A Rebuttal to Vebber & Gould

1850188At the end of Ted Edwards’ The Unauthorized Star Wars Compendium, Dan Vebber and Dana Gould have an appendix that irreverently lists “Fifty Reasons Why ‘Jedi’ Sucks” (pp. 207-222). They begin with a brief essay filled with angst and bitterness against ROTJ and conclude with the following: “There are plenty of fans who argue that by the mere fact of its being part of the trilogy, Jedi should be above criticism. We’d ask those people whose initial response to this list is one of anger to apply the fifty points below to their next Jedi viewing.”

Of course I did so, and am also prepared to answer their every point and remind them that ROTJ is not above criticism because it is part of the original trilogy, or indeed because it is part of the saga — but their criticisms are idiotic and groundless. I will rebut their every single point, but keep in mind, I’m responding to a 20-page essay and this could get lengthy.

1. Ewoks, Ewoks, Ewoks. “The Jawas were cool. But George had to push his luck. The Ewoks are not cool. Period. In circles of die-hard Star Wars fans, to say you hate the Ewoks is like saying you enjoy breathing air.” The Ewoks’ “unapologetic cuddliness is uncharacteristic and unwelcome” and “they live in boring surroundings” (?!) Ewoks were created solely to be marketed as toys — the word Ewok is never in the film, yet everyone knows this is what they are called.

(Actually the word Ewok is in the credits, available for anyone to see.) I understand that there is a very strange and ongoing hatred of Ewoks that runs rampant, but I have never understood why. To the charge that “they look fake,” I answer they are no more fake-looking than the Jawas (whose eyes occasionally betray the filaments of the light bulbs used). If you think Ewoks are cuddly, well, that’s your opinion, I guess. I wouldn’t want to cuddle one. “They live in boring surroundings”? Not sure how this makes them suck, but anyway, I find the forest moon beautiful and the Ewok village interesting. In fact the whole concept of Ewoks fits exactly with something George Lucas has woven throughout the entire trilogy: from the small, one-man fighter that successfully penetrates the Death Star’s defenses to the young (and short), untrained farm-boy who is enough to turn the course of the Empire on its head, he has small things conquering the great. Inexperience can overcome training, and evil, no matter how powerful, can be defeated by good, however weak. It’s an object lesson Lucas was pretty fond of, along with his scifi and fantasy predecessors, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and . . . everyone? It’s even all throughout the Bible.

2. The Tone is Inconsistent. “The rebellion is in ruins, Darth Vader is Luke’s father, and Han is frozen. Why Lucas decided to smother these ambitious plot elements under a load of feel-good cliches and textbook plot structure is anyone’s guess . . . Jedi never has any idea of what it’s trying to be. . . . Jedi is impossible to take seriously and has little to none of the mythic, transporting feel of its predecessors. We’re always aware we’re watching a big budget movie.”

Are they even talking about the same film I know and love? You know the trilogy never transported me until ROTJ. If by “textbook plot,” you mean reinterpreting time-honored ideas that have been present in storytelling since storytelling was invented, and in that case, is this not something present in all three films? Everyone knows Lucas got many ideas from his mentor Joseph Campbell, who pioneered the concept of universal mythology. Does it get more standard than “young hero started off on important journey by old wise teacher, accomplishes impossible task, and saves friends”? How can this be a reason ROTJ sucks but not ANH?

Is “herky-jerks” a word? What does even mean? Apparently ROTJ “herky-jerks its audience from lighthearted to dramatic” — but this is a device Vebber and Gould should take up with Shakespeare, because this (like the theme of the weak defeating the strong) is a time-honored storytelling method that goes way back. It’s a recognized device: amusing scenes are required to make the drama more intense. Now, having said all that, let me add that I personally find very, very little that’s particularly lighthearted in ROTJ; I never experienced the disconnect V&G seem to where Vader seems in a different movie from the rest of them.

3. The Look is All Wrong. “After the second film, did the Empire celebrate its trouncing of the Rebellion by going through the galaxy with a big bottle of Windex? Everything in Jedi looks clean and polished.”

Put this on record as the dumbest complaint ever: too clean? Um, well, the rebels celebrated their first major defeat over the Empire by polishing Threepio up. At the same time, there was no real “trouncing,” just business as usual. Do you understand that the Death Star Mark II is so new, it’s still got the plastic on the chairs? And the first time I saw Vader descend the ramp in that polished suit, my breath caught. (And if V&G think that Jabba’s palace looks “too clean,” I don’t ever want to see their living rooms.) In short, ROTJ’s visuals are in line with ESB’s — emphasizing the power and grandeur of the Empire before it all gets swept away.

4. It’s Just a Bunch of Muppets!

Nothing to quote. Vebber and Gould somehow hold up the Cantina scene and Yoda before complaining about the essentially synonymous Jabba’s palace sequence. Apparently Jabba’s entourage has committed the crime of “looking like muppets.” I can only quote Linus in Fanboys: “You gotta keep the flaws. Crappy effects, real puppets. That’s what makes it so good, you know?”

Also — I’m no expert, having never been interested in Muppets in my life — apparently there exists a distinction between Muppets and puppets and the Star Wars characters do not qualify as Muppets. Get Jim Henson’s lawyer on the phone, I guess?

5. Painful Lack of Innovation. “Jedi borrows from Wars on levels ranging from conceptual to minute. . . . Most of the creatures and droids seen on Tatooine in Wars make background appearances in Jabba’s court . . . Little thought seems to have been given to developing or maturing any of the main characters in a realistic manner. Han and Threepio suffer most, coming across as catch-phrase-spouting caricatures of their previous selves.”

Once more for emphasis: cyclic elements are a time-honored method of storytelling.

  1. If you were the Empire and you had created an ultimate weapon, capable of destroying all planets, would you really just abandon it when it got destroyed? Of course you’d get started on it again; I’ve even theorized that the Mark II was begun even before they blew up the Mark I.
  2. Imagine the same species and droids reappearing on the same planet! I guess there aren’t a limitless number of droids in the galaxy and that the same species gravitate toward the underworld life of crime! No doubt V&G would have complained if it had been populated with all-new droids and beings — “how is there endless variety of droids and creatures!”
  3. Perhaps the characters haven’t matured much since the last movie because, oh, I don’t know, only two months have gone by? How much do you mature in two months? (Note the irony of the composers of this list complaining about a lack of maturation.)

Actually Luke has grown more somber with the weight of his approaching destiny weighing on him, and Leia is slowly thawing as she tries to reconcile her love for Han with her whole screechy, princess self. If there is no dramatic shift between ESB and ROTJ, it’s because they have changed so dramatically from who they were originally that they are starting at square one.

(Postscript, I do borrow that “catchphrase-spouting caricatures of their previous selves” line as a perfect summation of what Episode VII ad infinitum ad nauseum is going to look like.)

6. Witty Banter. “With one or two exceptions, the humor in Wars and Empire was subtle, based around throwaway lines and the personality quirks of well-written characters. Jedi’s overly-contrived ‘humor’ too often seems inspired by setup-to-punch wordplay . . .”

Here Vebber and Gould needlessly quote the entire exchange between Han and Threepio in the Ewok village. Yet this is the only example they even mention, and I can’t think of any other scene that fits their bill. Anyway, I’ve always found this bit hilarious. I have heard the so-called “witty banter” criticized in every single movie — except ANH. But how can I rebut a complaint I don’t understand? I think the humor is increasingly frequent in each movie, so ANH has very little and ROTJ has more, but is it ungracious? Unsubtle? I don’t think so.

7. Physical Comedy. “This is a galactic rebellion, for heaven’s sake! Yet an Ewok clocks himself with his own slingshot.”

Then V&G make a nasty comment that ROTJ is as good a parody of the trilogy as Spaceballs. First of all, the Ewok hitting himself on the head with a slingshot is, in the scheme of things, barely worth getting offended by — particularly considering the actor was an 11-year-old. Is it even two seconds long? It fits with the tone, just like the Ewok being clumsy with the speeder.

V&G also object to the sarlaac’s belch upon swallowing Boba Fett. This was a comment by Lucas, who never understood the appeal of Boba Fett’s character or why he became so popular. I adore Boba Fett, but I still approve of this. Star Wars is (or was) Lucas’ brainchild, and the films were always stronger where his vision was executed by a team and not influenced by fan raving. So it’s Lucas’ own business to take Fett out like a chump and punctuate it with a belch just to let fanboys know Lucas doesn’t care.

8. Uninteresting Locales. “Wars and Empire took us to locales that many of us have never seen before in real life . . . Jedi just rehashes what we’ve already seen, adding only one new biome: the woods (oh, so that’s what trees look like).”

This complaint is completely idiotic. There, I said it. They really find a vast and ancient forest more boring than a planet that consists of nothing but sand? “Oh, that’s what sand looks like!” — I think all of us who grew up with a sandbox were familiar with that scene a long time ago. If they’re going to be upset by the presence of trees, why is Dagobah exempt in ESB? Are they from the Pacific Northwest? People in Nebraska aren’t intimately acquainted with forests.

9. The Forest Battle on Endor. “If we wanted to see improbable jungle shenanigans, we’d have rented Battle for the Planet of the Apes. . . . The Ewoks’ victory still flies in the face of all reason, logic, and precedent.”

The weapons constructed by the Ewoks are “offensive,” apparently, and “dozens” of Stormtroopers are beaten to death compared to “only one” dead Ewok. (And apparently some really belligerently-minded people out there cheer more over the one dead Ewok than over the Death Star exploding.) First of all, why does everyone assume a downed trooper is a dead trooper? They are wearing assault-grade body armor. Overpowered, yes.  Knocked unconscious, probably. Mosquitoes can wipe out an army. Finally, it was not the Ewoks’ lack of technology that allowed them to succeed, but their ingenuity. They were never actually winning the battle until Chewie helped them capture an AT-ST.

10. Solo. “In Empire, Threepio states that the carbonite would keep Solo safe . . . but Threepio said nothing about the side effects. Namely, that people in carbon-freeze gain twenty pounds . . . [H]e’s just a good-hearted, slack-jawed simp whose comments . . . are almost exclusively played for laughs. . . . Harrison Ford does nothing to help . . . acting with a boredom rarely paralleled.”

On the other hand, Harrison Ford never seems to be too enthused about anywhere he is at any given time. This complaint would apply to ANH and ESB if Vebber and Gould didn’t consider them above reproach for the same reason they say ROTJ can’t possibly be above reproach. Han has always seemed like he has one foot out the door. He was always  the crack-up in the trio. Just because he’s turning into a good guy and abandoning his whole man-out-for-himself thing doesn’t mean he’s got to be criticized for it.

I guess I’ll take their word for it that he’s heavier in ROTJ than in ESB. How dare Lucas not literally freeze him in carbonite for three years? Anyway, who knows what the body does when frozen in a state of hibernation? It’s not suspended animation, and who says the body might not redistribute a few pounds?

11. Music. “The soundtrack to Wars is an unquestioned classic. . . . What does Jedi have to offer? . . . Peter and the Wolf . . . and Jabba’s foam-and-latex band.”

What I can agree with is that the original celebratory Ewok music was no good. But this is a moot point to me, since Lucas had it replaced in 1997. Vebber and Gould were writing in 1999, and definitely had access to the special edition. They do in fact complain about it — that it adds “another song” to Jabba’s palace. Actually it replaces the old one. Inferior to the Cantina Band though it may be, Lucas’ MTV video isn’t hurting anyone or anything.

There are some great moments on the ROTJ soundtrack. What annoys me appears to have sailed right over their heads, that John Williams borrows from his own Temple of Doom score for the “Parade of Ewoks.”

12. Threepio. “Threepio was bearable in Wars because he and Artoo played an integral role . . . In Jedi, Threepio’s along by choice, and everyone just loves chuckling at the way he screws everything up.”

I wish Vebber and Gould had been more specific in what Threepio is “screwing up.” In the first third of the movie, Threepio is integral; he and Artoo are how Luke’s lightsaber makes it inside the palace. Although that’s all they’re there for, it is indisputably important. Threepio does exactly as he is supposed to and the mission is completed successfully.

In the second portion, Threepio essentially doesn’t make an appearance. In the final third, it is admittedly unclear why he is along, except that he is part of the ensemble, and the same could be said of Artoo. Is there a lot of call for an astromech flight assistance droid on a forest moon? If you consider it, the translator coming along makes more sense, in case they ran in to any locals who didn’t speak Basic. And fine, so they bring their droids along wherever they go; some people take their laptops to places that aren’t necessary. Even once they’re there on Endor, I don’t see what Threepio is supposed to be screwing up. Screwing up something categorically means ruining it, or causing it to go badly; it’s Chewbacca who gets them captured, which ends up helping in the long run anyway.

13. Obi-Wan’s Appearance to Luke. “Obi-Wan Kenobi is supposed to be dead . . . He made himself known to Luke through an occasional voice in the head or in a floating vision . . . all of Obi-Wan’s street credibility as a wizened spiritual guide is thrown out the window when he . . . shuffles about like Fred G. Sandord in a coat of glow paint . . . Obi-Wan never fades back into oblivion once his message is delivered in Jedi. For all we know, he and Luke could have spent hours hanging out and gossiping like housewives.”

Once again, this complaint should apply to ESB before it applies to ROTJ; Obi-Wan’s final appearance there is identical to the one in ROTJ except that he doesn’t sit down. V&G resent Obi-Wan’s moving around and his being so literally present, but what was he in ESB when he spends most of the time arguing with Yoda for Luke’s benefit? When two people hear the same voice, it ceases to be in one person’s head. He doesn’t fade in ESB, either.  His ROTJ appearance isn’t inconsistent with ESB, which means this is simply how the Force afterlife works. Vebber and Gould don’t have to like it, but if this makes ROTJ suck, then it makes the trilogy suck.

14. Luke. “Mark Hamill . . . was perfectly cast as the wet-behind-the-ears student in the first two films, he simply lacks the dignity to pull off a believable Jedi Knight. To top things off, he has Aunt Beru’s haircut.”

Mark Hamill is an intensely underrated actor whose talent lies mainly in his facial expressions. Yet, in stark contrast to Vebber and Gould, most people are hard on Hamill’s “wet-behind-the-ears” ANH role and praise his contrasting work in ROTJ! Clearly, nitpicking nitpickers are nitpicky. Not only is Hamill completely hot in ROTJ, he has really come into his own. That lightsaber duel is among one of the most breathtaking pieces of cinematic art, and as for him weeping over Vader . . . As for his hair, are we really going to start criticizing the 80s for being the 80s?

15. Surprise! They’re Brother and Sister. “Lucas would routinely go on record stating . . . Star Wars was always first and foremost a story about a brother and sister. Does anybody really buy this? Wars and Empire both had sexually charged scenes that play significantly creepier when watched with the knowledge that Luke and Leia are siblings. It seems unlikely that Lucas would have included those scenes if he knew that one day people would be seeing them from such a different perspective. What seems likely, however, is that when Jedi came around, Lucas was grasping at straws, searching desperately for a plot revelation to equal Empire’s classic father/son moment. Oh well — even if Lucas is telling the truth (Yoda did, after all, say in Empire that there was ‘another’), the issue could have been handled in a less clumsy manner. Having Luke and Leia learn about their relationship through means other than spur-of-the-moment (albeit Force-guided) guesses would have been a start.”

This is the most major ROTJ complaint I know of, and since it’s shared by many and not just these two clowns, I won’t address it halfway. First: Lucas did know all along they were siblings. Notice how very much alike Luke and Leia look at the end of ESB — I’ve always thought that was fraternal. “There is another” isn’t the only hint in ESB, either; there’s also the fact that Leia is the only one Luke can reach out to and contact. Second: the so-called “sexually charged scenes” barely exist. In ANH, Luke is a farmboy who knew one other girl besides his aunt. Of course he was going to find any new female attractive, especially one involved in an exotic and dangerous mission. Leia never was as drawn to him as he was to her; he had a protective crush, but that smile she gives him at the end of ANH is pure tolerance, an ‘I like you, but you’re not my type, sweetie’ kind of a thing. And in three years of working closely together in the galactic rebellion, Luke never pursued anything with her, and her attraction to Han is far more obvious. The “kisses” are 1) her pecking him on the cheek twice for luck and 2) her forcibly pressing her lips to his, out of no attraction whatsoever, done purely to make Han jealous. And sure, Luke enjoyed it. Guess what? He’s a man and he didn’t know! There are no magic sensors that tell you who your siblings are when you don’t know, all right? Lucas probably wasn’t grasping at anything for anything, let alone a second big reveal. Was anyone in the 1983 audience really expecting him to top “I am your father”? Maybe Lucas was grasping for a resolution to the triangle he’d introduced — but it barely qualifies as a triangle since Leia was never interested in Luke and Luke obviously wasn’t interested in her enough to try anything.

I really don’t think it’s true, either, that Lucas would have set up ESB scenes differently if he’d known. He did know, but also, planning scenes with future viewing in mind compromises the genuine quality of the movie. Picture the sickbay on Hoth, Luke in bed, Han strolling in and ribbing everybody, Leia annoyed at being interrupted. Lucas suddenly gets panicky about people criticizing him for having a man and a woman kiss who are later revealed to be siblings; so Leia says, ‘Why, I guess you don’t know everything about women yet,’ smolders, and stalks out of the room. Oh, yeah, that’s great cinema there. Really? Is that what you want? (I’d do more examples, but I can’t think of another even remotely sexual scene between them.)

The suggestion V&G have, that Luke and Leia somehow should’ve hinted around at it from the beginning, is inane.

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’; Leia . . . ‘I gotta get you out of here’ . . . ‘We gotta get out of here’ . . . ‘Let’s get outta here.’ With dialogue like this, it seems Lucas finally put that ‘million monkeys at a million typewriters’ theory to the test.”

Leia’s repetitive dialogue may be unfortunate, but it hasn’t changed since the first two films. Vebber and Gould would hardly argue that ANH and ESB should suck for this reason, so it can’t be used to prove why ROTJ sucks. “I have a bad feeling about this” has long since entered canon as a running gag. It’s not like action movies are super famous for their imaginative wordplay: “Move, move, move, move!”, “Run, run, run!”

(I can’t believe the stilted dialogue scene in the Ewok village didn’t make this complaint. “Threepio. Tell them. They must. Be. Set. Free. These. Are. My. Friends.”)

17. Horrible Exposition. “‘Artoo, look! It’s Captain Solo–and he’s still in carbonite!’ Lines like this are for those people who somehow missed the first two movies . . .” Also, they complain about Threepio’s story to the Ewoks.

Okay, here’s the thing — stop being so selfish as to think all the dialogue in the film exists purely for your benefit. We might have been present when Han was frozen in carbonite, but Artoo wasn’t. Threepio is talking to Artoo, and although the little droid’s sensors are presumably able to identify what he is scanning, Threepio is extemporaneous, and genuinely, for the benefit of his counterpart, exclaims, ‘Artoo, look!’ I don’t know why people who hadn’t seen the first two movies would bother with this one at all, or why any scriptwriter would pander to them. Threepio’s Ewok story is both extremely brief and very charming. I can’t imagine Lucas intended a short, unsubtitled monologue in Ewokese in the last 45 minutes of the film to catch up any dimwitted viewers to the plot.

18. Jabba the Muppet. “Jabba isn’t all that scary. . . . Lucas . . . forgot humans are far more ominous than any shop-built alien life-form could ever hope to be. . . . We’re so busy trying to figure out where all the puppeteers were hiding beneath Jabba’s frame that we’re never able to accept him as a living, breathing character. . . .”

One of the biggest failings of this list, apart from its repetitiveness (we’ve seen this objection already), is that Vebber and Gould are constantly deciding how everyone feels watching the movie. Not only did I not realize Jabba was a puppet — I never really thought about what he was — but I certainly never thought of tricking out the puppeteers.

Since I already addressed the “Muppet” issue, my real point here is the racism. Oh, my goodness! This is exactly what I mean when I complain about the 1990s attitudes against nonhumans! The galaxy far, far away is one of varied lifeforms, and if you can’t accept that, watch something else. Lucas’ point was not to populate the universe with terrifying humans (and if he had, nitpickers would probably just whine that there weren’t any aliens).

Scary? Jabba the Hutt is a gangster, not a poltergeist. He’s about as scary as Don Corleone: a big fat guy sitting around giving orders in a garbled mumble. The power of gangsters is in their disregard for life and the money they have to pay people with similar disregard to do anything they want them to. Sure, if you’re in a room with Jabba, you will feel primarily disgust and a desire to shower. You’ll probably have fewer chills than if you’re in a room with Moff Tarkin, but you are also way more likely to die during an audience with Jabba than in four or five meetings with Tarkin.

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 . . . Numerous scenes like this further damage Jedi’s ability to convince us this stuff is really happening.”

This objection ought to be thrown out because they have desperately misunderstood what is going on! I was 12 when I saw ROTJ the first time, but I had a better idea of what was happening than they apparently have after multiple viewings as adults! Eve was giving Threepio an example of a random disintegration taking place. ‘We have been without’ is the past participle, implying that disintegration of that particular droid took place some time ago. Even if grammar is beyond you, as a Star Wars fan, you should be able to tell on sight that the disintegrating droid was not a protocol droid! I think it was an 8D smelter droid, but can’t verify that off the top of my head. So, no, not a coincidence, just V&G being stupid. Their other examples are similarly lame — Jabba and his court hiding behind a curtain? Leia had obviously been made and they were waiting on her. The skiff having grips able to retrieve the droids from the sand? This is actually a useful thing on a sand-skiff, and you’re probably just jealous you can’t get one on your Accord.

20. Boba Fett’s Death. “It’s inexcusable that such an imposing figure as Boba Fett . . . flies clumsily to his death in the Sarlacc pit.” “Everyone” loves Boba Fett, he is the most “underused” character, and it was was “largely anticipated” that he’d have a bigger role in ROTJ. “According to the novels and comics, Fett survived. But that’s not what’s implied in the film itself, and it doesn’t make the scene any less shameful.”

Anyone who anticipated anything about ROTJ did so at their own risk. If you don’t like how Lucas makes his movies, go make your own. As for getting offended that Fett doesn’t have a role and gets popped off during a burp joke — whether his death is canonical or not, I know most people consider it an affront and cheaply offensive, but as I explained to you in point 7, Lucas didn’t like Fett and made his death into a commentary on how he feels about fans. He never understood the appeal of Fett as a character, or the wild popularity Fett suddenly experienced. And to quote Fanboys once again — what was really so badass about Fett? He had a jet pack; so did the Rocketeer. Lucas threw Fett to the Sarlacc to prove that he could, to prove that fan opinion meant nothing to him.

Don’t get me wrong; I’d be Mrs. Fett in a minute if he asked me. He and Wedge are indisputably ‘the Man.’ But 1) Boba Fett was much more ‘the man’ before they replaced his voice and before we knew who he was; and 2) Well, he just isn’t dead. Read K. W. Jeter’s The Mandalorian Armor!

21 . Terrible, Terrible Postproduction Looping. “In about half of Jedi’s scenes, little attempt is made to match the dialogue with the characters’ lip movements.”

In all my years of ROTJ watching — sometimes twelve times a year — I have never, ever seen that their lips aren’t synched. I watched it again with this complaint in mind, just to make sure, and I still don’t see it. To take my contradiction a step further, here’s an interesting quotation from Duwayne Dunham in The Annotated Screenplays (p. 239): “I remember George saying one day, ‘Threepio is out of synch.’ I said, ‘What do you mean Threepio is out of synch? He doesn’t even have a mouth!’ But you know, it was true, and it was very important to George that every little inflection, any kind of body movement coming from the robots and the different creatures, be put with the right syllables.”

22. Subpar Special Effects. “It’s strange that the film that gave us sci-fi’s most intricate and well-choreographed space battle to date also gave us so many effects that look just plain silly . . .”

23. The Rancor Effects.“In quite probably the worst use of a blue screen in the history of big-budget film, the rancor looks so awful it deserves its own separate mention.”

It’s strange that the people who can’t stop praising the ROTJ space battle would still be whining about this! First, Han being freed from carbonite is terrible, apparently. Now, I never understood him glowing as he is freed, but then again, I’ve never been intimately acquainted with thawing carbonite — somehow I don’t think V&G have been, either. Maybe the reaction to the oxygen and hydrogen in the atmosphere affects it that way. V&G go on to complain about the shadows under Jabba’s sail barge; having never hyper-analyzed them myself, what can I say? Is an entire movie going to “suck” because a shadow is missing? They conclude with disgust that the exploding Imperial bunker “engulphs several square miles” yet leaves Han and his team unscathed — they need to eyeball better. I never thought that explosion was that violent, and most of the explosion was upward and not outward anyway.

The fact that the rancor is a separate point is just useless padding in this list, like the two Muppet and three Ewok complaints. Despite their scathing rebuke of abused bluescreen, Vebber and Gould acknowledge that the rancor is well-designed and that the effect could be potentially cleaned up. This complaint barely seems to exist at all. Sometimes the rancor glows, and sometimes it looks two dimensional? Get a life.

24. Leia and Han’s Relationship. “The subtle, repressed passion of Empire is simplified to high school relationship levels . . . Han and Leia never look or act like two adults in love.”

This is quite true. Could it be, gasp, because they aren’t in love? Why should Lucas get blamed for Princess Leia being a horrible person? Why should the film suck because of something the character inherently ? Han clearly feels more for her than she does for him, and the “hissy fit” they accuse him of having is perfectly natural considering that Leia strings him along. He has a faint inferiority complex, and you can’t blame him for being frustrated. Repressed passion? What you two need to learn is that love is more than snarky bickering — I thought they acted like high schoolers in ESB!

25. Carrie Fisher’s ‘Acting.’ “When Carrie Fisher isn’t staring vacantly into space, she’s emoting to degrees previously seen only in Mexican soap operas.”

Carrie Fisher has been in all three movies. If her melodramatic acting is a reason for ROTJ to suck, then it’s a reason for them all to suck. So Carrie Fisher isn’t much of an actress. And? Anyway, people do have personalities. Maybe Princess Leia is just a vapid female who over-emotes.

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