May 29th, 2008

George Lucas: A Modern Movie Genius. Or, Three Great Movies in 46 Attempts Over 31 Years.

Posted by natdavauer in Uncategorized

Prior to the mid 1980’s George Lucas was the greatest movie genius ever. He basically created the trilogy as we know it. the fantasy adventure movie series that you can watch over and over and over and then play dress up and watch again. But that all ended in 1989 after The Last Crusade, or arguably, in 1981 after Raiders of the Lost Arc. Let’s face it, Return of the Jedi, Temple of Doom and Last Crusade weren’t great movies. Each one was an unsuccessful attempt at recapturing a prior movie. That means he really only wrote great stories for three movies ever. Then he wrote three mediocre stories (ROTJ, Temple and Crusade) that we’ll give a pass because we love the idea of the trilogy and they were made close enough to the others that it at least looked the same story and had the same people in it. Then he made three shit movies in the form of Star Wars prequels. Clearly, too much time had passed, too much money had been made and he had lost all perspective on what was cool about the cool movies he had made. Now he has made Kingdom of the Crystal Suck. We’ll get to that later. He is listed as having writing credits on over 40 projects since Raiders. Every single one but three of them are some spin off of Star Wars or Indiana Jones.

1. Captain EO. A weirdo movie starring Michael Jackson as Captain EO (really? yes really!)
2. Willow. Not bad. Probably the best thing to happen to midgets since R2D2.
3. Radioland Murders. A storyline I actually think is better than all the prequels combined.

So basically, he’s exclusively been beating this horse since 1977 when he wrote Star Wars. Before that, he had vision. He did American Graffiti, a social commentary that won academy awards. He did THX1138 a true scil-fi movie that investigates the what-if future that is heavily borrowed from by movies like The Matrix. My point is that he used to have a variety of ideas. And not just any ideas, he had a variety of good ideas. Star Wars was supposed to be just one of the ideas he had. A space movie that was more like old cowboy serial novels than it was like Buck Rogers or other sci-fi of the time. The problem being that it was so successful that he never got back to his pre-Star Wars self. After that movie, his life became a single track where the goal was to churn out as many Star Wars related ideas as possible. The Indiana Jones thing is actually a smaller version of the Star Wars thing contained within the Star Wars thing. It’s his one truly good idea since Star Wars and it just became another successful idea becomes bad idea factory story. So, 31 years go by, 46 stories are imagined and 43 of them are about Star Wars or Indiana Jones.

I don’t think he ever wanted it to be this way either. He wanted to be an art house film maker. He wanted to make movies with clever ideas that said something we could all relate to. Like any good art student, he wanted to make a statement about the world and money be damned. One possible explanation for The Crystal Skull is that he is getting back at us. We made these movies this popular and in turn it made him so successful he was unable to make it back to his real film maker self. He had to keep meeting our obsessed, fanatical demand for more Star Wars and Indiana Jones. It didn’t matter if it was a good idea, we needed our fix. The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a punishment bestowed upon all of us for making George Lucas what he is: A fat, rich, chin-less Star Wars/Inidiana Jones factory that can only churn out a rehashed 30 year old idea over and over and over and over.

“Look at what you’ve done to me! Now sit there for two hours and suffer the horror that is this movie! You like your precious little Indy do you? Well here he his talking to an alien. Take that. You can make fun of me all you want, but I am still the god of your geeky worlds and i can crush you like a bug with scenes of animated gophers and flying nuked refrigerators! it may be a lame, played out world but it is my lame, played out world and you are just tourists. Maybe you shouldn’t have been so obsessed with the good ideas when I had them. Maybe you shouldn’t have painted your car like a land speeder. Maybe you shouldn’t have pretended your prom date was Slave Leia. Maybe you shouldn’t have spent months building a Bobba Fett costume when you’re 35 years old. But you did, and now you are my slave.”

George Lucas has basically become Darth Vader. He was supposed to be something better. He had greatness in his blood, but then he got mutilated by fame and the power of holding your own merchandising rights and became the dark lord of his own empire. Bitter that he is not loved for being an artist, he travels the galaxy destroying audiences with his Death Star crappy movie ray.

“No! They’re a peaceful audience… they have no weapons!”

“Initiate preview sequence. Begin movie.”


My only hope is that we can all be there next to him at the end with ILM and Lucasfilm crumbling around us. We shave off his beard that’s supposed to make him look like he has a chin but isn’t fooling anyone and see him for the genius he once was. He tells us thank you and to try and save ourselves, but we insist on saving him too. We take him home and burn him on a giant pyre and there is no party that follows. There are no muppet bears playing the congas. We don’t go out and run into the girl we broke up with a long time ago and marry her. There is definitely no hint that in a decade or two we will meet young George Lucas and learn about how he became old George Lucas. It is over. It’s the end.