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The People Vs George Lucas

4.0 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

They gave him their love, their money and their online parodies. He gave them...the prequels. The passion the original STAR WARS trilogy inspires in its fans is unparalleled; but when it comes to George Lucas himself, many have found their ardor has cooled into a complicated love-hate relationship. This hilarious, heartfelt documentary delves deep into Lucas’s cultural legacy. Utilizing interviews taken from over 600 hours of footage, and peppered with extraordinary STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES re-creations lovingly immortalized in song, needlepoint, Lego, claymation, puppets and papier-mâché, above all this film asks the question: who truly owns that galaxy far, far away—the man who created it, or the fans who worship it?

There are plenty of film franchises with dedicated followings, but for pure fanaticism, it's hard to imagine Harry Potter devotees, swooning Twilight lovers, or even Trekkies surpassing the Star Wars enthusiasts seen in writer-director Alexandre O. Philippe's The People vs. George Lucas. Although there are other elements in this thoroughly entertaining documentary--a few details about creator-writer-director George Lucas's pre-Star Wars years, comments from some well-known talking heads, archival interviews with Lucas himself--it's the fans who provide the most amusing, frightening ("Get a life, people!" comes to mind), and occasionally insightful moments. These are folks who know every line, every scene, indeed every shot, of the first three films in the series (especially Episode IV, A New Hope, and Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back) by heart. The number and variety of fan re-creations of Episode IV in every conceivable medium (film, animation, Claymation, puppets, LEGO, and on and on) is staggering, but even more extraordinary is the kind of proprietary attitude these fans adopted. When Lucas, who'd said that he wasn't completely satisfied with the original version, released a slightly altered cut in 1997, the faithful responded as if the guy had pilfered their childhoods. Talk about obsessed: one viewer notes disapprovingly that in the newer edit, the theme music begins two frames sooner; meanwhile, a minor change in a scene in which Han Solo exchanges gunfire with a bounty hunter is examined as if it were the Zapruder film, earning Lucas nothing but scorn and derision. Forget the fact that Lucas owned the movie and was entitled to do anything he pleased with it. These objections weren't simply the result of "super-nerd nitpicking," but rather a reaction to what they saw as a deliberate betrayal, and from then on, the fans regarded Lucas with a mixture of suspicion and disappointment (don't even get them started on the three prequels that were released starting in 1999, and the easy target that was Jar Jar Binks, one of the most hated characters in all of filmdom). There's a good deal of ranting going on here, but there are some good points made as well. It's hardly coincidental that for the first three movies Lucas relied to some extent on various collaborators, while the next, inarguably inferior three were his responsibility alone; it may also be true that the astounding success of the franchise robbed Lucas of his creativity and turned him into the kind of big businessman he'd always vowed not to be. But in the end, the film is rather poignant, as all (well, most) is forgiven. After all, they wouldn't complain if they didn't care. --Sam Graham

Special Features

• Poetry Slam Selections
• Gary Kurtz Interview
• Music Video
• Filmmaker Commentary
• The People vs STAR WARS 3D

Product Details

  • Actors: John Barger, Roger Ebert
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: October 25, 2011
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,035 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Patrick Naugle, DVD Verdict --The People vs. George Lucas is essentially one long rant for the fans. Although it certainly falls on the side of letting art stay as it was originally created--e.g. "George, stop mucking around with your movies!"--it also attempts to lend a sympathetic tone to Lucas and his revisions. Although the man has made fans furious with his tinkering (and become the one thing he always loathed: a businessman), moviegoers also wouldn't have their beloved Star Wars universe without his vision and filmic genius. On one hand, the Star Wars movies are owned by Lucas, and he should be allowed to do whatever he wants with them. But is it hypocritical for a man who stood up against Ted Turner for colorizing classic movies be allowed to rewrite his own cinematic history? Weighty questions, indeed.

Lest this sound like a downer of a film, The People vs. George Lucas is also a celebration of the entire Star Wars franchise; there are interviews with fans, fan films (some good, some...not so good), fan videos, fan writings (Wookie Poetry!), and fan appreciation for everything George has given us. Director Alexandre O. Philippe (in his first major film) has given a good portion of runtime to defending Lucas and his creations (well, except for Jar Jar Binks). Interview subjects run the gamut from writer Neil Gaiman (Neverwhere) and producer Gary Kurtz (The Empire Strikes Back), to casual fans and fan filmmakers, all offering their personal opinions on the subject. While I wouldn't consider this an exhaustive dissertation on the Star Wars universe, it's certainly a fun look at how fans feel about Lucas and the decisions he's made.

When the dust finally settles, The People vs. George Lucas doesn't really provide any rock solid answers.
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I was eight years old when my dad finally got around to taking us to see Lucas's magnum opus in December of 1977. It was as much a part of my childhood as kick the can (remember that??) and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.

This documentary brilliantly illustrates the disillusionment so many of us have felt over the last fifteen years. From the poorly made judgment calls in the "special editions" to the introduction of midichlorians and Jar Jar, it's been a rocky number of years for us folks who remember how important and significant his little space opera was to our generation. This film speaks to us and, surprisingly, FOR us. The film acts as an advocate for the disillusioned, but also as an advocate for the man who is "the creator". It does a great job of playing devil's advocate and is surprisingly balanced as well. It's not 90 minutes of Lucas clearly illustrates the love/hate relationship we have. It's almost like the parental love/hate relationship. I've always loved my parents...but there were times I truly thought I hated them as well. The point being......he gave me some of the best memories of my youth. The original trilogy, Indiana Jones, a truckload of REALLY fun toys, and the desire to let my imagination fly to galaxies far far away....all thanks to him. Can I really bring myself to loathe him for letting Greedo shoot first??? The answer is yes....and no. Like any loving relationship, there are tons of grey areas. This film cleverly (and lovingly) sorts through those grey areas and provides a loving and light-hearted tribute to a creator/visionary, and those of us who love/hate the hell out of him.

Certainly a must see for those of you who cringed when the fridge was nuked, or cried out loud when Greedo shot first.
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Format: DVD
I hesitate to call "The People vs. George Lucas" a documentary film. It is more like a passionate love letter (and hate letter as well) from millions of "Star Wars" fans in the world. Though I enjoyed listening to what these fans have to say, I think for many avid fans living in the time of the internet, the film has nothing new to offer.

The considerable portion of the film's running time is spent on interviews with "Star Wars" fans and the "fan film" footage. And it seems most fans interviewed here are disappointed and even angered by the reissued "Star Wars" trilogy, and their prequels. It is easy to dismiss their complaints as nit-picking - "Who shot first - Han or Greedo?" - but the film suggests that there is something more to the voices of the disenchanted fans. What it is, however, "The People vs. George Lucas" does not tell us much.

Another disappointing thing about the film is that we are not allowed to hear much from the creators and artists. Not surprisingly George Lucas seems to have refused to be interviewed (he only appears in archive footage), and those who agreed to appear - including the writer Neil Gaiman and the "Star Wars" producer Gary Kurtz - reveal little, and is very guarded about what they say.

If nothing else, the film will be a visual record that will remind us of the excitement of the time when we first saw "Star Wars" back in 1977, and then "Episode 1." It was a massive cultural phenomenon, something we look back with nostalgia.
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I missed seeing this when it came to a few select theatres in my neck of the woods. The main movie is broken down into 4 segments or "episodes" as the authers did it. With a mix of fan reactions, interview footage with Lukas at various points in history.

Darkwater, HIRAM & thetraveler333 have the more in-depth reviews. Anything else I would write would echo most of what they wrote.

I did like the easter egg extras more then another reviewer did, particularly the fan reaction to the 3D versions. If there's one thing I would say that I would've liked the makers of this movie to delve into, possibly as another easter egg, is the expanded STAR WARS universe (Tales of the Jedi, the various novels, Legacy era, & soon the upcoming MMO) & how it relates to what Lukas has been doing. Hows the reaction on peoples ends on that equasion?

Regardless, if you're a STAR WARS fan, particularly if you're old enough to remember even 1 of the original movies (long) before Lukas began with the changes then you do yourself a disservice by not seeing or having this film in your collection.
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