Exactly. Six films with the same story and the same characters counts as a single project.
One of my pet peeves is those people who claim that Lucas can’t direct actors. Look at American Graffiti. He cast an immensely talented group of young actors, got wonderful, naturalistic performances from them and even got deeply moving work from a non-actor. The acting in the Star Wars films was deliberately stiff as an homage to the cheesy serials of his own youth.
That’s utterly absurd, particularly considering that he only directed four of them, and there was a twenty-two year gap between the first one and the last three. He’s directed six films: one of them was great, one of them was good, one of them was okay, and three of them were incredibly bad. That’s not a good track record.
Certainly, if you look at the beginning of his career, it shows a clear arc of steady improvement. If he’d stayed in the director’s chair for the next two decades, instead of letting his skills atrophy while he focused on the business and technical aspects of the industry, he might have turned into a great director. As it is, he’s going to be justly remembered as a shrewd business man, a technical innovator, and a third rate director who got lucky once.
Which is, all in all, a pretty good legacy.
I call bullshit on that. He did get some excellent performances in that film, but in comparison to every other thing he ever did, it was clear that that was a fluke. And while the old sci-fi serials were an unambiguous influence on Star Wars, I don’t buy for a minute that he deliberately tried to get crappy performances out of his actors. His stated goal, at the time, was to make a film like those old serials that was actually good. I don’t buy that he’s improve the fx, improve the story, improve everything except the acting.
I’m also curious about this claim:
He’s had all the money he needs to produce deeply personal films for almost as long as I’ve been alive. He had twenty-two years to make them after Star Wars. He’s had six years to make them since Revenge of the Sith. What makes you think he’s going to suddenly start making them now?
IMO, with the exception of ESB, all six of the Star Wars movies were so-so flicks with some really cool moments. ESB was pretty freaking awesome, and it holds up very well 30+ years later. And even though it doesn’t hold up well for me now, 14 year old zoog thought that Star Wars was the coolest fucking thing he would ever see, period. If Lucas wanted to make another trilogy of movies, more power to him. I might go see them, I might wait for them on video.
And seriously, if we’re going to start banning people from making films, can we please start with Michael Bay?
Fair enough, but the conversation is mostly focused on his work as a director, and I don’t see anything in that link about him directing anything. Then again, I might have misread gaffa’s post: I thought he was referring to Lucas taking the director’s chair again, and not continuing to work as a producer (which role I think he’s much better suited for). I would not be surprised if Lucas worked on smaller films in that capacity.
“Star Wars” refers to six films that everyone acknowledges as a single story arc.
Again, he has done three projects. What possible basis do you have for claiming that he could not make another American Graffiti type movie? He has the money, power and tools to accomplish what his friend Francis Ford Coppola tried and failed to do with American Zoetrope.
Your dislike of the latter parts of his space opera project have blinded you to a fair evaluation of the potential of a once and future great filmmaker.
He deliberately did few takes. His leads were talented actors, directed to give mediocre performances. I don’t think that anyone who saw Leon: The Professional doubts Natalie Portman’s acting talent. And while Hayden Christensen is not in her class as an actor, he did solid work in Shattered Glass.
Lucas is a decent director, sure some parts of AotC and RoJ were a bit sucky and mechandise-driven(okay, very sucky), but he brought a dozen hours or more of happiness or happy distraction to millions of people.
Besides, I note you haven’t made any threads criticising Friedburg and Seltzer, far far worse directors.
Well not really. Lucas did barely anything on that one, Jim Henson was almost 100% responsible for Labyrinth’s story and production. However, he was very deeply involved in Willow, one of my favourite films.