out of Five
Running time: 97
Hugely entertaining, superbly edited and impressively researched documentary that's a must-see for Star Wars fans of a certain age everywhere.
What's it all about?
Directed by Alexandre O. Philippe, The People vs George Lucas explores the betrayal felt by Star Wars fans at the combined atrocities of the re-edited versions of the original trilogy and the crushing disappointment of the three prequels, to say nothing of Jar Jar Binks.
The film is split into four chapters: Just A Nerf Herder from Modesto takes a look at Lucas's early beginnings and explores the phenomenal success of the original Star Wars films, examining the deep and lasting effect they've had on Star Wars fans everywhere; The Great Tinkerer discusses Lucas's obsession with re-editing the original trilogy, examining the many issues fans had with the re-mastered versions and explaining why it matters; Revenge of the Geeks lists the crimes of the three prequels (step forward, Jar Jar Binks) while generously acknowledging that kids still like them; and A New Hope? looks at the ways in which fans have continued to make their own versions, re-editing the existing films themselves and creating their own spin-offs, tributes and re-enactments.
Philippe has assembled a wealth of terrific material that includes fan-made films, archive footage, film clips and home movies as well as interviews with dozens of fans both young and old – a clip of a young girl looking to her father for approval when she says she likes Jar Jar is just one of several highlights. Philippe has also rounded up an eclectic selection of talking heads, including Lucas's biographer, several film critics, film historians, cultural commentators, writers, comedians, artists and filmmakers, as well as interviewing the creators of several of the best fan-made films.
The editing is excellent, particularly in the stitching together of some of the fan material. In addition, there are some very funny lines (Jared Christmas's handjob analogy is priceless) and the film deserves a lot of credit for giving Lucas his due, most notably in pointing out that he actively embraces the fan film culture, even going so far as to make sound effects available for free online.
The People vs George Lucas is a hugely enjoyable, frequently funny documentary that explores some intriguing cultural issues and provides a fascinating insight into the passionate nature of Star Wars fandom. Highly recommended.
The People vs George Lucas (tbc)