Thursday, April 17, 2008

Nutty Uncle George

The man created a galaxy. And though it was far, far away, it was plenty profitable. A whole Galaxy for God's sake. Peopled with unforgettable characters (from human to droid), extraordinary places, amazing machines and epic struggles. Through six movies and billions of dollars in merchandise, including a revolution in the toy industry, this is the guy who found the way to spin creative instinct into a marketing supernova. In the history of pop culture, his efforts have only been eclipsed by that british lady who wrote those cute stories about the kid wizard. At least Ms. Rowling appears to be showing some restraint, (and good taste) or we might already be seeing a badly animated Harry pointing his wand at our kids from the screens of the Cartoon Network

Which is exactly where you'll be finding the most recent denizens of the Star Wars galaxy. It seems George Lucas has embraced television as the new golden media outlet for his creative output. Here's George's take as reported in Broadcasting & Cable magazine: "...(television shows) are repeated and repeated...  They also allow more room for experimentation... If you make a few mistakes or something, the end of the world isn't going to happen, you can get away with it and no one notices, because of the nature of the fact that it comes out every week, and it moves so fast...". That quote was referring to George's Clone Wars project he is developing at the Cartoon Network, where he has expressed his feeling that working on the animated series has been more rewarding than having made the original movies.

George has also been, apparently, working on a new live-action TV series set in the Star Wars universe, but not including any of the original characters from the movies. The live action series concept reportedly has a "gangster" feel to it. Last month, The New York Post described the idea as being "Deadwood meets the Sopranos in outer space." Not exactly boldly going where no man has gone before. Anyone out there a fan of Firefly? Star Trek? The report also mentioned that so far there has been no real interest in the series, and it's been being pitched since last fall. Lucas' response? "Well yeah, but it's Star Wars."

So what's a filmmaker to do when the mother load is being perceived as a wee bit spent? Move to another mine and another vein of gold. Say for instance... Indiana Jones. And so, one of the most highly anticipated, perhaps THE most highly anticipated movie this summer, will be Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Everyone at Moviedozer will be buying a ticket and we'll be rooting like crazy for our long lost hero to triumph. So George must be ecstatic right? George? Let's go to the quotes... here's what George told USA Today: "When you do a movie like this, a sequel that's very, very anticipated, people anticipate ultimately that it's going to be the Second Coming. And it's not. It's just a movie. Just like the other movies. You probably have fond memories of the other movies. But if you went back and looked at them, they might not hold up the same way your memory holds up." 

WHAT? Wait, we've all been watching these things again and again. They're plastered across our cable channels, we've got the DVDs, the special edition DVDs, we went to the enhanced and digitally remastered rereleases, we bought the boxed sets... if memory serves... we've all spent a fortune keeping these movies fresh as hell in our memories. For proof George, go check you're bank account. And last we heard, we'll be doing it all over again in 3D. If the movies suck compared to our memories, you're doing one hell of a good job not letting us notice.

George's last word on the topic of the new Indiana Jones movie? "You're (the filmmakers) not going to get a  lot of accolades, all you can do is lose." Hey Mr. Spielberg, what's you're take on that one? 

So has George Lucas just been in the business too long? Is he burnt out and tired of it all? Is he such a restless genius that nothing can stimulate new creative sparks? Has he lost it? Is this what comes from the excesses of massive success? We'd like to think it's more like going to the Spring family reunion. There's nutty Uncle George sitting alone under the oak tree gnawing on an ear of corn with a plate full of potato salad and baked beans. He's smiling, kind of to himself, and he's seems a bit daydreamy. He looks up and waves at us as we arrive. But, just as we're about to run over to say hello, mom pulls us back by the shirt sleeve and marches over to our much more boring relatives. No playing with nutty Uncle George without close supervision. Somehow you get the feeling he really doesn't notice.

In the interest of full disclosure, no, no one associated with or Moviedozer Dailies is related to Mr.Lucas. We really do respect this guy's accomplishments and we'd bet he'd be a hoot at a family reunion potato sack race.

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