18 Dec

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi


The Set Up

Here we go. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Depending on when you read this, Return of the Jedi is either an epic finale to a masterful saga, or just another middle chapter in a now longer saga. Either way, it’s a great wrap up to the Luke and Vader stories, and we have an excellent meal to go with it.

The Meal

Throughout the series, a dark and powerful force has been hanging over us – literally. The Death Star, the most powerful, dangerous weapon ever invented, floats throughout the galaxy, helping the Empire maintain its iron grip. In Return of the Jedi, that force if finally destroyed for good… we think. Hopefully The Force Awakens doesn’t prove us wrong on that account, since this wouldn’t be the first time the Death Star made an unexpected reappearance.

In any case, Return of the Jedi celebrates the destruction of the Death Star, and so did we. Our theme this week is destroyed orb-like foods. Kind of an out there theme, we know, but it worked.

We started the meal off with olive-and-onion stuffed tomatoes. They served as a nice healthy start to the meal, and we had a fun time breaking them apart with our forks, similar to how the rebels broke apart the Death Star. They look pretty cool as well.

Next, we served clam chowder in a homemade bread bowl. Not all the bread bowls had the hemispherical shape we were looking for, so we settled for circular. The chowder consisted of clams, potatoes, and celery, and the bread soaked up the creamy liquid. The bowls might not have been perfect globes, but at least they tasted good.

For dessert, we really outdid ourselves. We created chocolate spheres filled with mousse, served on a bed of almond praline, with a caramel sauce drizzled on top. The spheres were supposed to melt when we poured the caramel sauce over it, but we had no luck. We felt like the rebels must have, when they thought they had destroyed the Death Star originally but it persevered. Like the rebels, we got creative and took a different approach. We just broke it with our spoons. Less cinematic than blowing up the core, but made for easier serving and clean up and it was still satisfying.

The Drinks

Our last two cocktails were pretty fancy. For the first cocktail, we made a simple appletini with Bols Sour Apple Schnapps and Vodka. Let us quickly reiterate here that you should never ever buy Bols. It tastes so bad, compared to Dekuyper, and despite suffering through it for what seemed like an endless number of drinks, we still have a good 2/3 of a bottle left. When we started on this journey, we never expected to develop an expertise on which brand of apple schnapps is better, but here we are.

The cool part, though, was that we stuck this simple cocktail into a frozen ball of ice. We imagine this is what a see-through Death Star would look like – just full of green energy, ready to blast at any planets that don’t fall into line. We smashed it with a hammer and it felt so good.

For those wondering how we managed to pull this off, using a spherical ice mold you start the freezing process of the water so that you start to build up that outer shell. About four to five hours in you have to take the ice out, and using a cooking syringe, carefully poke a hole in the ice and extract the water. You then use the syringe again to push the cocktail into the ice cube, and voila! Pretty cool if you ask us.

The Rules

Same as they’ve always been.

  • Drink whenever someone says The Force.
  • Drink whenever someone fires up a lightsaber.
  • Drink whenever a Stormtrooper/clone dies.

The Movie

Return of the Jedi was a great finish to a great series. We got the satisfaction of watching Luke nearly succumb to the same mistakes that lead his father to the Dark Side, but pull through. We got an epic guerrilla battle on the forest planet of Endor, and we even got a kick-ass space battle too.

The Palpatine/Vader/Luke drama came to a climax in Return of the Jedi as all the action was going down on Endor and in space, but the human drama aboard the Death Star was certainly the most satisfying of the three. Luke managed to restrain himself in his fight against Vader, unlike their previous fight, and was even able to convert Vader back to the light in his dying breath. Palpatine got the end he deserved, and then everyone partied. What an ending.

Our one gripe with Return of the Jedi was the Ewoks. Yes, they were cute, so so cute, but come on. We didn’t need 30 minutes of comedic Ewok relief in the middle of the movie. And their arrival and subsequent meddling in the plot pulled a lot of the tension and steam, the movie had going, right out.

As the final post in the Star Wars series, we find it worth mentioning our thoughts on the Machete Order. For those of you who may have missed our intro post, Machete Order mandates that you watch the movies in the order IV, V, II, III, VI. We are ready to put the Munch stamp of approval on this viewing method. While the standard order centers the series around Vader, the Machete order establishes that Luke was always the main protagonist, and the Vader story serves as an accompaniment to Luke’s. Episode II and III essentially act as an extended flash back to his father’s life, and in Return of the Jedi, the audience gets to watch Luke overcome the same challenges that doomed his father with those same mistakes fresh in their memory.

The other main benefit is that you get to start with the best Star Wars movie, and end with the most satisfying ending movie. Opening with A New Hope is better than opening with The Phantom Menace  because it actually relates to the rest of the story, unlike Phantom Menace, and it’s just a better movie altogether. If someone introduced us to Star Wars with A New Hope, we would be much more likely to finish the series than if we started with Phantom Menace. Furthermore, Return of the Jedi closed out the original trilogy much better than Revenge of the Sith closed out the prequels. We get to witness a celebration to close out the series, rather than a depressing fall into darkness and some slapdash plot-hole-tying.

Although, if you are pressed for time you can really just watch IV, V, and VI and be a-okay.

The Reviews

Andre: The worst of the best. Return of the Jedi was by no means a bad movie, it just happens to be my least favorite movie within my favorite series, not counting the prequels. After re-watching all these movies, I just can’t count the prequels any more. They feel so out of place when viewed alongside the masterfully done original trilogy. Anyway, I love the movie, but it just doesn’t have the excitement level of A New Hope or the impressive set pieces of Empire Strikes Back. Those elements are what stands out to me about each of the preceding movies, but for Return of the Jedi, I always end up thinking about Ewoks. You don’t want to be the movie remembered as “the one with Ewoks.”

Leanna: E-what? Sorry, that was bad. But so were the Ewoks! This movie feels like the one where they finally realized how much money they could make off licensing the likeness of different creatures to toy companies. The Ewok was made to be a stuffed animal first and a Star Wars character second, and it shows. Other than that, it was a thrilling conclusion, and I enjoyed this movie immensely.

Ben: 85%. This should have been the best movie in the series. It should have had a climactic ending, with the song overcoming the heart of the empire, at the same time as the rebel forces conquer the empire force in space and on land. The weaving of those stories, and the tension you feel as you realize that the rebels have been lured into a trap, should be a defining moment in cinema. But the movie never allows for that tension to truly build. As a kid I loved the Ewoks, but as an adult, I recognize that their presence in the story robs it of the sense of movement it has going for it. It slowed the film down drastically. But the final fight, and conversion of Vader to Anakin, is a satisfying conclusion to the series. Of course, George Lucas couldn’t stop himself from reminding you that he got his hands on the movies and editing them to his liking. I can only hope that at some point I will be able to see the original cut of the Star Wars trilogy. But really I just can’t wait to see The Force Awakens.