gearing up to destroy Pal-Pal’s new moon ship. A bunch of Banthams die to tell them that Moonship 2 has the same weakness Moonship 1 did, but now there is a shield protecting it. The shield generator is hidden in a forest called Endo. “Sheeeit,” Lando purrs. “That place rhymes with my name, babay!” Two groups are formed. One small group heads to Endo to turn off the generator. Everyone else goes to Moonship 2 so they can blow it up when the shields drop. Lando is in this group. He takes orders from a talking catfish named Ack-Ack.

The second group is made of Lucas, Hand, Laiya, Chewbacco, and the droids. As soon as they land, they get in a fight with a bunch of clones. A couple of the clones get away on their motorcycles, so Lukas and Laiya chase after them so they don’t spill the beans, but it turns out the clones had radios and spilled the beans as soon as they saw the good guy plane land. Whoops!

“They know we’re here now,” Lucas says. “Maybe I can save us if I go get my dad.” She gives him a make-out for good luck. Once he’s gone, she realizes she has no idea where the fuck she is and starts crying.

Everyone back at the airplane is starting to worry about what’s taking Lucas and Laiya so long. Hand is pretty sure they’re getting it on, so he makes everyone leave their post to find them. After a few steps Chewbacco gets them all caught in a huge net. A bunch of midget bears step out of the woods and surround them. Their cute little spears are threatening at first, but their attitude changes when they see Goldie Gaybot. As it turns out, they all have a thing for British actors and mistake the sissy droid for Roddy McDowall. They throw a giant party in his honor, at which Hand doesn’t eat anything because the only food is BBQ’d Chewbacco. Yes, I killed Chewbacco. I had to. With the Ewokies there was a redundancy of bear-looking things going on.

Lucas surrenders himself to Anakin. They check him for weapons, but accidentally let him board with the most dangerous weapon of all: his heart. Anakin tells him that Pal-Pal is on the ship and wants to meet. “Try and make me look good, son. Straighten your hair. Tuck in your shirt. Don’t look him in the eye.”

We haven’t seen Pal-Pal for awhile, and he’s aged surprisingly well. His voice is less dramatic and his face isn’t nearly as wrinkled and fat. Immediately he starts sweet talking Lucas at the expense of Anakin. “You know,” he says. “I look at you and I see all the potential your father had before he let Obi-Bobie Kenobi-Dobie cut him into a talking tree stump. Seriously, Anakin can’t even touch his toes anymore. And his breathing makes it impossible for him to ever sneak up on anyone. Let’s you and I hook up, so we can dump his useless ass.”

“I’ll never join you!”

“Fine,” he says. “Anakin, kill your son.” As they fight, Pal-Pal tells Lucas things that might unleash his anger. “You know that girl you hang out with is your sister, don’t you? I have videos of you making out with her.”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Because the shield should have been down by now, the rebel fleet shows up. They can’t do their job though, because Hand and his group haven’t done theirs. A huge plane battle erupts, and the bad guys outnumber the good guys a million to one. It’s just a matter of time before they’re all wiped out…

On Endo, Hand and Laiya are doing their best, but there are simply too many clones guarding the generator. Even when the Ewokies start helping, it doesn’t look good. The main problem is that Ewokies can only kill bad guys in really cute ways. If they all grabbed blasters, the whole thing would be over in two seconds. Hand realizes this and comes up with a plan…

The Anakin/Lucas fight continues with charged emotions on both sides. Anakin needs to kill Lucas so Pal-Pal will like him again, and Lucas needs to kill Anakin so he can finally bring him to the light side of the force. Pal-Pal is getting the show of a lifetime. Just for extra kicks, he starts shooting Lucas with lightning from his fingers. “Wait,” Anakin says. “That’s like cheating. I was kicking his ass the old fashioned way.”

“You suck,” Pal-Pal spits. “This is more fun for me! Pal-Pal never gets to cut loose anymore!”

Anakin watches as Lucas gets unfairly taken out by a cheater. All the mean things Pal-Pal ever said to him go through his head. A little bit of lightning bounces off Lucas and hits Anakin in the forehead. And thus, the first seed against the Pal-Pal order is planted in Anakin’s heart. He lifts Pal-Pal up, and throws him in a hole…

Lando and Ack-Ack are the only two pilots left alive. They decide to heroically kamikaze Moonship 2…

Hand takes a dead Ewokie and wraps it with explosives. Holding it under his arm like a football, he runs towards the generator in slow motion. When he gets close enough, a tearful Laiya pushes the detonator. Unfortunately, Hand miscalculated the amount of explosives and all of Endo goes up in flames. Everyone in the area dies.

Lando and Ack-Ack crash into Moonship 2 just as the shields go down. Their two-plane ball of flame suddenly spreads into a moon shaped ball of flame. Everyone in the area dies.

Lucas and Anakin fly away from the explosion just in time. Mortally wounded, they make a father/son decision to perform Jedi Sepukku together. Their bodies disappear, then reappear with all the other ghosts. From left to right we have: Linebacker Jedi, Mace Windu, Obi Kenobi, Yogi, nine year old Anakin, twenty year old Anakin, sixty year old Anakin, and Lucas. Windu says what no one else wants to: “I’m thinking maybe we could have done a little better.”

Then the movie ends. And there will never be another one. Except, of course, for the goofy cartoon ones. They don’t count.

(three stars)