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Friday, October 28, 2011

Did George Lucas Betray His Responsibility to the Fans?

Posted by Paul Constant on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Originally intended for release last year, The People Vs. George Lucas was finally released on DVD on Tuesday. It's a documentary about George Lucas's relationship with his films, his relationship with his fans, and his fans' relationship with him. If you've spent any time reading about Star Wars on the internet, you have at least a passing familiarity with the cases presented against Lucas—the prequels, the special editions, the shameless merchandising—but the documentary is structured in a clean, concise way.

This is a movie with a lot of talking heads. Star Wars fans, Neil Gaiman, fan filmmakers, haters—there must be dozens of interviews stringing this film together. Luckily, we don't have to look at a bunch of people talking, as the movie is interspersed with clips from probably over a hundred different Star Wars fan films, ranging from the goofy (people wearing pie plates as armor in their back yard) to the fascinating (someone who painted over consecutive frames from the movie, illustrating Darth Vader's thoughts as colorful sprays exploding around his head). It's a visually intriguing movie that avoids a lot of the pitfalls of novice documentarians.

I had a hard time with the conclusion of the film, which feels too pat and then concludes with a painful song about loving George Lucas that goes on far too long. (One of the benefits of a DVD release is that I can tell you to just stop watching as soon as the nasal voice kicks in at the end of the movie; you won't miss anything after that.) But on the whole, this is a worthwhile cinematic addition to the Star Wars phenomenon, unlike, say, the atrocious Fanboys.

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