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The People vs. George Lucas To Premiere At SXSW 149

Posted by Soulskill
from the bringing-balance-to-the-nerdrage dept.
skatepark builder writes "David Prowse, the 74-year-old actor who has enjoyed a long and varied career filled with roles such as Darth Vader (Star Wars Episodes IV, V, and VI), is starting 2010 off with two major accomplishments. His victory over colon cancer earlier this month means he'll live to see his top billing in a film premiering next month at the South by Southwest Film Festival. The People vs. George Lucas is a documentary attempting a balanced examination of the love/hate relationship Star Wars fans have developed with the filmmaker and his work over the past three decades. Director Alexandre Philippe distances his film from the one-sided fan rage films that lambaste Lucas, even though the title would suggest otherwise. According to the trailer, The People vs.George Lucas exposes the full spectrum of opinions on Lucas, including those like Prowse, who still refers to him as a 'master.' Philippe captures these opinions through filmed interviews, but perhaps more interestingly, he crowdsourced the commentary by soliciting fan submissions over the internet. The clips seen in the trailer appear to be funny, highly inspired, and are probably more concise than the recently released 70-minute YouTube evisceration of Episode I."
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The People vs. George Lucas To Premiere At SXSW

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  • "Wookiee" has been changed to "hair challenged animal" and that the entire cast has been digitally replaced by Ewoks.

    • "Wookiee" has been changed to "hair challenged animal" and that the entire cast has been digitally replaced by Ewoks.

      DAMN IT! Why can't they just leave stuff alone.

      "Ewok sex" is not nearly as much fun to say as "Wookiee Nooky"...

    • by jerep (794296)

      Man, that new version must have sucked balls.

  • More concise... (Score:2, Informative)

    by dirtygremlin (140876)

    Yes, quite possibly. More hilarious? No. Where are my pizza rolls?

    • Re:More concise... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Simon80 (874052) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @03:28PM (#31054016)
      I second this. It seems possible that the submitter hasn't actually watched the Episode 1 review he linked to. Anyone who thinks it couldn't possibly be worth 70 minutes of their time will realize they are mistaken after 5-10 minutes.
      • Re:More concise... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by skatepark builder (1739630) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @06:47PM (#31055702) Homepage
        Simon,

        Actually, I watched that review a week ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. That guy echoes a lot of observations I had quietly held as my own, but also provides very tangible explanations of where George Lucas utterly failed to craft a proper story. It's so much more than a "What were you thinking, man! Jar-Jar?!?! You IDIOT!" rant. I think it's kind of funny that this commentary piece is nearly identical in size to the subject it's based on, and that's why I made the "concise" reference. But I agree it's fully worth watching for anyone who is interested in films as more than an excuse to eat popcorn in the dark. It's one reason I'm eager to see the People vs George Lucas.

        Skatepark Builder
        • by Simon80 (874052)
          Well, that's cool, I think we're in agreement. To be fair to your choice of words, I can't deny that that review could have been more concise, but that would mean removing all the stuff that made it entertaining and awesome.
    • Re:More concise... (Score:5, Informative)

      by ThisIsForReal (897233) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @03:43PM (#31054134) Homepage
      Yeah, definitely worth your time. Vastly more entertaining than actually watching one of the prequels. If you have not yet seen the 70-minute review, make plans to watch it. Bookmark and come back to it. Don't let the annoying voice make you stop after 2 minutes - once you get about 5 minutes in, you're gonna thank me.
      • Don't let the annoying voice make you stop after 2 minutes - once you get about 5 minutes in, you're gonna thank me.

        Took over 6, but I listened to your advice, and I now wish to thank you.

        This Star Wars review had a a lot more dead hooker jokes than I expected :)

  • by SOOPRcow (1279010) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @02:35PM (#31053698)
    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article6024677.ece [timesonline.co.uk] Pretty sad that they're even able to make that argument.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      You know, I might be able to see them making the argument very early on. It's the fact that 30 years later, with the movies still selling copies, they haven't exceeded their original numbers given 30 years ago when they said "no money for you, we didn't exceed the X dollars it cost to make the film". Any additional expenses later on, such as marketing costs, remastering costs, etc., should not be allowed to factor in when this guy's royalties are calculated, so that he's guaranteed to get something once the

      • by Vellmont (569020)


        Any additional expenses later on, such as marketing costs, remastering costs, etc., should not be allowed to factor in when this guy's royalties are calculated, so that he's guaranteed to get something once the original number for cost is surpassed.

        It's all about the wording in the contract, and gross vs. net, and whatever accounting tricks can get pulled behind the scenes. You'd have to be part lawyer, part accountant to really understand what's going on and if it's legal or not. It might be completely i

        • by Neoprofin (871029)
          Same thing happened to Peter Jackson with Lord of the Rings, although he received substantial money in addition to the percentage of net profits he thought he was going to be getting.
    • He had to rape Darth Vader too

      • Just looking at that wiki article you posted I saw the reaction that the author of Forrest Gump had. He wouldn't give the rights to the sequel since he "cannot in good conscience allow money to be wasted on a failure". (Guess the film company kind of shot themselves in the foot over that one.)
  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by isaac (2852) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @02:45PM (#31053754)

    The franchise is dead. Lucas killed it. Not worth the emotional investment to lament or analyze.

    Move on, people.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The franchise is dead. Lucas killed it. Not worth the emotional investment to lament or analyze.

      Move on, people.

      Not quite that simple.

      I want the Original Theatrical Release of Episodes IV, V, and VI in stores, along with a promise from Lucas and his estate that these films will always remain untouched and available alongside any 're-mastered' versions.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by hitmark (640295)

        makes me wonder if i should put those vhs's i got into a safe, or maybe i should dump them to hardrive and make them available via torrent tracker?

        • by aztektum (170569)

          Why? They released the unedited versions to DVD. Granted that weren't cleaned up or anamorphic, but certainly will be better quality than your VHS transfers.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by PCM2 (4486)

            Why? They released the unedited versions to DVD. Granted that weren't cleaned up or anamorphic, but certainly will be better quality than your VHS transfers.

            Even before that, very high-quality DVD bootlegs were available that were mastered from laserdisc versions of the films. I still watch these when I want to revisit the trilogy, rather than pay Lucas for copies of the worthless "special editions" just to get "official" versions of the unmolested films that look little better than the bootlegs.

            • You're welcome.
              • by PCM2 (4486)

                You could have been responsible for mine, or maybe not. I have a friend who is a scrupulous anti-pirate. I actually brought him a copy of the latest Nine Inch Nails album (one of his favorite bands) before release, and he refused to listen to it until he could get the CD in his hands. That said, he got himself bootleg copies of the original Star Wars movies, just like I did. I said, "Isn't it great to see them the way they were meant to be seen?" He said, "Yeah, way better than watching the stupid special e

      • From another thead on this topic:

        The prequels, and especially the replacement of the original trilogy with the "re-mastered" Lucas-edited crap are great examples of how destructive exclusive IP can be to creative works.

        "The ultimate single-minded, self-centered creature is a cancer cell."

        That is what George Lucas became to his own films. After a great piece of artwork has become culturally accepted, it should be cast in stone, and be preserved as it is.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AbRASiON (589899) *

        Yes but they've been cheapened and reduced to just a product now thanks to his fiddling.
        They always were a product but the illusion was there initially.

        The Matrix sequels ruined the Matrix for me, I'm one of those people who gets invested in a universe and imagines things about it, Matrix is mostly dead to me and Star Wars hasn't been the same, between the editing of the originals and the prequels.

        GP was correct, forget it and move on and if you haven't seen Indy 4, don't (so I hear, I refuse to watch it!)

        • Star Wars has always been 'just a product'. Don't get me wrong, I adore the original 3 movies especially since I was a youth when I saw them in the theatres. Great Space Opera stories. That said, they ARE just a product and they are HIS products to fiddle with.

      • Sorry about the random Australian store link but this is exactly what you want

        https://www.jbhifionline.com.au/dvd/dvd-genres/sci-fi-fantasy/star-wars-trilogy-episodes-4-6-6-dvd-set/362116 [jbhifionline.com.au]

        6 discs, two disc for each movie, first disc is the remastered, edited crap, the second is the original release. I watched the original release of IV a couple of weekends ago and it's still brilliant fun, even if you can clearly see that everything is plastic in the trench run.

        What really needs to be released on DVD is the

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I want the Original Theatrical Release of Episodes IV, V, and VI in stores, along with a promise from Lucas and his estate that these films will always remain untouched and available alongside any 're-mastered' versions.

        Why does this remind me of "The Ballad of Chasey Lain"? What makes you think you have the right to these things? Buy the used laserdiscs like everyone else. Last time I looked there were like four sets at Streetlight in Santa Cruz... well, three after I left...

    • by El Lobo (994537)
      Tell that to my 6 y.o.s son who is (as many of his school friends) obsessed with SW . It may be dead for you and the other bunch for which the new films didn't correspond the pink-colored idealized image of what the franchise must be in their brains. I liked the old films since I saw them back in the 70-80s. I immensely enjoyed the new ones as well. Ok, they may not be perfect (nor were the old ones), but I take them as what they are: escapist comic films for my enjoyment.... And now a whole new generation
      • by sjames (1099)

        I think you hit the nail on the head. Many people saw the first movie as a child and so formed a larger than life view of it which they relate back to when they watch it again as an adult. They somehow expected a new movie seen in their adulthood to have the same impact, and it simply can't. Had they somehow never seen the first one until adulthood, it wouldn't have had that huge impact either. Sort of like going AHHHHH into a fan is no longer all that entertaining (with the possible exception that it can b

    • The franchise is dead. Lucas killed it.

      The franchise is still churning out TV shows [starwars.com] and selling merch.

  • by grapeape (137008) <`moc.rr.ck' `ta' `7epopm'> on Sunday February 07, 2010 @02:46PM (#31053756) Homepage

    I've never really understood the hatred of George Lucas. I was a Star Wars fan like most kids growing up in the late 70's had the action figures, the underoos, bed sheets, posters...all that crap and when the second trilogy was released I was excited about it. I took my kids to see the newer ones and they loved them like I loved the originals. I never expected the second series to have the same appeal because Lucas was farily consistant and aimed the new trilogy at the same age group he created the original for. The problem I saw was that many fans expected him to create new stories that were aimed at the now 30 year olds who watched the originals as children. I was still able to watch them and enjoy them just not with same wide eyed wonder, but then I wasnt supposed to, they werent made for me, they were made for my kids. What I really dont get is the hatred over the inclusion of jarjar as if Lucas had never stooped to funny critters to appeal to kids in the first trilogy, but I can remember by father rolling his eyes at Ewoks.

    I will admit to being irritated by the policical correctness of Greedo shooting first, but welcomed most of the other enhancements of the special editions, the xwing segment in episode 4 was particularly satisfying. I was equally upset with the guns being edited out of ET but I figure it just a sign of the times and it will likley correct itself in the future.

    On a side note Lucas has done something excellent for grown up's recently...check out the book Blockbusting: A Decade-by-Decade Survey of Timeless Movies Including Untold Secrets of Their Financial and Cultural Success, its fantastic.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I think Lucas really fucked up the new trilogy, but I could never hate the man or ever think less of him. I know he has done so much for film making, not just in investing in technologies/techniques/artists/pioneers... but also by inspiring many filmmakers, children, adults.. .etc

      I just think the guy has plenty to be proud of. If he hasnt earned your respect before Episode 1.... well you should really reassess your opinion of the man. I think he's done plenty to be placed in high regard.

      Yes, Jar Jar sucks d

      • I had always felt it was George Lucas' story to begin with, and
        that we were the kids sitting around the campfire letting him
        tell it.

        I've had some disappointments: there being a reason why the Force
        is strong in a person--a scientific one kinda ruined the magic,
        that clubs and rocks can beat a high tech destroyer of worlds,
        that R2D2 could fly, that the ultimate thing the dark side could
        do was, well, lightning (almost like finding out the Emperor's
        wrath could make the Statue of Liberty disappear). But in this
        ca

    • by Gr8Apes (679165)

      The hatred is pretty easy to understand, if you think about the movies when they came out. Ep IV was decent, had a great story and was entertaining for the times. Ep V was most definitely not aimed at children. Ep VI was where a lot of fans went "WTF?" when the ewoks came out, but watched it anyways because they wanted a completed story arc.

      The "enhanced" episodes are a degradation of the original movies in almost all ways. The new scenes almost all detract from the story or, worse yet, inject crap to bring

      • In all honesty, I expected Ep I to have been comprised of all three movies edited together to produce a less than 2 hour introduction to Ep II and III. (The part where he turns into Vader would have been in Ep II, leaving Ep III to showcase Vader's destruction of the Jedi and entire worlds that stood in his way, showing the beginning of Ep IV (such as the scene where Leia creates the video in R2D2).

        I agree that would have made more sense.

        The root problem I think was that Lucas simply didn't have the plot material to fill three prequel films. Rather than making one movie with a strong story that culminated in the birth of Darth Vader, he threw in all sorts of random battles with irrelevant characters that served no other purpose than to pad-out the films and introduce new action figures. One review I recall called it "video game filmmaking" - just random action sequences strung together one after anoth

    • by Vellmont (569020) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @03:34PM (#31054064)


      I was still able to watch them and enjoy them just not with same wide eyed wonder, but then I wasnt supposed to, they werent made for me, they were made for my kids.

      The difference is that the original movies weren't just designed to appeal to kids, and stood up on their own. Plenty of kids grow up liking a certain movie as a child, but later grow out of it and realize it's a crappy kids movie. Is their a real cult following for the Beethoven (the dog) movies for instance? It looks like they made 6 of the things, but I've never heard there's a serious collection of adults that love those movies on the scale of Star Wars. There's plenty of stuff I loved as a kid, but later realized just how terrible it really is. Buck Rogers comes to mind. So I don't agree with your idea that the original Star Wars movies were just kid movies.

      The hatred comes from just how bad the new movies ultimately were. Lucas just made a kids movie in space and forgot to hire decent actors, give them good direction, provide a decent storyline, etc. Jar Jar is merely the undeniable representation of this. I think a lot of the more extreme reactions come from some feeling of betrayal. Some people feel like Lucas was "one of them", and the new movies are a complete rejection of that perceived relationship.

      I'm really interested in the movie, as I'm fascinated by the whole love/hate relationship people have with Lucas. The only thing that really pissed me off was Han not shooting first. That's just utterly wrong as it changes the character of Solo (which is just a big no-no). You don't mess with character development after the fact. The FX changes I didn't really care about to much, though most of them looked like crap.

      • by bigdavex (155746)

        The hatred comes from just how bad the new movies ultimately were. Lucas just made a kids movie in space and forgot to hire decent actors,

        I disagree here.

        give them good direction,

        I agree here.

    • by aztektum (170569)

      I think it's part of that whole "Without the fans, he wouldn't have had the money to make the new trilogy." mentality.

    • by hitmark (640295)

      heck, if one check out the new clone wars computer animated series, its clear its gunning for the flash gordon style entertainment that lucas himself grew up with, complete with grand storyteller opening of each episode.

    • by Neoprofin (871029)
      My personal hatred of Lucas includes but is not limited to: 1) Destroying all the suspense of the original trilogy by revealing in Episode III that Luke and Lea are siblings potentially ruining the quality of Episodes 4-6 if they aren't watched first and making the ending of 3 heavy handed and useless if they are.

      2) Name dropping Chewbacca for the sake of action figure sales, unless you're implying that Chewbacca simply forgot that he knows Yoda and it never came up in conversation.

      3) Giving R2D2 a j
    • It's about ruining the first trilogy with idiotic premises and horrible acting among other things.

      The first group of movies was enjoyable by children and adults alike. Granted Jedi pandered to children with the whole Ewok thing but by and large the stories had universal appeal.

      The second set of movies I've seen children fall asleep in. I took my then child cousins to the first movie because they'd never been to the cinemas and they said "Next time can we watch a good movie". One of them fell asleep in the s

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @04:21PM (#31054414) Journal

      Episode 1 is now 11 years old, meaning your kids should be teens by now. Do they quote the movies? Has it seeped into every part of culture? Is it everywhere you can look?

      The toys you remember did NOT come out directly after the first movie, a lot of the merchandising you dismiss so easily came out DECADES later and was gobbled up. It is what makes Star Wars still the biggest earner out there.

      The entire proof that the prequels sucked can be found in the fact that TWO MMO's have skipped the era. Bioware wanted to do Star Wars, but were so desperate to stay away from the fall out that they invented an entire new era set so far apart (thousands of years) that they could completly distance themselves from it.

      If you study movies, Star Wars: A New Hope, must be included. It MIGHT be a simple story but its impact on society was enormous. If it had not been for Star Wars we would never have had Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but rather a new series. (Okay, so that is another thing we can blame lucas for).

      Kids now quote the Matrix, Lord of the Rings, etc. Episode 1 was just another blockbuster, made a lot of money but it has no lasting impact. It is the difference between Michael Jackson and McHammer... who?

      I enjoyed the blackhole as a kid too, but for the life of me I could not quote anything from it or even name the characters.

      My mom took me to see the first movies and she enjoyed them herself. Did you enjoy them? Really? The bit with the small droids on the fighter aircraft? Then there is no hope for you.

    • by V50 (248015)

      I agree. I can't really comprehend the sheer hatred of Lucas by some members of the SW Fandom. I liked Original Trilogy. I liked the Prequel Trilogy. I didn't like the Prequel Trilogy as much as the Originals (although I do like RotS more than RotJ), but I still like both. As do most people I talk to who would count as "people who like Star Wars", if not "SW Fans". They just don't go on the Internet and post incoherent rage filled rants.

      I was 11 when I saw The Phantom Menace in theaters. I liked Jar-Jar the

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Hardtrance (55355)

      The first trilogy appealed to "Children of all ages." The prequels just appealed to children.

      • The first trilogy appealed to "Children of all ages." The prequels just appealed to children.

        Yeah I am sure kids are *really* interested in space taxes and political maneuvering.

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      I agree. The Lucas hate is just a fanboy fringe thing that gets too much play on the internet.

      I didnt expect episodes 1-3 to be any good. You cant take a director who hasnt directed in 30 years and suddenly expect him to be in peak form. If you have realistic expectations in life then you'll find yourself less outraged. Creative people often peak, usually early in life.

      I also think its important to remember that Lucas is one of the few owners of a popular franchise that didnt turn it into crappy licensed

      • I also think its important to remember that Lucas is one of the few owners of a popular franchise that didnt turn it into crappy licensed videogames. A lot of my Star Wars nostalgia has to do with the excellent games put out by Lucasarts as much as the original movies.

        Actually he did. The contemporary Parker Brothers Star Wars games for Atari era systems ranged from terrible to mediocre. (I remember a friend's disappointment when he got this light saber game that made Pong look complicated.)

        The Atari Star Wars arcade cabinet was one of the best though.

    • by mqduck (232646)

      The love/hate relationship obsessive fans have with their objects of devotion is indeed worthy of investigation. I looked through the archives at snpp.com, which record comments on/reviews of Simpsons episodes on the Simpsons newsgroup. The first episode they record any real reviews for, Radio Bart, is episode 13 in season 3. It got great reviews. With the very next episode, you start getting reviews saying that the Simpsons had lost its way, become crap, etc.. Obsessed Simpsons fans have been saying that o

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      The problem I saw was that many fans expected him to create new stories that were aimed at the now 30 year olds who watched the originals as children. I was still able to watch them and enjoy them just not with same wide eyed wonder, but then I wasnt supposed to, they werent made for me, they were made for my kids.

      Whenever the conversation turns to Star Wars, there's always someone who brings up the theory of target audiences and nostalgia-tinted sunglasses. We are lead to believe that being kids greatly influenced our perception of the first 3 Star Wars movies and later it is nostalgia that continues to make us hold them in high esteem. I don't buy it.

      As an adult, I've watched all the Star Wars films a few times. Heck, I even went to the theater to watch the re-released original series. And whenever I do, I noti

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        The Nostalgia isn't just for the time, it's for movies which aren't just remakes or sequels. It's one thing to rehash an idea; it's been said there's only seven (or something) stories in hollywood, and only three are being made into movies. I wish I could remember the quote, or for that matter, who said it. Hollywood isn't just baking on nostalgia, they're enforcing it.

    • What I really dont get is the hatred over the inclusion of jarjar as if Lucas had never stooped to funny critters to appeal to kids in the first trilogy

      1: Jar Jar had a lot of screen time to get farted on by a space cow and to step in space cow shit, but cool lighsaber force-sense action shots were cut from the movie. Remember how Darth Maul launches a couple of camera droids, and nothing happens about that? There was a scene of Qui Gon sabering one in half and then rushing to ship, but no, it had to be cut "for time". Time that was spent on multiple Jar-Jar + shit jokes.

      2: I have a "french kiss Jar-Jar binks" lollipop toy [landoverbaptist.org] that I'm keeping as proof that th

    • by VShael (62735)

      You'll never understand it, despite having had the toys and posters and underoos and what not?

      I'll never understand it, because I was never that taken with Star Wars as a kid. Never had the toys, don't remember wanting them. Saw Star Wars once in the cinema. Meh. Had the choice between seeing Empire, and the The Incredible Hulk (the pilot episode was released theatrically in my country) and chose the Hulk. Never bothered seeing Jedi in the cinema.

      So I'll never understand Star Wars fandom, period. Neither th

    • ...but I can remember by father rolling his eyes at Ewoks

      This is something I'd really like to hear more of. I frequently hear the argument that as a 30-something, I can't have the same experience watching the prequels as a child does and I believe it. I was watching interviews about Star Wars and they were all 30-somethings and all talking about how great the original was. I wondered what would happen if people who were 30-something when the original Star Wars trilogy came out were interviewed.

  • by British (51765) <british1500@gmail.com> on Sunday February 07, 2010 @03:02PM (#31053840) Homepage Journal

    ..don't watch it. I don't like how people think they can call changes to SW eps 1-3. As soon as you start making changes(remove Jar Jar, etc) it ceases to become Lucas' artwork, and moreso a "design by committee". Sure, this happens in meetings for filmmakers all the time, but I don't see how the fans have a say in someone else's art.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ClosedSource (238333)

      On the other hand, the changes made to episodes 4-6 ceased to be young Lucas' artwork too. I'm not confident that the 2010 version of Lucas could have made those movies.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        I've said it many times, and it continues to be true, in the 70s and 80s, George Lucas just didn't have the technology to ruin Star Wars. The effects being bad by today's standards was part of what made the original trilogy so fun. It deliberately deviated from what most people know about science to make an interesting sort of campy story. Nobody in the 70s or 80s seriously expected to be able to go around all those weird planets without space suits or at least ventilators and parkas.
    • by alvinrod (889928)
      We don't have a say in someone else's art if that other person doesn't want us to have one, but regardless we can be critical of it. If you happened to see it, feel free to critique it. A natural part of that may be suggesting how it could have been done better.

      Also, how are we supposed to know whether or not we'll like something until we actually see it? We might have past experiences that can lead us to form an impression, but until we actually see it for ourselves our assumption is based on second han
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Vellmont (569020)


      As soon as you start making changes(remove Jar Jar, etc) it ceases to become Lucas' artwork, and moreso a "design by committee".

      I think that's kind of the point.


      but I don't see how the fans have a say in someone else's art.

      Heh. There's an old cliche. "Good artists borrow, great artists steal". Obviously nobody has any legal rights to be able to take SW and change it around to their own pleasing. But you sound like you're going beyond that and claiming nobody should do this on some sort of moral or ethic

    • by Neoprofin (871029)
      I don't, but last time I checked there's nothing wrong with telling an artist that his "Jar Jar Binks" phase of work was absolute shit. I don't want him to change them like he did with 4-6, I want him to go back in time and do them right before I ever watch them the first time.
    • by Vintermann (400722) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @04:54PM (#31054690) Homepage

      Let's forget George Lucas for a moment, and focus on another filmmaker who was in the news recently, James Cameron. Now tell me: Are you of the school of thought that James Cameron is the greatest filmmaker of all time, or do you think that perhaps the fact that he gets to play with new toys before everyone else has something to do with his success?
      How about Madonna. How about J.K. Rowling. Success may involve a lot of perspiration, but so does failures. Dumb luck is a far bigger part of it. Once you are established, you don't have to make the insane grab for people's attention again - they've invested in you, got to know you and your work, and they will want more - even if you strictly speaking don't deserve it.

      Commercial artistic success is rarely something people deserve. Certainly they don't deserve the insane compensation - if art worked as any other market, you could look at the huge number of would-be supplyers, and the ease of reproduction, and conclude art would be essentially free. The reason it isn't, is _not_ that George Lucas or J.K Rowling or Mick Jagger or bloody whoever is that much better than all the wannabees. Think about it: if you gave 10000 people James Cameron's resources and opportunities, set them to make movies, did a blind test, you think Avatar would stand out as clearly the best?

      Most successful artists think that they live by their art. They are wrong. They live by social inertia and network effects - lots of people wouldn't mind being obsessed about a film, few people would want to be obsessed about a film no one you care about has heard of. There can only be so many stars. What this means is this: Star Wars the movies, may be Lucas' work of art, but no one really cares about the movies. Star Wars the phenomenon is what people really pay for, and Lucas' role in creating that is small. It's almost non-existent. If Star Wars hadn't been created, we the people would have found something different to obsess about.

      This is why fans should "have a say in someone else's art". In fact, fans are way too subservient, and our culture is hopelessly locked into a view of "the artist" which appeared in the romantic period, and should have died a hundred years ago. Unfortunately, it became institutionalised (in large part through copyright legislation) and walks on as a ravenous zombie.

      That is all.

      • by ShakaUVM (157947)

        In fact, fans are way too subservient, and our culture is hopelessly locked into a view of "the artist" which appeared in the romantic period, and should have died a hundred years ago. Unfortunately, it became institutionalised (in large part through copyright legislation) and walks on as a ravenous zombie.

        That's one of the reasons why I love PC games that can be modded. It allows fans (who often know better than the original creators how things should be done or balanced) to have a hand in the creation and

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @03:24PM (#31053974) Homepage

    Look, everyone agrees Lucas should have stopped after three films. The Star [Wars|Trek|Gate|Craft] franchises have been done to death. Now a rehash of "Dune" is in production. Please.

    At least we have James Cameron's "Avatar". Cameron is a master of production value. He spends a lot of money, but it pays off. Unfortunately, everything he does looks too much like a "Terminator" movie.

    A film based on David Weber's work might be an improvement. But Hollywood would go for "March Upcountry", not the Honor Harrington novels.

    Of course, the fundamental trouble with space opera is that it's no longer a plausible future. Space travel hasn't improved much in 40 years.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hey! (33014)

      I think Lucas nailed space opera in "Star Wars" (now retro numbered as "Ep IV"): the sense of wonder, the exuberant, don't look too closely at the seams where I stitched the archetypes together pacing. In large part its because he didn't have the budget or time to make it smooth and show you all the details. You'd see something just long enough to be interested (the Benny Goodman clarinet players in the cantina) then cut away before you had a good look.

      But he couldn't keep it up.

      Genres come and go in movi

    • I mean the first time they had guys running around in sand wearing wet suits. The SciFi redo had the Arabian Ninjas so I can't imagine what this remake will have. (I guess they come out dressed up like clowns.)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mr.dreadful (758768)
      feh -- I was right there with you until you mentioned Avatar. Avatar is technically beautiful, but the storyline is regurgitated tripe. I won't even bother with the usual "the movies is just Pocahantas/Ferngully/etc" explanation, since it's easily found. Technically beautiful but weak story..? Hmmm... that sounds familiar....
    • by euxneks (516538)

      Look, everyone agrees Lucas should have stopped after three films. The Star [Wars|Trek|Gate|Craft] franchises have been done to death. Now a rehash of "Dune" is in production. Please.

      Just want to comment that I don't think the StarCraft franchise has been done to death yet. There's only been one single game afaik!

  • because even if he made 20 movies after star wars and every single one were the most puerile piece of uwe boll crap... he still made star wars, and therefore still deserves your admiration

    if einstein became a creationist after his exposition of relativity, does that detract from his earlier genius?

    if edmund hilary fell down a flight of stairs, does that detreact from the fact he climbed mount everest?

    i don't understand a way of evaluating people that somehow their accomplishments are diminished by later missteps

    as if we only get better with every year, as if no one ever makes mistakes

    "what have you done for me lately" is a pretty selfish crude shortsighted and hypocritical way to evaluate people

    • I wholeheartedly agree. And rest assured, some day, hopefully in the very distant future, /. will be reporting on the man's obituary, and all these same critics will be commenting on how much they enjoyed growing up in the universe that he created and how grateful they are that such a man ever lived.
      • by lennier (44736)

        I read this as "in the very distant future, /. will be reporting on man's obituary"

        and thought that was a frightening posthuman scenario.

    • Because this would NOT be like Einstein becoming a creationist. This would be like seeing Einstein decades later doing an experiment on his own and making a complete and utter mess of it and then people slowly realizing that his original work was not his own work at all but that of the people around him.

      If you are willing to read into the development behind the original movie, then you notice that Lucas had far less to do with that movie and had more people around him who were willing to oppose him, who he

      • Of Anakin Vs. Obi Wan. I mean when I was watching it the first time I figured he was going to have an allusion to Othello or something. (Ben tricking what's her face to bring him to Anakin. Anakin loses because he goes batshit crazy at what he thinks is the betrayal of his wife by his best friend which is just the last step in a long line of things that tried to manipulate him. Later Ben realizes the folly of blindly following the light side of the force since his actions were ok as far as the light was con
    • by Jartan (219704)

      It's not that anyone hates Lucas for making crap. It's that we hate him for not allowing other people to make decent stuff out of Star Wars since then. Frankly the concept that someone can still retain copyright on heavily derivative works even after making so much profit already is just stupid. Nothing illustrates this fact better than Star Wars.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Scrameustache (459504)

      if einstein became a creationist after his exposition of relativity, does that detract from his earlier genius?

      if edmund hilary fell down a flight of stairs, does that detreact from the fact he climbed mount everest?

      i don't understand a way of evaluating people that somehow their accomplishments are diminished by later missteps

      You're right! Hitler SHOULD be remembered as an ok painter. Doesn't matter if he did a thing or two later on that got some bad press.

      John Wilkes Booth: Remembered as the famous actor that he was, not for one teensy tiny misstep he might had near the end of his life.

      Good idea

      • or booth an actor doesn't matter, since neither endeavours are the most momentous things they ever did

        star wars is the most momentous thing lucas ever did

        hitler would be remembered as a painter, if he did nothing else of interest or moment after being a painter

        meanwhile, i thought it was funny to see an ad for "pirhanha 3D" before watching avatar. why? because cameron started his career with the "piranha ii" movie. if cameron got hit by a car or decided to become a painter in 1982, "piranha ii" would be the

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          You honestly think avatar: fern gully in 3d, was a better film than terminator?

          • box returns are the only determinant of any real world value

            box returns are the only quantitative way we can evaluate how good or bad a movie was. every other determinant is subjective and therefore pointless and without merit. there's plenty of movies i think are far better than anything james cameron ever did, but made less than a million at the box office. and in my own personal hagiography, indeed, terminator is better than avatar, as you would agree. but the world doesn't give a shit about our fanboy l

      • by S77IM (1371931)

        You're right! Hitler SHOULD be remembered as an ok painter. Doesn't matter if he did a thing or two later on that got some bad press.

        And Godwin has done a lot more for the Internet than codify that one law!

          -- 77IM

    • by VShael (62735)

      if einstein became a creationist after his exposition of relativity, does that detract from his earlier genius?

      Yes, because it would mean he probably DID steal the work of Olinto De Pretto, thanks to the timely warning of Michele Besso.

    • by Zebedeu (739988)

      if einstein became a creationist after his exposition of relativity, does that detract from his earlier genius?

      Yes, because creationism is incompatible with the scientific process. It would put all of his work in doubt.

      You're building a strawman -- a person who at two different times in his life thinks and behaves in oposite and incompatible ways. Yes, it does happen, but it is usually explainable by an accident, as in this poor lady: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rauni-Leena_Luukanen-Kilde [wikipedia.org]

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @04:09PM (#31054316) Homepage
    For people interested in the larger implications of Star Wars including the role of fans and other issues such as whether Star Wars has literary merit, and whether the philosophy is intellectually coherent or morally defensibl, I strongly recommend "Star Wars on Trial" edited by David Brin and Matthew Stover. The book is a series of essays by sci-fi authors, literature professors, and others discussing Star Wars in detail. The boo is tied together with an overarching narrative with Brin as the chief prosecutor and Stover as the chief defense attorney in a trial of Star Wars as a whole. Quite fun and and surprisingly stimulating.
  • Hmmm... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @05:21PM (#31054916)

    the full spectrum of opinions on Lucas, including those like Prowse, who still refers to him as a 'master.'

    So the retired Darth Vader refers to him as 'master'... can there be any further doubt that he's evil?

  • The film looks good, but Patton Oswalt best sums up the feeling of almost every single jaded Star Wars fan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDCjIjsZp_Y [youtube.com]
  • I mean in RotS. In that last fight Ben says he wins because he's higher but it made no sense that it would make that much of a difference. (Especially given how much they're flipping around and everything.) I'd expect being higher makes a difference with distance weapons. (Since you'd be able to shoot farther.) Also if reality is anything like a FPS it's easier to hide if you're above your opponent for sniper shots. Finally I could seen that with a weapon with weight being above would have gravity help driv
    • It's a metaphor for being more righteous. He has the higher ground, because he is following the Jedi teachings, whereas Anakin is an apostate.

      That being said, it's still totally retarded.

      • To you know leave people in slavery let alone having no problem with anybody creating a race of slaves, intentionally tricking civilians into a war zone, judging people in large part on accidents of birth and on top of this their opinion that feelings aren't worth the trouble? (Ok, so I thought Lucas made the light side seem coldly brutal at times but I don't think that was his intention since he's not that good of a writer.)
      • Like I wrote before those same righteous teachings that let them do all those wonderful things. (Slavery, judging people by birth right, yadda yadda yadda.)
  • i wonder.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jarong (1731734)
    i was indifferent about star wars growing up until i read dune. and then after thinking about it, realized that george lucas had ripped off a lot of his ideas from frank herbert. now i can't really enjoy the films at all. i wonder if there will be any commentary in the movie about that?
  • "Director Alexandre Philippe distances his film from the one-sided fan rage films that lambaste Lucas, even though the title would suggest otherwise."

    I suggest subbie take a course in reading comprehension.

    "The People vs George Lucas" suggests that Lucas is going on trial, and arguments for and against his prosecution will be presented.

/earth: file system full.

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