The People vs. George Lucas (2011)
Documentary on his love/hate relationship with Star Wars fans
Director: Alexandre O. Philippe
Studio: Quark Films/Lionsgate [10/25/11]
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 color
Audio: English DD 5.1 & stereo
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Extras: Poetry slam selections, Gary Kurtz Interview, Music video, Commentary track by filmmaker, “The People vs. Star Wars 3D”
Length: 97 minutes
I was more of a Star Trek & Beatles follower than a Star Wars & Stones faithful, though I wouldn’t have called myself a fan, so some of the fanaticism shown here by fans was news to me. I don’t recall George Lucas ever telling his fans “Get a life!” as William Shatner did to Star Trek nuts. Regardless, this is a most interesting documentary and reveals aspects of the whole Star Wars franchise situation that I was not aware of.
I get that there are basically three general aspects to the story explored here: First, that Lucas let most of his fans down seriously with the poor quality of the three prequels that followed the original trio of Star Wars features. Second, that he announced there would never be any reissues of the original footage of the first three films, only his recently digitally-”improved” versions of the originals. And third, that Lucas has become exactly the sort of master of his media franchise megalopolis as his villains in Star Wars, and seems to have no plans to make any other films again.
Though Lucas once testified to Congress against the colorization of classic black & white films, he now has made many changes in his original three Star Wars films and illogically claims the original negatives are now gone. One of the fans has copied all of the originals from the last commercially-available set—which was on laserdisc—and posted them on the Net. There are also many other online sites with fans’ homemade films, items such as the all-Wookie 2008 Christmas Star Wars Special, and some of the hilarious parodies of Star Wars which have been done by many. The documentary ends with short clips from the dizzying array of fan films, utilizing puppets, claymation, lego, needlepoint, papier-maché, people in ridiculous costumes, etc. I didn’t know that South Park had done a sexually violent parody on Lucas which exceeded even the over-the-top standards of that series. (But they missed what I think is the most hilarious and creative Star Wars parody ever—along with Mel Brooks’ Space Balls feature—the short Hardware Wars.)
The addiction of many of the fans to buying every last Star Wars figure or toy was fascinating. One Japanese fan seemed very proud to announce that he had stopped getting everything that came out and now specialized only in R2D2 stuff. A side bit was the humorous survey finding that most children loved the odd Jar Jar Binks attempt at humor in the prequel films, while adult fans found him perfectly awful. There is also a short nod to another smaller but just as committed George Lucas group—the Indiana Jones fans. In general, the documentary showed how strongly Star Wars’ very passionate fans all over the world either love or hate George Lucas, sometimes both at the same time. The audio commentary track includes not only the director but also his cinematographer and editor, and the music video’s title gives an idea how far some of these fans are going in the way they see the issues at hand: “George Lucas Raped Our Childhood.”
If any recording is essential to the genre, this is it.