In Defense of Return of the Jedi

by

star_wars_episode_vi_return_of_the_jedi_poster

False equivalency is a serious danger to reasonable debate. Wait, wait! This isn’t another rant about the U.S. Presidential Election. No, my concern is something more impactful to our democracy, our society, and our culture: ranking the Star Wars films. Like many of you, I’m looking forward to the next Star Wars movie: Rogue One. While this installment is not part of the main series (Episodes I to IX) it is a major film event. And, more importantly, it is a gateway to a silly argument: that Revenge of the Sith (ROTS) is better than Return of the Jedi (ROTJ).

In 2005, there was serious discussion among geeks and civilians alike that ROTS was the “good” prequel and that it was more serious and had better fight scenes than ROTJ. But now, I think the country has sobered up to our national nightmare (prequels, not politics). ROTS benefited from incredibly low expectations following The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Those awful films also created a new perspective on ROTJ – that it was the beginning of George Lucas’s creative descent, that it offered clues about where things might go wrong, that it was too light and paled in the shadow of The Empire Strikes Back.

To be fair, ROTJ is not as good as Star Wars (I’m not going to call it A New Hope) and Empire. I mostly agree with some of its criticisms: Ewoks were a cuddly marketing gimmick and a letdown if you were hoping for a planet of Wookies. Han Solo was emasculated. The Rancor special effects looked cheesy. Did we really need another Death Star?

But, it is also an enjoyable film. It completes the original trilogy nicely. It has a great ending with a rousing set of battles, such as Rebel fighters vs. the Death Star, and Tie Fighters, Rebels, and Ewoks vs. Stormtroopers, and Luke vs. Darth Vader vs. The Emperor. All of that built to an emotional and satisfying thematic climax. It has a coherent story, great characters, and memorable scenes. All qualities lacking in the prequels. A few of my favorite elements of ROTJ that illustrate my point:

  1. Luke does a back flip off of the springboard to avoid the Sarlacc pit, catches his lightsaber from R2D2, and starts kicking ass to defeat Jabba the Hutt. I remember seeing that for the first time in 1983 and it blowing my mind.
  2. The chase through the Endor forest. Great storytelling and an unexpected adrenaline rush. Not to mention an innovative way to shoot a chase scene in a forest. The Imperial Speeder Bikes shot off so abruptly that they immersed the viewer into the chase and impressed them with just how fast the characters were going.
  3. Ewoks and Chewbacca team up to take over the AT-AT and save the day! Yes, I suggested above that the Ewoks were a marketing gimmick, but once you get over that, you have to like the way they fought back against the Stormtroopers.
  4. Tell me you didn’t cry when the Ewok tried to wake up his friend after they were hit in battle.
  5. The Emperor is fantastic in this movie and he has the best line of the entire Star Wars film series: “Now, you will pay the price for your lack of vision!”

Are there any scenes or lines of dialogue that even come close to that in ROTS? I can’t think of any that come close. I won’t go through the process of breaking down just how terrible that movie is (this guy does it better). My main point is that ROTJ is a good film in an incredible trilogy. ROTS is a bad film in an awful trilogy. Please don’t try to put them on the same level.

 

READ MORE

Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

About a week ago, I completed the second live (virtual) training in the process of becoming a Certified Professional Coach through iPEC. Once again, my mind was blown! It reinforced for me that virtual workshops can, and do, work, and, in a lot of ways, I prefer them...

read more
Finding My Work-Life Balance

Finding My Work-Life Balance

In my previous post, I told the story of how I got back into consulting after becoming a mom. All of the diverse experiences I had during that journey have helped me to find my work-life balance by… Defining Boundaries “Go home,” my first boss said 12 years back —...

read more
How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

I Landed My Dream Job Throwback to 2014, I had completed my MBA, landed my dream job as a consultant, and was hoping that my new consulting career would exponentially ramp up my career growth for the next 5 years. This would position me to take on critical decision...

read more
Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

In August of this year, as part of our annual company meeting, our team at Thought Ensemble participated in the foundational session of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training led by Dr. Nika White, IOM, CDE (she/her/hers). One of the most meaningful moments...

read more
Finding Your Organization’s Magic Pixie Dust

Finding Your Organization’s Magic Pixie Dust

It is often said that organizational culture is like a fog — it is all around us; it impacts our ability to see, to move quickly, and to deliver; but we cannot quite put our finger on it. Indeed, some organizations see their culture as a byproduct of operations,...

read more
We’ve Refreshed Our Brand!

We’ve Refreshed Our Brand!

Why have we refreshed our brand, you ask? Well, as we have grown and matured as an organization, we felt that our previous brand elements no longer represented us as well as they could. You see, we founded Thought Ensemble back in 2008 to help companies better compete...

read more
Thought Ensemble’s Purpose — Inspired in 2020

Thought Ensemble’s Purpose — Inspired in 2020

I recently wrote about how company purpose is being tested and inspired by all the events of 2020. This topic is very real for us at Thought Ensemble. We’ve been thinking a lot about what really matters as we’ve navigated the...

read more
How 2020 Is Testing and Inspiring Corporate Purpose

How 2020 Is Testing and Inspiring Corporate Purpose

In August 2019, the Business Roundtable rewrote their statement of corporate purpose. I followed this with significant interest being that I have never forgotten the debates about corporate purpose in business school almost two decades ago. We were taught that the...

read more
Why Purpose-Driven Organizations May Struggle With Change

Why Purpose-Driven Organizations May Struggle With Change

I love working with companies who really want to make a difference, beyond just making money for their shareholders. I mean, making money is fun and all, but it is even more rewarding to join in on a just cause. Plus, as this HBR article explains, companies who have...

read more