Originally Posted by felix natalya
It also helps that EMPIRE and RETURN were fairly well made films. I certainly enjoyed them a lot more than INDY 4. The scene where Vader turns on the Emperor still makes me choke with emotion whenever I see it.
The Luke/Vader/Emperor scenes are what hold ROTJ above the prequels more than anything in my eyes. They add weight to an otherwise compromised film. Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith have the exact same problem...........there are too many storylines and plot points to be resolved in a single film.............but for different reasons.
With Sith, it's because Lucas meandered around too much with the first two prequels and then when it came time to write the third it was too late. He had wasted too much screentime. Instead of playing out the friendship of Anakin & Obi-Wan, the Clone Wars, the fall of Anakin, and the destruction of the Jedi/Republic over the course of all three films..............he pretty much waited until the third to do any of it. Anakin and Obi-Wan spend the majority of their time apart in the prequels, which kind of defeats the purpose of getting to know them as friends and as a team. The Clone Wars are completely skipped, which I think is more of Lucas not have the storytelling time to do them in the third film. I think both cartoon series are an afterthought to rectify this. The portrayal of Anakin's fall and the fall of the Republic itself are also handled quite clumsily. In hindsight, I'll be he wishes he told it in FOUR installments, instead of three. That way you have the semi-stand alone adventure of TPM to introduce us to the Old Republic and then still have room for a trilogy to develop Anakin and Obi-Wan with. Sort of a "Pilot Episode" before the actual Episode One. Long story short, he painted himself into a corner. Lucas should have sat down and outlined all three prequels in detail before actually writing them. I know he has said he did this, but I have my doubts. Each script seems like a reaction to the previous film's reception........with more focus on that than actual seamless storytelling.
As for Return of the Jedi? Well the information on its compromises is already available, courtesy of Gary Kurtz. For those who aren't aware though, here is the vague outline of what Kurtz & Lucas conceived as the Star Wars saga's story AFTER
Star Wars blew up the box office in '77.EPISODE ONE:
It was to focus on the origins of the Jedi Knights, how they are initiated, and how they are trained.EPISODE TWO:
The adventures of Obi-Wan Kenobi & Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars.EPISODE THREE:
The fall of Anakin and the destruction of the Republic.EPISODE FOUR - A NEW HOPE:
As is, obviously, since this outline was written after the film was made.EPISODE FIVE - THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK:
As is, for the most part.EPISODE SIX:
The search for Han Solo. Confrontation with Jabba. Leia is made queen of her remaining people. Han dies in the climactic battle with the Empire. Luke confronts and defeats Vader. There is no Death Star #2. Aside from Vader's dying redemption the film has a downbeat ending. With Han dead and Leia stuck governing a society, Luke is alone.EPISODE SEVEN:
Luke's further training as a Jedi (presumably with a still-alive Yoda) and his various adventures as he battles the Empire alongside the Rebels.EPISODE EIGHT:
The appearance of Luke's sister.EPISODE NINE:
Luke confronts and destroys the Emperor, effectively ending the Galactic Civil War.
Basically, here's what happened. Lucas was exhausted after making the first two films and was also going through a rough divorce at the time. Long story short, he was tired of everything............including Star Wars. So the initial plan of making NINE films went down the tubes. Instead of making Episodes 6-9 (and then 1-3) over the period of two decades, he just decided to end the series with Episode 6 and focus on the prequel trilogy at some point on down the line. So the basic plot points of the sequel trilogy were crammed into Episode 6.
What we end up with in the existing film is Han being rescued from Jabba the Hutt during the beginning sequence, along with the introduction of the Emperor. Leia and the unknown sister of Luke are combined into one character. Yoda tells Luke his training is complete and then dies. Luke confronts and defeats Vader. Luke confronts the Emperor. Vader kills the Emperor. Vader is redeemed. The war is over.
Return of the Jedi has the plots of FOUR FILMS all rolled into one. So what keeps it from being universally hated? #1, it is well made. #2, Lucas didn't write it, Larry Kasdan did. And important of all, #3.....it is full of characters we have come to love during the first two films.
The absolute BIGGEST problem that the prequels had was the fact that Lucas wrote them all by himself for the most part. Granted he wrote the script for A New Hope as well, but he has freely admitted over the years to taking advice (and even rewrite help) from many of his filmmaking friends on it. That and he'd been working on it for years. Empire & Jedi were written with the help of an actual screenwriter, which helped a lot. George is a great storyteller, but not a great screenwriter. There is a difference. By not being able to fully put the characters he envisioned on the page for the prequels, he'd already lost the battle. You see, George has never been very good with actors. He just pretty much expects them to interpret everything he writes in the way that he sees it in his head...............without giving them any guidance on set. Harrison Ford has stated this on numerous occasion. On set, George is way more concerned with the technical aspects of the film than anything else. So what do you get when you have a poorly written script (in terms of character development) and little-to-no direction on set in terms of the actors? Wooden and uninspired performances. If the audience isn't invested in the characters, then they can't really ever been invested in the story. What makes it even worse is the that effects look cartoonish for the most part (both then and now), which means Lucas failed on both fronts. When I recently rewatched the prequel trilogy, I realized that many (and I do mean MANY) sequences in all three films look as though they could easily have been pulled straight out of the current CGI TV series. CGI sequences that could (and should) have been done practically are stuffed all throughout the prequels, given them an extremely artificial (no pun intended) feel. There virtually no sense of wonder or danger in most of the action sequences. So we have uninspired actors going through the motions in blandly cartoonish action sequences.
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy the prequels (and love the OT). I'm just pointing out what I realize as a fan everytime I watch them. And what is that? Wasted potential. A ton of wasted potential. While I would never advocate the OT films being remade, I don't think I'd have a problem with the prequel trilogy being redone twentysome years from now. Of course I guess remaking one trilogy leads to redoing the other, so I guess it's better left alone. Still, it's always fun to imagine what could have been with both the prequels and the never-to-be-made sequel trilogy. Moreso the former than the latter, simply because I prefer the character arc of Vader culminating in him destroying the Emperor as his redemption.
P.S. - I'm tired of people saying that Vader finally restored balance to the force in ROTJ. Not so. He did it in Revenge of the Sith. The Jedi did indeed interpret the prophecy wrongly. You see, thousands of Jedi paired with two Sith is no balance. Anakin brought balance to the force by slaughtering his fellow Jedi................leaving the balance as Obi-Wan & Yoda against Palpatine & Vader. He balanced it again in ANH by killing Obi-Wan, again leaving only two Jedi (Luke & Yoda) against the two Sith. Yoda dies in ROTJ, so Vader balances it yet again by killing the Emperor. Only at the end of the film is the Force out of balance once more, with their being two Jedi (Luke and potentially Leia) and no Sith. But then one could argue that the balance lies with Luke. Like a Sith, Luke is passionate about "material" things that he finds important (friends & family). Unlike the Sith, however, he rejects their selfish power-seeking ways. Like a Jedi, he is courageous in the face of mortal danger and compassionate when it comes to the needs of others. Unlike them, however, he realizes the need for loved ones in his life.