As a child, this was my favorite movie. As I’ve grown older, I now realize some of its flaws. The odd movements of stop motion AT-STs ans puppeteer operated Hutts are a bit disconcerting to look at, but nothing can take away from the thrill I still get inside every time I watch this movie. Richard Marquand does an excellent job incorporating fun, and swashbuckling antics into a movie that depicts a battle for the fate of the galaxy. Be it the opening scene on Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge, or the wicked fast speeder chase, whatever is happening the kid in you can’t help but be excited. Star Wars has always been something of a love letter to Lucas’s childhood, and the sheer juvenile glee is infectious.
The Space Battle at the end is just awesome, cashing in on the thrill of sheer spectacle. One shot in particular is the moment in which an out of control A-Wing fighter crashes into the bridge of a star destroyer. Critically damaged, it begins to go downward, and in a brilliant flash of light, the battleship explodes into the death star.
Luke’s duel with Vader is similarly epic. He Is passive for most of the fight. Retreating as Vader advances. Suddenly, he snaps, and here the credit goes to Hamill. We see the remorse on his face, Luke has no desire to fight Vader, and yet, there is also a primal rage. This duel is not choreographed, it is an expression of raw emotion, depicting the eternal struggle between good and evil, and ending the final installment of the trilogy with an immensely satisfying bang.