Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review: The People vs. George Lucas [2011]


In A Nutshell:
A documentary-movie exploring the love-hate relationship between Star Wars creator George Lucas and the massive legion of fan-boys of that universe. Focuses mainly on how Lucas achieved God-like status with the original Star Wars trilogy and how he eventually became a hated figure with the prequels.
Thumbs Up:
+ Hey, come on... this is a documentary-movie discussing STAR WARS... no movie geek can resist that
+ The multiple spoofs especially the many amateur videos made by fans
+ They actually managed to get interviews with major Hollywood figures like Gary Kurtz (collaborator and producer for A New Hope [1977] and The Empire Strikes Back [1980]), Dave Prowse (Darth Vader), and Francis Ford Coppola (Legendary director of "The Godfather" trilogy)
+ The segment showing the anticipation towards opening day of The Phantom Menace [1999] reminds me what pure geek orgasm feels like.
Thumbs Down:
- I'm being rather nitpicky here but I would've liked to seen more interviews from Lucas himself.
The Verdict Is In:
Star Wars. The movie geek holy grail. I don't know a single movie lover who doesn't have at least a tiny affection with the franchise universe. They say imitation is the best form of flatery. So, just search the internet and you'll find a gazillion of fan-made footage. Even Hollywood is getting in on the act as everyone from Family Guy to Robot Chicken are making spoofs. Even the non-geeks (normal people... aka boring people... hah, take that) have at least some awareness of Star Wars. It has become that ubiquitous in pop-culture.

The exception of course is here in Malaysia. My first realization of how isolated movie geeks in this country are with the rest of society was back in 2009. I went on a thorough search across the entire Klang Valley for a Darth Vader helmet which was apparently then out of stock. When I asked the shop assistants if they had any of the helmets left, I was often given clueless expressions. "You know, that guy from Star Wars", I would say. "Ooh, that one", they would answer confidently only then to show me a helmet of.... A STORM TROOPER!! "Not he same ahh?" they would ask. Err, HELL NO! We're talking about one of the greatest villains in cinematic history being compared to some random low-rank soldier. Duh! Its just as absurd as Steven Gerard's claim back in 2010: "Joe Cole is on the same level as Lionel Messi". Yes Stevie, you are senile. So, without the helmet I decided to visualize the vision in my head using an illustration instead. This was the result:


Okay, the above story had nothing to do with this review :P. Moving on then. This documentary shows the love turning into hate for Lucas beginning with his restoration of the ground-breaking original trilogy. Then it just blew up when the prequels started to come-out. I particularly loved the interviews right before the premier of Phantom Menace [1999], "What happens if the movie sucks?" was the question. Reminds me of the ending in the movie Fanboys [2008]. A fellow blogger found positives gained from the prequels in his blog post. I would add a Weird Al Yankovic song to that list. :)

Anyway, this is the first documentary movie that I've seen this year. Last year was pretty good for this genre with Catfish and Exit Through The Gift Shop. Hoping to get my hands on Project Nim next.
Rating:
8 out of 10

2 comments:

  1. Wow, I'd LOVE to see this documentary! Too bad there isn't much of involvement by Lucas in this one, I think it would have been interesting to hear him tackle these discussions heads-on.

    But from what I picked up along the way, it would appear that he's very laid-back about these sort of thing. He reportedly said, "you can't sue people for making jokes (about him or Star Wars)". Gotta give him credit for that. Some filmmakers would go crazy about being criticised.

    p/s: Love that photo of you and Darth Vader.

    p/p/s: No, I don't mind the links :) I love discussions like these.

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  2. Yeah, if Lucas was really that evil, he would sue all those fan-made footage for copyrights. But he actually encouraged this... he even set-up a website where fans can download audio to make their own movies.

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