Lately I’ve taken to reading a little blog site called “Overthinking It” (http://www.overthinkingit.com). Which subjects the popular culture to a level of scrutiny it probably doesn't deserve. So I thought perhaps it may be time for me to “overthink” my hatred of George Lucas and his faustian decline into vapidness and infamy.
The crimes of George Lucas are manifest and myriad.
I’ve written about this before (you can check it out here - http://sarielthrawn.blogspot.com/2005_11_01_archive.html).
In that short piece I lamented what George had done to my beloved Star Wars saga.
How he had not only created an absolutely atrocious and unworthy set of prequels to the original trilogy, but also that he had “remixed” the original movies. I use the term remix, because every remix I’ve ever heard was always worse than the song it was mixed from and only served to profit from the success of the original. Keep the word profit in mind, we’ll be returning to it later.
Allow me to quote from that earlier piece:
First of all the digital remastering of the originals. Good idea, in theory. But George Lucas had to 'tweak' the movies didn't he? I mean who the fuck wanted to see Greedo shoot first. How the fuck do you miss a guy sitting across from you at a table when your gun is pointed directly at his chest? The whole point of that fucking scene George was to show that Han Solo is a bad-ass mother-fucker who you don't fuck with. A smuggler and a criminal who ultimately finds redemption.
As you can probably imagine, I was a tad upset at the time.
I’ve calmed down a little since. But my hatred is still there, simmering.
So is there anything left to be said about George Lucas and his complete and utter disregard for genuine story telling?
Or perhaps it is more that he has completely prostituted himself and his creation? Or that he’s surrounded himself with sycophantic puppets who do nothing but praise him?
“Jar Jar Binks is a great character George. He’s really funny.”
“Of course Greedo should shoot first. He’s the bad alien guy, after all.”
“You totally read my mind George, I was just thinking how the one thing missing from this movie is an all-alien rock n’ roll show!”
“No way! No-one will care if the character’s actions and motivations from the first three don’t line up with the new three. What with all the ammaaazing digital effects we’ll be using, I’m sure no-one will even notice.”
I could go on and on.
I could tell you how the new Indiana Jones movie is utter shyte. Jesus Christ! It’s like all he’s good at now is turning previously decent movie franchises into mush.
I could tell you that having Yoda, Vader and Vader’s new apprentice make an appearance in Soul Caliber IV just weeks before the new Star Wars game is due for release is both opportunistic and cynical (and from all reports the characters are nothing special)
I could tell you that prior to the release of The Phantom Menace Lucas had only directed three movies. Total.
I could tell you that even though he is friends with some of the greatest and most creative directors, writers and producers on the planet, he chose to fill a role he had very little experience in.
I mean, you don’t get the job of constructing the Pyramids, when all you’ve ever built before was a granary, a barn and your best friend’s outhouse.
But he sure knows how to make a buck, does our George.
Item one - the digitally remastered re-release of the original movies. All released in cinemas and then all released on DVD (and making bucketloads at every turn).
But he wasn’t happy just re-releasing the movie. He had to change them. Because there were some things he just didn’t have the technology for back in the day. Some things that just didn’t sit right with him. Like a bounty hunter shooting a guy, or a town in the middle of a desert being only sparsely populated (whowouldathunkit?).
Can someone say revisionist history?
And he has the fucking audacity to be pictured wearing a “Han shot first” t-shirt! (http://www.overthinkingit.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/hanshotfirst.jpg)
So I purchased the re-released movies (on VHS) and find that everything that George has added to the movies has, in fact, not made my viewing experience any more pleasurable.
Some months later I purchase the DVDs (yeah, I know).
Then, finally, the NEW STAR WARS MOVIE is about to come out. I was walking around with a hard on for months prior to its release (Every Saga Has a Beginning. I mean come on? How cool is that?).
I tried to like it. Really, I did. The podrace was fast and cool, kinda. Yoda was in it. Liam Neeson was nice. Natalie Portman was cute. Ewan McGregor was a young Obi-Wan Kenobi. (I just notice as I typed “Obi-Wan Kenobi” that the spell checker on MS-Word didn’t pick it up as an error. Talk about being totally absorbed into the culture).
But the movie itself was garbage. The kid was fucking annoying. And Jar Jar Binks? I mean seriously? WTF??!?
It’s like Pepsi and McDonalds and Pizza Hut all came up to him and said, “Hey George, you reckon you can put in some sort of ‘crazy’ character for the kids? You know, so we can sell more products and cut you a bigger cheque? You know, make him talk funny and maybe give him a funny walk. But he has to have a heart of gold. Little kids really love that stuff, just look at the numbers from these focus groups.”
There is so much wrong with that movie that I could probably write an entire book about it.
The second one was a bit better. But still. Hayden Skywalker was fucking useless. And the plot George? Really? Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader, the meanest man in the galaxy, because he misses his mommy? And the way you got so much out of young Hayden. It had flashes of Keanu’s woodeny brilliance.
The third one was a bit better again (but really only because of the lava pit battle). But General Grievous turned out to be the biggest disappointment in the galaxy. Intended to be a superb combination of biology and mechanics and he sounds like a cancer victim. And who the fuck is making up these names George? Really? Your bad guys name is Grievous?? You fucking hack.
And Samuel “Mother Fucking” Jackson as a leader of the Jedi Council? It didn’t feel unnatural at all.
There’s more obviously. And I’ve probably mixed around some points there. But you get the idea.
Just the fact that Lucas has no idea how to work with actors should be sufficient. Not a single performance in any of those three movies approached anything close to an extra from the Lord of the Rings. And you have to blame the director there, because on paper the cast is fantastic. It’s you George. It’s fucking you.
But I still bought all three on DVD. (Yeah, I know).
And then, after saying (when the originals were re-released) that the original cuts were not going to be released as they were originally screened in the 70s and 80s, he released DVD versions of the original cuts. (Yay!)
And yes, I bought all three DVDs. (Yeah, I know).
So I’m a whore. I know this. But goddamn it, how many beatings do I have to take?
My opinion (such as it is) is that George Lucas, a) is not a director and never has been (at least not a good one); b) was/is more concerned with ILM and his fucking special effects units than he is in actually making a good “movie” (that’s right George, a movie consists of more than just special effects); c) has sold his creative soul to make mountains and mountains of cash through merchandise; and d) has surrounded himself with nothing but sycophants and yes-men who do his bidding and carry out his every whim.
But (and here it is really), I am still a Star Wars fan. Even a George Lucas fan. Sure, I may hate him and wish that he died a horrible death in front of his children. But I’m still a fan. I love Star Wars and I always will. Same goes for Indy.
Even though I feel like a battered bride at times, I shall continue to return. Until my back is broke and nose is crimson.
The Force is my ally. It surrounds us and penetrates us and binds the universe together.
The Force will be with you… always.