Critics Shmitics: Don't Try Too Hard To Hate 'Return Of The Jedi'



A lot of people have read the article "50 Reasons Why Return of the Jedi Sucks" by Dan Vebber. It was originally published around 1997 in the below average "Sci-Fi Universe" magazine (a publication whose editor-in-chief was Star Trek Fan and Star Wars Hater Mark A. Altman) and later included in the trashy paperback 'The Unauthorized Star Wars Compendium: The Complete Guide to the Movies, Comic Books, Novels, and More' by Ted Edwards. As to why some so-called-fans actually got a kick out of this article made available by Star Wars bashers is beyond my comprehension.

The funny thing is that once The Phantom Menace came out, every critic in the world forgot about Return of the Jedi's flaws. Not because one movie is better or worse than the other, but because hating Episode I became a fashion statement.

Vebber lists his 50 reasons in no particular order of importance and tries his best to discredit Episode VI. It would have been somewhat amusing if he had made a funny top 10 list, but, since he forced himself to write "50 reasons," the list runs out of gas very soon and becomes uninteresting, redundant, and hateful really fast. Because Vebber tries too hard to fill in the 50 gaps in his list, he ends up making absurd comments like the following:

"16. Unforgivable Dialogue
Threepio approaching Jabba's palace: "I have a bad feeling about this."
Han Solo, when confronted by Ewoks: "I have a bad feeling about this."
With dialogue like this, it seems Lucas finally put that "million monkeys at a million typewriters" theory to the test."

Well, that's all I need to know that this guy is not a Star Wars fan. Guess what Dan? The "I have a bad feeling about this" line is a running gag throughout the whole Star Wars Saga. And us real fans love it.

How about this one:

"19. Stupid Coincidences
"We have been without an interpreter since our master got angry with our last protocol droid and disintegrated him." Pan over to said droid being pulled apart in a machine, to allow for a startled reaction shot by Threepio. Numerous scenes like this further damage Jedi's ability to convince us this stuff is really happening."

Well, guess what? That stuff isn't really happening. It's a movie! This is a common mistake with people who still think that Star Wars is Science Fiction and not Fantasy. When it comes to Science Fiction, there are certain reality based rules you need to follow. But when it comes to Fantasy, anything goes. Vebber just doesn't get that.

Here's another one:

"35. Vader's Real Face
You know, Darth, that scar will never heal unless you stop scratching it. But enough with the clever bon-mots: it should have been David Prowse under that helmet. Period. He deserved at least that much, and probably would have been willing to shave his head. Sebastian Whatsisname (Shaw) delivers an acceptable acting job (actually, one of Jedi's only acceptable acting jobs), but that pudgy head just doesn't match up with the body we see on Vader throughout the rest of the Trilogy."

Didn't this guy understand that Darth Vader was "more machine that man" and that his look under the helmet was anyone's guess? His comment is just as ridiculous as saying that James Earl Jones should have been under the helmet, whom, according to what Vebber says, would have the same right as David Prowse. This is just an example of a whiney critic not accepting something that was not what he expected.

This one always makes me laugh... at the writer:

"7. Physical comedy
This is a Galactic rebellion, for heaven's sake! Yet an Ewok clocks himself with his own slingshot. Threepio's legs point skyward after he falls off the skiff into the sand. Countless adorable muppets zanily cover their eyes or flip-duck off their perches when faced with tense situations. Worst of all, there are two solid instances where burps are used for cheap laughs. Burps! And where are the f**t jokes?"

Well, he got the fart and poopie jokes in Episode I. Now, when you see an eopie farting in Jar Jar's face, the Star Wars bashers might say, "I told you so." But I say, that's the Star Wars Universe farting in Dan Vebber's face. And it's funny as hell.

And this one:

"45. Generally Dumb Dialogue
Vader, upon seeing that Luke has constructed a lightsaber: "Your skills are complete. Indeed, you are powerful as the Emperor has foreseen."
(Wait a second-all because he read a Time/Life book on electronics and soldered together some transistors? Does this mean Tim Allen is a Jedi?)"

Yeah, sure. I would like to see Dan Vebber build a lightsaber. I assure you it would explode in his face. Anybody who saw the animated Clone Wars Chapter 14 knows how significant it is for a Jedi to successfully construct his or her own lightsaber.

At this point, Vebber was not even trying to be funny. He had become consumed in his own hate for what is basically a fantasy family film and he was just trying to come up with anything that would finish his list.

So, bottom line: When making a list to criticize something, less is more.

Till next time,

-Isma.