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Alexandre O. Philippe
Writing Credits:

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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?

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1/16X9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 10/25/2011

• Audio Commentary with Director Alexandre O. Phillippe, Producer/Director of Photography Robert Muratore and Editor Chad Herschberger
• “People vs. Star Wars 3D
&bull Music Video
• Poetry Slam Selects
• Gary Kurtz Interview
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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The People Vs. George Lucas (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 21, 2012)

With a title like The People vs. George Lucas, one might expect the 2010 documentary to provide a shrill screed against the filmmaker. And that’s often what it does deliver, though the movie attempts a bit more balance than the average Youtube rant.

The film provides comments from George Lucas in Love director Joe Nussbaum, anthropologist/pop culture researcher Daryl Frazetti, Los Angeles Film Festival associate director of programming Doug Jones, “Godfather of Nerdcore Hip-Hop” MC Frontalot, filmmakers Andrew Semans, Michael Arias, Brian K. Comerford and Richie Mehta, Skywalking author Dale Pollock, A Galaxy Not So Far Away editor Glenn Kenny, James Bond executive producer Anthony Waye, comedians Will Andrews, Jarred Christmas and Richard Sandling, The Onion writer/editor Todd Hanson, author Neil Gaiman, geekscape.net’s Jonathan London, science fiction authors Matthew S.Rotundo and Joe W.Haldeman, Empire Magazine (UK) editor Ian Freer, “nerdlebrity” Chris Gore, Convergence Culture Henry Jenkins, Troops director Kevin Rubio, Homemade Hollywood author Clive Young, USC filmmaker Charlie Unger, starwarsuncut.com’s Casey Pugh, Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation producer Chris Strompolos, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut editor John Venzon, Star Wars in 30 Minutes creators Michael Cornacchia and Mark Reilly, Texas Lutheran University Associate Professor of Communication Studies Steven S. Vrooman, Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back producer Gary Kurtz, film critic Rafik Djoumi, Pyr Books editorial director Lou Anders, author Cecil Castellucci, Schlock Mercenary writer/illustrator Howard Tayler, nukethefridge.com’s Luis Lecca and Jason Nicholl, hotwafflesmusic.com’s Tim Waffle and Chris Waffle, film critic/author Daniel M. Kimmel, The Trial of Han Solo director Paul Yates, former AMPAS resident film historian Anthony Slide, film scholar/writer Pierre Berthomieu, Free Enterprise writer/producer Mark A. Altman, originaltrilogy.com’s Jay Sylvester, Cashiers Du Cinemart’s Mike White, Geek Monthly editor-in-chief Jeff Bond, Variety film critic Joe Leydon, 20th Century Fox former head of production Sandy Lieberson, Star Wars continuity Ann Skinner, actor David Prowse, The Times (London) film critic Wendy Ide, TV host/producer Nar Williams, Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki, Starwoids director Dennis Przywara, MAAKIES cartoonist Tony Millionaire, Film School Rejects’ Adam Sweeney, screenwriter/podcaster Matt Cohen, LOTR by George Lucas creator Frankie Frain, Clone Wars writer Kevin Rubio, film scholar/writer Renan Cros, science fiction author Joe C. Wright, Tales from the Script director Peter Hanson, The Postman author David Brin, Wittenberg University Communication Studies chair Matthew J. Smith, A Galaxy Not So Far Away contributor Webster Younce, and a mix of fans. George Lucas himself appears via archival clips, but he wasn’t interviewed specifically for this film.

People looks at Lucas’s life and early interest in film, the release and impact of Star Wars and various fan creations inspired by the franchise. From there we view the 1997 Special Edition releases and hear about their changes as well as the animosity they inspired. The movie then examines the relentless merchandising of the series as well as the “Prequel Trilogy” and reactions to it.

At its core, People attempts to tell the history of Star Wars from the consumer’s point of view. Sure, we learn a little about Lucas’s background and life, but mostly we see his work from the perspective of the fan.

Or the super-fan, I should say, as most of the folks portrayed in People tend toward the die-hard side of the street. That’s not a perfect rule, but there’s no question the majority of the participants eat, sleep and breathe Star Wars.

Which does make People veer closer to spittle-inflected anti-Lucas rant than I think the filmmakers would like to believe. They desperately attempt balance along the way, and some of those points are valid. For instance, we’re reminded that fans were super-excited about both the Special Edition versions of the “Original Trilogy” as well as Phantom Menace. We also get a few comments that view those releases in a positive light and others that support Lucas’s choices to do what he wants to do.

However, People drowns out those opinions with a lot of the standard fan invective. It may not be fair to paint the movie as only long bile-filled rant, as much of it presents pretty well-considered viewpoints. For every “Lucas raped my childhood” exaggeration, we get a few more sober, thoughtful opinions of his work.

But the overall impact remains the same: Lucas screwed the fans. Despite a token “let’s all get along” ending, that message comes through loud and clear. People throws out its alternate viewpoints so it can claim balance, but none really exists.

All of which leads me to wonder what purpose the film serves. It offers an interesting compendium of fan complaints, and we see clips from a wide variety of fan projects. Those can be fun to view, and the movie collects a pretty nice array of archival elements as well.

But what does it tell us beyond “Star Wars fans are passionate about the series and displeased with the direction it’s taken”? Not much. It doesn’t become introspective or thoughtful enough to make it more than just a fairly average fan spiel with higher than usual production values.

The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C+/ Bonus C

The People Vs. George Lucas appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This was an acceptable presentation but nothing particularly strong. <

Sharpness usually seemed adequate. The program consisted mostly of a mix of archival elements and “talking head” interviews. Unsurprisingly, those older materials looked worst. They tended to be somewhat rough and smeared, so don’t expect great visuals from them.

The new material could occasionally look a little rough and blocky, but the interviews generally appeared reasonably accurate and concise. Mild issues connected to jagged edges and shimmering occurred, but no signs of edge enhancement appeared. Except for a few archival bits, source flaws weren’t an issue, though some digital artifacts gave the show a bit of a grainy look.

Colors were satisfactory. The program featured a natural palette, and the hues looked reasonably clear and concise. Blacks were fairly dark and tight, and low-light shots seemed acceptably distinctive. While this was never a dynamic transfer, it remained perfectly watchable.

I thought the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of People was also acceptable. The soundfield had little going for it. Music showed decent stereo imaging, and a few effects spread out across the front. These were minor, though, and didn’t add much to the experience. That said, a documentary like this didn’t need a dynamic soundscape, so I didn’t mind the bland presentation.

Audio quality was fine. Speech sounded natural and concise, without edginess or other problems. Music seemed full and rich, and effects were decent; they didn’t demand much of the mix, but they appeared accurate enough. This was a perfectly serviceable soundtrack for a documentary.

A few extras fill out the set. We open with an audio commentary from director Alexandre O. Phillippe, producer/director of photography Robert Muratore and editor Chad Herschberger. All three sit together for the running, screen-specific look at how they assembled and compiled the movie, notes about the interview subjects and various clips, details about different aspects of the production, and their thoughts about many things Star Wars.

That last topic becomes more prominent as the commentary progresses. In its earlier moments, the track mostly gets into the creation of People, but as it goes along, the participants delve deeper and deeper into their own experiences with the films and their reactions to Lucas and his work.

I’m pretty happy they did this, for the more nuts and bolts moments tended to be a little dull. Though we got some decent thoughts about the flick’s creation, the track didn’t really become interesting until the speakers dug into their own passion for Star Wars. They add to the debate in this usually interesting track.

Next comes People vs. Star Wars 3D. This runs 13 minutes, 36 seconds as it goes to Comic Con. Fans react to Lucas’s announcement that he plans to release 3D versions of the Star Wars flicks. A couple of them seem fine with this, but most follow the standard fanboy “only the unaltered ‘Original Trilogy’ should exist” viewpoint. I can’t say that I want to see these movies in 3D, but I don’t really see the harm, so this reel just feels like more pointless anti-George negativity.

Under Music Video, we see the Waffle Brothers sing “George Lucas Raped Our Childhood”. To call this a “music video” is a bit of an exaggeration; it mixes shots of the Brothers’ sidewalk performance with images of Star Wars toys as they “rock out”. Ugh – it’s thoroughly awful.

After this, we find Poetry Slam Selects. This lets us see three performers: Miles Lagree (2:10), Andrea Moore (4:56), and Matt Zambrano (5:51). The idea of nerds waxing semi-poetic about Star Wars doesn’t seem promising – and the results are dire. Zambrano shows the most cleverness, but none of the three are enjoyable.

Finally, we discover an Interview with Gary Kurtz. In this 21-minute, 14-second piece, the Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back producer chats about George Lucas as a filmmaker, aspects of creating the movies, why he didn’t work on Return of the Jedi and changes it went through, and his thoughts about the prequels and Special Editions. Kurtz gives us an enjoyable enough chat, but he doesn’t tell us much that most fans won’t already know.

The disc opens with ads for The US Vs. John Lennon, Religulous, Replicant and Highlander 2. No trailer for People appears here.

Throw a rock at the Internet and you’ll find complaints about the Star Wars franchise. The People vs. George Lucas collects a lot of these gripes in one place; that means it’s “one-stop shopping” for fans who want to follow all the various criticisms, but it doesn’t create an especially interesting documentary. The DVD comes with average picture and audio as well as a handful of supplements highlighted by a pretty interesting commentary. Even serious Star Wars fans probably won’t get much from this erratic program.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main