Fun with Franchises: Star Wars Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), Part V — “Somebody Needs to Windex That Helmet”
Today we continue with another entry in our Fun with Franchises series, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
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 V during a lull in the father and son battle, just like we did last movie. (Since Lucas basically took the last two movies and Frankenstein’d them together to make this one. Only he upped the shitty quotient in the rest of the parts he filled in.)
I always like these moments. Someone has disappeared into the darkness of the location, and the other person is walking around looking for them. It’s always interesting. I like seeing what each specific dynamic is gonna be. If they’re both gonna be silent and listen for the other one, if one is trying to hide, if both are trying to hide, if one is trying really hard to find the other one, if one is just waiting for the right moment to come out, if the one looking is taunting the other one — there are a lot of subtle variations to this moment, and it’s almost always interesting to me.
Vader can read his thoughts. He knows he has another kid.
Man… good thing you’re gonna kill them, otherwise that alimony would be a BITCH.
Okay, you can’t not like this scene. Vader’s searching for Luke in the dark, which gives him time to say shit that makes Luke feel conflicted. We get a visual representation of the two sides at battle in him with the shot of his face half covered in shadow.
“Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete.”
I love this. “Obi-Wan was basically a giant Jedi fuck-up” – this franchise
Uh oh, guys, tack Obi Wan’s failure on the list of things that are now ‘complete.’
This battle is basically the opposite of the last one.
Driver’s license photo.
I like this type of lightsaber duel. Luke’s going buck wild and most of the shots are close up so we can see his face, rather than the choreography. Priorities.
Like son, like father.
“THAT’S RIGHT! You know I TOLD YOU I’s gonna tag you back!”
Though, doesn’t he basically cut off a robot hand there?
(Fuck you, Lucas.)
“Your hate has made you powerful.”
It’s cool, cause his hate HAS made him powerful. He just fucked Vader up in a big way – and it didn’t require complex choreography or more than 15 seconds, really.
“Now… fulfill your destiny. And take your father’s place at my side.”
It’s pretty fucked up that the Emperor just tells him to kill Vader and take his place, though. You’d think Vader would be all, “Wait, wasn’t this gonna be a three guy operation from now on? He’s taking my place? Aw FUCK no!”
He has a Strangelove hand?
That’s pretty great imagery, too. Just realizing after he cut off his father’s right hand that his now resembles, he can see the transformation has begun.
I don’t know. In the previous shot he looks like he’s fighting back the urge to bust into a song.
“And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going (To the Dark Side)”
Though, I guess we do see that it wasn’t a real hand here, so I guess that’s okay.
(But still… fuck you for making me think of the prequels.)
Oh my god… seriously, now, with the fucking hands. They’re creepy. Stop showing them.
“I will never turn to the Dark Side. You failed, your highness. I am a Jedi. Like my father before me.”
(Why does he call him “your highness”?)
Reaction shots are the key to comedy.
“So be it…. Jedi.”
And they built an entire separate franchise around a shot like this.
I love it when people yell, “MOVE! MOVE!” while sprinting away from an imminent explosion.
There’s no way that doesn’t start a forest fire.
GoldenEye is destroyed.
“The shield is down. Commence attack on the Death Star’s main reactor!”
As opposed to what? The lido deck?
“I told you they’d do it!”
“I did, didn’t I?”
Wow… he’s totally the Short Round of this movie.
I love watching the Falcon fly away from stuff.
“If you will not be turned –”
“You will be destroyed.”
(This is my reaction when bottle caps won’t open. If they cannot be turned, they will be destroyed.)
Palpatine used Thunder Shock!
It’s Super Effective!
Luke is Paralyzed! He cannot attack!
Luke’s like, “The fuck is THIS shit? You could do this?”
You think that Pikachu story will translate via text? Or is that one that really only works when you’re telling it around a table?
“Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side.”
I don’t like when lightning comes out of creepy hands.
Maybe don’t grab onto something metal when being electrocuted.
Look at the reach of his Force lightning.
“How come he didn’t teach me that?”
(Because he doesn’t have hands.)
So what kind of damage is this lightning doing to him now? Will this fuck up his internal organs? What exactly is gonna “destroy” him? How much Force lightning does it take to destroy somebody? Because it seems like he’s all right afterward. Is there a certain amount that goes from “smarts for a couple of minutes” to “fatal”? Or does Palpatine have to use a lightsaber to finish him off? We never actually see Force lightning kill someone, so we never actually find out what kind of damage it does.
Sure… why not? Worked for Dumbledore, right?
That’s some torturous shit, though. The most fucked up shot is from on the other side of the set, so you can’t see Luke, but you can see the smoke rising from his body. Just like Ray Charles, he’s now paying for his lack of vision.
What’d I say?
This is a pretty great shot, though.
Somebody needs to Windex that helmet.
“Now, young Skywalker… you will die.”
This is what it looks like when I remember I forgot to check to see if my door is locked.
“GOT YO DUMB ASS! I’m gonna kill him and I’m gonna rape him and I’m gonna eat his fucking costume! Just wait.”
I like how the Force lightning is still going. Like he can’t turn it off.
Force incontinence. Affects one in three older Jedi.
It just came to my attention that he’s wearing a rubber glove. So if anything, that hand was safe from the Force lightning.
Holy shit… he actually does look like the air conditioner in The Brave Little Toaster.
My father went the same way.
I like how he’s just resting his stump on the post like that.
Jesus. He looks like Rocky after the 12th round.
Is he about to give him a handy?
So, I always took this as him being fucked up because the Force lightning zapped his cybernetics or whatever and now his breathing system is fucked. Or in other words, that motherfucker ripped his suit.
Oh, right. This bullshit is still happening.
Show of hands — who cares about any of this?
What if they fucked up here? What then? What if the Death Star was still there, the emperor was dead and most of the rebels died?
The Millennium Falcon is so fucking cool. I love how Lando rolls it slowly and it just happens to coincide with the tight spot they need to get through.
Rebel pilots can’t fly for shit.
That’s always one of my favorite shots, though — people seeing something about to hit wherever they are and the slow-motion dive out of the way, as if that’ll do something.
Do you think people dove on 9/11?
Weird how you took down an entire Super Star Destroyer by knocking out one window.
It’s kind of like when Doug took down Patty’s old house with a single rock.
Ackbar is pleased.
Just to reiterate, that’s 19 kilometers of ship that just went straight down into the Death Star. Space Titanic much?
What the fuck? Is that a generator? I haven’t seen any of those before in these movies.
Aww… just like Piccolo on Namek.
“Luke – help me take this mask off.”
“But you’ll die.”
(How the fuck does he know that?)
Luke knows that without the mask Vader will die?
Drink, you heathens. Drink.
“Nothing can stop that now. Just for once, let me look on you with my own eyes.”
How about a doctor? That might be able to stop that now.
Or oxygen. You mean to tell me you don’t have other suits? A Mark V or something? What about that stasis pod thing you have? That’s not on this ship? I feel like there are some things that could stop it now, but you just don’t want there to be.
I always liked the look of that thing. After the top came off but before the rest of the helmet did.
This also begs the question — has he not changed clothes in 20 years? How does he piss? That suit must stink to high heaven. Especially when you factor in normal human odors along with third degree burn scarring and pieces of skull still exposed.
You’re telling me they have robots that can deliver babies and make a suit that keeps him alive, but they can’t stitch up that skull? That seems kind of dangerous to just leave your skull exposed like that, even inside a helmet, which must house all kinds of bacteria. Have you ever looked at what the brim of your hat looks like?
Also, doesn’t it look like he’s got a harmonica in front of his mouth?
“Now… go, my son. Leave me.”
And now we aren’t interested in Vader anymore because after the mask goes away, he’s not voiced by James Earl Jones anymore. Now he’s just a puffy, pale monster with a weak voice.
(Just like Lana Turner.)
“No. you’re coming with me. I can’t leave you here, I’ve got to save you.”
“You already have.”
(Doesn’t he look like Zordon?)
“Tell your sister you were right.”
(She does taste like a peach?)
Love the string version of the Imperial March here.
One of those things in Star Wars – you can go dark and kill thousands upon thousands of people, but once you go light again, everyone loves you. It’s like going on vacation. There’s no answering for your crimes or any of that. Even Luke goes dark in like six years when Palpatine comes back and takes him as an apprentice. He does evil shit for a while, but when Leia saves him, he’s just back to being a Jedi Master. No accountability.
I’m still not really getting how he doesn’t sort of sound like James Earl Jones here. I mean, isn’t the point that the voicebox thing in front of his mouth is the thing that’s doing it? So shouldn’t some of it still work? I don’t get how the voice goes so drastically different when the helmet comes off. There really shouldn’t be all that much change except maybe a lack of booming-ness to it.
Come on. Let’s just fucking blow this thing and go home.
“Move the fleet away from the Death Star!”
I love how Admiral Ackbar is basically just Captain Obvious.
The Millennium Falcon busting out of the flames and Lando giving a whoop is great, cause fuck explosions, this is the MILLENNIUM FALCON, bitches. Possibly the single coolest thing in Star Wars.
Yeah, yeah, boom, escape — we’ve seen this all before. Only now the stakes are gone.
Wouldn’t an explosion that big and that close to a planet fuck it up something awful?
I feel like I said this exact same thing in the first movie.
The question still stands.
Well, it’s big, but not at all compared to Endor. You gotta figure that it would fuck up some places, but depending on how small the debris was (and it didn’t look like there were any large pieces left) a lot of it would probably burn up in the atmosphere or remain in orbit.
But even not logically — the explosion the size of that one they show — there’s no way that doesn’t cause way more damage than it does.
Seriously? A fucking bandage? Why not just have nothing? You basically did everything but that until now.
“I’m sure Luke wasn’t on that thing when it blew.”
“He wasn’t. I can feel it.”
“You love him… don’t you?”
AKA, “I’m a ho. Didn’t you know?”
That line is the gift that keeps on giving. Just like her.
“When he comes back, I won’t get in the way.”
“It’s not like that at all.”
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.
“He’s my brother.”
That was one of the most bizarre reactions I’ve ever seen.
All of this is Han processing that relationship and taking a good three seconds to piece it together that ‘brother’ means that they won’t be fucking and that he’s got a monopoly on things now.
Also — “He’s my brother” — actually the last line of this trilogy.
So the last line of Star Wars as we knew it in 1983 was basically her saying, “No, don’t worry, we’re related, me and him. So me and you — we can fuck. It’s all right.”
Shit, you’re burning the body? Do you know that’s a Jedi thing? Seems a bit awful, given the circumstances. From Anakin and Obi-Wan’s perspective, Luke’s just finishing the job.
What I don’t get is how he can show up later as part of the Force. Shouldn’t he be horribly burned or something? (From either one. This one or the original one.) The other ones just disappeared. How can he (and Qui-Gon, for that matter) be part of the Force if their bodies didn’t fade away like Obi-Wan’s and Yoda’s?
I like that he’s still standing there. Since, when you do burn a body, it kind of loses interest after the first few minutes. By that point you’re just standing around a giant bonfire. Everyone pretty much disperses to go get tacos. (Since, making s’mores on the pile is disrespectful.) He’s really sticking this one out.
How did such a primitive species get fireworks, again?
Why is everybody celebrating? Did they do this last time?
Hey, look — there are all those people on Naboo we don’t see in the original trilogy.
So now we see various planets celebrating the end of the Galactic Empire, even though it continues to exist in some strength for another seven years after this. Oh well.
Do they even know what they’re celebrating?
Why the fuck would you go party here?
Go to Coruscant. Go where there are women to fuck.
You just blew up the Death Star, and you own a mining colony. There’s no way you don’t end up with at least three women this night. And none of them will be the same color. What the fuck are you doing hanging out with teddy bears?
That looks kind of like a Ninja Turtle back there.
Seriously — why are you all here? This place has no importance except it housed a shield. You motherfuckers could be in Coruscant in literally about twenty minutes.
Kind of weird how no one says anything during any of this.
Lots of random hugging.
There’s no reason for any of this.
Oh man… here it comes…
How much do we love that they changed the Force Ghost of Anakin to the young one? Not at all, actually. I don’t understand this. Obi Wan and Yoda are as they were when they died – one could make the argument that Anakin is as he was when he ceased to be a Jedi, but he redeemed himself at the end, so he should still look that way. I have no clue what Lucas was thinking, other than to make it blatantly obvious to the 4 year olds who grew up with the new trilogy and couldn’t put two and two together. But also, don’t you think instead of smiling and chilling there, Yoda and Obi Wan’s Force Ghosts should be giving Anakin’s hell? “What the FUCK, man!”
Can she see them too?
Jesus, he gives creepy sex looks even as a ghost.
How come they’re just chilling over there? It’s kind of weird that they’re watching from like, fifty feet away. Especially since they’re ghosts and can show up anywhere.
It’s funny how as they cut back to all of them standing there for the final shot, everyone’s just standing, except for Billy Dee Williams, who’s clapping. George Lucas wants you to know that even in the Star Wars universe, black guys have rhythm.
You know what we all have?
And that’s the end of the franchise.
… or so we thought in 1983.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t end the article with this video, since to me it’s one of the best parody songs out there, and is Weird Al level in terms of greatness. Every line is perfect.
(I remember the day this video came out. Someone showed it to me, and then I spent the entire afternoon showing it to more people. Eventually there were like ten of us in the room watching it, and I had seen it eleven times over the course of like, an hour.)
Seriously… there’s no better line than, “I made you a ghost!”
Plus…that chick is hotter than Carrie Fisher was. And since we’re ending off Jedi, here’s Mika back for her bad explanation of it.
– – – – – – – – –
Tomorrow, we’ll go over our favorite images from the film, then Sunday are our final thoughts, and Monday, we start the prequels, which I guarantee you, will be ten times better than all of the articles in this trilogy combined.
(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)