The People vs. George Lucas (Alexandre O. Philippe, 2010): USA / England

Reviewed by Kathleen Amboy.  Viewed at the Ford Amphitheatre, Los Angeles Film Festival.

  Having lost faith in George Lucas since his CGI hatchet job on the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition, and from the Prequel debacle, I’m convinced the creative genius in George Lucas no longer exists.  The man that churned out the disastrous Prequel with its cheesy dialogue, hokey dramatization, and over-the-top CGI, morphed into some sort of Bizarro Man counterfeit.  Now I and many other fans have been happily vindicated with Alexandre O. Philippe’s case in point, The People vs. George Lucas.

In an attempt to explain George Lucas’ transformation from his nerdy film school days to the demigod of consumerism he is today, Philippe and his crew spent 3 1/2 years interviewing over 126 people, compiling over 600 hours of footage and then assembled his film into chapters.  The first chapter briefly explains Lucas’ beginnings from his childhood in Modesto to film school at USC, then his early successes with THX 1138 and American Graffiti, and ultimately the sleeper hit Star Wars.

To explain the enormous success that followed the Classic Trilogy and the cultural phenomenon that occurred, a multitude of die-hard fans are interviewed in the process, even Francis Ford Coppola – and then there’s the prequel to explain.  Most of the fans who grew up on the original Trilogy, back in the 70’s, loved the series so devotedly but felt betrayed by Lucas’s attempt to CGI the entire Prequel up the wazoo, not to mention the inferior writing, and casting.

These fans are serious, humorous, fanatical, and some are even scary.  One woman speaks to the camera and proclaims how George Lucas ruined her life, as the camera pans back, she stands alone in a room where every square inch is covered in Star Wars collectibles and says “my husband and son spend all of our money on Star Wars!”

With serious websites created, there’s an entire underworld of Star Wars fans who have re-created (and filmed) the entire Trilogy, scene by scene, in various art forms, with animation, Legos, or various dolls, while others have re-edited the entire Prequel, making it more palatable for those of us who find it offensive. 

After feeling hoodwinked by George’s tinkering and then release of the “Special Edition,” serious petitions were written, signed and sent to Mr. Lucas himself, requesting he release the original theatrical Classic Trilogy on DVD, to which his mind-blowing response was “the original negatives no longer exist.” 

George himself spoke before Congress many years ago against Ted Turner and his band of idiots who began the colorization process of many B & W classics.  Taking those films and altering them, removes their original value and context in film history – this is the same argument many fans have against Mr. Lucas.

It doesn’t stop with Star Wars, as the topic of Indiana Jones is brought up as well, since both franchises share the same fandom.  To equate the loathsome reaction by fans to the injustice of the highly intolerable Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a clip of South Park’s The China Problem is thrown in, specifically referring to the animated rape scene of Indiana Jones by an animated George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

The audience in the Ford Amphitheatre (a perfect venue for this screening) was lively and engaging, and we all laughed hysterically almost the entire 92 minutes.  Since the film is compiled very tongue-in-cheek, making it a lot of fun to watch, I’m thinking to myself, one would have to be a fan of the franchise in order to fully appreciate the dedication that went into The People vs. George Lucas.

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