1. [ Luke’s Gangplank Walk ] ^ The suspense leading up to Luke’s jump off and bounce back on to the skiff still gets us biting our nails, and the first seven or eight seconds of the ensuing battle are actually pretty exciting. Too bad the rest of the melee deteriorates into slapstick. ^
2. [ The Emperor’s Arrival at the Death Star. ] ^ One of the best examples of the power and importance of the Emperor is the hundreds of TIE fighters ceremoniously swarming like bees around the docking bay that receives him. The following interior shot is backed by the Trilogy’s loudest, scariest and best use of the Imperial March theme. ^
3. [ The Speeder Bike Chase ] ^ The only time the forests of Endor don’t look boring-primarily because most of us have never seen trees zipping by our heads at 200 mph. ^
4. [ The Emperor ] ^ It was wise to cast human Ian McDiarmid, and not another damn muppet, as the Emperor. He exudes pure, seductive evil, and the scenes with him are the best in the film. A couple are even among the best in the Trilogy (see upcoming list). ^
5. [ Wedge’s Promotion] ^ Wedge would have been #1 on our list of side characters (see upcoming list), but he appears in all three films, so we consider him one of the main bunch. In Jedi, he’s deservedly been promoted to Red LEADER, and gets to fire the decisive shot that leads to the second Death Star’s explosion. Good shooting, Wedge! ^
6. [ AT-STs ] ^ The scout walkers may blow up too easily and resemble rampaging chickens, but they’re still wonderfully designed and are animated inside a complex environment more-or-less flawlessly. If only they’d stepped on more Ewoks. ^
7. [ The Final Space Battle ] ^ No space combat before or since has taken such consistent advantage of all three axis of movement. The scenes are exceptionally well choreographed, and it’s always clear what’s going on-compare Jedi’s battle to the confusing mess of planes and spaceships that zip around aimlessly in the final scenes of ID4. ^
8. [ Outrunning the Death Star Explosion ] ^ Setting aside the fact that Lando really should have died, the Falcon outrunning the explosive wave is always impressive. Nowadays, every action film made seems to have a shot like this. Problem is, movies like The Long Kiss Goodnight expect us to believe not only spaceships, but people on foot can outrun explosions. Yeah, right. ^
9. [ The AT-AT on Endor ] ^ Seeing an AT-AT emerge from the forests of Endor at night adds a welcome dark and moody touch to the film. When it delivers Luke to Vader, Jedi almost feels like Empire for a few wonderful seconds. ^
10. [ Vader’s Skeleton ] ^ If you have a laserdisc player or a good enough videotape, you can pause and see Vader’s insides lit up by lightning as he hoists the Emperor above his head. And someone at Lucasfilm took the time to make those fleeting shots count, designing a skeleton for the Dark Lord which is mostly human, but partially bionic. Little things do, indeed, mean a lot. ^

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  1. Manjusri says:

    Wait… somebody said Jedi sucked? (Other than David Fincher- it’s okay for geniuses to be contrarian.)

    Show me to them. I will kill them for this infraction.

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