Review: The People vs George Lucas DVD

The People vs George Lucas DVD boxSTUDIO: Lionsgate | DIRECTOR: Alexandre O. Phillippe
RELEASE DATE: 10/25/2011 | PRICE: DVD $27.98
BONUSES: poetry slam selections, interviews, music video, featurette, filmmaker commentary
SPECS: Not Rated | 97 min. | Documentary | 1.87:1 aspect ratio | 501 Dolby Digital audio | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The People vs George Lucas

In 1977 when Star Wars first hit theaters, George Lucas was elevated to godly status by the movie’s legion of fans worldwide. But after he re-released his original three beloved science-fiction films in the 1990s with changes, his shine faded. After the three prequel movies were released, the fans’ love for Lucas turned to anger.

Star Wars fans have been vocal about their hatred for Lucas’ handling of his films, so the documentary The People vs. George Lucas was inevitable.

Documentarian Alexandre O. Phillippe (Earthlings: Ugly Bags of Mostly Water) doesn’t take a side of the people vs the famed filmmaker. Instead, he shows the good and bad of both the fans and Lucas. Lucas himself isn’t interviewed for the movie, but he appears in snippets from various interviews he has given over the years.

Phillippe shows Lucas as a gifted filmmaker and a brilliant marketer and businessman. Before he hit it big commercially, Lucas was making artistic movies, and fellow director Francis Ford Coppolla says in the documentary that the success of Star Wars deprived the world of the wonderful artistic films Lucas was on track to make.

Perhaps that’s why he’s so dogged about the Star Wars movies, much to the annoyance to fans.

Many of the fans interviewed are filmmakers themselves, and they credit Stars Wars for inspiring them to create their own movies. The fans are from all over the world, the U.S., England, Japan. And they all have the same story: Star Wars helped them to their future, but it was ruined by Lucas in later years.

The fans have a good argument — although those who scream that their childhood was ruined are going a bit too far. They fell in love with Star Wars the way it was, and now that it has been changed, it’s no longer the movie they loved. One fan points out that the movie that’s now available is not the version that one Academy Awards for visual effects and editing.

All the fans want is access to the original movie, which LucasFilm is steadfast about leaving in the can. As a Star Wars fan myself, who watched the movie so much when it came on VHS that I know all the words, I think that’s a perfectly reasonable request.

Of course, none of this is new, especially for fans, but it’s fun to watch others vent what you feel.

One of the best aspects of The People vs. George Lucas is, in fact, its showcase of fan films, from the dedicated fan who set himself on fire to re-enact a seen from Indiana Jones to the animated spoofs of the Star Wars films. The collection shown in this documentary will keep viewers smiling and wanting more.

Fans get to speak out further in the DVD’s special features, taking on the next iteration of the movies in the featurette “The People vs. Star Wars 3D.” Not surprisingly, the consensus is that re-doing the films in 3D is a bad idea, but, surprisingly, most say they will still see the films in 3D. This reviewer won’t.

Three more of the poetry slams about George Lucas that weren’t shown in the film are available, the best coming from Andrea Moore, who admits she has never seen Star Wars, and Matt Zambrano, who likens the changes made to the movies to changing George Lucas’ name to Ugly Oscar, “mildly passable.”

Producer George Kurtz talks about Lucas in an extended interview. It’s a bit dry, but there are some interesting tidbits, including why he stopped working on Return of the Jedi.

Phillippe, producer and art director Robert Muratore and editor Chad Herschberger recorded a commentary for the documentary, which takes listeners through the making of the film and the choices the filmmakers made.

The special features are rounded out by a low-budget music video for “George Lucas Raped Our Childhood.”

Buy or Rent The People vs. George Lucas
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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.