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The world of 1976... where they were running out of special effects guys because the old ones were retiring and there weren't enough effects movies being made anymore. See the movie twice so they might make more like it! It's cute how giddy Hamill was about it even then.
Incidentally I finished off the original cuts a while back. I don't have too much to say about Empire since I saw that one only a couple of years ago and to be honest the two cuts aren't all that different.
Return Of The Jedi was interesting though because I haven't seen it in many a long year. Scattered thoughts on that one:
*Good variety of action set-pieces evenly throughout, learning from the mistakes of front-heavy Empire!
*Seeing it relatively fresh and in sequence (I'd watch this one over and over on its own as a kid) it's more obvious how frantically they're wrapping up all the storylines set up in the previous two. Luke? Eh, he's ready now. Lando? Water under the bridge, best buds with everyone! Yoda? At death's door suddenly. The 'other'? Eh, no time to do anything with that subplot so let's just make it Leia, why not.
*Having incidental characters show a bit of emotion is highly effective at drawing you in and selling this as a living, breathing world. Who doesn't feel a pang for the poor Rancor keeper?
*The Ewoks are fine! A Wookee war might work if they were continuing in the elegant space opera vein of Empire, but this film is firmly in the 'amiable romp' genre. I had a feeling the forest battle wouldn't hold up at all, but it still works okay thanks to the way they're shown as useless and get bashed around a whole lot before things turn around.
*I've never understood what the hell is supposed to be going on with the gigantic dish explosion after they blow up the bunker, and I still don't. I guess it's supposed to be miles away and is connected to the bunker somehow, but weird, misleading editing makes it look like this gigantic explosion is happening about five feet away from where Han is crouched!
*The Han/Leia love triangle subplot is laughably half baked and lazily acted! For its flaws I'm glad Han's story now ends with TFA rather than this, because this is like Han Solo as a Bill Murray character.
*Throne room stuff is still gold.