‘The People vs George Lucas’ trailer is now online, (see below); watching it left me profoundly depressed.
This dark mood was triggered by a comment someone makes at the start of the trailer:
“George Lucas…unlocked a generation’s imagination.”
The truth is George Lucas did precisely the opposite. He locked up a generations imagination. Watching the fans, the people spending thousands of hours in Star Wars multiplayer games, reading Star Wars books and comics, making Star Wars tribute videos makes me want to scream. What are you doing? Why aren’t you out there creating your own fictional worlds. Why the slavish obsequiousness to someone else’s dream?
I wore a Star Wars t-shirt as a kid. Sure. But I was seven years old. As I got older it became apparent that Star Wars had colonized a generation – that’s why people say things like ‘George Lucas raped my childhood’, (referring to the poor quality of his current productions). To them Lucas’ universe is a place they actually lived in.
One can track this back I think to the Cantina segment in the first Star Wars film. It established in one scene, in a simple handful of shots, an entire fictional universe; the power of this scene, with its attention to detail and catchy music, acted as a narcotic on the brain of children – warping their own imaginary worlds, inculcating them into some one’s vision and profit stream.
One could argue that kids are always investing themselves in the popular culture – if it wasn’t Star Wars it’d be something else.
But Lucas’ drive to innovate in business, (and let’s make no mistake here – the Star Wars films weren’t made as art – they were designed to make money, and, with the more recent pictures, to pioneer new business and production practices of industrial cinema; as Lucas himself said after the poor reception to his film THX-1138: “I’m going to out-Disney Disney”), leaves one with thin gruel for the creative process, (paraphrasing Godard: “Homages are fine. Just that most homages are homages to sh*t).
Kids deserve better than Star Wars, kids can do better than Star Wars.