Author Topic: Your Opinions of George Lucas  (Read 6107 times)

Offline Brian

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Your Opinions of George Lucas
« on: May 28, 2008, 03:57 PM »
I was just wondering what is everyone's opinion of George Lucas?  Sure, we all make the various jokes about George - but I've noticed (again recently with the new Indy) that a lot of people seem to blame him for anything wrong with these movies.  Granted, a lot of this probably started with TPM, and I think that Indy will suffer from that same sort of backlash as the fanbase seems to be really split on this recent movie.  TPM is probably more negative overall, but I can see the same type of situation.  Anyways, back to Lucas, what do you think of him really?  I guess, even though I don't agree with everything he has done/does (which you could say of everyone), I've always had some respect for him as he's been responsible in the creation of two of my favorite franchises (Star Wars and Indy).  With Star Wars in particular, he's really come up with what I think are some great characters/designs (obviously, with the help of many others).  Watching some of the specials (such as Empire of Dreams, or George Lucas' biography) recently again, its kind of nice watching those old days when he was working to first get Star Wars made - and then moving on to the rest of the OT.  As many people in those specials say, it is astonishing how he pushed movie making and special effects (and other areas) into a different realm.

Overall, I guess I am thankful for the ideas that George Lucas has brought to the big screen.  Star Wars (and also Indy) were movies that really had (and continue to, obviously) a big impact on my life and I never get tired of watching them.  Although I don't like the prequels as much as the OT, I still enjoy them for the most part (ROTS in particular is very good) - and I guess I've never been one of those "George Lucas raped my childhood" type of people.  Like I said, I'm not trying to be an apologist for Lucas - he's made decisions that we've all questioned - but I don't quite get the overall hatred some people seem to have for him.  Granted, a lot of it comes from online - where people are more passionate with their opinions and can be anonymous if they so choose - and some of it might be the fact that he does seem to be a stubborn person (he says as much I think) and treats things as "his movies" and does what he wants with them.  Just reading reviews since KOTCS was released last week, I've seen/heard a few instances of "you can tell Lucas got his hands on this part", or "Spielberg should have kept Lucas out of this" when referencing anything they disliked in the movie.  Anyways, I was just curious how people really feel about George Lucas and his contributions.  Is he more likely to deserve "credit" or "blame"?

Offline bamaker

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Re: Your Opinions of George Lucas
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2008, 04:15 PM »
I'll try to keep this clear and not rambling.

I'm pretty ambivalent towards George Lucas.  Don't know him as a person, only through his movies and his businesses.  I feel that on a personal level, he seems like somebody that would be extremely fascinating to talk to (and not just about his movies), or to just have as a buddy.  As a filmmaker, I do wish he had a better appreciation of the place his original films hold in the hearts & minds of his fans.  I think he had very good intentions when he began working on the OT:SE, but it should've only been an experiment and not a replacement.  The original message coming out of Lucasfilm that the OOT films were apocraphyl and should be ignored was a huge PR mistake.  Then, when he began working on the PT, I believe he had simply lost the touch -- and that happens to all of us, can't blame the guy for that.   His error has been in not recognizing what so many people see as obvious missteps in his films.  From the cutesy, fart jokes; to the ham-fisted love story of Anakin/Padme; to the dreadful death/birth scene at the end of ROTS, George did not put the professionals in place to help him make good decisions and he has to take the blame for that.  It's not a mistake to dream up Jar Jar, but it is a mistake to not get a true second opinion.

As a whole though, I gotta give the guy props for creating Star Wars, and releasing the reigns for ESB.  Those two films and the Luke/Vader struggle in ROTJ are the saga for me, all the rest is just the fat that I cut away from the meat and give to the dog, so to speak.

Offline Morgbug

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Re: Your Opinions of George Lucas
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2008, 04:31 PM »
I guess I'm torn on Lucas.  In part I'm thankful for the notion that he started those same two franchises you mention Brian - great concepts to be sure.  At the same time I'm frustrated with a lot of stuff of late. 

On the plus side the man is obviously fairly imaginative and creative and still is.  He's given some pretty good movie ideas out there that have been hugely successful.  But I still remember being at CIII around the convention center before it started and the dude running around the "Thank the Maker" pins.  Well, yeah, I do every time I buy something, but I'm not about to put on a pin and worship the dude.  He's just a very creative and very successful guy that I really know nothing about. 

On the negative side, I'm inclined to think he's a touch arrogant and a really crappy director.  I've never thought of him as a particularly great director anyway, more as a great creative mind/idea guy.  You can certainly detect what seem to be "George moments" in movies which now seem contrived and forced.  In the early Indy/SW movies the fun stuff seemed natural (R2-3PO banter; romance between Han/Leia; Indy humor) while the later stuff is just forced, boring, lame (later/earlier R2-3PO banter, the hideous "connection" between Anakin-Padme).  I take those to be signs of weaker direction or a change over the years and trying to replicate what isn't really there now. 

I'm also fairly miffed when he goes back to change things in movies.  Yeah, they're his property, I know.  And I actually appreciate going back and cleaning up lots of the technical aspects of the original movies.  But I really see no need of revisionist history to make the OT and PT fit, or changing aspects of the OT to be more politically correct.  Dude, you got rich because of the originals, leave well enough alone.  I just don't see the need and it all feels to Turner-ish with the colorization of classics.  Blech. 

For the most part though, I don't care, much as he doesn't seem to care about the fan base.  Intellectually the movies are his property to do with as he pleases.  So be it, I'll enjoy the originals.  I really don't give the guy that much thought usually.
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Offline Brian

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Re: Your Opinions of George Lucas
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2008, 04:41 PM »
On the negative side, I'm inclined to think he's a touch arrogant and a really crappy director.  I've never thought of him as a particularly great director anyway, more as a great creative mind/idea guy.  You can certainly detect what seem to be "George moments" in movies which now seem contrived and forced.  In the early Indy/SW movies the fun stuff seemed natural (R2-3PO banter; romance between Han/Leia; Indy humor) while the later stuff is just forced, boring, lame (later/earlier R2-3PO banter, the hideous "connection" between Anakin-Padme).  I take those to be signs of weaker direction or a change over the years and trying to replicate what isn't really there now.

Those are good points Brent, and kind of express how I feel on the negative side of Lucas as well.  I think, particularly after the OT success, that he maybe has become more arrogant.  Plus, I've always looked at him more of a really great creative mind/idea guy.  Your examples of the natural fun stuff of the OT (and Indy) compared to the more forced examples in the PT are right on the money.  Its been said before, and is a whole other discussion, but for as much as I can still enjoy most of the PT - it doesn't feel as "Star Warsy" to me as the OT a lot of times.  Not trying to bash the prequels, I enjoy them too, but they never feel quite the same to me.

Offline Master_Phruby

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Re: Your Opinions of George Lucas
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2008, 06:09 PM »
Good thread Brian. I was going to start up a thread like this. It's funny how we seem to hate everything that comes out of LucasFilm but we continue to see the movies and buy the toys. Why? Why are we buying thousands of clone troopers from a series of movies we hate? Why are we buying multiples of every Indy figure if the franchise sucks? It's strange how the internet fan boy will find fault in everything but continue to loyally support it.

You see the same kind of love/hate relationship going on over at the Disney forums. People criticize everything Disney and the Imagineers build and do but continue to buy everything Disney and go to the parks. The haterid for anything Imagineers build has finally gotten the Imagineers upset enough to speak out about how everything they do is always wrong. Yet the studies they do with the people that actually go to the parks shows the Imagineers are doing things right.

The same thing is happening with Lucasfilm. If people actually hate the prequels and Indy, why do these franchises make so much money? Why are they so successful? I think in large, Lucasfilm has figured out to pretty much ignore the internet fanboys and go with the sales figures for how well they are doing. I think Disney is starting to do the same.

The internet fanboys have no one to blame except themselves for being so two faced. If you don't like the movies, don't buy the marketing tie-ins (ie toys). The corporations will figure out something is wrong when they can't sell to their market and will make changes. Right now Lucas and Disney have no reason to change.
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Offline Matt_Fury

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Re: Your Opinions of George Lucas
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2008, 06:47 PM »
I think he's a great story teller and has some wonderful ideas in his head.  I think he's not very good at writing scripts and he definitely is not the best director out there.
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Offline efranks

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Re: Your Opinions of George Lucas
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2008, 09:19 PM »
I think George Lucas is a genius.  And a geek. 

I don't think he's one of the best writers or directors but he's a great idea man.  Have you ever met someone that was incredibly smart but maybe wasn't the most savvy person when it came to interacting with the "normal" people or dealing with some basic common sense stuff?  I think that's him to a certain extent.

One of my favorite quotes from Armageddon is by Bruce Willis' character when he says " You're NASA for cryin' out loud, you put a man on the moon, you're geniuses! You're the guys that think this **** up!"   Lucas is the guy that thinks **** up and for that he's really good.  And in order to pull off what he's dreamt up, he surrounds himself with some of the best people in the business.  If it weren't for his ideas on Star Wars we wouldn't have ILM and probably a lot of films that have been possible due to the software and techniques that they've invented over the years.

If he would have explained his vision for the prequels but then let someone else write and direct it I think they could have been better.  The themes and events didn't have to change, but the dialog could have been better and with a different director could have come across much better.  Still, I really enjoy the Prequel Trilogy, even TPM.

As for the ideas in KotCS, they were pretty good IMO.  The dialog seemed natural throughout the film and the actors seemed to have fun.  That's the input of Spielberg and Koepp (who wrote the screenplay).  I can only imagine what it would have been like if Lucas had written and directed.  Sure, there were a couple things about it I didn't like but I can't say for sure that they were due to Lucas sticking his finger in the mix.  After all, Lucas, Spielberg, and Ford all had input on the story, I'm sure if Spielberg and/or Ford had any huge problem with some aspect they could have overruled Lucas on it.  So I'm not going to blame any parts of Indy that I didn't like on just Lucas. 

If Lucas were to sit around and think **** up and then turn it over to trusted writers and directors I think he could churn out hit movies from now till he decided to stop.  But writing and directing his own stuff?  I'm not sure.  It'll definitely be interesting to see what happens with the Clone Wars cartoon this year and the live action show when/if it comes around. 

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Offline Greg

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Re: Your Opinions of George Lucas
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2008, 10:10 PM »
I think he could stand to lose some weight. His neck looks terrible.

Offline inadvertent imitation

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Re: Your Opinions of George Lucas
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2008, 11:22 PM »
He's an excellent idea man, writer, and editor, but not so great of a director.  I kind of feel that, during the making of Return of the Jedi, he became more interested in being a businessman/making a buck than in storytelling. Whether that buck came from action figures/toys or ILM, LucasArts, and the like with the technologies they've created is open to interpretation.

I guess he might feel a little painted into the corner by Star Wars and Indy, but they're popular, so just as well make all the cash off of them you can while you can. I'd be doing the same thing in his position.
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Offline Darth Broem

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Re: Your Opinions of George Lucas
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2008, 06:39 PM »
I always wonder this to.  How much does the "fan" really hate whatever it is they are complaining about?  For instance I don't like a lot of things with the prequels but for the most part I like it overall.  There are elements I don't like and some that I cringe at but I don't "hate" those films or "hate" the elements.  They are not my favorite.  I wish they could have been better but I am okay with it in the end.  It's a movie or series that I like/love so I continue to buy from it.  Even though a lot of people gripe about the prequels I bet most of them went out and bought the movies and watched them a zillion times.  Of course they go out and buy the toys as well. 

As far as Lucas himself goes.  I like him for the most part.  He is definately a creative and sucessful person.  Most of his moves make him that much more richer.  It's kind of hard to argue with the success he generates.  People act like he is dumb but yet his films gross hundreds of millions of dollars and so does the merchandise. I wish I could be that "dumb".  Yeah, I wish he would do things differently, but overall I am fine with the prequels and the new Indy film.  They are certainly entertaining films to view.  No they are not the best stories ever told but for the most part they are fun to watch.  I think there must be a vast number of people that agree with that or the films and merchandise would not do that well.   

He does come accross as arogant at times but for a billionaire he seems like a pretty decent guy.  I wish he had a better attitude about the original Star Wars trilogy.  Why he does not is very odd to me.   Anyway I don't worship the guy at all, but he is hardly the idiot that people seem to try and make him out to be.  I am okay with him. 

Offline CHEWIE

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Re: Your Opinions of George Lucas
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2008, 06:52 PM »
I think that George Lucas is one of the most creative individuals in the world today... or at least that has made it "big."  And his success is because of a combination of creativity, hard work and even some luck. 

There's some things that I would have done differently with the prequels (and the OT for that matter) but I think that everyone would have done things their own way... it's kind of funny actually when people say "Lucas sucks" though because they really don't have a leg to stand on...  honestly - who on Earth has outdone him?  Nobody.

Offline David

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Re: Your Opinions of George Lucas
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2008, 11:18 PM »
I think that George Lucas is one of the most creative individuals in the world today... or at least that has made it "big." 

All his creativity must live in that neck.

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Offline Greg

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Re: Your Opinions of George Lucas
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2008, 11:32 PM »
I think that George Lucas is one of the most creative individuals in the world today... or at least that has made it "big." 

All his creativity must live in that neck.

Funniest thing I've read all day. Nicely done, and much props to you sir!

Offline Darth_Anton

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Re: Your Opinions of George Lucas
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2008, 09:38 AM »
Here's the deal;

He's past his prime. Lucas had his day, but he's never been the same since his divorce and the start of his family. Creatively, no doubt he's lost his edge. It happens with age. However, there is no reason why we can't celebrate the accomplishments of a man who, to this day, still holds an extraordinary vision.
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Offline speedermike

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Re: Your Opinions of George Lucas
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2008, 10:55 PM »
You know what I admire about him? With all of his money, he could have surgery to take care of that neck, but he doesn't!  The dude is bold!
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