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The People vs. George Lucas
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10 from 3,320 votes
Release: 29 August 2011 (USA) /

The People vs. George Lucas

Genre: Comedy, Documentary
Director: Alexandre O. Philippe,
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Synopsis: Uses a courtroom debate approach to explore the issues of filmmaking and fanaticism around one of the industry's most famous franchises and its creator. The innovative film combines filmmaker and celebrity interviews with fan films - submitted via the film's site - to make this the world's first digitally democratic feature documentary. Written by Anna Higgs

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Critic Reviews


I just watched PvGL, a film that I had been eagerly anticipating for the last several months. I'm a huge Star Wars fan, and like most fans, feel a deep loathing towards the prequels and the changes that Lucas has made to the original trilogy.

Now, if you're reading this, chances are you already know the basic premise of this film (detailing the complex and dysfunctional relationship between Lucas and his fans), so I'm not going to reiterate the various intricacies, emotions, and reasoning that go along with that story. Sufficed to say, if you're a fan, you know what I mean.

And to that end, the film does a decent enough job painting a picture of who the Star Wars fans are and what the film has meant to western culture as a whole. There are some good insights from a wide range of people, from hardcore Star Wars nerds to film critics to other producers and directors. Most of what they say is easily relatable, as Star Wars really has become a cultural touchstone that almost everyone has some kind of feelings towards. It is cathartic to hear so many other people verbalize the frustrations almost every fan has surely felt towards Lucas, the prequels and the special editions.

With that having been said, there are a few flaws. The first being that the film is a bit too long. They could have easily cut about ten minutes out of the first act of the movie, which consisted almost entirely of fan parody and tribute films of varying quality. Yes, Star Wars inspires epic creativity on the part of it's fans, but that is a relatively easy point to make and didn't require quite so much screen time time to illustrate.

The other flaw is the end of the film, which completely goes soft on Lucas and abdicates its responsibility to take a firm position on the subject matter that was detailed in the entire rest of the film. After watching a whole documentary which carefully explained all the ways Lucas was ruining his work, thumbing his nose at film history as a cultural artifact (in direct opposition to positions he himself took years earlier) and acting in deliberate contempt of his fans, the conclusion it reached amounted to little more than a shrug and a soft-pedaled declaration of loyalty to Lucas anyway. Disappointing.

Any catharsis I felt very quickly melted away and once again turned to frustration. Why did the director feel the need to ultimately kiss up to Lucas? Wasn't that the fatal flaw which led to the prequels in the first place? That nobody challenged him? Let me be clear; I was not looking for a hit-piece here either; two hours of Lucas-bashing wouldn't have made for an interesting or informative film (which PvGL certainly is), but the entire premise of this documentary would have been far more credible had the last few minutes not completely undermined everything that was asserted throughout the entire rest of it.

I would still recommend it to fans as there are very interesting points to be heard in this film, but for true geek catharsis (and brilliantly insightful critique), you still can't beat the Red Letter Media long-form reviews of the prequels. People vs. George Lucas is entertaining to be sure, but it still doesn't come close to those reviews.

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