Fun with Franchises: Star Wars Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), Part IV — “Ack-bar, You Make My Day-ay-ayyy!!!”
Today we continue with another entry in our Fun with Franchises series, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Part IV.
In case you don’t know how this works — a while back, I decided to rank my favorite Disney movies and rank my favorite James Bond movies. And the Disney ones were mostly straight synopses and not too much fun, but when I got to Bond, I enlisted the help of my friend Colin (whose blog is TokyoRemix.com. Fuck yeah, promotion!), who knows everything about the Bond franchise that I do not, for those articles, and along the way, learned how to have fun with it. And, by the end of the Bond articles, we were having so much fun that I said, “Man, we have to do this again with other stuff.” Because I spent about a straight month and a half putting together those articles. That’s how much time and effort actually goes into something like that. And not once did it feel like work. It was so much fun that I knew, as long as we were doing it for comedy purposes and able to riff off of each other — we could do pretty much any film and it would work.
And very quickly, the first ones you come up with are the major franchises, because those are not only the most fun, but also the most universally known. Everyone’s gonna understand all the jokes we make (well… most of them. Some of them might be limited to three people) about them. So that’s what we’re doing. And if you’re gonna have fun with franchises, it wouldn’t be right if you didn’t franchise it. Also, just so we’re clear, this is all for parody. We’re just messing with them because we love them.
And that’s Fun with Franchises. Right now, we’re doing the Star Wars franchise, and today is the first part of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi:
We begin Part IV in the middle of the suck:
The Ewoks know a secret entrance. Because of course they do.
And, to remind everyone — this is the place that is the base for the shield that’s protecting the Death Star from being destroyed. This plot is so simple and stupidly complex at the same time, only George Lucas could have written it.
My question is – how come the Imperial troops don’t wipe the Ewoks out? You’d think they would, right? They come in, make this big fortress thing for the shield, and the Ewoks are basically the Native Americans of the equation. There’s no way they coexist peacefully. The Ewoks cook and eat people. There must be some sort of shit going down between these two that we don’t know about.
Well there’s a diversion.
“Look! Over there! Stop him”
Oh, you Stormtroopers. Wizards with words, you are.
“Quick, a creature took one of the bikes! Let’s all leave our posts and chase after him!”
Seriously, you people don’t deserve whatever you’re being paid.
There’s no way that thing isn’t dead within the first twenty seconds.
Shoot the little bastard down. I wish death unto all Ewoks. Lucas apparently added them out of a desire to give a primitive culture a part in the downfall of the Empire – and we see later that they’re ultimately responsible for the destruction of the second Death Star. He cited the Viet Cong as an inspiration, which…no. He was originally going to do it with Wookiees, which would have been badass, but instead we get these contemptible little fucks.
That explanation is partially full of shit. It’s primitive culture meets marketability. You can sell cute little creatures to the chitlins. Kids love muppets. That’s all it is. He’s only mentioning part one, and not part 2, which is the business aspect. This movie is nothing but business decisions. And that’s why it sucks after the first act.
Oh good. Someone was smart.
Though standing like that is really fucking dumb. Always have your back to a wall, constantly check your six – what’s wrong with you, buddy?
Please, Han. Please neck snap him right now.
“Tag. You’re it!”
Look at that face.
“Goddamnit, Han, I wasn’t ready!”
Well that’s the reverse of the first movie. (And also blatantly shows how Han has become so uninteresting since then.)
You is fucked.
I love that Chewie has a crossbow. (Just like Melina Havelock.)
(Jury’s still out on which one has more of an emotional range.)
“Hold onto your butts.”
Well that’s an abstract shot.
This is actually the shot they use for a hilarious internet meme, with the caption being, “Of course I want you to ‘love’ your sister. But boundaries, Luke. Boundaries.”
I can’t really add to that.
Look at this set. Yes.
I remember when my dad first took me to see the Emperor. He cupped my balls and told me I’d amount to something. Not sure why he was called “the Emperor,” or why he hung out in the back of a deli in Brooklyn, but man, did he sure like salami.
There has to be an internet video of Palpatine having way too much fun with the rotating chair. I’m not even gonna look because I’m so certain that exists.
“Welcome, young Skywalker. I have been expecting you.”
Which is pretty much all you can say when you swivel around in a chair like that.
What’s also pretty badass — he unshackles Luke (with the Force) and tells the guards to leave. You gotta be pretty confident about running your shit when you do that.
“I’m looking forward to completing your training.”
Weird. That’s what the Emperor said to me as well.
Also – his face… completely disgusting, yet fascinating. I can’t look away.
You know, I can deal with the wrinkly ball face, but the white hands are really what creeps me out the most.
Luke says he won’t be converted, but Palpatine says Luke is wrong.
I want to see some Sith going around, ringing doorbells, like, “Do you have a moment to talk about the Dark Side?”
Look at that face.
Does Palpatine have his own statue? If you’re the emperor, don’t you go around building statues of yourself? Isn’t that what people do? (I’m using North Korea and Iraq as primary examples of this.) You think the statue has him as his old self or now, all crusty and white and shit?
The Statue of Palpatine.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your UNLIMITED POWER!”
Seriously, just think about those hands touching you. Just… euccchh.
Plinkett pointed this out, and it makes sense. Palpatine refers to Luke’s lightsaber as, “a Jedi’s weapon.” We never see him use a lightsaber, and although Vader does, it stands to reason because he’s a fallen Jedi. Yoda never uses one either, which makes them far less common in this trilogy than in the new ones. You don’t expect Palpatine to have one too; he uses lightning, which appears to be a unique Sith ability. There are so many fucking lightsabers in the new trilogy, I’m pretty sure they sell lightsaber Swiss Army knives on key chains.
Why doesn’t he just knock it down and take it back? He seems like he wants to. Just do it. You think those crusty hands have a rigor mortis grip?
He says Vader can never be turned from the Dark Side. And the same will be for him.
“You’re wrong. Soon I’ll be dead. And you with me.”
I won’t be laughing, there, Palpy. Did you see the look on his face. When someone has that look on their face and says they and you will be dead soon – you don’t fuck around. You kill first and claim self-defense.
It’s hard to explain why I enjoy the Emperor so much. He’s just such an evil dickwad. His motto is the same as my own: Yes, I am a baller, and I do enjoy running my shit.
It’s hard not to love an evil character who relishes how evil they are. Especially when they’re not over the top about it and never overutilize their badassness.
But seriously — that was a badass line. “Nah, I won’t be evil. I’m gonna be dead in a minute… and so will you.”
Palpatine also knows about the attack on the Death Star.
“Your overconfidence is your weakness.”
Vader’s like, “Goddamn, son. Even I ain’t never spoke like that to him, and I’m his favorite.”
“Your faith in your friends is yours.”
(What’s with the sideways head look while facing forward?)
Look at this motherfucker. That’s confidence. Just going back to his chair and chilling.
He says it was him who let them know where the shield generator was. He figured it would get them to show up and he could kill them all at once. Convenience.
I love this guy on the left – he has no idea what to do. He’s like a video game guy who gets stuck.
Seriously, what the fuck is he doing?
Oh… they caught.
Rebel scum? I actually like that term, cause screw the Confederacy. Union, baby.
Whoa… this is like that Magic School Bus episode where they go inside Ralphie.
And right out the urethra.
“May the Force be with us.”
(Is that guy giving him the finger back there?)
Windshield shot, plus an unfinished Death Star. Glorious image.
Lando realizes the shield is still up.
(“It’s not my fault!”)
LEFT! TURN THIS BIG MOTHERFUCKER LEFT TROY!
Oh man… it’s coming.
“It’s a trap!”
Ack-bar, you make my day-ay-ayyy!!!
Now that’s how you have a Star War.
This reminds me of a shot in Ben-Hur.
(That’s normal, right?)
“See that, baby? They are fucked.” Their “insignificant Rebellion” will be done soon.
I don’t care who you are, calling someone ‘insignificant’ is a pretty baller insult.
Maybe not make it so obvious.
“You want this, don’t you?”
I picture Palpatine in a different pose while saying that.
Well not now, I don’t want it. Not with your ashy ass hand all over it.
Palpatine goads him into giving into his anger. Tells him, “Go ahead. Take it. Kill me. I’m unarmed. Do it. ANGER!”
The Emperor knows how to psychoanalyze Luke. Plinkett said that Luke never had anything to tempt him here, but I think it’s the same as it’s always been – his friends. The Emperor is dangling them in front of Luke, making him watch as they get hurt and killed. The anger has to be building.
I never got that. I mean, sure, if my friends were innocent, and he were doing that, then I’d be tempted. But here, it’s like — they knew the risks — they’re part of a REBELLION! They’re prepared to die for the cause. So I’d just be like, “This means nothing to me. I’m here to kill you.”
Of course, as a child watching this, you hear the Emperor say that with each passing moment Luke is becoming his servant, and there’s a real sense of urgency there, like, “Wait, no! How that we make that NOT be happening RIGHT NOW?”
Really? Because I watch it and… well, I’ll mention it later. But to me, it’s pretty hilarious that he does that and it’s not dramatic at all.
Again, it was as a child. Like because he uses the words ‘with each passing moment,’ so you’re worried that he’s already begun some secret process that siphons off Luke’s free will or some shit like that. That’s how child brains work.
The prequels might be as well.
Look at that asshole posing on top.
Wouldn’t it be funny if he started doing the Apache dance?
Meh… you can take them. I was going to make an analogy to something no one will get (because it’s something I did before I had the blog and never put on the blog, and refers to a minute detail in a game that you have to know specific plot points for in order to get), but I can’t without going into extraneous detail. But the basic point of it is – I really do think they can take them. Stormtroopers are so ill-equipped to do anything that legitimate fighters could probably win against them despite being vastly outnumbered.
What happens to a ship that hits the shield while it’s still up? Is it like the Death Eaters who got vaporized in Harry Potter? I don’t get the shields thing at all in Star Wars. Remember the Gungan shields that worked against lasers but let droids through no problem? Those were a big help.
It probably just means they can’t do as much damage to it. But it would be funny if they just bounced off like that one Death Eater in… what was it, Half-Blood Prince?
“Hey – assholes! Are you looking for me? Because I’m over here fucking your sisters!”
Well that wasn’t a very well thought out plan.
Oh shit – they got the horn of Gondor.
You’re being beaten up by teddy bears. I hope you know that.
See, I told you you could take them. They just got fucked up by teddy bears.
I hate all of this.
OH SHIT. She sniped that motherfucker!
This is actually a pretty cool shot.
This is actually like Home Alone.
Oh my god.
That wasn’t even a Molotov? What are you doing, Ewok?
Oh, for fuck’s…
Seriously, how do they make catapults so goddamn fast? They think a droid is a DEITY!
What’s with that Kabuto ship back there?
This loos like when you try to put a protector screen on your phone but it keeps bubbling up.
Nice little consistency stuff there. Wedge notes that they’re headed for the medical frigate, and it shows them flying by the ship that Luke was on at the end of Empire Strikes Back where he’s just gotten his hand fixed up.
Let the firing commence.
I remember that.
(Still guys hanging out next to it, though.)
Space explosions are still great.
Ackbar tells Lando they have to try to destroy it now. But Lando says Han will get the shield down in time.
They can’t repel firepower of that magnitude. He says ‘repel’ and ‘magnitude’ and I think Pokémon.
This reminds me of when we’d go on mayhem sprees in San Andreas and just hang out on top of airplane hangars and lob molotovs and grenades down at the tanks below.
Also, look at those bodies. They both have their arms up.
Oh man, he just headshotted a dude.
And there’s R2 – token door opener.
“Bitch, not on this day!”
Reaction shots are the key to comedy.
R2 gets fucked up because this is how life works. Nothing ever happens to him in the new trilogy; you know that if this had happened in Attack of the Clones, he’d have a tiny little lightsaber pop out and block the laser.
“Well… I suppose I could hotwire this thing.”
“I’ll cover you.”
That’s even funnier than the reaction. “Well shit… no Deux ex machina. I guess I’ll just have to steal it like (some undetermined member of a specific cultural background) in (some unspecified neighborhood in southern California).”
He’s fucking hotwiring it! Why didn’t you just hotwire it to begin with? Why are you depending on a fucking droid to do everything for you?
But seriously, this line was meant to be funny, right? “I guess I can just hotwire it.” “Okay!”
The droid does shit a lot faster. If you’re not expecting R2 to get shot, absolutely use him. That’s like putting away your graphing calculator and whipping out your graph PAPER.
“Oh, Bubba, no!”
This is actually a pretty sad moment. I’m surprised Lucas included it.
(You know… since it makes the movie better.)
See, that’s hilarious to me, because you attack so many of the things in this franchise that I let slide, but this is one of the only things I get really mad at. Don’t make me try to care about the Ewoks. Are you fucking kidding me? You’re trying to get me to feel bad about them purely because they’re small and innocent. Remember when Mike just said that the Rebels knew the risks? The Ewoks should have, too. It’s like how pandas refuse to reproduce, but we spend MILLIONS of dollars trying to keep them around because people think they’re cute. THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T FUCK
A STRANGER IN THE ASSEACH OTHER — YOU GO EXTINCT.
See, I don’t watch this and think it’s one of those “They knew the risks,” moments. I think it’s one of those, “Fuck… my friend just died,” moments. Plus, they’re primitive, so you get that sense of when a person dies with their dog right there and the dog refuses to go anywhere.
Though it sucks they cut away right after that Ewok got up and started Crucio’ing a Stormtrooper.
I like watching the Death Star fuck up small things.
This is a cool shot. Lots of Star Destroyers.
“Well… looks like they’re all fucked. So why not join the team?”
Palpatine’s masterstroke here is pretending like the matter is already decided. He’s like, “Nah, it’s over, you’re already my apprentice. So let’s start finishing your training, shall we?” That’s how you do it. Acting as if it’s so will usually make it so.
“I can feel your anger.”
He looks like he’s feeling something else right now.
“That’s it… feel that anger. REAL slow, now.”
He’s seen this a bunch.
Palpatine tells him to strike him down, and then his journey to the Dark Side will be complete.
They really love the word “complete.” Wasn’t that a Family Guy thing? “Something something something DARK SIDE. Something something something COMPLETE.”
He really looks like he’s touching his dick right now.
Chewie doing a Tarzan roar.
What’s with the Tarzan calls? Johnny Wookieemuller? Holy shit, and this came out the same year as Octopussy! My theory is that the guys writing this and Bond caught Bo Derek’s Tarzan the Ape Man in 1981 (or maybe the original 1932 version, which probably would have been on TV to accompany the remake) and decided to write this bullshit into their scripts. Maybe it was subliminal. Am I the first to notice this? I bet I am.
Or maybe it’s that all the writers grew up in the 30s and that was a natural reference for them. I’m thinking it’s more of that.
Lucas grew up with those adventure serials (as did Roger Moore, since those are the easiest two scapegoats in this scenario). And since it’s 1930-1980, the reference gap didn’t shrink the way it has now. Now all the references are 30 years ago instead of 50. So everything’s going back to the 80s now. Do you know how many fucking times I’ve heard “Skidamarink” referenced in movies the past five years?
Pretty soon the 90s are gonna be the decade where references come from, and I will be one of the assholes partly responsible for that (if I’m not already). Fortunately I also am a person who will casually reference something from the 40s just as easily, so it balances out.
But I think that’s what it is more than anything. Since that Tarzan call is clearly a Weissmuller. They’re going for that. I mean, sure, it’s a pretty universal reference, but I think it’s more of that than anything.
They let blind people drive these things? That explains a lot.
(P.S. Why the fuck are they wearing chin straps?)
Why the fuck are you pointing at it? Do you really think the other guy doesn’t see it? He even shouts, “Look!” I – I can’t even deal with this shit anymore. They’re gonna find me dead in my bathtub if I keep thinking about why that just happened.
I love that all the Ewoks cheer after this. Do you really think they have enough intelligence to know that people on their side are commanding that thing?
You guys remember Die Another Day?
This really is Home Alone.
This montage of the battle turning around doesn’t make much sense. Did all of these traps get set by the Ewoks in advance? You’d have to figure they were. They’re still right next to the shield generator thing, so you have to wonder how they set up these things in time without alerting the Stormtroopers. You know how many Ewoks it’d take to hoist those logs way up into the trees to rig the swinging hammer trap thing? Like a drillion.
And remember… they still think C-3PO is a deity. They’re gonna roast and eat humans, but military engineering… no problem.
I like the design of this doorway. Very pyramid-y.
This moment is pretty great. Because…
He totally just grabs her tit in the middle of the shot.
“It’s not bad.”
And you’re the authority on gunshot wounds, now?
Isn’t that just what you say to sound reassuring? Besides, it’s a laser wound, so it’s not like there’s fragments in there.
But the thing is — how is this “not bad” and all other shots to non-main characters are automatically fatal?
Plus, how often has she gotten shot? I feel like you need to be around people getting shot to accurately be like, “It’s not bad.” If you’re on Guadalcanal, you have the ability to say a wound isn’t that bad. If you’re a (formerly) stuck up princess (until she got the dick), then I don’t think you can accurately gauge a gunshot wound that quickly and confidently.
“I love you.”
That would have been awesome if it weren’t so cognizant of the previous use of the line.
Look at 3PO.
Also, his dick is blowing up.
Which… is kind of similar to what Chewie usually says, right?
This shot would’ve been so much funnier if there weren’t also dead Rebels on the side. I love the idea of them having dialogue with the two dead Stormtroopers just lying there.
Dad vs. Son. Round 2.
Luke really sends Vader flying off of shit a lot.
“That’s it… use your aggressive feelings, boy. Let the hate flow through you.”
Why would you turn your back on a motherfucker like that?
“Damn. Yeezy taught you well.”
“I will not fight you, father.”
(You just did.)
“You are unwise to lower your defenses.”
Why is he unwise? They’re clearly back up.
How come no priori incantatem going on right here?
Voldemort and Harry had the exact same colors in their fight too.
Backwards tally ho.
I like how he just sticks the lightsaber between those things. Trying to shiv him.
Not a big fan of the backflips and Force jumps.
“Your thoughts betray you, father. I feel the good in you. The conflict.”
“There is no conflict.”
(Even if there isn’t… say Luke is pulling a Palpatine and
touching his dick just saying something to make it so, wouldn’t Palpatine be able to feel the conflict as well? Why is he so silent during all of this?)
(I guess he didn’t finish yet.)
“If you don’t stop this shit, Imma kill you.”
I don’t think he cares.
Holy shit that’s awesome. He just fucking LAUNCHES his lightsaber!
Swing away, Merrill, indeed.
This is the proper reaction to this moment.
Just like in The Patriot.
I think he has leprosy.
FUCK THIS CATWALK!
That said, someone needs to have a talk with Vader about throwing a lightsaber around a space station, especially this close to the window.
This space battle is awesome, visually.
Too bad I don’t give a fuck about anything that happens during it, because it’s a complete formality during this movie.
Basically everything that’s not happening on that ship with Luke and Vader and Palpatine is draining screen time from the interesting part of the movie.
Really? That’s your plan? I thought the plan was to just blast the fucking thing. You’re literally gonna sneak in through the back door?
Holy shit, they’re literally sneaking in through the back door.
All right… at least you acknowledge it.
Nice gesture from Han. “What can I say? I’m a shifty motherfucker.”
This is like Goodfellas and the restaurant.
And this is where we’ll END PART IV. Since we could probably use a break, thinking about a better movie before we continue on any longer.
– – – – – – – – – –
Tomorrow is Part V, and the sweet, merciful end of this fucking movie.
(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)