Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Summer of Star Wars: The People vs. George Lucas

Directed by Alexandre O. Philippe, The People vs. George Lucas is a documentary of sorts that explores the life and career of George Lucas as well as some of the controversies he created in revising and re-editing some of his films including the Star Wars franchise that he created. While it is presented in a comical manner, the film plays into Lucas’ desire to make changes into his work and how fans of the franchise are upset and such. The result is a fascinating and very entertaining documentary about the world of geek culture and their love/hate relationship towards George Lucas.

In the summer of 1977 amidst a troubling period in the world, Star Wars came out and the world was transfixed by what George Lucas has created where it became a pop culture phenomenon that spawned two sequels and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of merchandising. Over the years, Star Wars and Indiana Jones had created a fandom that was unstoppable until the late 1990s when Lucas made controversial revisions of the original trilogy and then followed-up with a new trilogy of prequels that angered fans. The film plays into this love-hate relationship between George Lucas and the people who went to see his films and bought his merchandise. Especially as it traces into why he was beloved by the geeks and then feel betrayed with what he’s done as it led to this very contentious and complicated relationship.

Through interview with fans, filmmakers, and notable figures of geek culture including novelist Neil Gaiman, Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz, Chris Gore, and several others. The film explores not just Lucas’ own life and early on and the events that led him to make Star Wars but also reasons into why he didn’t make more films as a director following the success of the film in 1977. Much of it would involve creating Lucasfilms and other things as in a cruel sense of irony where the man who rebelled against corporations and studios for tinkering with his films suddenly became the head of his own corporation and would revise his own films. During this time in the 1980s and 1990s came a culture of fan-made films that served as a tribute to Lucas which played into this growing sense of excitement when it was announced that Lucas was re-releasing the original trilogy in a new special edition in theaters.

With the aid of editor/visual effects composite artist Chad Herschberger, Alexandre O. Philippe explores the many fan-made films that was made as it showcased a culture where some filmmakers learned their craft out of these tributes. Even as it includes a strange version of Misery in which George Lucas is being trapped by a woman who forces him to make the prequels in the way that she wants to see them as a lot of them are comical. With the aid of cinematographer Robert Muratore and sound recordist Keiron Wolfson, the interviews are very engaging as some of it is funny where fans express their disdain over the changes and other things including Jar-Jar Binks which include footage from the British show Spaced where Simon Pegg’s character reveals his hatred for that character.

The film’s music by Jon Hegel would add to the humor which is very upbeat and bouncy as it would play into that strange world of fandom. Especially as Philippe would go around the world to meet these fans where many ponder what will happen when Star Wars will be out of Lucas’ hands which would eventually happen just a few years after this film’s release.

The People vs. George Lucas is a sensational film from Alexandre O. Philippe. It’s a documentary that doesn’t just explore the world of Star Wars fandom and its influence on pop culture but also in its love-hate relationship with its creators. It’s a film that is very entertaining while not afraid to take shots at itself for its own obsession. In the end, The People vs. George Lucas is a hilarious film from Alexandre O. Philippe.

Star Wars Films: Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back - Return of the Jedi - The Phantom Menace - Attack of the Clones - Revenge of the Sith - The Force Awakens - The Last Jedi - The Rise of Skywalker

Related: The Star Wars Holiday Special - Caravan of Courage - The Battle for Endor - The Clone Wars - Fanboys

Star Wars Anthology Films: Rogue One - Solo: A Star Wars Story - (Untitled Star Wars Anthology Film)

George Lucas Films: THX 1138 - (American Graffiti)

© thevoid99 2015


Brittani Burnham said...

I loved this documentary. It also brought up a good point about the retouching of the Star Wars films that I didn't think of - and it was that it undermines the production staff. They were Oscar nominated for their visual effects, and Lucas was like "nope" and went back to alter their work. At first I didn't mind the visual effect touch ups, but looking at it that way changed my view on it.

Plus I love this line from it "You fucked up! How are you going to unfuck this?"

thevoid99 said...

Oh man, that pissed me off. I felt sorry for those who worked their ass off to make those effects and then suddenly, Lucas decides to take all of that work and remove it as if it was nothing. That is bullshit what he did. I'm just glad the franchise is no longer in his hands and maybe let's hope the original films will be available on Blu-Ray.

Dell said...

I've been wanting to see this for a while. I also have a love/hate relationship with him and all his constant meddling with the SW franchise.

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell-I think you should see it as it does play into that love/hate relationship towards Lucas as well as why people care so much.