It improves by way of comparison

The Return of the Jedi.

When The Return of the Jedi came out, I think I felt that it made The Empire Strikes Back look good; but having seen both films one after the other, I find that the former merely highlights how bad the latter actually is. Don’t get me wrong. The Ewoks are only second to Jar Jar Binks as the most annoying characters in the Star Wars universe. You still hope that the ostrich machines the storm troopers strut around in will squash more than a few of these obnoxious little teddy bears. But on the whole, things have got better. Even the stars seem to have taken acting lessons, and James Earl Jones no longer sounds as if he’s reading out Darth Vader’s shopping list. Vader’s penchant for killing off senior officers has gone. He merely threatens to set the emperor on them if they don’t complete the construction of the Death Star. The special effects have improved, although they still look obvious. (All right, at the time they looked cool, but it was 1983, remember?)

In one aspect, the film went backwards. We all noted at the time that when Luke Skywalker is busy rescuing everyone from Jabba the Hut, his light sabre no longer slices through anything. The first time Obi-wan gets heavy with his light sabre, some guy loses an arm. In TRJ, they just get knocked down. Either the special effects were going to be a pain/too expensive or there might’ve been a ratings issue.

Here’s a thought. How does Darth Vader cope with eating biscuits or anything crumbly? Or even soup? Obviously, he’d have to take his helmet off to eat, but that leaves the lower part around his chin. Do his minions unzip him once a week and clear out all the crap that’s accumulated inside his suit – crumbs, bits of pizza, crisps, sweet wrappers etc. Do they sometimes find he’s tried to hide porno mags in there as well?

And what’s the deal with the Emperor? He seems to think that running the empire happens to other people. Perhaps it does. Perhaps his minions are off doing the real work while he watches the Skywalkers, padre e figlio, fighting, and says helpful things like “Embrace the Dark Side” and “Ya sure you’re his dad? ‘Cos he’s like a total midget.” and “Does my bum look big in this cowl?”


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