The Cause Of George Lucas’ Fall - And How He Can Rise Again

George-Lucas-Groove-BackWhen something is much loved, mediocrity or any lack of excellence is not tolerated and can illicit much anger and hatred. The poster boy case study for this is George Lucas.

The reality is, when you poll most people who never saw the original Star Wars trilogy (believe it or not those poor souls are out there), many of them looked at the new prequels and generally thought they were not bad. “Ok” seems to be the main sentiment. However, ask those of us who hold Star Wars deep within our hearts what most of us thought of the prequels… and you’re more than likely to get assaulted with a profanity laced barrage of hatred and anger. “Worst movies ever” is a phrase you’ll hear quite often.

Now the anger is being passed on to Indiana Jones 4. The general movie going audience seem to like the film and critics seem to have enjoyed it as well (I was disappointed with it as an Indiana Jones film, but still thought it was fun over all). But a lot of folks online who hold Indiana Jones as almost a religious figure can’t tolerate Indy being any less that amazing (and who can blame them?)

But preconceptions and expectations aside, almost EVERYONE agrees that the latest Star Wars offerings pale in comparison to the originals and that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the worst of the Indy films.

So what happened to George Lucas? Yes the man is still a pure genius… pushing the movie industry forward in technical arts for digital filmmaking, Visual effects, sound and almost every other area you can imagine. His various companies are responsible for the most important technological breakthroughs in film over the last 20 years… and no one… I mean no one knows how to promote, not just a film, but a brand like he does. He isn’t the world’s richest independent film maker for no reason. But when it comes to creative vision and skill in the craft of visual storytelling, it would be an understatement to say the man has lost a step or two over the years.

How did this happen? Almost 40 years ago he was considered to be THE up and coming director. Many forget (or never knew) that Lucas was getting critical praise long before the name “Luke Skywalker” was ever uttered. American Graffiti was not only nominated for Best Picture at the 1974 Oscars… but George Lucas himself was individually nominated for best screenplay as the writer and was also nominated for Best Director. His student film THX 1138 became a legend… and then came Star Wars (and we all know what happened after that).

But herein lies the problem. Yes, George Lucas has given us and is responsible for the 2 best franchises and 6 of the greatest movies of all time… but that success seems to have killed him as a creative force and artistic visionary. Creative forces like George Lucas NEED new challenges, new horizons and new countries to explore. When the explorer in the artist dies, the creativity seems to start a slow death march. And for almost the last 40 years, the explorer in George Lucas has lay dormant as he’s done almost nothing creatively other than various incarnations of Star Wars and Indiana Jones. The once great chef has become a fast food chain operator. How can talent stay alive and breathing in an environment like that?

Yes yes… George has “produced” a number of other projects… even wrote one of my favorite 80’s fantasy films “Willow”. But essentially the career of George Lucas has become nothing but Star Wars and Indiana Jones for decades. No new territory. No new challenges. No new discoveries. No more creative frontiers. And as his creative muscles atrophied, we’ve seen the vision, the genius and the quality of his films slide downhill to the point the he is now, creatively, just a shell of the titan he once was.

Rebecca Winters wrote a great article in Time Magazine about this topic in an open letter to George Lucas. In it, she raised a great point about what Lucas NEEDS to do next:

Audiences ignored and critics shrugged at Youth Without Youth, the experimental movie your buddy Francis Coppola made last year. So what? Youth got Francis out of a 10-year dry spell and excited about making movies again. Now he’s at work on another. Make your own weird little film with no expectations. When it hits theaters, take a vacation, ignore the weekend grosses and start brainstorming your next movie.

She’s 100% correct, and deep down George Lucas knows it. 10 years ago Lucas was saying that after the third Star Wars prequel was finished, he would walk away from the Star Wars universe and get involved in making a bunch of much smaller independent films. That’s EXACTLY what he needed to do. That’s EXACTLY what he should have done. But what happened? Instead of breaking away from his old creations that have been creatively killing him, George started with various Star Wars TV and cartoon projects (don’t forget Star Wars Clone Wars hits theaters this summer) and even got back on the Indiana Jones wagon again. He had a chance to rediscover himself. He hadn’t directed a movie that wasn’t called “Star Wars” since 1973 and now with Star Wars done and a LOAD of new money in his bank accounts, it was the perfect time for him to start exploring his creativity again. But instead, he let the atrophy continue.

Make no mistake about this one fact: George Lucas is a sleeping creative giant who has almost no equal. But the mighty warrior king has become like King Theoden in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. He sits old and decrepit on his same old thrown. Stiff and weak, distant and still and almost oblivious to everything going on around him. But in the same way that Gandalf cast out the White wizard and breathed life back into him and Theoden took up his sword again… so too I believe that breaking away from the old Star Wars and Indiana Jones worlds and embracing new ground… rediscovering the love he lost for fresh and undiscovered storytelling… then we’ll see Lucas rise again… the same Lucas who changed the whole movie industry… the same Lucas who broke new ground many thought could never be done… the same George Lucas who helped shape our childhood imaginations like no one before him or since him have ever come close to doing.

Make no mistake, he is the King, but one who has lost his throne and forgotten his true self. A creative force who exchanged his creativity for commercial success for far too long, turned in his explorer spirit for the familiar and discarded his courage in exchange for comfort. These things kill an artist and so they have slowly killed George Lucas. But he’s not dead yet, and I truly believe that if he uses his remaining working years rediscovering his passion, his creativity, his explorer’s spirit and his courage… breaking away from the familiar and heading into unknown storytelling territory again… we will see the return of the king. For George and for us all… I hope he does.

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48 thoughts on “The Cause Of George Lucas’ Fall - And How He Can Rise Again

  1. Just ran across this very old post from a long, long time ago.

    Lucas redeemed himself ‘somewhat’ with me since this was written when he FINALLY sold the rights to Disney. I have to stress somewhat because of things he has been popping off at the mouth about recently.

    I have to point out- you can see a direct link between his divorce with his first wife Marcia(who won an Oscar for her work as Editor for A New Hope) and his split with Gary Kurtz (he also had a big hand in making Star Wars great).

    During Return of the Jedi, George and Marcia’s marriage was about to implode. She cited in her one interview it was due to the sheer amount of time George was working and his friend Francis Ford Coppola and George’s family.

    So what did George do during that time? He decided to wrap up the entire Star Wars saga in Return of the Jedi. He is on record (just read the Forward in Splinter of the Mind’s Eye) stating he had Sequels and Prequels in mind. In the past ten years he has either forgotten about all this or he is lying.

    His decision to just end and gut the story lead to his friction with Kurtz.

    Since, he decided to get remarried and suddenly, he sells every-freaking-thing in Lucasfilm LTD to Disney.

    Lucas though is still an egotistical, self centered jerkface sometimes. He has been taking jabs at the new films- stating he is ‘worried’ they will make the Force some gobbley goop and how he still has not seen the new trailers.

    He is simply not aware of the sheer power of humility. Humility is the MAIN power behind creativity. You cannot be creative and assume you know everything.

    Thus why he sat on his laurels for 30+ years screaming all purple faced, “MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE!” and why all of his work has been as exciting as a 1980’s Saved by the Bell episode.

    Ralph McQuarrie, Joe Johnston, John Williams, Gary Kurtz, Marcia Lucas, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, David Prowse, James Earl Jones, and Irvin Kershner- In Lucas’ mind, none them are why Star Wars was great- Just HIM.

    He even stated he could have made The Empire Strikes Back just as good as Kershner. Good gods.

    He just cannot take ANY type of criticism- at all. IMHO- that makes him weak and untalented.

    I think his divorce just traumatized the living hell out of him and he never got help for it.

  2. It seems a little crazy for me to be commenting on this interesting article around 7 years after it was written, but sadly the last 7 years have done nothing but affirm that George Lucas has just disintegrated as a creative filmmaker. It was a good thought, that he needed a new direction in order to recapture his creativity and, in 2008, that seemed to be the solution. Unfortunately, since this blog was written, the incredibly average to poor film “Red Tails” was made by Mr. Lucas. Everything that makes Red Tails so “meh” equates to the problems in Star Wars 1,2 & 3 & Indy 4. For me, George Lucas needs something FAR harder to rediscover his creative genius than a simple “new direction”. He needs to start entirely from scratch. Part of what made his early works so great is that he had nothing and, as a result, concentrated on things like the storyline, the script, the acting to push a concept forward from his mind & onto the Silver Screen. However, now he has every possible technique of filmmaking & more at his fingertips, & George Lucas’s problem (in my eyes) is that he attempts to use them all. Sure, this has lead to the advancement of many areas of filmmaking over the years, but it has also made him a bit of a jack of all trades, master of none. I find this sad, as he is a master of something - a master storyteller. However, he has allowed himself to get distracted from that art as he gets caught up in new technology. It used to her the story came first with Lucas, then he found a way to tell it using increasingly clever techniques. Nowadays though, Lucas seems to find new techniques first and then try to find a way to use them in his story - sometimes writing entire stories just so he can incorporate some new way of filming it. His films have suffered MASSIVELY as a result. Sometimes I watch some of his more recent works and I just want to grab him and give him a slap so he snaps out of this obsession of his. “FOCUS ON THE STORY FIRST, GEORGE!” I want to scream in his face, “WHO REALLY CARES THAT YOU’VE DISCOVERED A NEW WAY TO DIGITALLY RENDER HIGH-SPEED AERIAL DOGFIGHTS??!!!” (Or whatever his new thing might be). Basically, this trend George Lucas is on is much more than him just getting away from Star Wars/Indiana. I actually think that he could do a brilliant Star Wars 7 or Indiana 5 but only if he writes the story first and puts some restrictions on himself just like he had when he was starting out. I sometimes write electronic music and I find that ones of the easiest ways to lose your direction is by adopting too many fancy new tools to try and do fancy new musical things which, by and large, you were managing just fine to do already with limited kit. Sometimes the most creative, and consequently most successful, techniques is not to write music with as many expensive instruments and effects as you can afford but, actually, just the opposite - restrict yourself to as little as possible. That way you are fully focused on the end product and not the means to make it - something I think George Lucas has failed to do since The Last Crusade.

  3. I just found this article 4 years too late, but it helped me answer a question that I’ve wondered about for years…”What happened to George Lucas?” thanks for hitting the nail on the head. My inner child who grew up watching A New Hope can find some peace :)

  4. Its nice to see someone defend George for a change. Its so sad that Lucas has reached a stage where people are questioning how big of a hand he had in his success. I had a friend who told me George Lucas is a man he was surrounded by all the right people and thats the only reason he got to where he is. That is bull crap. George Lucas is on the level of Walt Disney. A man who not only made great movies and stories, but had a vision of technology and changed the way movies are made. I really want him to make a comeback Rocky Balboa style.

  5. Who cares its just indiana jones anyways.

    and mutt was cool he was the best part I

    think but mostly becaus im young like who else

    am I gonna have fun watching the grown ups?


    so just leave mutt alone everyone and just

    enjoy the damn movie.

  6. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

  7. I agree that he need people saying no to him, during Empire, he wanted to add some funny aliens doing cute stuff and received a no, but during Jedi he was already a lot more powerful and we got…Ewoks.

    It was the sign of the apocalipse.

    I’m afraid not even spielberg could stop the big kid from doing whatever he wanted, and we got Mummy 3… I mean, Indy 4. As a producer in hollywood, he holds a lot more power than a director.

    Lucas, time to pass the toys to new kids to play.

    And c’mon John, Willow was mediocre at best.

  8. I too would like to see some of the novels of the “extended universe” made into motion pictures/television shows. I think I can speak for most die hard fans when I say that novels by Zahn, Stackpole, Anderson and the rest kept us alive during the mid 90’s and it is a damn shame Lucas seems uninterested in bring them to film. Let’s face it: these authors handled the Star Wars universe more competently the Lucas with his last three cinematic abortions.

    I’m especially upset about this new Clone Wars CGI movie coming out in the fall. I gotta sit through more of this prequel BS while the Thrawn Trilogy and the Rouge Squadron series sit on Lucas’ shelves…probably unread.

    Sorry to get all fired up there-awesome article John.

  9. i think the problem lies within the prequel actors. they wer like bored, but tried hard to impress.. they dont have the same passion n chemistry as the sequel actors… still a fan of the old (i mean new..) star wars..

  10. It’s a nice article, but seeing as people see his movies anyway, he doesn’t have any obligation to make “creative movies”. Maybe he should, but that’s something I’m not in a position to judge. Though I do hope that he DOES.

    To be very honest, his new movies aren’t THAT bad.

    Also; there are a few spelling errors in the article, like ilicit instead of elicit, there are a few more, but I’m too lazy to re read the article just for that.

  11. (Type your comment here. Make sure you’ve read the commenting rules before doing so) gorge my name is guillermo josegarciavasquez wirte to you jedy legendary we can make if weput puzzels we can make episode3 rivived into your expersion tell me i got in idea ahow about we put republicans got again in trubled with the king resturverd lelya is growing up in caled placed tremtor ect ect i got stry for you sound good make caledto junta velez at 18008271000 asked for guillermo eldio garcia pabon and asked what thats my dads thanks have nicely day guillermo jose garci vasquez

  12. Why would he think he has a problem though?
    the prequels made a shot load of money.
    The new indiana jones film is raking in cash all across the globe so why would he think anything is wrong??
    why should he care?

    If his films were tanking then yes he might realize he has something to address but since they continue to be successful in the only way that truly matters to hollywood i.e. financially what makes you think for one minute lucas believes he has a problem to address?

    The coppola comparison is pointless. That guy hasn’t had a hit film in over 20 years. Lucas can pretty lay a turn on a piece of celluloid and people flock to it so why would he think he needs to fix anything?

  13. You stressed the most important point John, that:

    “….the career of George Lucas has become nothing but Star Wars and Indiana Jones for decades. No new territory. No new challenges. No new discoveries. No more creative frontiers. ….”

    Lucas may have been a ‘king’, but a king with a hollow vision or worst a king in a bubble clutched onto Star Wars & Indiana Jones like you said.

    I don’t highly regard him when I compare him to say, Ridley Scott, whom I have great admiration. Just look at Scott’s range of genre he’s tackled – sci-fi, horror, drama, war, thriller and historical epic.

    Lucas just couldn’t get out of his comfort zone and therein lies his problem.

  14. Well written John.

    Stephen King wrote about one of the problems he had before becoming successful was the editors ruining his work because they wielded more power than him. Then when he became successful and could tell them no, his work suffered because it became bloated, sloppy and self indulgent. It turned out those editors weren’t always complete fools all the time.

    Lucas has the same problem, surrounded by yes men, when he needs some people to slap him on the wrist and say “No. Bad Lucas. That doesn’t work. Try harder.”

    Some fresh indie project, preferably without CGI, is just what he needs to revitalise his grey matter.

    Otherwise he will become known as one of those geniuses that burned out and coasted on their early success.

  15. GL’s problem….GL just needs to let things go…He’s not gonna live forever…but I don’t know about you but I’m a rabid SW fan. I JUST WANT TO SEE THRAWN YOU [email protected]#[email protected]%. Granted it’s not a GL invention, it’s Tim Zaun’s. But CMON!!! This is what we want to see…plus Dark Empire with Palpatine’s clone on Byss. THIS IS WHAT WE WANT TO SEE!!! Plus…Wedge battling “Iceheart” Dysard; Dammit we don’t want ot know what happens…

  16. i think this is a very insightful artical especialy since George is my favorite Director and Star Wars is my faovite movie series. You said he should break off from Indy and Star Wars and make some brand new original films. But i was wondering what type of a film do you think he should do? I personaly think maby he should do a Sci Fi film that is in not on earth because he is so into using a butt load of visual effects and that many visual effects i think shouldn’t be used in a movie that takes place on earth. Like in Indy 4 the insane amount of effects sorta ruined the end climax, but then i thought that maby that might seem too close Star Wars and he wouldn’t realy be breaking away from it but then i wondered wether he should totaly break away from the entire genre of Sci Fi or just the Star Wars story, or possibly give up on his CGI addiction and do somthign realy simple with a good story? And so i’m just wondering what you thought of that, and what you could see George try to do.

  17. Personally - I think George Lucas is overrated (and has been from the very start).
    Only two of the entire Star Wars franchise are watchable and the Indy films always were a joke.

    I don’t understand what all the fuss is about…

  18. I agree with Movie Replicas. I ain’t on the Lucas hate train and I don’t plan to board it any time soon. Too many people’s expectations are outrageously unrealistic. I don’t say that to dismiss the opinions of people who dislike movies I enjoyed but really - the Lucas hate doesn’t make much sense.

    Having said that I think John is right in his post. It’s time for Lucas to move on to other experiments. I think someone compared him to King Theoden, which I liked. He’s the king in the realm of film but he needs his creative juices revived. I would love to see him do something wildly different with film story telling. I believe that he has it in him.

  19. star wars set the bar on visual effects. since then there have been many houses showing their stuff, however i agree ILM is still the best….sorry weta. anyway he cant keep reinventing the wheel and setting higher bars. most creative people cant do that. every artist has down time.

    with all the stimuli today, a movie like star wars would not have the same impact. i loved starwars as a kid in the 1st-2nd grade (even owned darth vader underoos) but find it hard to watch them today. outside of han most of the acting is not that good. as a director i think he’s been overrated, but as a story teller he’s at the top. his stories have always been unique but i don’t think he’s been the best director to present them.

    what i hate most of all about george’s creative rut…it’s been almost 40 years and we still can get away from stories that happened between the birth and death of vader…the timothy zahn stories…i would love to see them on film. but i guess george didn’t pen them so they will not be made..that’s a shame.

    how to get out of his rut? i say sit back and approve a story in your universe (not written by u) for film and let another director do it. this will force a spark of “i can do better”.

    in all, i love george lucas. his impact on my life as a child is grand.
    starwars or not, i will see every thing he makes

  20. I thikn the biggest problem is that he has no barriers to overcome. I think this is true for any publishing industry.

    An unknown writer puts a ton of effort into their first novels in the effort to get them published. The first few novels hold true, but if the artist becomes very popular, anything they write will be published, and the quality goes down.

    George Lucas is like Stephen King writing the Stand, it, the Shining, Shawshank Redemption, and the first three dark tower books and then writing the monster movie on sci-fi quality books. Anne Rice did it with the 4 Vampire books, and then the series of lesser vampire books for money.

    Lucas had to create amazing stories to get budgeting, then struggle with 70s tech to get his vision out there. With lower budgets he had to keep only the essential special effects and have a strong story background. Now he has a blank check and ILM to do anything he envisions, so there is nothing pushing him to excel.

  21. Oh, brother. Don’t be such elitists. I saw this for a second time last night and I enjoyed it more the second viewing. It’s fun. I appreciate the creativity and spirit of the movie. I don’t see an overabundance of CGJ and I don’t think the story is any weaker than the other three movies. I think Roger Ebert’s review is spot on and you should read it.

  22. 790 he hasnt really made any achievements in film as such, his films are blandly shot and simply put together (cgi camera shots new star wars excluded) his company which he pioneered is responsible for the achievements and those directors that used its help to create there visions, eg james cameron. just because of this it does not make him a good film maker.

    nbakid2000 - yah id say your prety much right.

    @ movie replicas

    2. we are so used to over the top action and special effects that there is no “wow” factor anymore. do you remember terminator 2 and how hyped the sfx was for that movie, well think about watching it now, we wouldn’t even think of it being cool.

    errr? well its is because every thing around them that is much stronger is working so well, as in story acting, dialogue. You might ne used to over the top special effects but the rest of the world still gets it.

  23. Wow, don’t you guys realise that Lucas is responsable for so many achievments in film.

    This lucas hatred is like a fad. Wake up motards.

    I’m not with you on this.

  24. The reason people hate the new Indy Jones is because it sucks.

    It has nothing to do with expectations or not being a child anymore or anything like that.

    The story sucks, the script is horrid, the CGI is over-abundant (when we were promised it wouldn’t be - Spielberg lied), the stunts are NOT believable, even for an Indy film, and the characters are paper-thin.

    The other Indy films on the other hand, while having flaws, are good enough to overlook their (minor) flaws.

  25. I disagree with the idea that Lucas may come back. He created some amazing characters in the 60s and 70s that have become icons and are loved everywhere in the world. The problem is after that Lucas got a star desease and decided to direct movies. And every body knows that whatever movie he directed was either not so good or really bad. In the original Star Wars, most people would agree that the best episode was “Empire Strikes Back” - one episode Lucas did not direct. Then his ego grew bigger and he wrote and directed another 3 Star Wars episodes - with dialogs full of trajectile vomiting and not much of a story, all designed to capitalize on previous sucess (everyone will HAVE to see the new Star Wars if they had seen the original ones) and merchandising on Jar Jar Binks and other “cartoon” characters. And now his ego took over and ruined another great character - Indiana Jones. We’ve waited 20 years and for what?

  26. Its articles like this that keep the main alive. Lucas inst that good, full stop. Lucas ruined sci fi, it used to be about ideas and has to much freedom, then he made star wars which is all about getting the character from place to place with know real reasons or depth and throughing in a few action sequences hear and there, its really formulated and set the standard which inst high to start with for everything to come. clearly this is more evident in the new ones which struggle to really have any thing going for them. people still to this day when they make something in space or sci fi, rely heavily on star wars, some more than others, most likely because its safe…. and “cool” He is part of the reason Hollywood is sooooooo fooked.

  27. Lucas should go back and make smaller films like American Graffiti. He should make a movie and make it about the STORY rather than the visuals. That’s what the original Star Wars trilogy was, the visuals only enhanced the story. The prequel SW trilogy was all about visuals.

    John, you also forgot to mention that without Lucas we wouldn’t have Pixar as he was the owner of Pixar Studios in the beginning.

  28. Spoilers to follow

    @movie replicas

    I think there there is certainly some truth to what you say but at the same time I don’t think we can simply write off the our disappointment in the new films as merely a result of 1-5.

    I was ready to enjoy the new Indy film. I did in fact enjoy the film in roughly its first half. Nothing about 1-5 stopped me from getting into this film (not even the ground hogs). The problem is that the film nose dived in the 2nd half. It failed not merely because of hype and nostalgia but because it was poorly executed. The central plot device of the crystal skull was poorly conceived, it was too over the top, the film crammed in ever cliche it could (indy meets his lost love, falls in love again in no time, gets married, finds out Mutt is his Son). It went from having the potential to be a fun well crafted adventure to being a jumbled mess.

    Its also interesting to note - taking a look at rotten tomatoes - that the while the general critical consensus was reasonably high, there was a significant drop off with the top critics.

    I’m sure the star wars films have been argued about here over and over in the past so I won’t spend too much time on them. In short, they were bad films as well with terrible acting and writing and no sense of joy or adventure but burdensome films without any real heart.

    In the end, its just too easy to write off our disappointments as a consequence of impossible expectations. We shouldn’t overlook the fact that these films were simply flawed in ways their predecessors we not.

  29. the problems (personally) I think is that:
    1. our expectations are high, so high that no one is ever going to reach them.
    2. we are so used to over the top action and special effects that there is no “wow” factor anymore. do you remember terminator 2 and how hyped the sfx was for that movie, well think about watching it now, we wouldn’t even think of it being cool.
    3. we’ve become movie snobs, armchair critics.
    4. we’re no longer the younger minded selves that watched the older movies.
    5. we want to recapture the nostalgia, the feelings we had and have that same feelings with the newer movies, but again expectations are so high that it could never be met and we get pissed at that.

    face it we are not peter pan.

    i believe lucas did a fine job on star wars (prequels) and the latest indy IV. he delivered a fun and exciting movie. i think he knows his audience and what they want and a small proof of that is watching and hearing my son hum the indy tune and pretend that he is mutt.

    long live king lucas!!!

  30. @ Jediwizzo

    Hmmm. You said “George Lucas can not make a movie now that has the bad guys in Black and the Good guys in White, because our lives today have no clear lines of good vs evil. ”

    You mean like Lord of the Rings? Clear balck and white good guys verses evil guys. Sorry man, your thesis doesn’t hold up.

    I just hate it when people makes excuses for the new movies and say the problem is with the audience. Sorry, no dice. I watched all the old Indy movies on my DVD set a few days before the news one. Essentially I watched them all together and Crystal Skull was embarrassingly bad compared to the other films. Sorry if you can’t deal with that, but the fault is not with the audience, it’s with the filmmakers.

    On another note, that was a bloody brilliant post John. Kudos.

  31. I just want to say I understand what you are feeling but i believe you all expect more out of a movie than it truely can achieve. No matter what George Lucas can not take us back to a time when Ameriaca just got our butts kicked over the last Decade in everything we tried to do. George Lucas can not make a movie now that has the bad guys in Black and the Good guys in White, because our lives today have no clear lines of good vs evil. Star Wars was Pre-Regan, Pre-Winter Olympics, Pre-Puberty for many who have such a hard time with the new Movies.

    All I know is that I remember the Movies, the books, the toys, the adventures of each new video game. And I see my 4 year old kid who plays with his Star Wars Toys, wore a hat to school today that looked like a camo version of an Indy hat, in the pocket of that hat is a Shoe Lace that is a Wipe for now. He has watched Indy every day this week, he likes the old ones more than the new one, but only because it isnt on dvd yet. He watched 2 hours on the history channel because those were the skulls from the movie.

    You say George has lost it, I say it is us ‘Adult’ who just do not understand and want him to take us back to a place we can never get back to in our own imaginiations. He is a business owner, he has Payroll to make each week, however his stories are still making the same impression, that impression is just not for those of us who can post on this website yet.

  32. Right on, John! I’m with you 100% on this article. Lucas is a master, a grandmaster even, and all he needs to do to win me back in make one great movie. I understand that it can be sad to let go of characters and watch sagas come to an end, and it’s so much harder to do when you’ve poured so much of your heart into the work. But Lucas needs to let go, and move on. In fact, I would like to see him work on several solo films, not related to a series or trilogy in any way, just as an exercise in letting go and moving on to the next one.

    The day I hear of a Lucas project like this, I’ll heave a sigh of relief, and I’ll sprint to the nearest theater the day it’s released!

  33. what is it about george lucas that people care so much about his well-being. it’s like he birthed you guys/gals or something

    i love star wars and lucas just as much as the next person, but seriously. at his age, and the amount of money he has, if he wants to do something other than star wars, he’ll do it, and if doesn’t the only person he has to blame is himself.

  34. I’m a prequel apologist, I know they are faulted movies with some serious issues, but this Indy bashing is outrageous. This movie has not deserved the beating it’s taken in the least! It feels like everyones been a breath from saying how they really feel.

    Unspoken, but seemingly felt in almost all criticisms of this movie, Indiana Jones went from being a character who lived in a universe where God is real, where the Old Testament and the New Testament were historical fact. Now he’s in an adventure where the secular mythology of UFO’s and Aliens are real, and that cheapens Indy if you have religious or spiritual beliefs or inclinations.

    I’m an atheist, so the first three are pure fantasy to me, I won’t discount the existence of extraterrestrials, but they’re pretty magical here too. Either way, I loved this movie just as much as the other Indy Sequels. So isn’t this just a bash fest since this was one of the few popular film series that put “God’s” wonders on display, in a way everyone could talk about, was it that Indy was somehow certifying peoples religious superstitions?

  35. This is a phenomenal editorial. I love the parallel between Theodin and Lucas. I ended up watching American Graffitti and I fell in love with it. I didn’t bother with American Graffitti 2. I also recall loving THX 1138, although to be fair I should rewatch it just to be sure.

    My question is, what if that is it? What if those were all the stories he had in him? Isn’t it enough that he gave us those amazing memories from our youth, and inspired countless people to be something other than what they felt they were, or even could be?

  36. As much as I love the prequels of Star Wars, and Im sure I love Indy 4 when I get a chance to see it. However I still feel Lucas is being judged too harshly only because people harbor resentment from what the newer Star Wars movies turned out to be. Now I am 100% on the same thought that Lucas really needs to tread new ground. I love a new fantasy movie thats not LOTR or Star Wars influenced. However, you cant blame Lucas for still turning up his old works. Fans still want more Star Wars, Indy, Willow, even another Howard the Duck (everyone I know anyway). The point is Lucas is giving the fans what they want and since even the prequels and sequels keep turning up a good profit why should he try something new? He is only being guilty of giving us what we want and if our hope and expectations are set to high then of course we are gonna be dissappointed and feel that Lucas has lost his magic. Does that mean mean he in fact lost his ablities as a genius film maker…NO of course not. It just means that as we grow older we want his films to fit our current lives. Thats just something we either deal with or we can write about how much we hate his movies and how he has lost his way of great film making.

  37. Lucas was an introvert growing up and the only social aspect to his life was the hot rod culture. Once the success of SWs allowed him to live and/or forced him to live a life of seclusion he lost all touch with the common man.

    Hence his inability to write believeable characters That isolation has had more layers added to it with the success of the SW and Indy sequels.

    He’s like a pro athlete, stepping right out of college and being given the keys to the city and everything is free. The major difference in this analogy is that athletes become physically unable to stay in their rarified life style and to a fair degree must enter the real world.

    Lucas will, and probably no longer could, never have to live the life of a common man. And without that frame of reference will never be able to create believable characters.

    He can imagine the grand but cannot comprehend the minute.

  38. Good article John. Just one thing. You said “He hadn’t directed a movie that wasn’t called “Star Wars” since 1973”.

    It’s actually 1977 since Lucas actually directed ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ and was even nominated ‘Best Director’ at the Oscars.

  39. Great article John! I’ve noticed you doing a lot more of these editorials, and I’m really loving them.

    I think you struck the nail on the head. If you do nothing but the same thing over and over and over again, eventually you get stale, and I think that’s the best word I can use for Lucas these days. Stale. He does need to branch out and start taking some risks. And I also still believe in him, just not on the current road he’s on.

  40. fantastic write-up john - i totally agree. whenever i see a lucas movie now, it seems like he’s forgotten how to do ‘suspension of disbelief’. i can’t get into them anymore. he needs a reason to make movies that’s bigger than money.

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