In ‘Defense’ of George Lucas

Posted by Gia Manry on Jun 25, 2010 in Cinema |

In Defense of George Lucas
I’ve been thinking a lot about those often (and not unfairly) maligned films known collectively as the Star Wars prequels– episode I (The Phantom Menace), episode II (Attack of the Clones), and episode III (Revenge of the Sith) –due to the subject coming up in a couple of interviews, and I’ve been thinking about the anger and hatred George Lucas receives from a particular set of Star Wars fans. Here’s why he doesn’t deserve it…kind of.

First and foremost let me note that the Star Wars prequels are terrible, terrible films. I buck the trend in thinking that Revenge of the Sith is the worst of them where most people seem to think it’s the least bad. For me, no mediocre vision of the creation of Darth Vader is worth sitting through that horrendous script. I’m fairly certain that even a first-year film student could poop out better dialogue. Seriously.

However, it’s time for Star Wars fans to stop viewing George Lucas as an artist and more as a businessmen. In other words, George Lucas is less like Andy Warhol and more like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates circa 1995. An aggressive business man.

So, the Star Wars prequels. The primary thing we all need to keep in mind when we consider these films is that if you were old enough, at the time of The Phantom Menace’s release, to feel any nostalgia for the original Star Wars films…George Lucas did not make those movies for you. He made ’em for your young sibling, your niece or nephew, your kid, your grandkid. Somewhere along the line George Lucas realized that all current Star Wars fans were doomed to die someday, so if he counted on continued rereleases of slightly-tweaked versions of the original films, he would be f!#%ed. It would clearly be a better move in both the short and long run to build a new generation of Star Wars fans, who today would buy lunchboxes and action figures, and in ten or twenty years would buy continued rereleases of slightly-tweaked versions of all SIX movies.

When the man is 80, maybe he’ll do it again and finally make episodes 7, 8, and 9.

Pod Racer Toys
Now, sure, Lucas could have made prequels that would bring in the kids AND appease the adults. Pixar seems to do it once a month, and Dreamworks maybe once every few years. But why waste all that money on writers when he could spend that on the shiniest CG money could buy? Which is going to sell that pod racer toy, witty banter or a really cool CG pod race?

And that, in brief, is why Star Wars fans need to stop thinking of George Lucas as an idiot who destroyed something awesome, and instead as an intelligent businessman who destroyed something awesome.

Gia Manry is a professional writer specializing in geek culture. She currently writes primarily for Anime News Network, but also likes being followed on Twitter. She can be contacted via her website.

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