- 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: #3,904,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Skywalking Mass Market Paperback – April 12, 1984
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
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". Despite the fact that it was embraced by popular culture around the world due to its quality and mythic resonance it does tend to overwhelm his early, more adult-oriented films. Lucas himself is quite skeptical of some of the intellectual critical analysis that has been produced on what was intended to be an innocent hommage to 30's style action movie serials and not a "think piece". It's also surprising that so many people continue to consider the Star Wars films science-fiction when they really fall much more into the fantasy genre despite all the high-tech trappings.
Of course this book includes reams of trivia on the films, from the origin of all of the characters names in Star Wars to the details behind preview screenings and loads of very funny anecdotes that could only have been provided by an industry as crazy and high-stakes as Hollywood. Mostly however this is the story of a man from modest origins who managed to beat Hollywood at it's own game and achieve financial independence from "the system" through a combination of very savvy business choices, luck and a personal vision that happened to coincide with what a large number of the paying public wanted to see on screen.
This review refers to the original 1983 hardcover release of this book.
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.
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...
Then you hit the last chapter, cobbled together from what the author has read about the Phantom Menace's production (he clearly wasn't allowed within ten miles of George Lucas after the first publication), and it's laughable. These last two chapters, about 1/4th of the book, are terrible.
BUT! It's absolutely worth reading for the first 3/4ths for a great portrait of Lucas. Just stop reading when it starts getting stupid.