It’s almost as though the director of The People vs. George Lucas crawled inside of my mind, or at least listened to a couple episodes of The PrincessCast, because this documentary pretty much sums up why I’m in a one-sided blood feud with George Lucas. It’s the perfect film for that Star Wars nerd who feels like, “Yes, I love Star Wars. I think George Lucas is a genius. And I really hate George Lucas.”
The thing is, when we say that we hate George Lucas, we don’t really hate George Lucas, and this film does a fantastic job with explaining just exactly what that means.
The documentary begins with a bit of background on the Star Wars movies, not only the massive impact that the movies have had on society, but also the trouble that Lucas had in bringing his vision to reality. The film then focuses on the individual nitpicks that Star Wars fans have about the films: the prequels, the remastered editions, and the fact that we can no longer get the original edition in any format. Liberally sprinkled throughout the serious topics in the film are hundreds of fan-made cartoons and video clips that give you a more comprehensive look inside the mind of Star Wars fandom. It’s both funny and disturbing.
Directed by Star Wars fan Alexandre Philippe, this funny and quirky film provides a well-rounded view of all of the issues surrounding Lucas’ treatment of the Star Wars films. He interviews older fans as well as young children who have only ever known the entire six-film continuity. Let’s face it, while we may hate him, the next generation loves Jar Jar.
Philippe also interviews fans from throughout Europe and Asia. From the people he interviews, it seems as though international Star Wars fans are much more forgiving than we are in the United States. Many of them see Lucas’ “enhancements” as his right to personal expression, whereas we see his changes as an affront to our cultural identity.
The People vs. George Lucas then highlights some information that many fans are unaware of: George Lucas’ testimony before Congress in 1988. You can and should read the entire background at Saving Star Wars:
“People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians, and if the laws of the United States continue to condone this behavior, history will surely classify us as a barbaric society. The preservation of our cultural heritage may not seem to be as politically sensitive an issue as “when life begins” or “when it should be appropriately terminated,” but it is important because it goes to the heart of what sets mankind apart. Creative expression is at the core of our humanness. Art is a distinctly human endeavor. We must have respect for it if we are to have any respect for the human race.” – George Lucas, 1988
Perhaps the best part of the movie comes toward the end, when a fantastic comparison is made. Lucas, in his own words, admits that his hatred of corporate filmmaking inadvertently turned him into his own corporation. In a brilliant move, The People vs. George Lucas compares Lucas’ journey to Darth Vader’s. In resisting the dark side, they’ve both succumbed to it.
There are so many other brilliant points and arguments made in this documentary that I can’t even describe them without writing a book. Let’s just say that The People vs. George Lucas is must-see viewing for every Star Wars fan, whatever your personal feelings on the subject may be. Check it out on Netflix ASAP!