Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Top 25 Sci-Fi Movies of All Time - #12

My Top 25 Sci-Fi Movies of All Time - #12

By Ken Parker

I have already mentioned how important it is to have a great movie viewing experience. An unforgettable time watching an excellent movie can shape the way you perceive the film forever. I already mentioned one time I saw a double feature of The Road Warrior and Blade Runner. That experience, coupled with the fact that they were excellent movies helped shape how I see them today. Of course I have fond theater going memories of Battlefield Earth but that film is on an entirely different list. A bad list.

The experience and what mood you are in can also influence the perception. I also stated before that expectations can alter the final perception, either making the film seem better or even worse than it really is.

The following film is the only film on this list that I actually took a day off from school to see. It was a major event in my movie going history, probably more so than any other movie on this list. The expectations were sky high and for me it happened at a time in my life where a lot of changes were going on. It would be the end of my childhood at around this time (although I did continue to buy toys until sometime a few weeks ago.....) but I would never again enjoy the adventures of childhood as much as I had during this time period.

12 – Return of the Jedi (1983)

Despite one particular friend who believes all the Star Wars films should be bundled into one massive movie, I have ranked this one just outside of my top 10. It would be safe to say not to expect to see any more than two more Star Wars movies on this list. The later prequel trilogy have lots going for them. Seeing The Phantom Menace in the theater rivaled Return of the Jedi in terms of an excellent memorable movie events. Still, the three prequels pale in comparison and only Revenge of the Sith approaches the level of quality of the “original” trilogy.

IMDB Story Outline -

Darth Vader and the Empire are building a new, indestructible Death Star. Meanwhile, Han Solo has been imprisoned, and Luke Skywalker has sent R2-D2 and C-3PO to try and free him. Princess Leia - disguised as a bounty hunter - and Chewbacca go along as well. The final battle takes place on the moon of Endor, with its natural inhabitants, the Ewoks, lending a hand to the Rebels. Will Darth Vader and the Dark Side overcome the Rebels and take over the universe? Written by Colin Tinto <>  

Never had I waited with more difficulty than for this film to finally come out. For the first time I scanned for every piece of news and rumor about this film. I remember seeing photos of the filming of Blue Harvest and saw a photo of Yoda's cousin, a small blue elephant (who turned out to be none other than Max Reebo of the band playing for Jabba the Hutt.) Remember the comic book that was accidentally released a few days before the movie came out? All of this hype was part of the expectations I had.

The anticipation was so high my brother and I took the day off from school and traveled to the less crowded Hadley Mall to wait in line for the first showing. We were first in line. If the guy who cut in front of us right as the line started is reading this, hope you choked on your popcorn.

Well, how was the movie? It made it this far up on my list, right? Now it is ranked below the first two (more on them soon). The film is considered the weaker of the three but I would argue only because The Empire Strikes Back was so good and Star Wars (also known as A New Hope), was the original. Return of the Jedi had some flaws and let downs but perhaps that was all expectation influenced. The film included some of the most incredible and emotional scenes. The final battle between Vader and Luke and the return of Anakin Skywalker was the most emotional and stunning scenes for the entire franchise.

I think there was some disappointment, perhaps mostly because the ride was over. Not being able to live up to the expectations and no promise of a continuation may have been part of the let down. One could argue that some elements of the film were not as strong as the could have been. Examples include the fizzling of Boba Fett. Here was a very popular character who did nothing but shoot and miss Luke, transport a frozen Han Solo to Tatooine and, in his moment of glory, flew out into battle, got his gun cut in half and accidentally hit in the back by a blind man and finally falling into a creature's mouth.

The powerful Empire fared no better, being stopped by a bunch of teddy bears and putting their new Death Star into operation a few months too early. These types of things may have been part of the reason why Return of the Jedi is many people's third favorite Star Wars film.

Still, the conclusion was satisfying. Cheering in the theater for these heroes in their final adventure was one of the memories I have of the film. The Star Wars trilogy had concluded in spectacular fashion.

I have given away two of my upcoming movies on my list when mentioning Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back but I hope to surprise you with their placement on that list.

When did I first see this movie – opening day
How many times have I seen it – 5 times in the theater (including the special edition release). Yes, you heard me. Not 50. Not 500. 5 times. I have probably seen it a total of 30 times including cable, DVD, etc.
I have the special edition on DVD (although my nephew borrowed it a few years ago). I have yet to get the blu ray.. someday.

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