Film #202: THE PEOPLE VS. GEORGE LUCAS
The People vs. George Lucas
3 out of 5 stars
Full disclosure: I am not a STAR WARS fan. I’d go as far as saying that I liked the film the first time I saw it… when it was called THE HIDDEN FORTRESS. So, I’ve never understood the fan love for what is, in my opinion, a clichéd, plot-contradictory space opera. So, when I sat down to watch THE PEOPLE VS. GEORGE LUCAS I expected an experience much like I had when I say something like TREKKIES. And that is exactly what I got: a celebration and examination of a series by filmmakers, fans, and yes, critics. However, what’s interesting in this film is the arc that it takes. It starts with an explanation of the “importance” of the films (“It was a defining moment of my early life” & “It made me want to be a creative person”) and segues into how Lucas screwed it all up (the whole “George Lucas raped my childhood thing”) but then we come full circle to the interviewees saying, ‘Yeah, but… despite all of that, I still think he’s a genius and I’d see more of his films if he made them.’) Chris Gore sums it up perfectly when talking about the relationship between Lucas and his fans. He says, “I’d say like ‘battered wife’ is a better example. We keep getting beaten by Bad Dad but we go back to Bad Dad to get beaten some more.” I’d agree with that completely. As a documentary, THE PEOPLE VS. GEORGE LUCAS does what it sets out to do - it tables for discussion the age-old debate of “Art vs. Commerce.” It also brings up the conflict between an Artist’s right to shepherd his creation through time and the sense of ownership a culture has to that art. The filmmakers strike a nice balance in who they interview between professionals (I mean, c’mon.. Francis Ford Coppola?!?!), internet “pro” fans (I’m lookin’ at YOU, Jonathan London!), and “the fan on the street.” If offers a panoramic view of the fan landscape and it’s pretty damn fair. So, yeah… STAR WARS fans will eat this up with a spoon. Non-fans may even find a few things to ponder along the way. And for people who hate STAR WARS… Hell, you may even find yourself questioning your position as well. Well worth renting… and ruminating over.