It is rare that you'll find a Star Wars fan who genuinely believes the saga is perfect. Even more rare is the theatrical release of a Star Wars-related documentary that may have an anti-George Lucas slant. However, this is precisely what The People vs. George Lucas has done.
It's hard to imagine that Lucas' limitless wealth couldn't bring the production to a halt, or that he didn't create a real-life droid army to prevent its completion. Don't scoff, you know he could do it if he wanted to.
Premiering at the SXSW Film and Music Festival, Alexandre Philippe's documentary provides an objective view of Star Wars from all sides, including those with a deep-seeded hatred for the saga. Then again, the creation of this documentary can't be entirely objective, can it? Only the final product will tell that tale. In an interview with Film School Rejects, Philippe described the process and his hopes of making such an ambitious film.
"It inflames people's passion for or against George and I think we created a balanced debate. We don't let George off the hook when we thought we shouldn't and we don't let the fans off the hook when we thought we shouldn't. That was the real challenge."
"I think it's really important for people to know that we're not bitter fans. We love the movies George Lucas has made and I deeply care about film preservation. This film is a really balanced debate. There is a lot of love, there is a lot of frustration and we're just ultimately trying to understand that from a cultural perspective."
There you have it. That's really all you can ask of any documentary filmmaker and something that will make this more than just a Michael Moore-style propaganda film. Star Wars has created an amazing cultural rift on an international scale - it's about time somebody took a hard look as to why people get so passionate about the films, instead of just emphasizing how cool light sabers and Yoda are.
Yes, the mythology is there and the characters are iconic, but what George Lucas did to the saga, starting with the Ewoks in Return of The Jedi, deserves scrutiny. There are just so many levels as to how Lucas tampered with (and merchandised) his own creative genius; many people have opinions as to where the films went wrong (Jar-Jar Binks and the casting of Hayden Christensen?), and others believe that since it is all Lucas' vision, therefore it is perfect.
Using fan-submitted videos, interviews with David Prowse (Darth Vader), and Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz, the film took over three years to finish and explores the truly painful relationship between George Lucas and the fans of his space opera. It's too bad they couldn't actually get George Lucas to appear in the film, but it won't matter in the end. This is about the people affected by the Star Wars saga and why they would go to such bizarre lengths to prove a point.
The People vs. George Lucas was shown exclusively to 2010 SXSW audiences and a release date has yet to be announced. Check out the trailer below.
Source: Film School Rejects
Poster Courtesy of: People Vs. George website