The way Lucas creates movies

PioRow

Active Member
Watched the main making of documentary on the episode 3 DVD and it confirmed something I had long suspected: George Lucas had a backward way of making films which has resulted in a sub par episodes 1-3.
He seems to have the approach of
1. Write a screen play. Dont spend to much time on the actual story, character development or narative
2. Start assembling hundreds of people to make the starwasr universe as authentic as possible
3. Build some minimal sets with huge green screens.
4. Throw in a little bit of acting. Quickly film the actors on green screen regurgitating the poor dialogue you created. Give them no inspiration by making them act with characters that will be filled in with CGI later on in. Make them imagine their environment as it will all be cgi'd in later
5. Now the George Lucas film making really kicks in. Take all the footage you have filmed and make a film out of it, work in as much cgi as possible and do reshoots of action scenes because you didnt quite like the way they worked the first time.
6. Let ILM beaver away for months on end actually creating the film
7. Voila, a Starwars film

CGI is the worse thing that ever happened to starwars. George Lucas has created a way of making films which makes visuals the priority while story, character development and narative take a back seat.
With the original trilogy he didnt have huge SFX budgets. He had to have a compelling story which would keep people interested. He had characters that were interesting and loveable, chewie, han, obiwan, r2d2 and c3po, all good characters, Luke, hmmmmmmmmmm, not so good but necessary. George had no choice but to create good characters, good stories, exciting real world action scenes. The space battles in ep4 have more tension and excitement than the space battles in ep1-3. George Lucas has the wrong approach to cgi. Just because you can render a scene in full cgi doesnt mean you should. I dont think its the fact that ep1-3 are made up of too much cgi that makes them bad. Its the fact that lucas has put all his efforts into creating a cgi starwars universe that is correct to the smallest detail that he has forgoten about the most important part of a film, the story.
Look at Lord of the rings, that had the right approach to cgi. The original book had a good story, good characters but to bring middle earth onto the screen cgi was needed. But Peter Jackson used real sets where he could, real locations. In the fellowship of the ring when the fellowship are walking up that snow covered mountain and sean beans character picks up the ring, the whole scene is real. Its a real mountain, its real snow, the actors are freezing cold. If lucas had been in charge it would of been cgi!! Imagine the beggining of the return of the jedi on the ice planet done by lucas now. He could cgi all over that scene. The asteroid belt that han flies through would all be cgi. Jabba would probably be cgi, the run into the death star would be cgi. It wouldnt make it a better film.
Dont get me wrong I am not anti cgi but I just feel that Lucas uses it in the wrong way. Good directors have good screen plays, good actors and good characters. Give them good lines on real sets and where its not possible to use real sets then use minimal cgi.
Theres a scene in episode 3 where obiwan sneaks into padme's ship, its done at a far distance and the whole scene is cgi, nothing is real. Now 20 years ago he would of had to built a replica ship, have a close in shot of pdame talking and then obiwan sneaking aboad. This is how films should be. On the making of documentary Rick McCallum and Goerge Lucas talk about the fight scene on mustafa, how complicated it was, how much time and effort went into the cgi, the greebe screen sets etc etc. This was a good scene but not for all the cgi. It was a good scene because it was the scene that every starwars fan has been waiting for for 20 years. It was good because the 2 actors had mastered some very good sword fighting skills. Granted it was a dramatic location but it wasnt the reason the scene was so good. George could of easily filmed this on location next to a volcano and then cgi'd in some of the background but no he decided to do the whole thing cgi.

Lucas should go back to story and character and forget about cgi.
 

Nebby

Active Member
With you all the way.

The problem with GL's use of CGI, is that he cannot resist the temptation of showing us everything. It's visual overload...and to be honest, the CGI set designs throughout episodes 1, 2 and 3 have been very poor.

As somebody else pointed out, if Lucas had applied this same approach to say, a 1950's detective story, we would have countless shots of characters pulling-up, parking or driving away in cars.
 

Will Scarlet

Well-known Member
Nebby said:
With you all the way.

As somebody else pointed out, if Lucas had applied this same approach to say, a 1950's detective story, we would have countless shots of characters pulling-up, parking or driving away in cars.
I just have to disagree with you there Nebby. IMHO, George Lucas couldn't direct traffic. ;)
 

TarPot

Well-known Member
Will Scarlet said:
I just have to disagree with you there Nebby. IMHO, George Lucas couldn't direct traffic.
Just as well, cos I thought Steven Soderbergh did a great job :rotfl:
 

Will Scarlet

Well-known Member
Touche. :D
 

Nebby

Active Member
I think you mis-read my post....in no way am I suggesting the Lucas is a good director.

The point that I was trying to make is that he seems obsessed with showing shot, after shot, after shot of spaceships flying here, there and everywhere, landing and then taking off again...all of which just gets in the way of the story (what little of it there is!).
 

Will Scarlet

Well-known Member
Sorry Nebby, I understood your post and point. I was being facetious, I couldn't help myself, but TarPot put me in my place. :)
 

TarPot

Well-known Member
Will Scarlet said:
Sorry Nebby, I understood your post and point. I was being facetious, I couldn't help myself, but TarPot put me in my place. :)
Just a joke. But I agree Lucas sucks!
 
CGI just does not look good it is overload too much going on on screen to know WTF is happening and it is sooo poor most of the time no sense of realism at all
 

Garrett

Moderator
I was only thinking after Star Wars II on the TV the other night that there was a lot more action in it than the any of the first 3 especially the very first one yet it was boring by comparison. The original you got behind the characters whereas these you just watch what they get up to.
 

Nebby

Active Member
Sorry Will, I just re-read your post. That sound you hear is me slapping my own forehead!

Can't believe I missed it.
 

pmc

Active Member
Excellent post PioRow. I agree almost totally with what you said. I would say though that you can have all that CGI and still make a great film. If the director keeps his focus on the story and characters and lets others deal with the look and CGI then a big CGI movie can succeed. LORT is a perfect example. If you watch the making of documentries on that it shows that a huge team of people was involved and Peter Jackson played a relatively small part on what actually appears on screen. He concentrated on getting the script and acting right and left it to others to film the thing.

GL should have hired a director and decent scriptwriter to actually film the movies. Then he could have sat in his lab at ILM and created all the CGI he wanted. I said it in another thread, imagine what would have happened if he had hired Peter Jackson to film Episodes 1-3.
 
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Lionheart

Guest
Nebby said:
With you all the way.

The problem with GL's use of CGI, is that he cannot resist the temptation of showing us everything. It's visual overload...and to be honest, the CGI set designs throughout episodes 1, 2 and 3 have been very poor.

As somebody else pointed out, if Lucas had applied this same approach to say, a 1950's detective story, we would have countless shots of characters pulling-up, parking or driving away in cars.
I like visual overload...besides I think this is the old jump on the band wagon routine again...I think old George had done a pretty good job of the prequels using modern technology to bring to life worlds impossible to show otherwise....I dont size these 3 up with 4, 5 and 6 which were certainly a break through for how sci fi is done.....I like all 6 films...bad points and all
 

nwgarratt

Distinguished Member
Lionheart said:
I like visual overload...besides I think this is the old jump on the band wagon routine again...I think old George had done a pretty good job of the prequels using modern technology to bring to life worlds impossible to show otherwise....I dont size these 3 up with 4, 5 and 6 which were certainly a break through for how sci fi is done.....I like all 6 films...bad points and all
I also agree. I like all six films and think Lucas has made it possible for CGI to advance a lot in the last five years.

People seem to forget that the original trilogy didn't have much of a story either. ESB which is considered my many as the best SW film is mainly just a spaceship chase for most of the film.
 
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FoxyMulder

Guest
Look at the recent Star Trek films, they lack CGI due to budgetary restrictions and in my opinion suffer for it as the Trek universe is usually relegated to 2 Starships and one planet per film ( exaggerating but the federation seems so small ), CGI is needed to create some of the things Lucas needs in his movies but i agree there should be a balance between animatronics, CGI and real world type set designs which help the actors actually act, i remember seeing the making of Batman Returns and they actually built all the huge sets and this helped the actors give a performance, it must be hard acting in front of absolutely nothing.

Empire Strikes Back is my personal favourite SW film but i don't like Return of the Jedi that much and Star Wars has dated a little, for me Attack of the Clones is the best of the new prequels with Sith a close second ( even though the talented Natalie was wasted and her contract stopped her from sharing her disappointment with us all ) The Phantom Menace has that great lightsabre battle at the end but also has the annoying kid who seems totally miscast in his part ( funnily enough after several viewings Jar Jar doesn't annoy as much as he once did )

I think some of the lines in the movies are definately ropey but then again if you take away Empire Strikes Back and look purely at the original Star Wars or Return of the Jedi you will find many instances of ropey dialogue, personally i watch these movies as pure sci-fi entertainment which take me away from the real world for a few hours and i enjoy them immensely, the prequels didn't disappoint me but i still feel disappointed with Return of the Jedi as it was the climax to the entire series.

The original trilogy wasn't shakespeare ( but Kasdan wrote some fine dialogue for Empire and was at one point being chased by Lucas to write the new trilogy with him ) the new trilogy isn't shakespeare either so whats not to like other than the fact that everyone has gotten older and is seeing things through different eyes ?
 

godzilla

Active Member
I totally agree with Foxy.
I would rank the saga in the following order:

Empire Strikes Back (by a million light years)
Attack of the Clones
The Phantom Menace
Revenge of the Sith
A New Hope
Return of the Jedi

I initially put Sith ahead of Menace, but actually now the hype has died down I just feel it was a bit too "contrived to bridge the two trilogies". It will not thrill me as much on future re-viewings and I personally found the final climactic lightsabre fight boring, hard to follow (with both sabres being the same colour) and unbelievable (the surfing of lava on those tiny droids!)

However I have simply seen A New Hope too many times and ROTJ still tops the league as most disappointing film ever (very closely followed by Alien3 and Robocop 3!)

Although I also agree with PioRow that the prequel trilogy would have been better if the actors were placed in real locations more.
And it so obviously needed a Han Solo-type character to ground the high-faluting Force-users. (Probably why I liked Jango Fett)
 

Racquel Darrian

Well-known Member
God bless you, George Lucas, for bringing us Star Wars!
I loved all six films and I know countless other who did too.
 

Knyght_byte

Well-known Member
godzilla said:
I totally agree with Foxy.
I would rank the saga in the following order:

Empire Strikes Back (by a million light years)
Attack of the Clones
The Phantom Menace
Revenge of the Sith
A New Hope
Return of the Jedi

I initially put Sith ahead of Menace, but actually now the hype has died down I just feel it was a bit too "contrived to bridge the two trilogies". It will not thrill me as much on future re-viewings and I personally found the final climactic lightsabre fight boring, hard to follow (with both sabres being the same colour) and unbelievable (the surfing of lava on those tiny droids!)

However I have simply seen A New Hope too many times and ROTJ still tops the league as most disappointing film ever (very closely followed by Alien3 and Robocop 3!)

Although I also agree with PioRow that the prequel trilogy would have been better if the actors were placed in real locations more.
And it so obviously needed a Han Solo-type character to ground the high-faluting Force-users. (Probably why I liked Jango Fett)
sorry but the most disappointing/worst film ever has to go to Terminator 3....hehe....


The prequels are basically what Lucas would have done to the originals had CGI been around in the way it is now.........thats why he mucked about with the originals for the special edition releases......

Personally i think you cant compare them because they are done just too differently.......

none of them had any story other than one side is oppressed trying to overthrow the others (in the prequels the sith are the oppressed, trying to overthrow the good guys....in the originals the good guys are the oppressed trying to overthrow the sith...lol).......

the actors available in the originals were obviously far superior.......(oh btw, i like the cushing lookalike they got to play tarkin on the star destroyer at the end of sith...lol).......so even tho the writing wasnt much better, they at least could deliver it properly, i must confess to not hearing such cheesy lines as between anakin and padme in a long time, neither actor was capable of making those sound anything decent.....different actors might have got away with it....

bleah....i dunno, i'll watch the prequels just for the fun of bangs and stuff, if i wanna really enjoy then i'll watch the originals, or read some of the novels (god knows how many times i've read Tim Zhans trilogy and duology..lol)
 

Mr.D

Well-known Member
l've always found it intriguing how readily people will dissect a film and comment on what they found inadequate and what they would have done to remedy the situation.

More often than not the person making the comments has no relevant experience of film-making whatsoever. I think its symptomatic of the familiarity that people feel they have gained by watching films all their lives. They feel it gives their comments firmer relevance. Similarly to armchair football pundits who know precisely the techniques and strategies a given team of players should have employed to turn around a defeat , but who themselves would drop dead if they had to run 50feet.

Watching films and making them are totally different events. In the same way that you can't tell how large an iceberg is by looking at the part above the water you are given very little insight into the film-making process by actually watching a film. ( thats kind of the point)

As for the later Star Wars films , I agree I think they are awful. However the only part of them that warrants applauding are the visual effects so to criticise the films because of the effects and hold the effects resonsible for the entire failure of the films is a bit like criticising peanut butter because its got peanuts in it.

And I've said it before film quality digital effects work is far from an easy shortcut to decent film-making. When you watch someting like ROTS you are seeing literally decades of man hours go past in a matter of minutes. The shots that are less succesful are not normally down to complacency by either the film-makers or visual effects artists but constraints on time and budget even on a film like ROTS. And visual effects are not a particularly expensive part of film-making so neither are they responsible for the astronomical budgets of todays mainstream films.

I'm not an advocate of having every single film full of effects shots but its incorrect to treat visual effects as being any more responsible for poor film-making than the art direction cinematography or any other aspect of the process.
 

pmc

Active Member
Mr.D said:
l've always found it intriguing how readily people will dissect a film and comment on what they found inadequate and what they would have done to remedy the situation.

More often than not the person making the comments has no relevant experience of film-making whatsoever. I think its symptomatic of the familiarity that people feel they have gained by watching films all their lives. They feel it gives their comments firmer relevance. Similarly to armchair football pundits who know precisely the techniques and strategies a given team of players should have employed to turn around a defeat , but who themselves would drop dead if they had to run 50feet.

Watching films and making them are totally different events. In the same way that you can't tell how large an iceberg is by looking at the part above the water you are given very little insight into the film-making process by actually watching a film. ( thats kind of the point)

As for the later Star Wars films , I agree I think they are awful. However the only part of them that warrants applauding are the visual effects so to criticise the films because of the effects and hold the effects resonsible for the entire failure of the films is a bit like criticising peanut butter because its got peanuts in it.

And I've said it before film quality digital effects work is far from an easy shortcut to decent film-making. When you watch someting like ROTS you are seeing literally decades of man hours go past in a matter of minutes. The shots that are less succesful are not normally down to complacency by either the film-makers or visual effects artists but constraints on time and budget even on a film like ROTS. And visual effects are not a particularly expensive part of film-making so neither are they responsible for the astronomical budgets of todays mainstream films.

I'm not an advocate of having every single film full of effects shots but its incorrect to treat visual effects as being any more responsible for poor film-making than the art direction cinematography or any other aspect of the process.

Well excuuuuuuse us for having an opinion. Guess we'll all shut up now. Hey, your not an agent of Darth Lucas are you?
 

godzilla

Active Member
Mr.D said:
l've always found it intriguing how readily people will dissect a film and comment on what they found inadequate and what they would have done to remedy the situation.

More often than not the person making the comments has no relevant experience of film-making whatsoever. I think its symptomatic of the familiarity that people feel they have gained by watching films all their lives. They feel it gives their comments firmer relevance. Similarly to armchair football pundits who know precisely the techniques and strategies a given team of players should have employed to turn around a defeat , but who themselves would drop dead if they had to run 50feet.

Watching films and making them are totally different events. In the same way that you can't tell how large an iceberg is by looking at the part above the water you are given very little insight into the film-making process by actually watching a film. ( thats kind of the point)

As for the later Star Wars films , I agree I think they are awful. However the only part of them that warrants applauding are the visual effects so to criticise the films because of the effects and hold the effects resonsible for the entire failure of the films is a bit like criticising peanut butter because its got peanuts in it.

And I've said it before film quality digital effects work is far from an easy shortcut to decent film-making. When you watch someting like ROTS you are seeing literally decades of man hours go past in a matter of minutes. The shots that are less succesful are not normally down to complacency by either the film-makers or visual effects artists but constraints on time and budget even on a film like ROTS. And visual effects are not a particularly expensive part of film-making so neither are they responsible for the astronomical budgets of todays mainstream films.

I'm not an advocate of having every single film full of effects shots but its incorrect to treat visual effects as being any more responsible for poor film-making than the art direction cinematography or any other aspect of the process.
Well, both the movie industry and football would not exist without a paying audience and yes their opinions are "relevant" because if they chose to stop buying the product the industries would fail!

I haven't read many comments criticising the quality of the sfx in the prequel trilogy, merely their overuse.

If that is what a substantial proportion of the paying public think then it is in the interests of the film-makers to take note.

In the entertainment industry, as in most arenas, it is not necessarily the facts that matter, merely their perception...
 

NicolasB

Well-known Member
Mr.D said:
Similarly to armchair football pundits who know precisely the techniques and strategies a given team of players should have employed to turn around a defeat , but who themselves would drop dead if they had to run 50feet.
How many football managers are actually able to play the game as well as their players do? How many professional tennis coaches actually play tennis as well as the players they coach? Not a very happy analogy.
 

Mr.D

Well-known Member
Well you can take my comments whatever way you like. My point is that because watching films is something that the majority of people are familiar with I often find people with no practical experience of what's involved in the process of making them will pass comment on them as if the very act of watching a film gives you some sort of meaningful understanding as to the process itself.

The film industry is almost unique in this regard as its an industry that is based around not betraying the mechanics of the process in the desired result , however because its an area that people feel they have a familiarity with they readily feel capable of offering up criticism of the practicalities of it.

This is not the same as merely offering an opinion and analysis of the actual film itself but some mistaken belief that they have some relevant perception of the process by looking at the product.

Very few people will wax lyrical about the pros and cons of mixing and arrangement just because they've listened to the occasional cd but for some reason film watching seems to engender the belief in specialist knowledge amongst the end users.

By all means express an opinion on a film and criticise what you see but don't delude yourself that you could have done a better job when you're probably hard pushed to shoot remotely interesting video footage of a birthday party.
 
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FoxyMulder

Guest
Mr.D said:
I often find people with no practical experience of what's involved in the process of making them will pass comment on them as if the very act of watching a film gives you some sort of meaningful understanding as to the process itself.
The beauty of dvd is that now we get in depth technical analysis of how a film was shot and we also get in depth commentaries so we can all understand how a film is shot and therefore we do have more of a meaningful understanding of the filmmaking process, obviously the practical experience isn't there but we know more from what we are told and what we watch, anyways why shouldn't people have an opinion it would be a pretty boring world if we all agreed or if we all kept quiet about things we didn't like or indeed did like.

Take porno films as an example, i bet i could do a better job filming most of those as the camerawork is abysmal ( or so i was told by someone ) ;)
 

Nebby

Active Member
I don't really care how many millions of dollars he spends or how many thousands of man-hours Lucas (and others) invests in CGI / SFX, far too much of what makes it onto the screen leaves me cold.

IMO, cartoons carry very little emotional depth. I loved R2D2 in the first trilogy, there was something charming about the character and the way it interacted with the surroundings. But the CGI R2D2 that appeared throughout episodes 1, 2 and 3 was rubbish. SFX had taken over the character, and was converning how it acted within certain situations. I mean, are we supposed to believe that R2D2 somehow forgot he could fly between episodes 3 and 4?

What Lucas seems not to understand is that CGI is at its best when its subtle.

The first Matrix movie had that wow effect...you sat there thinking how did Trinity just fly through the air, climb the walls and beat the crap out of those cops? But who felt that same sense of wonder when Neo fights all those Agent Smith's on the rooftop...it's so obviously all CGI, all of the magic is lost. Trinity's fight was convincing, whereas Neo v Smith rumble wasn't.

IMO, the battle between the ewoks and stormtroopers at the end of Jedi works, because it has a grounding in reality...real people in a real location. The battle between jar-jar's mob and the androids at the end of TPM sucks because any sense of reality is missing.
 

Member 55145

Distinguished Member
you know i never actually liked the original starwars 4-6, thought the acting was very poor (Well except harrison) I saw episode 1 on a crappy pirate vcd when it came out to cinema, it looked ok but was boring, saw episode 2 the other night on itv missed the first half hour but looked fantastic even for a portable hotel tv so i went out and bought episodes 1-3 the other day, watched episode 3 and have mixed feelings

lots of detail in the pictures, sometimes a little too much

heads of characters looked odd when on CGI bodies... it was laughable in fact id expect much better from a DVD as important as this one

anakin/vader turn was very odd, i dont see how he would switch to the dark side how he did, it made me feel as if it was a story of its own, he realises he has done wrong and is remorseful then all of a sudden george goes "0h XXXX" he is supposed to be a bad guy in 4-6 better make him just flip out for no reason..... this part had so much potential to sum up all the other 5 films but just seems empty, rushed and not really bothered with. Anakin grew up like a sheep being told what to do and fair enough he needs to find someone to look upto again... but it just doesnt flow like it should
 
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Fluffy-Bunny

Guest
I think the prequels work better as comedies.

I laughed so hard at several moments during Revenge of the Sith, it was an appalling film.

I have said this in another thread, I think the Star Wars prequels are just too far removed from the established "Star Wars Universe" displayed in the originals.
Wouldn't you have rather seen Star Destroyers, imperial battles, X-Wings and TIE Fighters in Episodes II and III?

I just question Lucas' judgement on everything to do with the prequels, I mean, why have the finale of Ep III on a volcano...? It just looked totally unbelieveable, once again CGI overload, that looks terrible.

I'd have maybe have liked the prequels by another 20% if they had used minimal CGI, and maybe another 20% if they had used someone other than Hayden Christensen.
 

nwgarratt

Distinguished Member
Fluffy-Bunny said:
I think the prequels work better as comedies.

Wouldn't you have rather seen Star Destroyers, imperial battles, X-Wings and TIE Fighters in Episodes II and III?
Not possible as the Empire or Rebellion didn't exist then. You do get to see early versions of them.

I just question Lucas' judgement on everything to do with the prequels, I mean, why have the finale of Ep III on a volcano...? It just looked totally unbelieveable, once again CGI overload, that looks terrible.
Lucas came up with that right at the beginning 25 + years ago.
 

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