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January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)" 
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
James Berardinelli wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
James Berardinelli wrote:

Out of curiosity, JB: did you ever watch the RedLetterMedia reviews of the PT films? If so, what were your thoughts on the points brought up by the reviewer?


Haven't read them.

As Sexual said, you should take some time to *watch* the reviews, at least the first one (Phantom Menace review). In fact, here is a link to part 1 of the review on YouTube.


Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:58 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Ken wrote:
I didn't use it to describe you. You decided that the shoe fits in the first place, so don't get salty with me for engaging you on this.

Quit being disingenuous. You know fully well what context you used the term in.

Ken wrote:
Wrong. You seem to have better than a basic level of knowledge about comics, so you of all people should know that the loudest, most venomous criticism often come from the most avid consumers of the product.

People who vent such criticism usually are no longer avid consumers of said product, so calling them "fanboys" is still inappropriate.

Ken wrote:
Don't be sophist. You know Lucas's filmography as well as I do. I was referring specifically to the prequels.

As I stated in a previous post, maybe the motivation is simply that money and fame corrupted Lucas to the point where he feels that he doesn't have to answer to anyone as opposed to being some hard bitten filmmaker. Uwe Boll is an example of someone who doesn't (at least to external appearances) allow negative criticism to keep him from making more films (though thankfully, it would seem the studios are now). Lucas' retirement announcement is a clear example of behavior from someone who is anything but hard-bitten. A guy who's continued to milk one intellectual property for over 30 years to the point where he's failed to turn out any other films can hardly be called a "rebel".

Ken wrote:
You don't think that talking to a total stranger for the first time and evoking imagery of that person dead in his coffin is the slightest bit disrespectful? Not even a teensy bit?

Let's get one thing clear: I don't respect Lucas as he currently is. I see the current Lucas as a man who's been overly obsessed with making money and doing things the way he wants to do them to the point where he won't listen to anyone else, not even old friends like Spielberg (just look at Indy IV). Now, while total creative control isn't inherently a bad thing, it can be when it's in the hands of someone who isn't capable enough, like Lucas.

Having said that, criticism itself isn't some personal attack. If a teacher tells a student that he's spelling words wrong, it's not because he "hates" him. I used some strong language, but that's because I want my point to be crystal clear. In this case, the point is: I don't believe that Lucas will ever stop tampering with Star Wars or truly retire, as he's said similar things in the past without ever following through. Hence, my statement that I don't believe he'll truly retire until he's dead. One more time: that's not the same thing as wishing the man dead. Chill out.

Ken wrote:
Your butt is stinky and so's your mom.

There. Now I've actually made an insulting statement that pertains directly to you, so there's no further need to imagine it.

Well, at least now you've come out and actually said something. The insult kinda sucks, though.


Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:28 pm
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
James Berardinelli wrote:
What (some) people don't seem to realize is that Lucas isn't trying to prevent the fans from having access to the theatrical versions. He's simply not putting his time and money into upgrading them to HD; that effort has been reserved for the Special Editions.

How do you know Lucas isn't trying to prevent access to the theatrical versions? It could simply be that he knows that people will preserve copies of the originals, and is aiming at future generations with his current version of the trilogy. I understand that you're trying to defend him, but putting in a point that is based on his motivations is a bit presumptuous, not to mention likely incorrect given his actions in recent years.


Two points: #1 - He relented and put the best available (quality-wise) copy of the theatrical version on one of the DVD sets. He didn't spend any money spiffing it up (by making it anamorphic), but that's not the action of someone who wants to hide it away under a rock.

#2 - While Lucas has never spoken much about the potential of a full HD anamorphic version of the theatrical release (which, I assume, is what is desired by some fans), some of those in his inner circle have. The consensus is that it will happen eventually. For now, Lucas wants to establish the Special Editions as the preferred cut. So in a sense, you're correct - he wants future generations to watch this version because it is, in his view, the closest representation of his vision. However, the original cuts will continue to be available for those who prefer them, are curious about them, or want to study them historically.


Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:01 pm
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
If older films like "Citizen Kane" and "Casablanca" can be cleaned up and restored for blu-ray, then why not the original "Star Wars" films? I know it's been said the original prints were in bad shape, but if those were bad then surely the older aforementioned classic films would be in even worse shape. I know restoration would be expensive and take time, but I think the effort would pay off with the sales of these films. Going back to "Citizen Kane" and "Casablanca", those films probably aren't even going to pull in a tenth of what the original "Star Wars" films would pull if they were sold (no disrespect to these two classic films). But yet, the studios put forth a good effort anyway to restore them because I'm sure some studio heads care about preserving film as well as making money.

So would a restoration effort really be that much of an undertaking for Lucas? If he can blow $100 million of his own money on "Red Tails", then I'm sure he can blow some cash toward restoring the original films. I mean I don't think that would cost even half of $100 million, now would it? If he did put a lot of cash and effort towards a restoration, I think it's a good assumption he'd get back more than he would put in with the sales. Yeah, I know he probably won't restore them anyway, but we can all dream, right?


Last edited by ck100 on Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:06 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Ken wrote:
I didn't use it to describe you. You decided that the shoe fits in the first place, so don't get salty with me for engaging you on this.

Quit being disingenuous. You know fully well what context you used the term in.
Rabbit season.

Quote:
Ken wrote:
Wrong. You seem to have better than a basic level of knowledge about comics, so you of all people should know that the loudest, most venomous criticism often come from the most avid consumers of the product.

People who vent such criticism usually are no longer avid consumers of said product, so calling them "fanboys" is still inappropriate.
So what's with the people who bitch constantly about being screwed out of their money with every new edition of the Star Wars trilogy? Are they arguing on a purely theoretical basis? Did they stop at the 1997 box set? Did they quit Star Wars altogether after 1999?

Quote:
Ken wrote:
You don't think that talking to a total stranger for the first time and evoking imagery of that person dead in his coffin is the slightest bit disrespectful? Not even a teensy bit?

Let's get one thing clear: I don't respect Lucas as he currently is. I see the current Lucas as a man who's been overly obsessed with making money and doing things the way he wants to do them to the point where he won't listen to anyone else, not even old friends like Spielberg (just look at Indy IV). Now, while total creative control isn't inherently a bad thing, it can be when it's in the hands of someone who isn't capable enough, like Lucas.
This is the crux of the problem: it's not your business to disrespect the man. You don't know him. He doesn't know you.

He's not a serial killer or a dictator. As a public figure, the only thing he's ever done to you or anybody else is make movies about cars and robots.


Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:15 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
James Berardinelli wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
James Berardinelli wrote:
What (some) people don't seem to realize is that Lucas isn't trying to prevent the fans from having access to the theatrical versions. He's simply not putting his time and money into upgrading them to HD; that effort has been reserved for the Special Editions.

How do you know Lucas isn't trying to prevent access to the theatrical versions? It could simply be that he knows that people will preserve copies of the originals, and is aiming at future generations with his current version of the trilogy. I understand that you're trying to defend him, but putting in a point that is based on his motivations is a bit presumptuous, not to mention likely incorrect given his actions in recent years.


Two points: #1 - He relented and put the best available (quality-wise) copy of the theatrical version on one of the DVD sets. He didn't spend any money spiffing it up (by making it anamorphic), but that's not the action of someone who wants to hide it away under a rock.

#2 - While Lucas has never spoken much about the potential of a full HD anamorphic version of the theatrical release (which, I assume, is what is desired by some fans), some of those in his inner circle have. The consensus is that it will happen eventually. For now, Lucas wants to establish the Special Editions as the preferred cut. So in a sense, you're correct - he wants future generations to watch this version because it is, in his view, the closest representation of his vision. However, the original cuts will continue to be available for those who prefer them, are curious about them, or want to study them historically.

I'll believe that Lucas is willing to release updated versions of the theatrical release when it actually happens. Right now, his actions suggest strongly that he's trying to give future generations his version of the films. Again, I see that as an insult to the older fans who made him rich to begin with by saying to them, "Yeah, these films you loved and gave me money for, they're no good. Here are the films as I see them and as you should enjoy them.". Alexander Phillippe, the director of The People vs George Lucas, brought up an interesting analogy to this: it'd be like Leonardo Da Vinci coming back and telling everyone, "Yeah, you were all fools to enjoy the Mona Lisa as it is. Here's how I want you to enjoy it." right before putting whiskers on her face in the painting.

I bet that Lucas wouldn't have to endure as much criticism if he made an updated version of the original release available along with the Special Edition version. If he's so confident in his version, why not make both available to the public so that THEY can choose? Because he doesn't want to flood the market? That really can't be it, as this is a guy who's milked the Star Wars franchise for over 30 years to the exclusion of any other film projects (writing/directing, specifically).


Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:19 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Ken wrote:
Rabbit season.

Sigh, ok.

Ken wrote:
So what's with the people who bitch constantly about being screwed out of their money with every new edition of the Star Wars trilogy? Are they arguing on a purely theoretical basis? Did they stop at the 1997 box set? Did they quit Star Wars altogether after 1999?

In this age of the Internet, it's quite possible to learn about the changes and even see them without having to spend a dime of one's money. So yes, it's quite possible (and likely) that these so-called "fanboys" are expressing their displeasure without still being avid consumers of the products.

Quote:
This is the crux of the problem: it's not your business to disrespect the man. You don't know him. He doesn't know you.

He's not a serial killer or a dictator. As a public figure, the only thing he's ever done to you or anybody else is make movies about cars and robots.

I guess that's why they call them *opinions*. I can indeed disrespect the man, and keep in mind, I'm not doing so based on anything but his *actions*. If I did get to speak to Lucas, and he were able to make a compelling case to explain his actions, I'd be willing to listen and possibly change my opinion of him.

As you yourself just stated, Lucas is a *public figure*, and one in the entertainment industry, no less. Criticism and scrutiny go hand in hand with fame in that arena, so if Lucas can't handle the heat, he should have become a car salesman.


Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:27 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
George Lucas's business as a public figure is producing a thing. You can criticize that thing all you want. George Lucas himself is not that thing.

The moment his business becomes himself, like a television personality or a socialite, that's when you get to react with outrage to the very mention of his name.


Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:39 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
I think Lucas has to inevitably release the original versions because how else are you going to get people to buy further box sets, DVD sets, blu-ray sets, etc?

Look how long he held out on releasing the deleted scenes for these films when he's had them for so many years and never released them. For every new release Lucas needs a new hook to get people to buy another set. The second DVD set had the original films, the blu-ray set had the deleted scenes, etc. He still has yet to release "From Star Wars to Jedi" and other old documentaries on DVD/Blu-ray. Notice how he didn't upgrade and release the "Empire of Dreams" DVD documentary to HD when the blu-ray set came out. Could he be saving that for a future blu-ray release?

With every new change he makes to his films he risks losing more fans even though there will always be a bunch that will buy each new set. Sooner or later there may be a breaking point for some people that will make them put their foot down and stop giving their money to Lucas. One reason the blu-ray set sold well was becasue it's "Star Wars" in HD. If it were a third DVD release set I doubt it would have sold as much as the previous ones though I'm sure it would still do well. But still, a third DVD set would have needed a strong hook to sell like the previous ones.


Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:41 pm
Gaffer
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
I'd like to preface my comments by saying that I come to the subject of Lucas' alterations from a different perspective. I was born in 1982. In the late 80s and early 90s I saw the original trilogy--unaltered--on VHS. I was not a huge fan, although I thought the movies were good. I probably saw each of them once, although I wouldn't rule out having seen one of them a second time. When the special editions were released to theatres I thought it sounded like a cool idea, but I did not care enough about Star Wars to bother going out to see them.

The reason I state this is because I want to be clear that I did not view the special editions until they were released to DVD in 2004--when I was 22 years old--and I carried no baggage of fandom for the series (unless you consider that I enjoyed The Phantom Menace and even Attack of the Clones to a certain degree).

ReelThoughts wrote:
Also, it's worth noting that, taken in context, the changes are minor. Greedo shooting first. A CGI populated Mos Eisley. Han meeting Jabba. No more "Yub Yub." Vader screaming "Nooo!" To those not steeped in Star Wars lore, these things pass unnoticed.


Although some of the changes may have slipped by unnoticed in the sense that I did not know they were changes, there were definitely scenes and aspects that I took note of because they were bad, and then later found out that they were special edition additions (say that eight times, fast). I do not know the movies as well as yourself so I cannot specify which movies they are from, but jumping out from my memory was a terrible scene between Jaba the Hutt and Han Solo and a big song and dance number by an alien band. I thought those were just awful, and when telling a friend about them, he told me those were new additions. There were other complaints I made as well and when I looked them up, the majority of them turned out to be changes (the main exception being Return of the Jedi, where the worst problems had to do with the original film).

I didn't like the Greedo shooting first scene because the way they made the change looked clunky and out of place. Han suddenly looked like a frozen doll. It was weird*.

My point is that I disliked some of the changes without even knowing that they were changes. Because of this, I think it is a bit presumptuous on your part to assume that the changes will have no negative effect on someone who isn't already attached to the films.



*Reading about it afterwards I did find the change even more troubling because it does change who the character is, even if only to a minor degree. But this was not an aspect that I considered while viewing, because I didn't even know it was different at the time.


Last edited by AnthonyAmmo on Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:51 pm
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Ken wrote:
George Lucas's business as a public figure is producing a thing. You can criticize that thing all you want. George Lucas himself is not that thing.

The moment his business becomes himself, like a television personality or a socialite, that's when you get to react with outrage to the very mention of his name.

Lucas created a franchise, then fucked with it to the displeasure of many people. He gets to take the credit but not the blame? That's not fair, and it makes no sense.


Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:54 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Pardon my ignorance, what is the 'yub yub' issue?


Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:34 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Pardon my ignorance, what is the 'yub yub' issue?

I think it's a reference to the original Ewok celebration scene near the end of Return of the Jedi. In the Special Edition, Lucas had John Williams compose a new score for that scene.


Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:36 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Lucas created a franchise, then fucked with it to the displeasure of many people. He gets to take the credit but not the blame? That's not fair, and it makes no sense.

Ken wrote:
George Lucas's business as a public figure is producing a thing. You can criticize that thing all you want. George Lucas himself is not that thing.

Image


Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:03 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Ken wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Lucas created a franchise, then fucked with it to the displeasure of many people. He gets to take the credit but not the blame? That's not fair, and it makes no sense.

Ken wrote:
George Lucas's business as a public figure is producing a thing. You can criticize that thing all you want. George Lucas himself is not that thing.

You can say that all you like, but that doesn't make it so. Lucas created Star Wars, so he's inextricably linked with it. When one talks about someone's work, one can also speculate on the motives of that someone. So, yes, Lucas is "that thing". You're trying to move this argument by redefining it according to your own views, and that is simply fallacious.


Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:32 pm
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
I agree with nearly everything Rag has said but I would phrase it as a CEO putting out a shoddy product and trying to say that the consumers are the problem not the widget.The one analogy I can think of is Coca Cola trying to introduce New Coke that didn't go so well.Roberto Goizueta the CEO who introduced the change had to weather the blizzard of criticism from consumers causing a reversal and return of Classic Coke.Here is an interesting quote:

Quote:
Even Fidel Castro, a longtime Coke drinker, contributed to the backlash, calling New Coke a sign of American capitalist decadence. Goizueta's own father expressed similar misgivings towards his son; the only time the younger man recalled him ever agreeing with Castro, the man whose revolution had driven him and his son, nearly penniless, to America a quarter-century before.


Consumers have the right to complain and say they want x instead of y that is the nature of the marketplace. There is a reason that his movies open with the logo Lucasfilms.That is his brand and the movie is his product he stands behind and if the market doesn't like it they have the right to complain right to the top man.It is a basic democratic right in a free market country to complain and make your voice heard which this article more or less argues against saying that property rights trump democratic freedoms.Spielberg owns its when something didn't work and never points fingers at the audience.


Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:19 pm
Profile
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
You can say that all you like, but that doesn't make it so. Lucas created Star Wars, so he's inextricably linked with it. When one talks about someone's work, one can also speculate on the motives of that someone. So, yes, Lucas is "that thing". You're trying to move this argument by redefining it according to your own views, and that is simply fallacious.
Okay, I'm going to reduce this down as simply as I can... ironically by going right back around to the start.

Many Star Wars fans who hate on George Lucas take it too far. They muddy the line between criticism of the work and attacks on the person. This is an observation that many people, including JB in the original essay, can confirm.

If you can't see that, I don't know what I can do for you.


Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:51 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Ken wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
You can say that all you like, but that doesn't make it so. Lucas created Star Wars, so he's inextricably linked with it. When one talks about someone's work, one can also speculate on the motives of that someone. So, yes, Lucas is "that thing". You're trying to move this argument by redefining it according to your own views, and that is simply fallacious.
Okay, I'm going to reduce this down as simply as I can... ironically by going right back around to the start.

Many Star Wars fans who hate on George Lucas take it too far. They muddy the line between criticism of the work and attacks on the person. This is an observation that many people, including JB in the original essay, can confirm.

If you can't see that, I don't know what I can do for you.

Ok, I will reduce my argument down as simply as I can for you:

Lucas created a product that many people consider to be inferior (the PT films) in order to make money, as the numerous product tie-ins and the upcoming 3D versions prove. People don't like the product, and they then start to question the motives of the creator for continuing to peddle said product. You're equating criticism to being a personal attack, which is just not true.

I will agree that some people take it too far when they say things like, "I'd love to kill Lucas for making the prequel films.", "He raped my childhood.", etc. However, when people say things like, "I don't respect Lucas because he's shown through his actions that he cares only about making money and that he doesn't care about his fans.", that's doing nothing but making an assessment based on the man's behavior.

Now here's the part I'd like you to read carefully: I did nothing but the latter when I stated that I won't believe Lucas is truly retired until he's dead. If you think that's going too far, then we'll just have to agree to disagree here.


Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:04 pm
Gaffer

Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:35 am
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
James Berardinelli wrote:
What (some) people don't seem to realize is that Lucas isn't trying to prevent the fans from having access to the theatrical versions. He's simply not putting his time and money into upgrading them to HD; that effort has been reserved for the Special Editions.

It's interesting to note that film preservationist Robert A. Harris (who restored The Godfather and Lawrence of Arabia, among others), sent a letter to Lucasfilm saying that he had access to the original elements of the theatrical OT. He also offered to do the restoration work for an HD release for a significantly reduced fee. The letter went unanswered. Not wanting to spend the time and money on this project is a pretty shitty excuse when avenues like this have been presented to Lucas.


Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:23 pm
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Now here's the part I'd like you to read carefully: I did nothing but the latter when I stated that I won't believe Lucas is truly retired until he's dead. If you think that's going too far, then we'll just have to agree to disagree here.

That's not quite in the original wording, but... fair enough.

Friends?


Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:35 pm
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