SXSW FILM 2010
By Dave Campbell | March 30, 2010
Director: Alexandre O. Philippe
Unless you are Amish or a native of some secluded culture far from modern civilization, chances are you know who George Lucas is and what he is responsible for giving to us. Without him there would be no Force, no Raiders…no THX. You don’t have to be an American child of the 70’s or 80’s to know of the global impact that Star Wars has had on human pop culture. Lucas created some of the most recognized and beloved characters of all time, developed technologies and companies to bring them to the screen, and accomplished this with a business sense to retain all of the merchandising rights to his creations. He is purely one of the few modern day geniuses…but then again Han shot first and Jar Jar is unforgivable.
The People vs. George Lucas is a documentary that tells of the love/hate relationship that a range of people including regular Joes, film critics, musicians, actors and filmmakers have with the man, the myth, the legend himself. The majority of them are obviously huge Star Wars and Indiana Jones fans, which lets be honest…represent pretty much everyone else in the world. Plain and simple, people are passionate about the original Star Wars trilogy. It makes people proud to be geeks and not give a damn about it. At the same time, the very thing that they love has been tainted by the very man who gave them bliss. I personally can’t think of another thing that can create more intense geek rage than a conversation about the Holy Trilogy Special Editions or Episodes I-III.
Fans began to hate Lucas after he re-released the original trilogy with added material that he claimed he had always envisioned as being a part of the films. Soon after, he wrote and directed the three prequels that didn’t live up to the tradition of the originals or expectations of the devout fans. Next came the fourth installment to the Indiana Jones series Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which created more strife with fans. The majority of the info and comments in the documentary are stuff you’ve either heard already our muttered yourself before.
Then this little bombshell hit…
Did you know that George Lucas lead a campaign in the mid-80’s fighting against Ted Turner’s attempt to colorize all of the old black and white films that Turner owned? Lucas believed that classic films belonged to the public as a part of popular culture and should not be altered in any way. Whoa! What?!? This is the same man that now says the original negatives to Star Wars which is registered with the National Film Archive, no longer exists. Do as I say not as I do…right Lucas? At this point I was visibly disgusted, I played a huge part in helping the man become enormously rich and successful. I repeatedly went to Lucas-Land for three solid decades and all I got was this lousy hypocrisy shirt.
So 75% of the film is spent laying out all of the ways that Lucas has raped us of our childhood memories, then all of the sudden plays the other card telling us why we should, shut up, grow up, and love him for giving us Star Wars at all. It makes the film come off as a back handed ass kiss. Alexandre O. Philippe spends very little time on the fickle stance of Lucas over the decades when it comes to the art of film, and more time apologizing after nailing him to a cross.