Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 8+
Ewok-filled finale less Force-ful than previous.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there are two versions of this feature, the original 1983 release (on VHS and Laserdisc) and a later one on DVD to which George Lucas added enhanced special effects -- some of the aliens are obvious puppets, others are obvious CGI. Both feature abundant fantasy violence, from spaceship dogfights and light-saber duels to guerrilla-style war waged with primitive weapons by the cute Ewoks (which is played largely for laughs, though one Ewok is shown dead). Deaths of prominent characters in the series, including a peaceful one in bed for Master Yoda and a more dramatic exit (and funeral pyre) for Anakin Skywalker.
- Families can talk about the characters' choices and motivations. Why do you think Hans and Lando both put aside their roguish swaggers to play heroes? Are there any role models in this movie?
- Talk about the hype surrounding the Star Wars franchise. Is it deserved? What is the appeal?
The good stuff
Educational value: Intended to entertain, not educate.
Positive messages: Luke Skywalker successfully resists giving in to the dark side of the Force, and he repeatedly asserts that there is still good remaining in his father, the diabolical Darth Vader. Both the roguish Han Solo and Lando Calrissian end up in heroic leadership roles. The Empire is composed entirely of white males, while the rebels are a blend of genders, races, and species.
Positive role models: Clear line between good and bad. Luke's struggle with negative emotions and his ultimate success at remaining positive and on the side of good is a good example of self discipline.
What to watch for
Violence and scariness: Explosions of spacecraft and ground weapons. Light-saber fighting results in loss of limbs. Speedy airborne craft slam into trees, and soldiers are shot down by blaster fire, and one Ewok dies. Robots and pig-like aliens are dismembered and devoured in Jabba the Hutt's dungeons. Jabba is strangled slowly by a chain.
Sex: Scantily clad harem girls dance suggestively in the lair of Jabba the Hutt, including Princess Leia.
Language: Not an issue
Consumerism: There was an Empire of toy tie-ins and cartoon spin-offs.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: None, unless you count the hookah pipes in Jabba's place.