BlogalongaStarWars: Memories of Return Of The Jedi

August 28, 2015 by Simon Kinnear in Opinion with 0 Comments

This is the third part in a monthly attempt to wax nostalgically about my experiences growing up watching the Star Wars saga, as part of The Incredible Suit’s BlogalongaStarWars project. If it’s actual reviews of the movies you want from me, click here.

Return Of The Jedi posterThe Summer of 1983 was when everything changed. At the age of 7, I moved away from England to live in America for the next two years: the defining experience of my childhood. Straddling this momentous occasion was Return Of The Jedi, a film I watched in both countries that Summer.

The first showing was somewhere in Cornwall – St Ives, possibly – on a family holiday. What sticks in the memory isn’t so much the film itself but the incongruous sight of a mid-film intermission (just after the Endor bike chase) so that the lady with the choc ices and the albatross could sell her wares. Given that not even Derby offered such prehistoric throwbacks by 1983, I wondered why the Cornish tolerated such an assault on the integrity of cinema.

Within a month, or two, however, I’d journeyed from the past into the future: the gargantuan sight of a shopping mall multiplex in my new home of Bellevue, Washington. (In fact, there is still a cinema there.) This was my first sight of US-style cinemagoing: all the screens you could wish for, huge tubs of popcorn and no intermissions (although, less satisfyingly, no choc ices).

Between these two events, Return Of The Jedi took its place as my All-Time Favourite Star Wars movie v1.0 (before I grew up and realised that Empire was better). But I was the perfect age for Episode VI – my toy collecting days were in full flow and I had a new bunch of mates to play Star Wars with (and they all sounded like Luke Skywalker, too).

Return Of The Jedi was the definitive film of my extended American vacation (at least until the day before I left in 1985, when I watched The Goonies and felt like it was a documentary of my time there). When I first went trick-or-treating, I was dressed as a Gamorrean Guard. When I walked around the forests of North-West America, I could pretend I was on Endor.  When I threw rubbish away in my room, it was in defiance of Darth Vader warning me not to…

Return Of The Jedi bin The film doesn’t quite have the same impact today, but it bears a special place in my heart. No matter how good The Force Awakens is, it’ll never match the magic of the Summer of 1983.

Next month: taking a day off work in 1999 to have a date with Jar Jar Binks.


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