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Skywalking Mass Market Paperback – April 12, 1984

4.6 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dale Pollock is president of Peak Productions and a successful producer of twelve feature films (which have received four Academy Award nominations). A former film critic for Daily Variety and chief film reporter for the Los Angeles Times, he lives in Los Angeles.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (April 12, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345314190
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345314192
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,360,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In times past the function of biographies was generally to elevate their subjects to noble heights and focus on the individuals accomplishments. In modern times the function of biographies often seems to be to tear down their subjects, ruthlessly exposing every flaw and possible past transgression of the person under examination. This biography of film director/producer George Lucas is an evenhanded look at his life and work, even if some of the conclusions it's author arrives at are necessarily personal rather than certifiably factual in nature.
The book is peppered with many quotes from Lucas himself as well as Spielberg, Coppola, Milius and others which lends it a feeling of legitimacy which I believe is probably lacking from other, less sympathetic biographies. Lucas himself is quite forthcoming about his feelings on his own work and what he sees as his limitations as a director. His comments on Hollywood were amusing if understandably bitter, especially for someone who has worked there in the past.
If one omits his earliest film shorts such as the student version of THX 1138 and the documentary Filmmaker, Lucas has only directed three films in his career, THX 1138, American Grafitti and Star Wars. His function since that last mega-smash has primarily been as producer and head of the state-of-the-art Skywalker Ranch production facilities up in scenic Northern California. He has also helped finance a number of less "mainstream" works such as Kurosawa's Kagemusha. It's unfortunately probably true that Lucas has never been taken seriously by many critics ever since Star Wars because that film was so consciously intended as a "kids movie".
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Format: Paperback
I'm a Star Wars fan, and always wondered what kind of person George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, was. This book pretty much answered any and all questions I had about the Master Jedi himself.
Pollock's narrative of Lucas's life begins with George's childhood, then proceeds into his rebellious teen years--which was the inspiration for American Graffiti--then straight onto Lucas' student filmmaker years and finally to his highly successful movie career. The latter of which is when Star Wars and its sequels were produced and established Lucas as one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of the medium.
The book offers a balanced, journalistic account of Lucas' life, with very little opinion injected into the book. Some places Pollock seems to praise Lucas too much, but it's nothing too extreme.
The only real problem is that the book was written during the production of Return of the Jedi, when Skywalker Ranch wasn't finished, George was still married to first wife Marcia, and before the flops Willow and Howard the Duck. I read the revised edition which has an intro mentioning these things, but the book's main narrative is about what's happened to Lucas up to 1983.
I'd recommend this book to any fan of Star Wars, and anyone else curious about Lucas himself.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For the first 3/4ths of this book, the information is gold. Author Dale Pollock details Lucas's life from birth through the beginning of Return of the Jedi and, having been given access to the man himself, you get a wealth of quotes and personal insights. Even better, this is a warts-and-all sort of look. No criticisms are held back, but rather than coming off in negative light, it just makes everyone look human - and I find that far more refreshing than the sugar-coated bios most filmmakers manipulate for themselves.

The most packed sections deal with American Graffiti and A New Hope, and again, the information is fantastic - especially the details on the two years of drafts for ANH. Raiders and Empire definitely could have been given more, but at that point, Lucas was more of a hands off producer, and in many ways, they don't add to the story.

So why four stars? As you hit the 3/4 mark, you suddenly begin to wonder how the book is going to fill up its remaining quarter, since you're up to Jedi in the history. What follows is a really painful to read character analysis of George Lucas that literally tries to analyze him down to an atomic level. It's wildly bipolar - you'll regularly come across sentences like "Lucas is one of the greatest producers in the world - but many think him a subpar director, and a bad husband." Also, it gets REALLY, REALLY gossipy, with just about everyone coming out of the woodwork to criticize him over anything, and then letting Lucas respond. I'm all for the behind the scenes stuff, especially when it's revealing, but this just feels exploitative. And it goes on, and on, and on, and on...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was really well written, but almost all of the book was written in the early '80s and then the author added a section right before episode 1 was released in the late '90s. It gives a really good snapshot of the man during the original Star Wars, and how he got there. It does not include the reception of the prequels or his thoughts on those movies. Also note that it's obvious that the author didn't interview Lucas for the added section; he just took quotes from Lucas to other people, so it's not as insightful as the rest of the book.
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