I saw this movie again not too long ago, and it's far worse than I remember it as a kid. For me, it's the worst of the original trilogy, without much genuine fantasy, thrills, or heart. Seeing it now as an adult makes me agree with George Lucas' detractors, like Pauline Kael, Charles Taylor, and David Thomson.The first half-hour, which takes place inside Jabba the Hutt's monster palace, is lots of fun, as is the transposition of the action to the huge Sarlac pit, where Jabba plans to feed the good guys to a big gaping maw in the middle of the desert.
But it's all downhill from there. The Death Star is being rebuilt, so we get a replay of the ending of Star Wars, with the Rebels invading the Death Star all over again. There's also a tiresomely predictable showdown between Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and the evil Emperor, who cackles endlessly and shoots lightning from his fingers. Ho hum. Even worse, we get a bunch of furry critters, Ewoks, that seem to have been shoved in just to sell more toys. The whole movie is too long, the acting is stilted and awkward (after blazing to life in The Empire Strikes Back), and much of it feels like a half-assed retread of the original Star Wars (which doesn't hold up well either).
Worst of all are the new scenes Lucas has added for the re-release. They serve no purpose and actually detract from the scenes where they are inserted.All in all, a disappointment. I'm skeptical as to the survival of this movie. For all the ardent devotion the Star Wars trilogy inspires, I doubt Return of the Jedi will attract new fans years from now. Empire Strikes Back is the best of the lot.