Showing posts with label George Lucas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label George Lucas. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Disney Buys Star Wars (j)

In case you haven't heard, the Twitter-sphere and the internet in general is abuzz with the jaw-dropping news that George Lucas has decided to retire, and has handed over the reins of his multi-million dollar baby Star Wars to - yes, you heard correctly - Disney.  The opinions vary, and I myself am nothing but skeptical about this change... and the supposed plans to create "episodes" 7, 8 and 9 in the next decade or so.  I'll reserve actual judgment when the details come out.  Otherwise, I hope Mr. Lucas enjoys his retirement. 

Leia Organa contemplates change in The Empire Strikes Back.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Lucas Effect (Jillian)

Dean of "Heart of the City", voice of a generation... or two.

You may have heard in recent weeks about the Blue-ray release of the entire Star Wars saga. Many fans are less than pleased with this event, as it is just the next installment in the re-re-release saga of George Lucas' films.

I am not rejoicing about the Blue-Ray release - 1.) because of the blue-ray exclusivity, 2.) I have DVDs from 2004 that work just fine, and 3.) I actually think the older, untouched versions of the films say more about storytelling in film than Lucas' recent perfectionistic and revisionist ventures do.

Besides, he's bribing us to give him money. The biggest lure: including longed-for and legendary deleted scenes from the original trilogy. For now, it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

In a nutshell, the man has not learned to stop meddling. Last year saw the thirty year anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. In thirty-one years, Lucas has tweeked, subtracted to, added on, "improved" and "enhanced" the original Star Wars Trilogy from "fixing" outmoded special effects to adding dialogue to adjusting (unnecessarily) threads of the story that would later be added in the "new" trilogy. Mine was the "Han Shot First!" generation, referencing the scene in the first film where Han Solo shoots thug Greedo dead in the cantina; in 1997 Lucas toyed with the image, insinuating that Greedo actually shot first, and Han's act was self-defense. This was just one of many examples - small, yes, but enough to keep tempers flaring to this day. Why? Because once Star Wars came to the theatres, it was complete; it became someone else's story, too.

In the 1997 release, he said in a documentary that "Someone once said movies aren't completed, they're only abandoned." As I writer I understand this attitude completely. I myself am guilty of second, third and fourth guessing my work, wishing I could go back and add X to W, Y and Z. It's that perfectionistic streak we can never completely abandon, but never fulfill. Lucas, unlike many of us, actually has the money (and the legal right) to go in and do so... and so he has. Several times. You may have heard he's aiming for a 3D release somewhere in the future. Heaven help us.

Unanswerable questions:

* Is his goal to revamp/update Star Wars actually achievable?
* Can the man employ his energy for new creative ventures? (Besides Indiana Jones?)
* If you write a story, complete it to the best of your present abilities, and years, decades later go back and graft on dialogue, scenes, new characters, etc is it the same story?
* When will this possibly stop?

Please, Mr. Lucas. Please stop. This hurts.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Storyteller or Movie Mogul? (Jillian)

I could not think of a better title for this blog, but that is all right. Hopefully it got your attention. A subject that has come to mind recently is George Lucas... in a not-so-pleasant article written last month as Lucas' ridiculous Clone Wars movie was about to debut to a creatively exhausted audience. Okay, that's probably unfair, but read this article written by Jim Emerson of There is more to discuss!

In a nutshell, the writer is begging George to please, please stop making useless, pointless films. It makes a lot of good points about how his projects over the past thirty plus years have all been related directly to either Star Wars or Indiana Jones. Basically, GL has literally built an empire on both franchises... to the point where I am inclined to gently insist, "Mr. Lucas, you created something wonderful years ago. I think it's time to stop." The article goes too far, however, to strike at the heart of all of those projects... to imply that the world might have been better off if Lucas hadn't had a stroke of madness (or genius) back in the 1970s. Is that really true? Come on.

I began my creative journey as a little devoted Star Wars fan back in 1997. Worlds away, I have since expanded my universe (ha ha) away from wars amongst the stars to TARDISes and adventures in the English countryside. Knowing what I know from eleven years of being immersed in the burden of Jedi and the continuing war, and creating my own installments in the eternal saga (that would one day be a part of my undergraduate studies), I can say that Lucas wasn't insane or greedy by any means when he set out to bring Star Wars to the world. It was his baby. It took him around three years to develop the story which would produce the first trilogy... based off of stories he loved as a kid while also drawing on A Hero With a Thousand Faces to guide him into more traditional, more meaningful story telling. How much did Star Wars mean to him? It was a low-budget project no one believed in, and between finalizing the script and directing it, he nearly gave himself a heart attack orchestrating the development of visual affects that would bring it to life. That combined with an array of personal crises demonstrates that Lucas was devoted to it completely. The fact he returned to deliver three more in my lifetime is utterly amazing... and merits the utmost respect. For the most part...

George Lucas is a story teller, but not the greatest writer in the world. I won't go into painful details about how the script of the "prequel trilogy" feels wooden and the story unnatural. That's the subject of a different rant. Those films did become the butt of many a movie-going joke... and still are to a wide extent. We could attribute it to a number of GL-based causes. But we cannot use those reasons - however legitimate they are - to destroy every thing that he worked for. His films are still powerful, still permanent. And they emerged for the first time to a world that was in desperate need of hope and of heroes who began their journeys as ordinary people literally thrown together in a garbage compactor on a enemy space station. GL worked hard against all odds to create the story that he needed to create, and the result was actually quite impressive. From Star Wars emerged the ability to look at story telling in films in a better light - less impossible to reach those limitless skies. Films we love (and those we make fun of) would not have been possible without GL making the first step. The one thing that I couldn't fathom not having? Peter Jackson's rendering of The Lord of the Rings. And what about Pirates of the Caribbean? The list is infinite.

One storyteller inspires another... who inspires another... building down the generations. A spark can start a fire...

Whatever he is doing now - such as releasing silly animated films still stuck in the Clone Wars - it does not necessarily tarnish the story he began telling with Luke Skywalker standing in the dusk watching the twin suns set above him and wishing to be far, far away... waiting for the chance to sacrifice himself for a galaxy that needed him desperately. GL may not be the most ideal or prolific writer, but he still has a story to tell... one that moves him to keep creating and maintaining a reality he knows better than anyone.

I personally won't give much thought to the Clone Wars. But I will give my nod to the man who started the wheels turning for my own ideas and my own galaxies all those years ago. The world would never be the same without such madness. I should know. Write because others say you're mad. Then, the world will talk.


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