All posts tagged: George Lucas

George Lucas and Mickey in happier times.

EXCLUSIVE: George Lucas’ rejected plans for Star Wars VII revealed!

“The [story ideas] that I sold to Disney, they came up to the decision that they didn’t really want to do those,” George Lucas told CinemaBlend.com this week. And now, this leaked 2012 memo shows what George Lucas had in mind for the new “Star Wars” trilogy, probably. Nov. 8, 2012 To: Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn Fr: George Lucas Re: Story ideas for Star Wars Episode VII Dear Alan: Thanks for taking the time to review the plot outlines I’d been working on for Ep. VII. As you know, you’re under no obligation to use these, but as the creator of “Star Wars” I think I have a good sense of what longtime fans are looking for. (Although if you go in a different direction I’ll just have to drown my sorrows in my $4 billion — ha ha!) We’ll start with Han Solo, since he’ll obviously need to be central to the new trilogy. As Ep. VII kicks off, the former smuggler has ironically been named viceroy of the newly reestablished Trade Federation …

INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE

The Great Summer Movies: Fish Make Love In It

My dad didn’t take me to see Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I went with my friend Jack and his dad. But my dad took me to see Batman a few weeks later, in that perfect summer of 1989. He took me to see Return of the Jedi, and Star Trek V, and Total Recall, even though that last one was probably a bit too much for a thirteen-year-old. When he’s in town, we still find time to see a big and frequently stupid movie. I’m good with my dad. The same can’t necessarily be said of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. As the two major fathers of the modern blockbuster, it’s appropriate that both have father issues. Lucas’ father was a spendthrift who opposed his son’s pursuit of filmmaking. Lucas went on to create the greatest evil dad of all time, Darth Vader. As for Spielberg…his parents were divorced when he was 19; for many years he blamed his father, and so in his movies, dads are absent (E.T.) or insane (Close Encounters). …

ef1fa9e2

The Great Summer Movies: Unlimited Power!!!!!

Whatever the case, I think…I think I’m letting go. Maybe I’ll grab hold again someday. For now, let this latest outrage drift right on by. I’ve got Star Wars friends, I’ve got Star Wars memories, and I don’t need anything else from George Lucas. Chances are, you don’t, either. –Me, back in September 2011 So as it turns out, I may never “let go” of Star Wars. In the grand scheme of my life, it’s miniscule and monumental at the same time, this frequently disappointing franchise that has been breaking my heart since 1999. My capacity for critical thought battles endlessly in my own brain against the Underoo-clad seven year old who squees every time he sees a Stormtrooper. Star Wars attached itself to my subconscious decades ago and if I’m being totally honest, I’m okay with that. We all embrace whatever trash we need to wake up every morning and face a fucking hostile universe full of constant disappointment, tempered by occasional bliss. If pop culture is mostly comfort food, then for me, Star …

Creator and creation

The Great Summer Movies: It’s Not The Years, Honey, It’s The Mileage

George Lucas has been written off as an emotionless technophile who built a billion-dollar empire on the backs of Ewoks and clones. To be fair, he probably is exactly that. But let us not forget from whence he came—an artsy auteur who transformed into one of the great blockbuster showmen of the late seventies and early eighties. After that, an endless trudge through awfulness (Howard the Duck), more awfulness (Radioland Murders), and yet more awfulness (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace). Today, he’s a semi-retired entertainment magnate who keeps threatening to become an artsy auteur again. Through it all, he’s remained strangely disconnected from his own creations, as though he doesn’t really want to be the overlord of a sci-fi uberfranchise, but feels obligated—as though it’s all somehow out of his control. Maybe it is. The release of Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981 arrived in the thick of Lucas’ most fertile period, both in box office receipts and creative success. It’s the centerpiece of an early eighties trifecta that remains unequaled, …

Those were the days.

The Great Summer Movies: Don’t Get Cocky!

18 Observations On Star Wars As It Turns 36, Just As I Did Last July 1. This was one of the first VHS tapes we owned; we had a guy across the street who somehow got us a dub of it, even before it was out on tape, I think. It must have been around 1982? 1983? Is that even possible? 2. I would watch it over and over till Darth Vader showed up, and then I distinctly remember being too scared to continue. 3. Even at that age—like 7, or 8—I wanted to count how many times I watched it. I got up to eleven before I stopped keeping track. It’s all been downhill from there. 4. Lucas swiped liberally from everywhere. This is pop goulash of the highest order. 5. The structure he swiped from Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress, but it’s still a fascinating flow for a Hollywood film—characters meeting each other, building the plot person by person until the plot reaches its own critical mass. 6. He swiped the opening crawl and …

Farkakte Film Flashback: “Are You Ready for the Summer?” Edition

Given that as I write this, the forecast for the week is a steady snow starting on Tuesday and tapering off sometime in 2013, I have decided to spend the remainder of the winter in Aruba. Unfortunately, like James Taylor with Carolina, I can only afford to go there in my mind, where the airfares are cheap and I look much less globular and pasty while sunbathing. But imagining I’m warm and that my lawn doesn’t resemble the surface of the moon only goes so far. I find it’s also helpful to tune into some movies that put me in a more summery mood and remind me that in just a few short months I’ll be back at the beach, where I will be chewed to death by a giant shark. But even if Jaws (1975) has many of the elements that epitomize the summer movie, including sand, surf, skinny-dipping and Robert Shaw being bitten in half, it’s missing one important component of all great summer flicks: Bobcat Goldthwait in a Godzilla costume. Also Annette …

Fandango: George Lucas Faces Jon Stewart — A Report From “Star Wars” Celebration

To some, he is the Flanneled One. The Bearded One. Baron Papanoida. The Maker. To others, he is a former mythmaker who has since surrendered any pretense of creative integrity in a fool’s quest to sell toys, or maintain absolute control, or whatever he really wants deep beneath his plentiful chins. To most of you, he’s just the guy who made the Star Wars movies, George Lucas. The faithful, recent converts, and lapsed followers alike gathered in Orlando, Florida, this past Saturday for what was billed as “The Main Event”–an hourlong sitdown with Lucas, hosted by The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart. It was part of Star Wars Celebration V, a four-day party for Star Wars geeks, the kind of thing where if you’re into it, no explanation is necessary, and if you’re not, no explanation will suffice. I don’t know who was the driving force behind recruiting Stewart as interviewer; it could have been an idea hatched by the show’s organizers, Reed Exhibitions, or something concocted by Lucasfilm. It was a masterful idea, as Stewart is …

DVD Review: “Family Guy: Something, Something, Something Dark Side”

Spoiler Alert: Some key jokes of this release will be discussed. If you intend to view this DVD, you might want to consider avoiding the rest of this review. A long time ago, blah, blah, blah. There are two franchises that owe an extreme debt of gratitude to the loyalty of their audience: the Star Wars empire (sorry) and the Family Guy television series. For the former, 30-plus years of marketability has made George Lucas a lot of money and given him plenty of prestige, but just as surely robbed him of a clear vision of his own creation. From the three awkward prequels that steadily winnowed down all but the most die-hard fans, to the current Cartoon Network animated series The Clone Wars, to novels including the recent horror entry, Death Troopers involving zombies (I kid you not), it seems safe to say that Lucas lost the thread a long, long time ago. The same goes for Seth MacFarlane’s personal universe. After the show was canceled, fans protested, demanding Family Guy‘s return. Fox Network …

Farkakte Film Flashback: “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” Edition

Thanksgiving is upon us once again, and you know what that means: Dinner, and awkward interaction with little-seen family members. And then dessert. Because let’s face it — without food we might as well just call each other and have awkward silences over the phone. And the cinema is no different. So, in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, I thought I’d revisit some films where the dinner table is practically its own separate character, because somehow these movies wouldn’t be the same if the characters went bowling or water skiing instead of sitting down to break bread (although in a few cases those are options I would like to have seen). Notorious (1946): There are so many little rules you should follow if you want to throw a truly special dinner party. For instance, you may want to consider cloth napkins folded like a swan. Also, if your wife is a spy, make sure the man she really loves doesn’t come to rescue her from certain poisoning when you’re having all your high-ranking Nazi friends …

CD Review: Kiss, “Sonic Boom”

Any good label manager would tell you: don’t name your album something a reviewer could turn into a catchy, snarky counterpoint. But as we know far too well, most of the labels are hanging by a thread, the management inside reduced to bean counters versus quality controllers and, heck, if Hollywood keeps naming their movies in blindly self-insulting ways, why can’t the record industry follow suit? Besides, we’re talking about Kiss here, who have built an iron-clad and insular fanbase that views such flaunting of common sense as an act of rebellion. Who cares if the new album Sonic Boom, the first since 1998’s Psycho Circus, opens itself up to opening paragraphs such as this, begging the question, “Boom or Bust?” What really matters is if the band has spent the decade-long downtime productively or not, and luckily for you, the Popdose staff has gone through the work of sussing it out so you don’t have to. Strap on your steel dragon-face boots, smear on your kabuki greasepaint and shake off your love gun. It’s …

Book Review: Matt Springer, “Unconventional”

See, now this is what Fanboys wanted to be. The debut novel (or novella, as somewhat grumpily conceded in the Author’s Note) from AlertNerd‘s Matt Springer, Unconventional is, according to the front cover’s helpful summary, “a tale of sex, booze, and geeks”…pretty much in that order. And as unappealing as a book filled with drunk, naked nerds might seem, Springer makes it work, thanks to his effortlessly conversational writing and a plot that actually has less to do with Star Wars and Lord of the Rings than it lets on. The story follows a sci-fi-loving trio of longtime friends (Marty, Ron, and Ham — a nickname, short for Hammerhead, as in the minor Star Wars character) on their adventures through one weekend at the UnConvention, “Chicagoland’s number one sci-fi con,” working in plenty of basement-dwelling misfits in Jedi costumes while building toward a few life-changing decisions for the main characters. It’s a framework you’re probably overly familiar with — as you’ll be with Unconventional‘s habit of flashing back and forth between past and present in …

Sugar Water: Black and/or White

Writer-director Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing opened in theaters on June 30, 1989. “White people still ask me why Mookie threw the [trash] can through the window” at the film’s climax, he recently told the Associated Press. “Twenty years later, they’re still asking me that. No black person ever, in 20 years, no person of color has ever asked me why.” Perhaps the white people who’ve asked Lee that question also wondered why blacks across the nation celebrated the 1995 acquittal of O.J. Simpson, a famous black football player accused of murdering his white wife. As Todd Boyd, a professor of popular culture at the University of Southern California, noted in the HBO documentary O.J.: A Study in Black and White (2002), the gut reaction boiled down to psychological payback. In other words, for every black man in this country who’s been beaten, lynched, shot, or thrown behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, you didn’t get this one. It didn’t have to be O.J., of course, who wasn’t exactly a shining beacon …

DVD Review: “Howard the Duck”

The question is not whether Howard The Duck has aged well, nor is it whether the movie was ahead of its time and is only now finding an appropriate audience. It isn’t even if the film is better than you remembered. Clearly it is not. This is still the movie that was too Eighties for even the 1980s, relentlessly silly, and cursed at the heart of it with the surefire box office dynamite that is a bestial romance. Now that we have that all out of the way, is Howard The Duck a good ‘bad’ movie, the kind of cinematic junk that has a degree of charm because of just how junky it really is? Actually, no. Time has not been a friend to this movie — but not in the way you’d think. Back in its time, the movie was slightly shocking, but mostly a loud, somewhat obnoxious blowback of comic book aspirations paired with the ridiculous tropes of the times. Instead of just being a bombshell, as she was in Steve Gerber’s comics, …

The Bigger Picture: The Paradox of Poverty

There is a sentiment, shared by many followers of great art, that monetary success strips an artist of his inspiration. It is the idea that once the artist has little left to prove, the quality of his work will take a dive and said artist will be a shell of his former self. In popular culture, it’s the idea behind “keeping it real.” This is somewhat shortsighted. There are several major cinematic examples people like to toss out. Lucas and Coppola often come to mind. After all, these two cinematic luminaries have their own empires but have done little of relevance within the past 20 years or so. When they have attempted to work, their films have been largely panned by most discerning viewers. It makes sense to think that the success and money went to their heads, and that they lost touch with the common man. Take George Lucas, who was notoriously shy and quiet as a young man. I can relate to this, having spent most of my young life with the same …

The Bigger Picture: Disaster Movie!

The average movie is mediocre at best. This is not meant as an insult to hardworking filmmakers. The simple fact of the matter is that few films in a given year can actually be given the label of a “good movie.” People often look back fondly at a cultural era. In our short-term memory, this is often reduced to decades. Looking further back, cultural movements generally take up more time and are given weighty names (the Renaissance, the Enlightenment). Often someone will say “Remember the music in the ’90s? It was so much better than it is today” or “Movies were a lot better in the ’70s.” Think about it rationally, though: What possible reason could there be for the quality of art to change from one period in history to the next? It’s not as if new generations are less talented than previous ones, as much as Tom Brokaw tries to convince us otherwise. Generations are made up of individuals. Sometimes we lose sight of this much like we fail to acknowledge the tiny …