Thursday, June 24, 2010

Recommended Viewing: "The People vs George Lucas"

I caught a documentary screening at the L.A. Film Festival last night called The People vs George Lucas. It was a brilliant examination of the Star Wars franchise, its most ardent fans, and the disappointment/rage the fans felt when Lucas tinkered with the original trilogy and released the prequels.

I was a fairly casual fan of the series. I was born the year Episode IV: A New Hope first hit theaters, I rented the original trilogy on VHS as a kid, and my friends and I watched the films regularly in college. Oh, and I had a lifesize Han Solo cardboard cutout in my first apartment. And at one point I collected the cards... (Okay, upon further reflection, I was a medium-sized fan.) So I well remember the anticipation and frustration provoked by Lucas' misadventures in the late 1990s and early 2000s that seemed to undermine the greatness of his creation.

The People vs George Lucas is an often-hilarious and touching celebration of film and fandom, and poses the question: Does Lucas alone control the rights to his masterpiece, or, once something becomes a part of the global cultural zeitgeist, do the people who made it a success/were most affected by it have some say? *

As the film progressed, I changed my mind quite a few times regarding this central theme -- and that, to me, is a good indication of a well-produced and thoughtful documentary.

*edited to add: especially when it comes to the altered re-releases, which, some argue, fundamentally changed the characters (*cough* Han)


  1. I'm a Star Wars fan too, although I never owned a cut-out or cards. Now I'm jealous! This sounds like a really good film. I'm not a big fan of the prequels - they're okay, but they don't have the 'heart' of the original in my opinion.

  2. Hi Jemi,

    I completely agree. The crawl at the beginning of the prequels kind of says it all. Trade federation? Taxes? Wha--?

  3. That documentary sounds fascinating! I think almost every person in the world loved the first Star Wars Trilogy. We watched them a few years ago and realized how cheesy they were, but I still liked them. The new ones are awful. I saw each one once and that was enough to last a lifetime. :)

  4. Sarah,

    I'm trying to get hold of a lifesize Han Solo cardboard cutout. If you still have it name your price. Please contact me at

  5. Sorry Chris, but I gave it away several years ago. Best of luck in your search.