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George Lucas: The Love/Hate Relationship

5/7/12 9:06pm
tl;dr

 Moving right along into the second edition of Monthly Mania, its time to talk about one of the most controversial figures in Hollywood... Boy won't this be a juicy subject!!!

 

 The People vs. George Lucas

Note to readers: What's up guys? Before you read this please keep in mind I didn't even bother mentioning  Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crysatl Skull. That's a whole new blog length of information! So considering that we are talking about Star Wars this month, I will leave that other beloved franchise alone. For now...

George Lucas, one of Hollywood’s biggest men, wrangling over an astronomical 3.2 billion dollars in total net worth. The creator of Star Wars, undoubtedly the most financially successful film franchise of all time grossing over 4.45 billion dollars in box-office revenue and generating over thirty billion dollars in merchandising while further generating one billion dollars annually. Lucas is also the chairman, founder, and chief executive of Lucasfilm and heads ILM, which serves as the movie industry's main provider of special effects in live action films.

Being on such an incredibly high pedestal in the movie industry, it’s hard to imagine that Lucas was once a punk filmmaker that defied the corporate power of Hollywood only to become the source of it. It’s also difficult to remember that everybody actually loved this guy at one point. We saw him as one of us. An underdog hero who fought for his passion. A fellow nerd, and a good friend.That is, until he turned to the Darkside of the Force...

First, he tarnished the legacy of the original and flawless Star Wars by filling it with unconvincing and unnecessary special effects while in turn, erased hundreds of hours in hard work that passionate artists had labored in. And worst of all, he kept Han from shooting first...
While nerds everywhere shared a collective WTF?! moment, we still didn’t hate man that had bestowed upon us great and timeless series of films. But unfortunately, things only got worse.

Lucas’s path to the Darkside of was considered complete when he released what is now known as the dreaded prequel trilogy... An evil and broken shadow of what Star Wars once was and is held responsible for “ruining childhoods” across the globe. To this day, the prequel trilogy is considered an insult to geekdom and acts as universal rallying cry for nerd rage everywhere.

So what happened? How could this great captain of industry seemingly fall to the corruption of a robber baron? Did he just forget who he was? Did he forget who we are? Did he forget what Star Wars was?

While we continue asking ourselves questions that may never see an answer, there is one question that we inevitably run into whenever we even think about Star Wars. Do we love or hate George Lucas? 

This is not only a question that I pose to you, but one that I posed to several g1s that have obviously proven themselves to be dedicated fans and educated nerds on the subject matter. They pose good arguments and interesting points of view. Do you agree with them? Let’s find out...

DO YOU LOVE OR HATE GEORGE LUCAS?

 

Canadian Brony
Canadian BronyNo, not really. People give him crap because he keeps "altering" the movies. Well, they are HIS movies so he has the right to do anything he wants with them. I thinkpeople are just hung up on nostalgia and that's why they keep bashing the new releases. I can't really hate a guy for wanting to change his own creation. That just seems silly.

Gotta respect artistry. We may not like it, but being an artist myself, I can understand his resilience to fan outcry.

I change some of my blogs all the time. But do people give two shits about that? No.

And for George Lucas to be told that he can’t change his material because it’s Star Wars would easily sound disheartening to a lot of people if they found themselves in the same situation. So I can understand how much of a pain it must be to feel like the rights to your own creation have been taken from you.

So... Does George Lucas have a right to his creations? Yes. Do I have to agree with them? No.

I just know me and many others could respect him a lot more if he would just say “Okay, I am glad you love these original films, but I have a few problems with them. These new editions more closely resemble my initial vision and you can watch them if you want. Just remember that both the original films and the new editions will always be available if you want them.”

Why can’t he just release his new, special, Blu-Ray, and 3-D editions along with the original and unedited films? They would have no problem selling. So what’s the freaking hold-up?

Caboose_-1
Caboose_-1I don't hate George Lucas but I think he's gotten a little too excessive with his movies. 3d? Really?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Concise reply but a lot to go off of here. So give me a second to get on my soap box here...*step* *step* *step* *pulls out paper*

I think almost everyone can agree that 3-D is the latest ploy made by a desperate Hollywood to get people to pay more cash than they really have to.

There has not been a single film where I have been so absolutely blown away by 3-D to the point it has caused me to go see another 3-D movie. I just feel like I am scammed each time I pay the extra five dollars for admission. The same five dollars I would use to buy a movie theater’s similarly and rediculously expensive drinks and snacks...

And to see that Star Wars fell to that stupid trend only provides further evidence that the franchise is just being milked beyond its reasonable limits. Not to mention the fact that we have to sit through the prequel trilogy in 3-D for two more years, AGAIN, until we even arrive at the GOOD movies.Ugghh...

If anything, twenty years from now, people are going to look back at the late 2000’s and early 2010’s and laugh at how everything was “3-D.” It’s going to be a comedic and embarrassing definition of our decade and I am going to be happy to realize that the movement died as soon as it came to life.

So... THANKS Avatar!!! And yes that was fucking sarcasm if you didn’t pick the hint there. And yes I hate 3-D...

Dark Magician
Dark MagicianI love the man. Why? You have to respect a man who did what he did. Through all the crap he went through just to get the Episode 4 in theatres, he nearly had a heart-attack. Everything was against him. Weather didn't cooperate. Producers weren't at all supportive. His special effects crew was far behind schedule. But he did it and it was the greatest thing ever. 40 years later, we are still talking about it.

True dat! Hell, I think even hundred years from now we will still be talking about it.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Star War’s impact and brilliance is comparable to things like Homer’s Odyssey, Dante’s Inferno, and even John Milton’s Paradise Lost. It’s only a matter of time until movies take similar positions as story-telling masterpieces.

I think video-games have a ways to go until they reach the same level of reverence and respect as an art, but movies will inevitably reach that mantle if they have not already done so.

xenophobelives
xenophobelivesPeople in American society love nothing more than tearing down a person at the top. Yes George Lucas has made some questionable decisions for the sake of money, but who in Hollywood hasn't? Lucas is a genius and should be celebrated as such.

True, true. The only problem is that Lucas isn’t treated like an idiot. Most people say his business decisions are the greatest examples of his “genius.”

But like many other powerful men, he is  regarded as an “evil genius” more than he is a benevolent one.

As far as money swindling personalities go, even directors such as the widely celebrated James Cameron are just as responsible for shamelessly sucking money out of our wallets as Lucas is.

Only difference is that Cameron makes it more of a mission to create a manipulatively “good movie” than he does to make a legitimate-ly “genuine movie.” I don’t think Titanic or Avatar were necessarily bad movies, just highly overrated products that were expand an already vast ego.

At least Lucas he has the balls to actually do whatever he feels is right for a film no matter how ill-conceived and unquestioned it is. I just feel like Cameron does whatever he feels like will make him more money, at least nowadays. Agghhh... A man who went from creating movies about time-traveling robot assassins and aliens that burst out of people’s stomachs has been reduced to making manipulative movies about historical events with romance novel plots inserted into them and stories about giant blue fairies on a magical planet...

I know it sounds like a really hate Cameron, but keep in mind he is just one among a list of possible candidates I could have used to illustrate this point. I was thinking about referring to Bill Gates. But who hasn’t done that? Not to mention he has nothing to do with movies.

Yes, there are cruel businessmen out there that wrongfully try to empty our wallets. And yes, Lucas takes more heat from it because he made Star Wars.

Mach5Mike
IMach5Mike'm kind of in the middle on this subject, but I will say that I respect him. Regardless of how you feel about how he has taken the direction of his franchise (but to be fair, what major franchise hasn't been oversaturated in other forms of media?), you at least have to give him credit for literally creating an entire universe, which is definitely no small feat. I will also revere him for finishing the franchise despite how the fans felt after Episode I (which I did not have a problem with, and that goes for the rest of the prequel trilogy with the exception being Jar Jar Binks' existence) I can't say that I love the guy, but I know that I don't hate him (hate is such a strong word, and it should only be used for directors that deserve it, like for whoever directed Dragonball Evolution)

Hate is a strong word. And its word that I have reserved only for 3-D, taxes, Hitler, tail-gaters, people who text while they're driving, and my mothe... Wow, I am full of hate. I guess I didn’t litsen to Yoda very well...

Joking aside, I do think that’s a good point. Even though he makes me mad because he has never released the original Star Wars films since he made the special editions (Which could easily reduce the anger level of Star Wars fans in half along with easily making him millions of dollars in the process...), I can’t say I hate the same man that actually brought us Star Wars.

Without him, what would we really love in life without Star Wars? It seems to me that people are more concerned that they would have nothing to hate in life without George Lucas.

Listen to Master Yoda you must. Hate is just bad.

Ben
Ben SingerWhile I admire his initial drive for getting Star Wars started despite all the odds, this is something any successful filmmaker has to go through, and I think he gets too much credit for the creation of Star Wars. The first two films were a much more collaborative process than Jedi and the prequels. Heck, they didn't end up anything like he originally planned at all, really. I largely credit the popularity and depth of Star Wars to Irvin Kershner, director of Empire. What kills me is that once he found out how much cash he could make off Star Wars, he ran with the money schemes and never looked back. (Fuckin Ewoks...) Star Wars wasn't even close to a money-making plan to begin with. It was a crazy and bizarre passion project. So in a way it seems he's shoved all the original principles of the series out the window on account of cold hard cash. Not saying making cash is bad! For all I know I might've done the same thing. It's important for a smart, productive film maker to make money. He is an absolutely GENIUS business man, I'll give him that. Tricking FOX to hand over merchandise rights rather than funds for Empire probably goes down as one of the gutsiest and most profitable moves in cinematic history. But I think Red Letter Media put it best when they said Lucas doesn't seem to understand what Star Wars really meant. Yoda wielding a lightsaber and jumping around having a hard time trying to hit Christopher Lee, for example, destroys much of what Yoda meant in the originals. Sure, the prequels disgraced the originals, but they're simply bad films even if you took the Star Wars brand away. Though I have to admit I don't think Menace was AS bad as people make it out to be. It's still a convoluted mess of a movie, sure, but at least it still felt like Star Wars. But Sith is so freakin boring and dark in weird, unnecessary ways, and Clones is one of the worst written films in cinematic history. Ugh. I don't think Lucas got lazy per say... aside from whenever he scribbled the script for Clones... I think he just wanted to appeal to as massive of an audience as he could for their money and things just got out of hand.

Boy did things get out of hand... Sixty years ago I don’t think anybody could have imagined that you could possibly use a film to sell all every single piece of merchandise that existed on the market.

But this is both a good thing and a bad thing. I’ll be the first to tell you Lucas didn’t ruin my life because of the prequels. He ruined my life by somehow tainting his products with some drug-like substance that makes me want to buy anything and everything that has Star Wars stamped on the front of it.

My addiction has cost me six marriages, my entire life savings, and all the room in my house. They seriously need a rehab center of Star Wars afflicted addicts...

Just kidding there, but seriously guys. When you have a franchise like that, George Lucas or not, expect the intentions of the people who make these highly demanded products to go down a little bit in good content. Kindness can only be stretched so far until business interests start coming in. And like Ben said, making money is not a bad thing. George Lucas might deserve it just for creating Star Wars back in 1977.

However, I still think Lucas was originally responsible for the majority of Star War’s genius. In the beginning...

American Grafitti and THX 1138 act as proof to that. I think his own success with Star Wars is what ultimately led to the loss of his former mastery. After Return of the Jedi, he didn’t really need to be creative anymore. He knew if he stamped Star Wars on the front of anything, it would sell.

It’s just overall laziness I think. If he didn’t have the money or the power he has now, I think he would be a completely different person.

 

So there's their respones. You want to know about mine? 

Well, considering this is another thing that deals with Star Wars, I have determined it is an impossible task to sum up an answer in a short sentence.

So bear with me, and let me cover this as best as I can.

samuraispartan700 (me)

No matter what he does, no matter what he will do, I will come out and say that still I love George Lucas. That being said however, please keep in mind that is GEORGE LUCAS.

You know, the young pioneering filmmaker who won several academy awards for American Graffitti and was responsible for creating the timeless Star Wars Trilogy, and in doing so, revolutionized filmmaking? Yeah that guy.

Not the man that goes by the same name nowadays and treats his own fans with neglect and completely disregards anyone who even thinks about questionings his reasoning.

Not to mention the fact that this other “George Lucas” just doesn’t seem to live under the same restraints that made the real George Lucas such a creative and inspiring artist. And to add to the shit-pile, for whatever reason, nobody seems to have the will to say no to this other George Lucas. And despite making lesser quality work, he still seems to be constantly greeted with huge sums of money he does not even need or deserve.

But, I will give still this other George Lucas credit on a few things. I truly think he believes some of the tampering he does to his predecessor’s work are changes that need to be made. I also believe that this man still views himself as the small guy defying the corporate giants of Hollywood. He is tenacious, determined, and is willing to fight for his work.

However, I think these positive traits are greatly misdirected,do more harm than good to his reputation.

No matter how hard I try to look at it in any other way, the painful, unfortunate, and extreme irony in this whole situation is the fact that Lucas has literally become the ultimate analogy to the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker.

George Lucas

So symbolic...

He “Became the very thing he swore to destroy” which in this case, is an oppressive and un-felling film industrialist. He practically became the most powerful man in Hollywood over-night, which was the very last thing he wanted to end up becoming. In this, Lucas is a tragic example of a man that was burned alive by the success of his own work.

Because when I really think about it, could any of us manage to carry the weight of Star Wars without losing a little bit of ourselves in the process? I don’t think I would.

All in all, I don’t hate George Lucas because of the Greedo shot first incident, Jar-Jar Binks, the special additions, the prequel trilogy, or the Ewoks. The one thing that has truly made me lose respect for Lucas is his loss of respect for us, his fans.

Lucas is now the person he never wanted to be and he knows it. He never wanted Star Wars to turn him into who he is now, and I he think he blames Star Wars fans for his fall from grace. With that said, it’s reasonable to assume he has a natural disregard towards Star Wars fans.

Sometimes I can’t blame him. There have been several cases where overly-invested and entitled fans will allow one disappointing product ruin an entire experience for them. They don’t look at the positives and do not consider an artist’s own vision. And because of their own expectations, fans can easily allow themselves to become extremely harsh and extremely unforgiving people. In other words, people can be absolute dick-kicking, ball-breaking, troll-rolling, cock-cutting, back-stabbing, douche bags sometimes. To make matters worse, some people often base their criticisms purely on what others have already said or will just say they hate it without a good explanation as to why. And that does a lot more harm to your cause than good.

So, I guess you can say we fans are partly to blame for allowing ourselves to forget what Star Wars is really all about. All too often, people with myself included, make Star Wars a subject of hate. Spend time in any conversation relating to Star Wars for no more than a minute and I personally guarantee you that somebody is going to make a jab at the prequels or the special editions. It’s just commonplace now.

What about Darth Vader before he was space Jesus? What about all the toy-lightsaber fights you had with your friends when you were a kid? What about the times you spent months to years trying to find that one limited edition Boba Fett action figure? What about all the times you saw the prequel movies twice even though you knew they were bad? What about those moments? What happened to loving Star Wars? Are we equally responsible for forgetting what Star Wars is really about? I think so.

You don’t need a reminder every thirty seconds to tell you that the prequels and the changes made to the originals were bad. I think we are all intelligent enough to know that they were just big mistakes that we all have to live with. In short, I think the more we present ourselves as people who respect the franchise and not hate it, the more people will listen.

So here is my mission. I believe that until George Lucas re-releases the ORIGINAL STAR WARS FILMS (Ones with no special features, no CGI, no 3-D, and with no additional or edited scenes) fans will never accept that the George Lucas we all know and love still lives. That being said, WE MUST show him that his once loving and supportive fans are also still around. And we start by changing the way we look at Star Wars.

Darth Vader Needs You

...And to help George Lucas redeem himself.

Instead of making a point to say how much you wish George Lucas would die and go to hell, say that you wish that the real man that gave us some of the greatest and most touching stories ever made would return to save us from the evil galactic empire his alter-ego has created. Don’t give in to hate. That leads to the Darkside.

To sum up our situation and our cause, take this time to forget that you are reading a blog and try to go back in time when you were happy... Go back to the climax of Return of the Jedi, where Skywalker confronts Vader...

George! PLEASE!!!

George! PLEASE!!!

At this very moment, we the fans are playing the role of Luke Skywalker, Lucas playing the role of Darth Vader, and the Emperor representing the manifestation of Lucas’s greed, hate, and lack of empathy. We have beaten Lucas, and now, we are at the Emperor’s knees, feeling the pulse of a thousand watts of Force Lightning being pulsed through us in an endless onslaught of pain as we cry for Lucas’s help.... Will Lucas come to save us? Will he release the ORIGINAL Star Wars films? Will find his true self? Will he die a redeemed man?

It’s ultimately up to him, but it’s up to us to let him know that!!!

 

As always, I am going to have to close on this emotional high note and give a big thank-you for reading this article!

I am going to keep cranking out some more Star Wars, so don’t worry! And while I am doing that, here are a few things I would like to know.

  • Who is the most badass character in the Star Wars Universe?
  • Are there any Star Wars games you would like a review on?
  • How has Star Wars impacted our culture?
  • How has Star Wars made a difference in your life?

I know some of you wanted to participate, so here is your chance! Comment and let me know!!!

Other than that, I think its a wrap. Remember what I said about changing the way we look at Star Wars and try to make a difference!!! And most importantly of all, the Force will be with you... Always...

Thank-you for reading and stay screwy!!!

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