This is not a professional review. This is a 70 minute video review of why the movie completely sucks, by some guy from Milwaukee named Mike who totally gets it.
And this isn’t your usual fanboy rant, this is an epic, well-edited well-constructed piece of geek film criticism. In fact, the way I learned about the video was from LOST co-creator and STAR TREK producer Damon Lindelof, who said “Your life is about to change. This is astounding film making. Watch ALL of it.”
For example, Mike has 4 friends talk about who Han Solo is, as a character:
"He's a scoundrel..." "rogue" ... "cocky" ... "womanizer" ... "but with a heart of gold..."
"He has a beard..." "stoic" ... "has a beard" ... "beard..."
It's pretty awesome.
Here's part one; follow the link above for the other 6 parts.
I was cracking up when, talking about story conventions, he listed all those directors: "So unless you're the Coen brothers . . ."
I expected him to refer to 1-3 directors. Instead, he lists 20 or so of our most compelling directors, reminding us that, yes those people are special, but the list isn't so impossibly short that Lucas couldn't be in it if he wasn't a hack.
Actually, it's incredible to consider that the same man who made episode I made "American Graffiti." I guess that's what getting old and more money than you can count can do to you.
Among his many other errors, Lucas really screwed up by aiming the prequels at kids (IMHO). The prequels' natural audience was the adults who loved Star Wars as kids. (Whereas for children of the 90's, CGI effects were old hat.)
And presumably the subjects of the prequels--the emergence of Darth Vader and the death of a democracy--should have been darker, adult-oriented material.
A few clarifications: George bankrolled the movie so he could do anything he wanted. He didn't need studio approval, he didn't need to get approval from anyone. He wasn't surrounded by yes men. He didn't need them.
The crew wasn't scared of him and had voiced some concerns but at the end of the day it's always up to the director. Which is true of any film. On most films (and certainly these) the director has the final say and makes the final decision. They certainly don't want to hear about story issues from anyone on the crew. Serious story issues on most films are only open to discussion from the studio, producer, writer and possibly the actors. George was all of these (except actor).
In this case George was the writer as well so he was the one to start the process and the last one to deal with the process. He was the original creator of the material so in theory he should know best. He also had children by the time the new episodes started so that influenced some of the decisions you saw.
When he had it edited and in reasonable form he recieved some positive comments from his friends (other directors) At that point even if there were issues raised it would have been difficult to address. This is the same as an animation film would be difficult to change after the animation was done.
To me, the interesting thing is how much the prequel trilogy is like "Return of the Jedi." Return is the weakest of the three original films. It's not terrible, mind you. But the ponderous and poor dialogue, the cute alien critters and the epic battle scenes are all there.
If Kasdan and Marquand handn't been there for "Return," would the luster have fallen of Lucas then?
If Kirshner, Kasdan and Brackett hadn't been there for Empire -- and fought Lucas tooth and nail all the way -- would that film be held up as the best of the trilogy today (no.)
And if Marsha Lucas hadn't been there to give George an element of humanity, how would "Star Wars" have turned out?
I know it's easy to see history with perfect vision, but I think the truth of the matter has always been that Lucas is a big idea, big spectacle person and a lousy detail, human-drama creator.
"George bankrolled the movie so he could do anything he wanted."
That sounds like how one ends up surrounded by yes men.
"He was the original creator of the material so in theory he should know best."
Well, what George could never know was whether the material worked for other people. The fact that he knew that abortion of a script inside and out didn't help me when I was cringing with the opening crawl.