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Oscars George Lucas won, answer inside. Serious discussion only

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Oscars George Lucas won, answer inside. Serious discussion only

Old 03-02-04, 12:23 PM
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Oscars George Lucas won, answer inside. Serious discussion only

This post is in repsonse to the earlier one about how many Oscars Lucas has won over the years, the most I saw listed in that thread was 10. Below is some info I gathered from 2 sites.

I looked up his name at IMDB, then films that ILM did Visual Effects for and finally the films that Skywalker Sound did Sound for and found this info.

I then searched Oscar.org for Visual Effects, Sound and Sound Effects Editing Award winners. Matched them up with Lucas produced or directed films or the films that ILM or Skywalker Sound did work on.

1. The only Oscar Lucas won was the Thalberg Memorial Award in 1992. According to IMDB.

2. He's been nominated several times, mainly for the first Star Wars and American Grafitti film. Directing and writing nominations.

3. Films that ILM won Oscars for Visual Effects.
Star Wars
The Empire Strikes Back
Raiders of the Lost Ark
E.T.
Return of the Jedi
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Cocoon
Innerspace
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
The Abyss
Total Recall
Terminator 2
Death Becomes Her
Jurassic Park
Forrest Gump

4. Film that won Oscars for Best Sound that Lucas has something to do with.
Star Wars
Empire Strikes Back
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Terminator 2 -Skywalker Sound
Jurassic Park - Skywalker Sound
Speed - Skywalker Sound
Titanic - Skywalker Sound
Saving Private Ryan - Skywalker Sound

5. Oscars for Sound Effects Editing
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Terminator 2 - Skywalker Sound
Jurassic Park - Skywalker Sound
Speed - Skywalker Sound
Titanic - Skywalker Sound
Saving Private Ryan - Skywalker Sound

So by count George Lucas or Lucas owned companies has won 31 Oscars including the Thalberg Award.

If I am wrong in any category, please advise.
Old 03-02-04, 12:30 PM
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Good luck.
Old 03-02-04, 01:33 PM
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Well, he doesn't get credit for the Tech work at Skywalker or ILM in my mind. He gets props for aiming high and setting high standards with those companies, but there are literally probably 1000's doing the nuts and bolts work of the innovation and execution.

And why did he get a Thalberg at such a young age, was he sick or something?
Old 03-02-04, 01:47 PM
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The problem is - way back in the mid 1970's, George bucked the system, went against the industry rules (no credits on Star Wars and so on), and basicly gave The Finger to the academy. The academy, being a political pony show (anyone who thinks that an Oscar is given on artistic merit is sadly deluded) has never forgotten this. As such, they snub George at every chance they get.
Old 03-02-04, 02:20 PM
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Originally posted by The Nature Boy
Well, he doesn't get credit for the Tech work at Skywalker or ILM in my mind. He gets props for aiming high and setting high standards with those companies, but there are literally probably 1000's doing the nuts and bolts work of the innovation and execution.
Not to start the normal war, but if going by this, doesn't this mean a more recent Oscar winner doesn't deserve the credit for most of the awards because others did the work that won the awards?
Old 03-02-04, 02:30 PM
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I don't see where it matters. Without Lucas, the blockbuster, SFX heavy event picture of today may well not exist at all.

Whether or not you like George Lucas or his movies is irrelevent. His influence simply cannot be denied. Jackson has simply taken the blockbuster to a higher level than anyone has since GL in 1977.
Old 03-02-04, 03:32 PM
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Originally posted by resinrats
Not to start the normal war, but if going by this, doesn't this mean a more recent Oscar winner doesn't deserve the credit for most of the awards because others did the work that won the awards?
Fair point, but no dice to me. When Lucas, or any director, writer, actor, sound editor, mixer or designer, any costumer, hair/makeup or any of the other "main night" academy awards are using technology and personel and merging them under their vision and the recognition is doled out accordingly. Whereas those recipients recieve awards for the results of their efforts of using tools and personel, ILM and Skywalker are making the tools. A necessarily and very important part of the chain, but at the same time, you can make just as bad a movie or achievement as you can a good one with Lucas' technology, it all comes down to the practicioner.
Old 03-02-04, 04:48 PM
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Originally posted by El-Kabong
The problem is - way back in the mid 1970's, George bucked the system, went against the industry rules (no credits on Star Wars and so on), and basicly gave The Finger to the academy. The academy, being a political pony show (anyone who thinks that an Oscar is given on artistic merit is sadly deluded) has never forgotten this. As such, they snub George at every chance they get.
Are you sure? As shown by this poster, it's obvious ILM and Skywalker sound isn't snubbed whatsoever. Certainly it's possible there was some backlash against the prequels, resulting in the lack of SFX awards, but in general where has there been a bias against George? Star Wars was definately nominated, and that itself was a big feat..those type of movies are rarely made that way. But perhaps the biggest reason the academy snubbed George is because...well...he didn't make anything? I mean, George hasn't really made any movies that could get him an academy award post Star Wars anyway. So I don't really sense any bias or snub against George at all for the reasons you state. I like Lucas' work, but he just doesn't really direct and write much stuff. And some of his producing efforts were far from anything that was going to get academy notice.
Old 03-02-04, 05:33 PM
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Recently, the Visual Effects Society honored Lucas with the life time achievement award.

Regardless of what you think of the man or the Special Editions. His work in the film industry shouldn't be laughed at. Without him you wouldn't be seeing films the way you do. Special Effects might have been advanced by someone else.. but that's a big "would, could, should, if". The guy wanted a way to better tell his stories and that is what he set out today. By taking Go motion to the next steps and advancing the equipment used in 2001: Space Oddessy he created his films and brought us something that is in films every day that helps tell that story.

Hate him if you want for the Special Editions, atleast give the man credit for the great innovations and idea's he brought to the film making process.
Old 03-02-04, 07:44 PM
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Actually he does go against the Hollywood system. He is basically an independant filmaker who makes really expensive independant films.

As far as the Star wars films go, 20th Century Fox acts only as distributer, nothing more. Most films are owned by the studio. Take a look at any movie related merchandise, it says owned by Universal or New line or whatever. Lucas related merchandise says Lucasfilm not Fox. That doesn't make him greedy, that makes him very intelligent. I think it was great that he was able to beat Hollywood at there own game.

Last edited by cactusoly; 03-02-04 at 07:46 PM.
Old 03-03-04, 01:08 AM
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The biggest Indie film maker around.

What turned him away from Hollywood was the way his earlier films were treated in production. It bugged him having to bend to the studios commands in order to get a film out. He felt his story telling was being destroyed.
Old 03-03-04, 01:55 AM
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Originally posted by Jackskeleton
The biggest Indie film maker around.

What turned him away from Hollywood was the way his earlier films were treated in production. It bugged him having to bend to the studios commands in order to get a film out. He felt his story telling was being destroyed.
Funny. Lucas feels American Graffiti was completely butchered and unfinished upon it's release. It's still, arguably, his best film. He has gone on record as not being very satisfied with Star Wars when it was released in 1977. In fact, the very first time Lucas has had complete creative control and the resources, money to make a film EXACTLY as he has envisioned it is Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Face facts, people. Lucas' early films, including Star Wars, were just flukes...."happy accidents" that happened to turn out really good despite Lucas' own dissappointment with them. He is a lousy filmmaker that out of sheer stupid luck happened to capture lighting in a bottle with the original Star Wars. It was the right movie at the right time. The man has neither the talent nor the guts to even remotely create something that approaches that level of quality ever again. The fact that the best Star Wars movie by far was not directed by the man who actually gave birth to the story is no coincidence.

Last edited by Rivero; 03-03-04 at 01:58 AM.
Old 03-03-04, 02:07 AM
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And here we go...
Old 03-03-04, 02:24 AM
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The fact that the best Star Wars movie by far was not directed by the man who actually gave birth to the story is no coincidence.
Yeah, cause you know he picked up straight after that with Robocop 2 and seaquest. Never say never again was only decent because it had connery. Face it. He may have directed it, but he was just acting as a puppet for Lucas.

Lucas came up with the story, with help he wrote it, he produced it, he edited it and it is his baby. It's pretty known that he's not good with actors or real people for that matter, but he has a vision.

Being out of the directors chair for so many years seems to have had rust on his shoulders in Ep I. Episode II was better. I'll wait till episode III before I pass any judgement on being anything of a fluke.. then again, he did come up with Raiders of the lost ark.. what a flop.
Old 03-03-04, 02:50 AM
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Yeah, George Lucas is a fluke. I'd love to be a 4 billion dollar fluke anyday. What a complete moron.

I've yet to see what this thread has to do with anything. Who cares how many Oscars a filmmaker has. It's completely irrelevant.
Old 03-03-04, 03:03 AM
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Actually he does go against the Hollywood system. He is basically an independant filmaker who makes really expensive independant films.
no.
sorry.

if Lucas was really this artist just bursting with creativity to tell stories that move people then that's what he would have been doing.
year in and year out ever since Jedi wrapped.


everything post SW 77 shows he is far more interested in the technology then in sitting down and trying to become a better storyteller.
the SE alterations are evidence of someone who appreciates the ability the technology gives him, but has lost all understanding of how to use it to serve the story.

i'll give him mad props for all that he has done on the technical side- and that is a great deal of what his Thalberg award was for (it sure as hell wasn't for being respnsible for Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom or Willow), but the proof as to his artistic aspirations is in the pudding.
if he really wanted to be a storyteller, he would be writing and directing far more than just the suspect PTs.
he has no new themes to explore, no new stories to tell.

he's no more of an artist than the person at Windsor Newton who comes up with a better binding agent for oil paints is.

Last edited by ckolchak; 03-03-04 at 03:10 AM.
Old 03-03-04, 03:23 AM
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if Lucas was really this artist just bursting with creativity to tell stories that move people then that's what he would be doing.
Um, just what does that have to do with the quote that you replied to? Nothing that I can see. The quote stated that Lucas bucked the Hollywood system because early in his career studio cut out part of his movies without his consent. So after the breakup of American Zoetrope, Lucas went out on his own and became and independent filmmaker! That is all that quote said.

i'll give him mad props for all that he has done on the technical side
Typical! Lucas bashers always want to give him credit for just technical things. They don't ever want to give him anymore credit than that.

How about some credit for:

2 Best Director noms
2 Best Picture noms
1 Best Original Screenplay nom
Star Wars and the entire SW Trilogy
American Graffiti
THX1138
Creating the Indiana Jones trilogy
Willow(a lot of people love that movie)

.......and so much more. How about some credit for that? All of that is in addition to his technical achievements. Unlike Mr. Genius above who doesn't have a clue, that's not a fluke.

This man has had a massive impact not only on film, but popular culture and an entire generation of people. He changed the way movies were seen, heard, and marketed. His films permeate every area of popular culture, perhaps like no other films ever. He reinvigorated and legitimized the scf-fi and fantasy genre. He founded and created ILM, and bascially invented the term special effects. Much of the reason films like LOTR and Matrix can be made is because of Lucas and what he achieved. He is the leading pioneer in digital filmmaking. He also created Pixar for God's sake. If it wasn't for Lucas, Pixar and it's movies would probably not even exist. Skywalker Sound, the premier post-production film sound facility in the world, has had a profound impact on film as well. He has a net worth of 4 billion dollars. I could go on and on. This is also one of two men responsible for Akira Kurosawa's film Kagemusha getting made. He's the executive producer on the internation version, if I remember correctly.

Give this man his due. Don't slight the man because you were disappointed by the prequels. Don't crap on the man's accomplishments, which are monumental, just because you're pissed about him not releasing the OT. This slighting of George Lucas is ridiculous.

I'm not saying he's beyond criticism. I'm not saying you have to like him. Although considering none of you even know the man, you're not qualified to give an opinion on what kind of person he is. Neither can I. But jeez. What Lucas has achieved as a filmmaker and a person is astronimical. This was a man that started with nothing. And many of you want to claim he's only done things on the technical side.

The man has obivously has had a huge impact, otherwise you wouldn't have so many people talking about him and his films on this and many other chat rooms, including people like ckolchak who do nothing but piss on the man and his work. He certainly gets talked about a lot. If he has achieved nothing great, nobody would ever talk about him, including the bashers.


he has no new themes to explore, no new stories to tell.
Again, definitive statements about a man you've never even met. That's talking out of your butt.

Last edited by Terrell; 03-03-04 at 04:13 AM.
Old 03-03-04, 09:14 AM
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I find it sad that just because somebody wanted to make one of their films "complete" in their mind like Lucas is doing with the Original Trilogy, it became so popular to bash him.
Spielberg did it with E.T. and the backlash was almost non-exisent. Kubrick went back and changed The Shining numerous times even after he had what everyone thought was the "final cut" of the film. And just look at the Lord of the Rings films, are the extended cuts really that much different from what Lucas is doing? Maybe if he called The Special Editions "Star Wars: Extended Editions" people wouldn't have such a problem with them. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing Peter Jackson or LOTR, they are three of my favorite movies, and certainly 3 of the best movies of the last 10 years.
Why did Lucas not direct any films between Star Wars and Episode 1? Who knows, the same reason Terrence Malick didn't direct anything for 20 years, but nobody uses that as a slam against him. Just because Lucas spent his time producing doesn't make him any less creative, just means he was focused on a different aspect of filmmaking.
Old 03-03-04, 10:09 AM
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Terrell,
you crack me up

Typical! Lucas bashers always want to give him credit for just technical things. They don't ever want to give him anymore credit than that.
Again, definitive statements about a man you've never even met. That's talking out of your butt.
no.
just reading the mans resume Terrell.

oh and i did listen to a bit of the commentary from Ep 1 this morning.
listen to it again- what subjects get him the most animated and enthusiastic- its certainly not the characters and dialouge.
"its very much a silent movie...the dialouge is just background npise or music".
while the scene he claims to be most proud of in that movie?
its the group shot with Jar-Jar before they swim to the Gungan city.
he is so proud of the way they were able to integrate a digital character with live action.

as if you couldn't tell from watching Jedi all those years ago, the man is ultimately not that interested in really exploring the themes that were embellished in ESB.
ROTJ resolved them in the most simplistic and banal way- not the hallmark of 'master storyteller with a lot on his mind'.
but the screen was crammed full of a lot of cool crap zooming around.

its ironic that 25 yrs later, Lucas has become the equivilent of Glen A Larson doing Battelstar Galactica (all flash, little substance) and Peter Jackson has become the new George Lucas (effects technology used in the service of old fashioned good storytelling with vivid characters and resonant themes).

Last edited by ckolchak; 03-03-04 at 10:13 AM.
Old 03-03-04, 10:12 AM
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As for the break between trilogies, he got divorced and wanted to focus on being a parent. What is wrong with that? Actors/Actresses do it all the time.

And I have to agree with Jburns. Are the LOTR movie/extended versions all that different? Jackson wanted to go back and make the story more consistent and flesh out some of the characters more to make it flow better film to film. Just because he did it in a span of a couple years vs. 12 doesn't make him much different.
Old 03-03-04, 10:22 AM
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Are the LOTR movie/extended versions all that different? Jackson wanted to go back and make the story more consistent and flesh out some of the characters more to make it flow better film to film. Just because he did it in a span of a couple years vs. 12 doesn't make him much different.
yes- different for three reasons.
1) the films existed for almost 20 yrs- a full generation- in one form and then were adulterated.
2) Jackson doesn't void one version to make way for the other.
the audience has a choice in which 'vision' he wants to consume.
LFL's attitude is "this is what i want, take it or leave it".
3) Jackson is adding to the weight of te narrative. Lucas is adding flash in the foreground and background of shots and adding meaningless scenes because they have 'fan favorite' characters.
Jackson is embellishing narrative muscle, Lucas is embroidering flab.

some people are so impressed with the man, they will lap up whatever scraps he brushes off of the table.
i'm unlucky enough to be a little bit more discriminating.


but hey- these are just big popcorn films for very little children anyway. no need to treat them like he was trying to make a big statement or something.
Old 03-03-04, 08:50 PM
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So let's say for example 20 years down the road for whatever reason Jackson decides to alter the LOTR movies, will that change your opinion of him too?
The only reason Lucas doesn't give fans a choice is because he's always said these are the way the movies were supposed to be, if the movies were being made today we'd only have the Special Editions so it nees to be looked at from that perspective. Jackson made the extended editions mostly for fans of the material, he's even said that he considers the theatrical cuts the definitive version of the films.
I don't necessarily agree with your third reason, but that's your opinion so I'm not going to argue it.

It's not about lapping up the scraps, it's about appreciating someone for the effect they had on film. George Lucas is certainly not my favorite writer, and he's definately not my favorite director, but there's no denying the important he and his team has had on film as a whole. Twenty-five years down the road I'm sure people will look at Peter Jackson as being a visionary by future movie watchers. Every generation has one. First it was Orson Welles, then Stanley Kubrick, and now some say it's George Lucas. Is this necessarily correct? No, but some of us feel that it is.

You are right about them being popcorn movies. No matter what we say here, I'm sure we'll all go see Episode III and I'm sure we'll all be standing in line to see King Kong and hopefully someday The Hobbit
Old 03-04-04, 06:30 AM
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Originally posted by JBurns24
So let's say for example 20 years down the road for whatever reason Jackson decides to alter the LOTR movies, will that change your opinion of him too?
The only reason Lucas doesn't give fans a choice is because he's always said these are the way the movies were supposed to be, if the movies were being made today we'd only have the Special Editions so it nees to be looked at from that perspective.
here is an excerpt from an interview with Gary Kurtz.
the only SW films i really like are the ones he was involved in.
the interview does a much better job of elaborating the problems with the SEs better than i can.
its interesting reading.

IGNFF: I've heard different stories. One was that it was never intended to be in the film, that it was just a let's see if we can do this, and replace it later. The other school of thought was, it was always supposed to be there.

KURTZ: Well, the original idea was that it was supposed to be there. It is in the script ... but it was a guy, a human being, this sort of fat guy... looked a bit like Sydney Greenstreet... and the scene is pretty much, I mean dialogue wise, it's exactly what you see in the Special Edition. But it was a person that was there, and we had technical difficulties with that scene. We shot it over three times for camera problems, focus problems, and film stock problem, and then abandoned it because we ran out of time. We just said, "Well, the bulk of the information that comes across in that scene, about Jabba threatening Han Solo and wanting his money and all of that, we could get across in the scene in the Cantina, with Greedo." It's basically the same kind of information. So we just added some bits to the Greedo scene to make it a little bit longer that gets across that information, and then jettisoned that other scene. This all happened while we were shooting. It wasn't done in the cutting room.

IGNFF: So it was made at the time of shooting, that the decision was basically made that that scene would be excised.

KURTZ: Yes, because of the focus problems, and it was slightly redundant anyway because some of the information was already in the Greedo scene so why not make all the information in the Greedo scene and eliminate the Jabba scene altogether? That's what happened.


IGNFF: Now, also the story has arisen that George had always intended prequels, but had never intended sequels to that initial three films.

KURTZ: After this idea of more films came up, he did several interviews where he said he had story material to do nine films three prequels and three sequels. That was the accepted story, basically, and there was quite a bit of material both before and after the Star Wars lump. So there was no decision to do either one... it was kind of a red herring in a way, because there was no immediate thought to make any other films right away. In a sense, through a business point of view, it probably would have been better to do so, like they did with Star Trek, rather than wait all this time, because the audience interest dissipated somewhat. I mean, it didn't seem to affect the box office on Phantom Menace too much, but ...

IGNFF: It didn't exactly leave a good taste in people's mouths, either.

KURTZ: Well, regardless of the value of the film as a film, artistically, there is a kind of energy around some things where if it had come out say three, four years later after Jedi, and then another one three or four years later after that, that kind of cycle would have probably been better for the audience and for the merchandising than what happened. But that's hindsight. At that time, he always said that he had enough material for three earlier films and three later films, to make a total of nine, and there were outlined materials certainly for a later three that culminated with this big clash with the Emperor in Episode IX. So, we'll never see any of those, based on what he's said now.

IGNFF: Well what were the original outlines for the prequels? Since they can be compared and contrasted now that the first one's out there, and the second one's soon to be out there. Were there major differences from what you saw, from the original outlines of prequel ideas?

KURTZ: Well a lot of the prequel ideas were very, very vague. It's really difficult to say. I can't remember much about that at all, except dealing with the Clone Wars and the formation of the Jedi Knights in the first place that was supposed to be one of the keys of Episode I, was going to be how the Jedi Knights came to be. But all of those notes were abandoned completely. One of the reasons Jedi came out the way it did was because the story outline of how Jedi was going to be seemed to get tossed out, and one of the reasons I was really unhappy was the fact that all of the carefully constructed story structure of characters and things that we did in Empire was going to carry over into Jedi. The resolution of that film was going to be quite bittersweet, with Han Solo being killed, and the princess having to take over as queen of what remained of her people, leaving everybody else. In effect, Luke was left on his own. None of that happened, of course.

IGNFF: So it would have been less of a fairy-tale ending?

KURTZ: Much, much less. It would have been quite sad, and poignant and upbeat at the same time, because they would have won a battle. But the idea of another attack on another Death Star wasn't there at all ... it was a rehash of Star Wars, with better visual effects. And there were no Ewoks ... it was just entirely different. It was much more adult and straightforward, the story. This idea that the roller-coaster ride was all the audience was interested in, and the story doesn't have to be very adult or interesting, seemed to come up because of what happened with Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Indiana Jones films and the fact that that seemed to make a lot of money and it didn't matter whether there was a really good story or not that wasn't what this kind of film was about. We had serious differences about a lot of that.
this is what always gets me about people who criticize the PTs and the SEs yet revere all of the first three films including Jedi.
Jedi was where the franchise first jumped the shark.
the problems with it went so far beyond just the presence of Ewoks.
coming out of ESB, all the elements were in place for some mature emotional content, and sophisticated character development and a truly wrenching ending.
it's sad what Jedi is, 'cause it could have been sooooo much more stimulating.

the SEs are the direct descendent of the newer, less mature sensibility at work in Jedi.
the tragedy of the SEs is that it takes the the two best films in the series and 'dumbs them down' to mesh more seemlessly with Jedi and the prequels- all of which are pointedly inferior to the first two.
and these are the version of the films that are getting preserved on dvd.



IGNFF: When you talk about the development of Star Wars and the transition in tone through Empire and Return of the Jedi and now eventually what happened with Episode I, do you think that George's storytelling became more simplistic, or less mature? How would you characterize the elements that you saw emerging with the difficulties that were happening towards the end of Empire and what eventually led to Return of the Jedi?

KURTZ: I think it became simpler. You don't need complicated interpersonal relationships, you don't need difficult dramatic structures for this kind of story. Empire, in a way, is a typical second act of a three-act play. It's the problem act everybody has problems, everybody has difficulties that they're trying to get out of, and usually the end of the second act is you're leaving everybody in deep shit. And, in a sense, Empire does that. Luke's hand is cut off, and Han Solo is frozen and he's off somewhere all of the key elements are left unresolved. It's very rare that you see a feature film that ends that way and is satisfactory.

We were a bit afraid of that whole concept. Knowing that there was going to be a third film obviously helped, but still that wasn't going to be for another three years, so the idea of presenting this to an audience and having them accept it was a scary proposition. I had never done it before. It seemed to work, though. It seemed to work quite well. The audience was very satisfied, and anticipated the next part. I think part of the reason that they were satisfied was because they were satisfied with the characters themselves. The characters seemed believable in the story.

Star Wars, the first film, is very much a comic book story. It's a very archetypal standard story about a hero coming of age and engaging with the world and trying to right some wrongs and all of those things worked very, very effectively but the dialogue is fairly pedestrian as far as movies go, and the adventure is carried along by interesting side bars and some of the individual effects... and the fact that it's kind of a rollercoaster ride in a sense, with very, very archetypal energy, so that you can associate with the key character elements very, very easily.

There's a lot of undercurrent in Star Wars that, if you take it on the surface, a four-year-old can really enjoy it but there's a lot else going on, under there. In that sense it's multi-layered, and Empire is as well. That's the thing that bothered me a bit about Jedi and certainly about Episode I, is that those layers, those subtexts they're all gone. They're not there. You accept what's there on the screen it either works for you as a surface adventure, or it doesn't. But that's all there is. There's nothing to ponder.

IGNFF: No depth.

KURTZ: There's no depth in it. And that's where I think the mistake is. And I'm sorry that it happened that way, because the potential for a lot of that is great it could have had a lot of depth, without damaging the surface story. The sign of a good movie is one that can work on very, very many levels and, depending on your mood when you go to see it, you can see those, or not, as you want. But it doesn't interfere with your entertainment of it.

IGNFF: How did you observe that change in George, because obviously he was the one who guided it towards that lack of depth...

KURTZ: Well, I think that he felt Empire was an ordeal for him using his own money, it went over budget and over schedule a bit. Kershner was slow, we had some problems with Mark Hamill who had an injury typical movie stuff, really. But even though it did cost a little more than was budgeted, there was no way it was ever going to lose money. He really didn't have to worry too much about it the combination of the merchandising and the distribution would never be a problem.


IGNFF: It was never George's intention to direct Empire?

KURTZ: No, no. After Star Wars, he didn't really want to direct the others. I think he was unhappy that I I'm the one that recommended Kershner, and had worked with him before. I think he was a good choice for Empire, I think he worked really well, but he wasn't the kind of director... George, I think, had in the back of his mind that the director was a sort of stand-in that he could phone him up every night and tell him what to do and kind of direct vicariously over the telephone. That never happened. Kershner's not that kind of director, and even when George showed up a couple of times on the set, he found that it wasn't easy to maneuver Kershner into doing what he would have done.

So, on Jedi, he was determined to find a director who was easy to control, basically, and he did. And that was the result, basically the film was sort of one that George might have directed if he had directed it himself... but maybe not, because it goes through so many interim bits, that if he had directed it probably would have been quite different.
and now we get to the big problems with the SEs themselves.


the problem with the Special Edition of the Star Wars films is that fixing a few matte lines and adding a couple of spaceships into shots is fine. I don't think anybody would notice that. But actually adding scenes that don't make any difference they actually don't have any effect whatsoever on the film... and all of those digitally enhanced shots of robots floating around and creatures walking through the frame... call attention to themselves. Are much worse, actually, I think.
Primarily because CGI work and that CGI work was done by ILM, which is the best there is the CGI stuff does not fit in with the mechanical style of the original film. If the whole film would have been made today, then the CGI work would fit in much more, because that's the way all the visual effects would have been done.

IGNFF: Oh, I don't know in Episode I, the CGI still calls attention to itself.

KURTZ: Well, it does, yes, that's true. Even though there's lots of it and most of the shots have some kind of CGI but it's less annoying, I think, and stands out less than it does in the Special Editions.

If you remember the scene when the robots go down to Tatooine, to the desert, and then later you cut back to the Stormtroopers looking for them, there's a scene where Stormtroopers are sitting up on the hill in the background riding what looks like a giant lizard. In the original, that's a mock-up that we borrowed, rendered from a prop house, and carried all the way out there and stuck it there in the sand. It didn't do anything. There was just a Stormtrooper sitting on a giant lizard, a model. It doesn't do anything it's just in the background and the Stormtrooper in the foreground stands up with a piece of the robot and says, "They've been here." That's all the scene is supposed to be for. As it is in the Special Edition, that Stormtrooper on the dinosaur in the background moves it's all CGI.

IGNFF: And it adds nothing whatsoever to the story.

KURTZ: I know, and that's what I mean with the proliferation. Just because you can do it, doesn't make it better. But those animals moving actually distract from the principal purpose of the scene. If they had been horses, if it had been a Western and those were horses, chances are the horses would have just been sitting there, because horses do that a lot. They don't move much. If they're not running or trotting or something, sometimes they just sit there and maybe flick their ears a bit for long periods of time.

IGNFF: But they don't do a song and dance number.

KURTZ: No, they don't move around at all. They just stand there. If they had made it that subtle, if they had had that creature in the background move its head an inch to the right or something, a blink that would have been all that you need to do. But it's not necessary at all, because the way it was in the beginning, in the first place, it was that way because that's all we could afford and it worked fine. I'm just not a great believer in messing with what is done. It may not be perfect, and as I said a long time ago, there's nothing that is. No movie is perfect, and every filmmaker is going to sit and watch a movie that he made 10 years ago, or 30 years ago, or 50 years ago, and say, "Oh, I wish I could have done that better."

IGNFF: You're the person to ask about this when you're talking about these kind of special editions and changes and are they due to an original vision or changing sensibilities I have to ask you about your thoughts regarding the infamous redo of the scene with Greedo in the cantina.... the whole shooting first thing.

KURTZ: Yeah, I really was livid about that one. I think it was a total it ruins the scene, basically. The scene was never intended that way. Han Solo realized that Greedo was out to get him and he had to blast him first or he would lose his life. It shows you how much of a mercenary he is. That's what the point of the scene was. And so the way they've changed it around, it loses the whole impact of that whole aspect of it.

IGNFF: Do you think that's due to George's changing sensibilities as opposed to his argument that, "No, that was my original intention"?

KURTZ: Well, he can say that was his original intention, but we could have shot it that way very easily. There was no reason that it couldn't have been shot that way. It was shot and edited the way it was because that's the way the script was. That's what he wanted at the time.

IGNFF: What is your opinion of why he would try and rationalize it, when he could very well just say, "You know, I just thought nowadays, it's better if he shoots first."

KURTZ: Maybe he just didn't want to say that. Maybe he felt it was a stronger argument to say, "That's what I really wanted to do and I just didn't have time or inclination at the time." You listen to all these directors, they all say that. That's the stock argument ... somehow if they say that, you can't argue with them.

Last edited by ckolchak; 03-04-04 at 06:56 AM.
Old 03-04-04, 11:28 AM
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Ok, nobody ever said that the SE's are perfect. I'm certainly not saying I like them better than the originals cause I don't, but I accepted the fact this it's done. I'll also be the first one to admit Jedi is the weakest of the 3.
As for the Han Solo/Greedo thing it's very similar to what Spielberg did with E.T. He took the guns away from the agents because he felt uncomfortable with the threat of agents using guns on children. If over time Lucas felt uncomfortable with Han killing Greedo like that, it's ultimately his choice. I don't like it either, but I understand why he did it.
What we need to establish is whether or not it's ok to alter films after their release. Let's say 7 or 8 years down the road Peter Jackson does direct The Hobbit, if he then goes back to the LOTR trilogy and alter some things to make it fit together better than that will there be as many critics as Lucas has gotten?
Old 03-04-04, 12:46 PM
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Originally posted by JBurns24
Let's say 7 or 8 years down the road Peter Jackson does direct The Hobbit, if he then goes back to the LOTR trilogy and alter some things to make it fit together better than that will there be as many critics as Lucas has gotten?
It's a moot point. Even if he does, the Theatrical and the EE's DVDs would have been owned by anybody who wanted the movie for years by then so nobody would care IMO. THAT I think is the main difference here bet. LOTR and SW. Yes--as Jack will eventually point out(and in which I agree)--you can own the OT in different formats (i.e. VHS, LD) but considering this is a DVD forum, of course that's the one preferred by the people here. And unfortunately for Star Wars fans, we don't have that luxury.

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