Friday, January 17, 2020

Genius Is....

"I'm not convinced that George is this genius filmmaker that he's always been portrayed as being. I see him as a guy who had a neat idea to make a space adventure movie in the spirit of the old Flash Gordon serials. Modernize it a little, make it share a lot of visual elements with World War II, add some mythological elements and call it Star Wars. Then get a whole other bunch of people to make it work somehow . . . He works best when other people take his ideas and work with them. When he writes and directs, it's disastrous."

I agree with the above in whole and in parts. George Lucas has been elevated by many Star Wars fans as being the great being. The human being is humble, often repeating the down-to-Earth line: "People, it's just a movie." Indeed it is....they are. But this is not to take anything away from Lucas, and contrary to what impression Red Letter Media's Mike Stoklasa might convey in the above quote, the Star Wars creator slaved at his writing desk for thousands of hours over a few years to come up with the universe for his "Flash Gordon-like space movie". He had advice and feedback over his push to come up with a story, the story, but it was good old creativity's hallmarks: blood, sweat, and tears. (And in Lucas' case, a lot of self-inflicted hair snipping.)

Distillation is part of creativity.

The first Star Wars movie, Star Wars, no "A New Hope" crap, was the result of a creative mind; not to forget a hard-working writing hand of limitless stamina. Many other creative minds added layers of essential brilliance: Taylor, McQuarrie, Dykstra, Mollo, Williams, and many more. (The film's opening title crawl was 'translated' by filmmaker Brian De Palma and film critic Jay Cocks from Lucas' unwieldy and rambling original.) Let's not forget the talented cast. Not to be forgotten on the casting note: Lucas spent hundreds of hours picking his cast, taking the care to see how they played off one another. (He had taken the same approach with American Graffiti. Also to remarkable effect.)

Filmmaking is a collaborative art. Of which Star Wars is a wall-poster illustration.

As for the bit: "When he writes and directs, it's disastrous." Watch THX-1138, American Graffiti, and, of course, Star Wars. So much for that theory. When it comes to speaking of the "prequel films", of which I will not speak in the conventional sense, Stoklasa is bang on with an explosive force to match the destruction of the Death Star.


The above was first posted on August 29, 2018, as "Mike Stoklasa on George Lucas and Star Wars".

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