‘The People Vs George Lucas’ is listed as a documentary. However, after watching to the half-mark point of the film I realized that it nothing more than a showcase for people to either bitch or wax poetic about Star Wars. It is also compiled with multiple interviews with fans and a few celebs, with archival footage of Lucas, interspersed with scenes from fan created recreation or parody of Star Wars.
The film is separated by different sections or ‘Episodes’ as they call them (sooo clever), going from the beginnings of fandom to the retaliation brought on by the prequel films. The basic idea of the film should be to explore exactly why people have turned on Lucas and what it says about the culture of movie worship. That is interesting and could have well been an insightful commentary on this subgenre of society. If you can tell by my words; that is not what you get with ‘The People Vs George Lucas’.
While they do address a bit of that topic it is never fully explored in any meaningful way. The movie plays out like someone had an idea and got bored with it quickly. Then in a panic to finish it they asked people what they like/don’t like about Star Wars and then slapped together a bunch of Youtube clips in order to fill the runtime. Are some of the clips funny? I guess. But at the same time I could just go to Youtube and watch those videos if I wanted to (which I don’t).
When the film does divulge into the territory it’s name and theme was going for it uses ‘the Daily Show’ tactic of inserting clips of new Lucas against the contradiction of old Lucas in an attempt to show that he has changed his view since he was a college student. While that tactic works on ‘The Daily Show’ it doesn’t work here. Without having to watch the movie you can answer the question about Lucas. He was a wide-eyed college kid who like most budding film students, had a penchant for making art-house films. Then he struck it big with ‘Star Wars’ and the overwhelming response/crazed obsession and the piles of money changed the way he is. He will never again be the same kid making art films.
He also will never live up to what fans of the series have expected of him. He has made some really stupid decisions and the prequel films are all crap, but he also can’t appease the rabid horde of the fans that have built their lives and passions around a universe that has expanded so far beyond just a film. Star Wars is a lifestyle to some of these people and if that is what they want, more power to them. However, to act as if George has literally built a time machine, come to their homes in the night, rested his scruffy beard on the nape of their necks, and subsequently raped their childhoods. That line of logic is totally irrational and ridiculous.
When you boil it all down, these are films. They aren’t even perfect films. But for some reason or another you loved them as a kid and they stuck with you. And that is great, it is a wonderful thing when a film can have such an impact on a person. But regardless of what has happened since, you still have those memories. George Lucas didn’t take them from you. You still remember that Han shot first and that dewbacks weren’t as present as palm trees in Malibu. Your memories haven’t changed and just like Lucas, you’ve changed too.
It has been enough time now, anyone who gets truly upset over anything in the ‘Star Wars’ world should just let it go. People have become so wrapped up in their hatred of a man (misguided as he may be) that they are the ones who’ve let it sully their own experience with something they supposedly love so much.
With that lies the biggest problem with this film. It feels like nothing more than people stating their obvious dislikes without getting to the real discussion of what it means when art transcends the owner and becomes the property of the people. It feels like lazy filmmaking and it’s constant uneven tone can’t even stick within the ‘Episodes’ themselves. There is really nothing new or surprising about Lucas himself in this film. You will really not learn anything by watching this film other than to be exposed to the countless Star Wars fan films you could have easily found on a Google search.
The Good: some decent commentary and a few funny fan films
The Bad: Doesn’t really address the theme it sets up, disjointed content, mash up of clips/interviews of I love this or I hate that
Worth a watch: If you are a huge fan of Star Wars and must watch everything that comes out about it, you might find something in this to enjoy. Everyone else can skip it.