With its feints at horror and pathos, the third Star Wars film (1983) is the most Disney-esque in its emotional outline, yet that outline is buried beneath an obnoxiously hyped-up pace (a la Raiders of the Lost Ark) that reduces the emotions to rubble. There is hardly any point in discussing the direction of a picture like this, in which almost every shot has been predetermined by the requirements of the special effects, yet director Richard Marquand (Eye of the Needle) fluffs the two or three real opportunities he has, rendering the long-delayed character climaxes with a chilly indifference. Interestingly, the advent of sexuality in the Star Wars universe (with the revelation of Carrie Fisher's navel) is coupled with a resurgence of infantile imagery (with the swarms of teddy-bear Ewoks). If the trilogy has grown at all over its course, it's in terms of commercial calculation—even the confusions of the narrative seem deliberately planted to encourage repeat viewings. With Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford.
By Dave Kehr