Wednesday, December 17, 2008

David's Review of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (Legends)

4/5 Rancors - Return of the Jedi is, of course, one of the foundation stories in the Star Wars saga. The film is a classic loved by millions of fans. How then does an author attempt to put the story into words after the fact? I do not envy anyone trying to write novelizations of the first three films. You have to stay with the facts of the film, but you want to expand the reader's understanding of the action and further develop the characters. Not an easy task by any means. Whatever you add to the story that was not in the film is going to upset somebody, no matter how well it fits in.

So, keeping that in mind, Mr. Kahn deserves a tremendous amount of credit for his efforts on the book. The bones of the story are the same. Han Solo is rescued from the clutches of the evil Jabba the Hutt. Luke returns to Dagobah to learn key information from the dying Yoda. The rebels attack the Death Star. Luke faces Vader and Palpatine on the Death Star and wins. The Rebel forces triumph with a lot of help from the Ewoks and everything ends happily. Clearly all these events are told well in the book, and it is great fun to relive them on the printed page.

My only problem with the book is that some of Mr. Kahn's writing goes too far. He is trying to get the reader to understand the thought processes of a few of the major characters, but I'm not sure he succeeds. One example - when Leia is following Wicket to the Ewok camp on the forest moon of Endor, she casts her mind adrift for a while. She then ponders the gargantuan trees, the smallness of the Ewoks, her smallness when compared to the trees, and her loneliness and confusion being a part of all that. "She felt like a tiny, creative spark, dancing about in the fires of life...dancing behind a furtive, pudgy, midget bear, who kept beckoning her deeper into the woods." I think some judicious editing could have improved sections of the book. Even so, the book is a must-read, just as the film is a must-see. Don't miss either one of them.

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