Tag Archives: George Lucas

George Lucas Strikes Back – and it’s hilarious

George Lucas, once a God to nerds around the world, has become their whipping boy thanks to the terrible Star Wars prequels.  Now, someone has explained what led Lucas astray in the delightful video, “George Lucas Strikes Back.” Continue reading

“The People vs George Lucas” is not just for the lightsaber licensed

It’s difficult to find someone who just hates the original Star Wars films.  Either you like it or you just haven’t seen it yet. The People vs George Lucas airs the  long-labored arguments that Star Wars nerds have been making since Lucas made Greedo shoot first–but the film is accessible, and still hilarious, to the wider community.

The film looks at the love/hate relationship between George Lucas and the original fanbase he gained back in 1977 with the release of Star Wars.  The film takes the traditional documentary route, with talking heads, archive interview footage of Lucas, and film clips.  However, it also includes fan submitted videos explaining how they feel about George Lucas.

The way the story is fleshed out is the true hook.  Lucas’ work before Star Wars is presented to showcase his power as a filmmaker (THX 1138, American Graffiti), and to then contextualize the ensuing years that would be solely dedicated to Star Wars.

As the chronology moves closer to the present, the nerd rage get a chance to shine: contributors rail against Lucas’ decisions to digitally change scenes (now Han Solo doesn’t shoot first, so as to make him less of a “dark” character), to add items to scenes, and his refusal to allow fans to have a theatrical cut of the film. Then of course the prequels are brought up, and you have a complete platform of complaints that fans across the world hope Lucas will hear.

The most entertaining touch is the plethora of Star Wars fan films that help tell the story.  The variety of filmmaking formats and techniques the amateur fans utilize is truly awe-inspiring and entertaining.  Some clips you wish you could just follow those down the rabbit hole…

The film is at its most thought provoking when dealing with the issue of the competing wishes of filmmaker and consumer; the documentary also points out that George Lucas himself argued against the colorization of black and white films on the same “cultural significance” grounds that his fans state as the justification of releasing a theatrical cut.

Though the film deals with Lucas’ conversion to the Dark Side, it is quite fair in its treatment of the man.  This could have been a vitriolic piece of hate-mail bubble wrapped with nerd rage, but instead treats the Lucas like a human being.  Or better put, a drunk uncle everyone loves because he’s family, but really hates for the grief he’s caused.  Either way, it’s classy in a way you never thought fanboys could accomplish.

Though there were too many commentors, that were then cut too brief, the film is funny, intelligent, and a delight to watch, particularly due to the fan films.  Now to see if it can get a response from Lucas.

The People vs. George Lucas: A Documentary

The current problem of George Lucas, summed up with one image.

Over at io9.com they’ve posted an interesting interview with the makers of The People vs. George Lucas, which talks to fans of Star Wars around the world and asks them how they feel about George Lucas.

The fans’ biggest gripe, of course, is Lucas’ failure to live up to the original Star Wars films with the subsequent green-screened prequels. They also object to his refusal to release Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi in their original, unaltered/non-CGI’d versions (even though Lucas argued against colorizing classic films before Congress).  The director of the film also mentions an interview in 1971 in which Lucas said,  “I like to think of myself as a toy maker who makes films,” which of course sounds like a precursor to the Ewoks in Return and the merchandising craze surround the franchise.

While I was chair of the University of Louisville’s Film Committee (we ran the campus cinema) I learned of  Lucas’ cutthroat business practices: refusing special screenings of any of the films to keep video sales up and forcing cinemas to hand over 90% of the first week’s grosses (compared with the industry standard of 70% to 80%. Every week a film is out, the cinema gradually receives more of the ticket sales, which is why opening weekend matter so much to studios and why your popcorn is so expensive).  It sounds like the filmmakers have delved into some of these issues and it will be interesting to see them reach a wider public.

Finally, discussing to whom films belong (especially when they’re culturally significant) is thought provoking, makes the interview a good read, and gives me optimism for the film.

Interview: http://io9.com/5500510/the-one-thing-george-lucas-could-do-to-sway-the-people-in-his-favor