Friday, July 18, 2014

The People vs. George Lucas

    I love zombies, don't get me wrong, but aside from finishing What Zombies Fear I'm a little zombied out. So, instead, I decided to watch a movie about a bunch of people shambling along and moaning--about Star Wars.

    Okay, that's unfair.

    The People vs. George Lucas is going to be one of my rare negative reviews, sadly. I applaud the filmmaker's skill, the fact they made a film about a subject which was near to my heart, and the obvious love of the franchise built into the work. Unfortunately, the movie's relentless negativity really dampened my mood.

    The People vs. George Lucas is more or less an hour and a half about why Star Wars fans really-really hated the Special Editions and prequels. It shows the infectious raw enthusiasm of countless fans enjoying the movies from their release in theaters to the long drought until the prequels being released. The rest of the documentary has an almost message-board-like quality of everyone in the film explaining why the movies sucked and/or ruined their childhood.

    They specifically say, "raped" their childhood. A comparison which they utilize several hundred times and even make a couple of musical cues regarding--which I found to be both tasteless and problematic for a work about Star Wars. The People vs. George Lucas includes the footage from the South Park episode where Indiana Jones is sexually assaulted by Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas too--which, again, I didn't particularly like either.

    Nor did my wife.

    Listen, I've been a Star Wars fan since I was three-years-old and until the New Jedi Order followed by the Legacy of the Force novels, I was as obsessed with it as anyone else. I know something about fandom rage. I was there when the backlash against the Star Wars Prequels began, continued, and I'd say ended but that would imply there's still not people talking about the subject.

    The Star Wars Prequels were disappointing to me as well. They were empty spectacles with bad writing, bad acting, and a lot of exposition which got in the way of any sort of character development. George Lucas really needed a script editor or someone to write the script for him.

    George should stuck to using his vast knowledge of visual film-making to make the prequels the eye-candy they needed to be (and were--if nothing else). He  could have hired anyone in the world for the writing, Neil Gaiman showed up on this documentary for crying out loud, which makes it a double missed opportunity.

    However, I got over the prequels being a disappointment.

    Years ago.

    The really annoying thing about this movie is there's so much interesting stuff inside it. They talk about fandom films (showing scenes from some truly epic ones), people's personal memorabilia collections, and a few stories about what Star Wars meant to people. Star Wars helped develop my moral sensibility as well. All this gets ignored to focus on the immense sense of 'betrayal' fans have from George Lucas making movies they didn't like.

    They also do a few segments about what sort of responsibility filmmakers have to preserving their original work versus tinkering with it. Any of these would make a better subject for this documentary than people's sense of betrayal about the fact George Lucas made some mediocre movies. There's some really cute segments in this film too, including someone remaking Misery with George Lucas and a particularly obsessive fan. I actually want to check that one out because I really liked the girl's acting.

    But seriously, the movie's point seems to be about displaying the obsessive nerd rage of a large number of my people. I got to live it the first time and it wasn't that much fun in the first place. Its one-sided too with no real attempt to present the opinions of those who thought the prequels had merit (albeit one small merits). The documentary barely touched on the Star Wars Expanded Universe too, which annoyed me since it was pretty huge even if followed by only a fraction of the total fandom.

    In the end, my advice regarding this movie is this--if you want to watch a movie about people complaining about Star Wars for two hours then this is it.

    I don't.


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