The parodies vs George Lucas

20:34, Mar 03 2011

Since I'm no good at keeping secrets, and I'm not a big fan of surprises (after all, I'm the same guy who was confused for three days after seeing The Sixth Sense), I'm going to let the cat out of the bag now: I've got two double passes for next Thursday's screening of The People vs George Lucas at Reading Cinemas Courtenay in Wellington, as part of the Documentary Edge Festival, to give away at the end of this blog post - keep reading to find out how you can win.

But before I get to that, I want to ask a question: Do you think that the fan experience has tainted the Star Wars trilogy?

The People vs George Lucas is a documentary compiled from 634 hours of fan-made footage that examines the relationship fans have had with the film series, and in particular with ecisions George Lucas has made, such as digitally enhancing the original trilogy, producing the prequel trilogy, and so on. By all accounts, it's a top notch film and a brilliant look at the fan experience.

I've never been a huge fan of Star Wars. I enjoyed the original trilogy as a kid - especially The Empire Strikes Back, which remains one of the greatest sci-fi fantasy films of all time, in my opinion - and I rushed out to see the prequel trilogy as each new episode hit cinemas. But I can't honestly say that any of the creative decisions Lucas made have affected my enjoyment of the series.

However, I have found that I can't take Star Wars seriously anymore, and I blame two specific spinoffs: the Family Guy series of remakes (Blue Harvest, Something Something Something Dark Side, and It's a Trap!), and the Robot Chicken series of parodies.

As you may be aware, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane and Robot Chicken creators Seth Green and Matt Senreich are huge fans of Star Wars - I'm pretty sure that they might like Star Wars more than I'm going to like anything, ever.


Now, I'm sure that the minds behind Family Guy and Robot Chicken came up with their respective parodies out of a desire to create an ode to the movies that they loved as kids. More than likely, MacFarlane, Green and Senreich were probably inspired to get into show business because of their fascination with Star Wars - you hear it all the time: "I saw this-or-that and I knew that's what I wanted to do with my life."

But in creating their homages to Star Wars, and more specifically by creating comedic parodies of Star Wars, they've indirectly tainted the original series for me, and probably thousands, perhaps millions of fans worldwide.

I can't see Chewbacca on screen without immediately thinking of Brian, the Griffin family dog. The battle of Hoth in my beloved Empire Strikes Back? I can't sit through it without picturing one of the AT-AT walkers sitting down and dragging its bum along the ground because it has worms.

Heck, there are entire sequences of the original trilogy which are unwatchable, thanks to Robot Chicken's loving renditions with a wide selection of action figures - some of which I owned as a kid.

I just can't watch any of the Star Wars films without thinking about these parodies, and I suppose - in some ways - that's because I enjoy Family Guy and Robot Chicken more than I ever enjoyed the films they are parodying. The truth is that, in this one small way, the fan experience has hurt my enjoyment of these classic sci-fi movies.

In fact, I'm starting to wonder whether I'll ever enjoy Star Wars for what it is again ... which brings me to the part where you could win:

To be in to win one of two double passes for The People vs George Lucas, simply tell me why I should give Star Wars another shot - the two commenters who make the most compelling case why I should forget about the Family Guy and Robot Chicken parodies and appreciate Star Wars for the genius that it is will each win a double pass. Go ahead - try to convince me ...

Note: the tickets are for next Thursday's screening at 8.30pm, at the Reading Cinemas Courtenay complex in Wellington, kindly donated by the good folk at the Documentary Edge Festival. The People vs George Lucas isn't alone either - there is a swag of great documentaries on show, running from March 10 to March 27. Check here for more information.

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