George Lucas Movies

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Films from George Lucas

George Lucas movies have made the bearded geek a billionaire in spite of himself. While he’s turned out some of the most iconic films in motion picture history, he’s also proven himself to be maddeningly inconsistent. The same guy who wrote the scripts for Star Wars and Indiana Jones also managed to beat us to death with clichés in the second Star Wars trilogy (actually the first trilogy, if you’re a stickler for chronology). But the money keeps rolling in, and lovesick fanboys will line up for a mouthful of whatever horse manure Lucas happens to be shoveling at the time. Oh well, at least he’s not a douche like James Cameron or Michael Bay.

As a producer, Lucas has been just as successful. While he does have Howard the Duck on his resume, he’s more than made up for that by overseeing films such as Body Heat, Willow, and the entire Indiana Jones franchise. Some guys have all the luck (copyright, Rod Stewart’s hair), and Lucas is the luckiest bastard since Arthur Miller nailed Marilyn Monroe.

George Lucas Movies

George Lucas the director has cranked out six films over a 34-year career, while the rest of his time has been devoted to producing, writing, fiddling with technology, and coming up with new methods for selling the same thing 50 different ways. He’s a man on a mission, and that mission long ago ceased to be about providing quality entertainment. To quote Puff Daddy, “It’s all about the Benjamins.”

George Lucas Movies I’ve Seen

I saw the following George Lucas film and enjoyed it:

George Lucas moviesStar Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) – While Lucas is far from being the most talented guy in Hollywood, he was smart enough to do three things when making Star Wars.

1. He cast Harrison Ford as charismatic space rogue Han Solo.
2. He created Darth Vader.
3. He ripped off the basic plot of Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress, as well as drawing the inspiration for R2D2 and C3PO from a pair of bumblers in that same film.

After those three strokes of genius, everything else fell into place. As a kid, I saw Star Wars at the theatre and was blown away by all the cool spaceships, alien lifeforms, and action-packed scenes. It still holds up surprisingly well after all these years, although I wanted to hang myself for being dumb enough to sit through the reworked version in 1997. Lucas claimed that technology had finally caught up to his original vision, but the puppet Jabba in Return of the Jedi blew the new CGI version straight out of the water. And don’t even get me started on the decision to have Greedo shoot first (which is right there with Spielberg changing the guns to walkie-talkies during the release of E.T.).

But those gripes are about the money-grubbing version of Star Wars. The original wasn’t guaranteed any sequels or millions of dollars in toy revenue, so it relied on solid storytelling and an interesting cast of characters. Too bad that the second trilogy entirely lost sight of this.

George Lucas Films I Haven’t Seen

I haven’t seen these George Lucas projects, so I have no way of knowing if I would enjoy them or not. They don’t include Jar Jar Binks, though, so I’m guessing that they might be okay.

THX 1138 (1971) – The film stars Robert Duvall in a dystopian future. It also has Donald Pleasence as part of the supporting cast. Despite my dislike for certain George Lucas projects, I have no clear explanation for why I haven’t seen this one, especially considering my love for all things Duvall.

American Graffiti (1973) – Baby boomers cruise in hot rods and come of age, and Harrison Ford first made a name for himself as an actor. The fine cast includes Ron Howard, Bo Hopkins, Richard Dreyfuss, and Cindy Williams, but the notion of ‘60s teenage romance isn’t exactly my cup of tea. While I wouldn’t refuse to watch it, I’ve somehow managed to unconsciously avoid it for over 35 years. Sorry, Opie.

George Lucas Movies I’ve Seen (But Wish I Hadn’t)

I saw these George Lucas directorial efforts, and my rectum is still bleeding from the experience:

George Lucas moviesStar Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) – We’re supposed to see how Darth Vader grows into the coolest villain in movie history, but this film depicts Anakin Skywalker as nothing more than a precocious kid who likes to drive really fast. Natalie Portman shows off the hotness that is to come in the role in Queen Amidala, and Darth Maul (Ray Park) delivers the best scene in the film when he takes on scowling Jedi warrior Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). Racial stereotypes popped up all over the place, and Jar Jar Binks made me want to claw my eyes out.

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) – Boba Fett was in this one, but he was a little kid, too. We do get to see his predecessor, Jango Fett, kick a little ass, but he’s unceremoniously dispatched by an overacting Samuel L. Jackson during the film’s climax. Hayden Christensen takes over the role of Anakin Skywalker, but he turns out to be as wooden as a lumberyard (Lucas‘s script doesn‘t help). Despite their ability to deflect laser blasts with their lightsabers, the Jedi knights–especially their ruling council–come off like a bunch of fools.

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) – A step back from the previous film, Revenge of the Sith proves once and for all that Jedi warriors aren’t too bright, and Lucas’s screenwriting ability hits an all-time low. Anakin is supposed to turn evil, but he often seems to be having a violent tempter tantrum. And the showdown between he and Obi-Wan proves something that I’ve long suspected: When someone has the high ground, they’re impossible to defeat. A train wreck from start to finish, it pulled in almost $850 million at the box office and allowed Lucas a good, long laugh at the expense of anyone dumb enough to buy a ticket (myself included).

Anyone wanting to see American cinema at its best and worst should study George Lucas movies carefully. His feature films have slowly degraded in quality, but his box office revenue continues to jump off the charts thanks to re-releases, marketing, and the tendency of Star Wars fans to watch any piece of crap that’s part of the official canon. For that matter, the last statement could also apply to those enamored with the Indiana Jones franchise, as The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was an abomination that the guys from South Park perfectly skewered with scenes of Lucas and Spielberg raping everyone’s favorite archeologist.

And you’d better get ready for all the Stars Wars films to be re-released in 3D. This is slated to begin in 2012, with the entire series coming out in numerical order. Hey, George, how about that long-awaited American Graffiti 3D release?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 at 12:14 pm and is filed under Bad Movies, Good Movies, Thoughts on Film. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “George Lucas Movies”

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March 29, 2012

Pusser Mumford

I’ve never heard of THX 1138. I’m a big fan of Robert Duvall, too. Time to go update my Netflix queue.

March 29, 2012

Pusser Mumford

By the way, I always wonder these things. Has Lucas figured out somewhere along the way that that last trilogy fell flat, or does he honestly think that stuff was real good. For giving us Darth Vader as a child and Boba Fett in a musical scene, Lucas should be forced to watch that South Park episode…maybe like 10 hours a day.

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