The parodies vs George Lucas

Last updated 09:32 04/03/2011

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?

20110304The 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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This is a spoiler-free blog - please comment responsibly.

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Ken   #1   09:38 am Mar 04 2011

They are just movies but popular and enjoyable ones. I enjoy watching them and the various parodies. Watching one doesn't lessen my enjoyment of the other. Anyone who is upset by decisions made by Lucas or who doesn't like the prequels or parodies or whatever needs to get some perspective. They are just movies - GET A LIFE!!

Jon B   #2   09:44 am Mar 04 2011

Because The Force will be with you... always.

Andrew Cramer   #3   09:44 am Mar 04 2011

I think its obvious... Lightsabers. Theres no other sci-fi movie that has been able to produce anything anywhere near as awesome as the Lightsaber. They have aged from the dual saber right through until the double ended saber. And finally, they are going to bring us Lightsabers, in 3D.


Mike   #4   09:48 am Mar 04 2011

I know exactly what you mean. Watching the Original trilogy after having seen Robot Chciken especially changed how i viewed the movies. I don't think it tainted it though, just emphasised how corny George Lucas is, all the time.

Don 1   #5   09:51 am Mar 04 2011

Not entering the comp, as I really don't care about Star Wars - they were cool enough flicks when I was a kid, but it's all a bit sad now. However, I do wish to point out that Family Guy has had a similar effect on me with regard to Randy Newman. I can't listen to him now without thinking of that hauntingly awful depiction of him in the Da Boom episode.

Shell   #6   09:56 am Mar 04 2011

Get over it. Star Wars is a legend, and is in no way tainted by the family guy and robot chicken parodies, tho i'm not really familiar with robot chicken I LOVE family guy and all three of the remakes, have you ever watched the interview of seth mcfarlane and george lucas talking about the making of blue harvest? george absolutely loves it and was more than happy for the 3 original episodes to be remade, he even admits that he has a pile of family guy episodes recorded so he can watch when he has a shread of spare time! If you can separate the fact that family guy is in fact a cartoon and Star Wars original is actual people (and crazy space things) then you will come to realise how to appreciate both, not to mention that almost every straight guy in the world fantasised about Princess Leia in THAT bikini, so do you really think of Lois now instead?

Jay   #7   09:58 am Mar 04 2011

The beauty of Star Wars is the immensity of it. Sure, the parodies are funny but they only examine a fraction of what star wars really it. It is one of the largest and most detailed fantasy galaxies in existence. It is more detailed than, Lord of the Rings, Dune and maybe even Star Trek. Very few movie franchises have managed to have the staying power of Star Wars. How many other films have been rereleased in the cinemas and still done extremely well? Apart from Avatar I can think of none of late. You also need to think of what Star Wars is responsible for. More or less every science fiction film post SW is measured up to it. It is responsible for launching the career of Harrison Ford, so without Star Wars there may have been no Indiana Jones. The special effects were groundbreaking and changed cinema forever. Also parts of the score from the original trilogy have become iconic because of how brilliant they are. Probably the reason that you should go back to the actual saga is because no other franchise have inspired so many spoofs and documentaries. That in itself should be an indication of its brilliance.

p.s. Christopher Lee is in it and he is amazing!

The Saint   #8   10:00 am Mar 04 2011

Chris, for an incredibly good look at the Star Wars prequals , have a look at Red Letter Medias huge critical reviews on you tube the red letter media site. They are the most astute criticisms of any film made, and very, very funny.

Das Boat   #9   10:04 am Mar 04 2011

Give the original series a watch to see everything that is great when blockbuster films get it right. When a filmmaker has a good idea, everything falls into place, and he has just the right amount of limitations that keep him in check.

Rewatch the prequels to see all that can go wrong when a creator has too much power, no checks and completely loses the plot. When noone can tell him "No,this is a bad idea" or "this plot makes no sense".And rewatch the prequels to see when people get technoolgy crazy, and just chuck anything on screen to make messy looking movies.

james   #10   10:04 am Mar 04 2011

Dose the taste of star wars become tannate forever by these parodies or does it add the “salt and pepper” to the steak that is star wars.

There are 3 original films and then there are the new three that’s 6 movies, no mean feet for anyone. However theses movies have spawned over 250 books and any number of comics, the impact that these 6 movies have had on pop culture is amazing. I urge you to go back and watch the first three films, and think about just how much movie making and visual effects have been influenced by just those 3 films. While the parodies are great and funny, they are based on original material.

And if that argument doesn’t get you , in The Clone Wars you get to see a million Jake the Muss’s. Awesome.

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