Is Lucas a better/worse DIRECTOR today than when he made ANH?

Discussion in 'The Phantom Menace' started by hawk, Dec 10, 2002.

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  1. TheAnointedOne Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 2
    George Lucas is probably just as good or better than he was in the '70s. The difference is that he had collaboration with some talented people who challenged his work. Now, he doesn't have to answer to anyone. A lot of the ideas that he had for ANH were changed, but if they hadn't, that movie may have looked a lot like TPM. ...my opinion.
  2. DrEvazan Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2002
    star 4
    i think lucas is pretty much the same bad director he was when he did ANH. the difference is that now he has ditched all the people who helped him make the film as great as it was and replaced them all with apathetic drones who do whatever george wants.

    if GL had been allowed to make the movie he originally wanted to, without the creative input of others, (read his early drafts of star wars) there would be no star wars fans today and the first film probably would have been forgotten.

    one of the reasons the films of the PT are so lackluster and amateurish is because he has gone back to the old drafts for inspiration. jedi bendu anyone? bogan force?
  3. Jedi_Waster Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 1, 2002
    star 2
    "He had to get the correct performance from the actors. Do you really think he just set the camera up and told them to act, and got the perfect result on the first take???!!!"

    Ummm... yes!

    He set up a camera and filmed the actors talking (some of which was improvised). Then as per his words "directed it in the editing room".

    Comments about his overuse of CGI I completely agree with. And the OT is certainly a better made and tightly organised trilogy because of the outstanding contributions from friends, family and co-workers.

  4. hawk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2000
    star 5
    Can anyone actually think of specific examples of scenes which were not directed with much flare comapred to the OT?

    Compare the scene on the DS in ANH, with the Imperials discussing the rebels and the battle station, with a similar scene on Naboo where the Queen is discussing an invasion. I mention these scenes bc they both have people sitting around talking about events.

    The scene in ANH shows the Imperials getting all worked up and one becomes quite smug. It opens with Tarkin charging into the room with that classic, bitter look on his face. I don't know if it the actors making the most of their roles or Lucas' direction but they look deeply involved in the events of the movie.

    Then look at the scene in TPM. One character says it must be an invasion. He says it sitting totally still with virtually no expression. The Queen sits there and says she will not go to war barely fluttering an eyelid. I don't care if this is supposed to be regal. If your planet was about to be invaded, you would CARE and would show it. The actors here are just delivering their lines and, unlike the actors in ANH, do not look involved in the events of the film. Really bored if you ask me. What I don't get is that there are no big CGI effects in that scene, so it can't be that Lucas was distracted by this. What has caused the performances in the PT to be so flat and this one in particular?
  5. TadjiStation Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2001
    star 4
    There's a well known yet unwritten rule in directing actors, whether on film or on stage, that basically says the director should not try to act out the parts for the actors under his / her direction. This can force the director's interpretation of the role upon the actor, and stifle the actor's interpretation of the role.

    Good direction of actors means being able to provide a dramatic context for the actors to play off of and expand on. It's more than just memorizing the lines on the page (for the actor) and more that saying "okay, just do what feels right" (for the director). Good direction involves very open and intimate, sometimes lengthy communication with the actors. More than just showing them how they should play a scene, it's why they should play it with a particular feel. It's even more than this, but I don't want to make a really long post about it.

    To my knowledge, Lucas doesn't really spend much time trying to cultivate a performance from his actors. Rather, he sets his actors up in front of a blue screen (now more than ever) and lets them riff off of each other. Sometimes, something really good happens (I like the scenes between Qui-Gon and Anakin myself). Sometimes, it's not so great (Almost everything else involving Anakin, Padme in general).

    Where Lucas' strong points lie, in my opinion (and I've said this 100 times) is in his direction of action sequences. For some, the POD Race is a bore. For me, it's one of the most thrilling pieces of action put to film, period (even if it IS an expanded version - size wise, not time wise - of the Chariot Race from Ben Hur). The DOTF in TPM is great (lightsabres flying - awesome stuff). This carries over to AOTC, with a grand battle on Geonosis (sadly, the acting isn't much better in that film).

    Someone said that poverty had a lot to do with Lucas' directing being better in the OT than the PT. I'm of the mind that he's about the same. I will say that, given the variety of limitations that existed during the making of the OT (particularly ANH), that Lucas really had to think on his feet, and cooperate more with the people around him (some of whom may have had more filmmaking experience.)

    Lucas was extremely lucky with ANH. Nobody can tell how a film is going to go over with an audience, and everyone around him thought he was crazy at the time. Back then, he had something to prove. Now, he doesn't have to prove anything. He's not challenged in the ways he was before, now that he has EVERYTHING at his disposal. It was a no-brainer that TPM would be extremely healthy at the box office, therefore, not much is really riding on TPM as a dramatic achievement (or a commercially successful one either).

    My $.02

    Best,

    Tadji :)
  6. WSBurroughs Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2002
    TadjiStation
    Well written! Back when Lucas was directing ANH, he had lots to prove, challanges, triumphs. All those mentioned, showed up on the screen. Now that the man is sitting on ILM & 5 billion dollars, he has nothing to gain or loose. That attitude shows up on the screen now for the PT.
  7. hoth-nudist Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2000
    star 3
    Good points jedi waster, WSburroughs. I think CGI overkill is what many SW fans will remember the PT for. Jedi waster, I also think its a shame that GL resorts to his beloved editing room to direct the acting. I think of it as extrememly lazy to rely on CGI to tell a story. Its really a cop-out for not wanting to deal with actors. GL lacks passion for SW and has admitted it in interviews. If he lacks passion, why even attempt it? Answer: $$$$$$$$$$$$$
  8. scruffy-lookin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2001
    star 3
    I don't think he's solely motivated by money. As mentioned the money he already has more money than he could spend in five lifetimes.

    Want to know what I think? No? Well here goes anyway. I think the two biggest motivations for GL are (1) his desire to see what can be done with the amazing technology hgis companies have developed or helped to develop. Specifically digital film, GL helped to revolutionise the movie industry once with Star Wars and he wants to do it again. This time however he's seems to want to move things the other way.

    Star Wars ushered in the era of the blockbuster, the big budget (I know it wasn't) event movie and the series helped change the whole way movies were marketed.

    By popularising digital movie making GL can(and will) really help the small independant film(?)makers to get their projects made. His push to have theater owners convert to digital looks like a big business bullying small businesses but it's the small guys and the consumer that will benefit in the long run.

    And finally (2) I think he resented people telling him what to do on the OT (particularly ANH and ESB) and now he wants to do it his way. Which of course is his right. I just wish he wouldn't wait until the last minute to ask for good help (ie Kasdan). And that he had finished the whole PT story before he started filming the first chapter.
  9. Ekenobi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2002
    star 4
    I would say he has never been more on his game than he is right now.

    Agree again with Go-Mer I will.

    And how can any of you say how Lucas directs his movies. Were you all there when the movies were being made? How do you know he does not have lengthy communications with his actors? Were you there? Your arguments are plain empty. You do not like the movies fine. But no one knows how he directs unless you are there seeing it for yourself. Just empty, no proof arguments IMHO. And from seeing both PT movies, I say he is doing a fine job.
  10. JenX Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2002
    star 3
    And how can any of you say how Lucas directs his movies?

    Well, they could look at quotes from the man himself, and others that know him and have worked with him.

    And I think GL might be a better director then he was before, but as for his abilities as a writer or editor...that's a debate for another thread.
  11. Ekenobi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2002
    star 4
    That attitude shows up on the screen now for the PT.

    What attitude? Do you know him personally to know how what his attitude is? Sounds like to me everyone is jealous of Lucas' money. Becasue that seems to be the basis of everyone's argument.
  12. Ekenobi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2002
    star 4
    Well, they could look at quotes from the man himself, and others that know him and have worked with him.

    And I think GL might be a better director then he was before, but as for his abilities as a writer or editor...that's a debate for another thread.


    Well at least with those you can see and hear. Do not think the script or editing was bad. Liked it. But quotes from people still does not give you exactly how he does things. I have not heard anything from any of the actors of how bad he is directing
    Where are these quotes everyone is referring to?. That only thing I heard was that he is a sweet man and enjoys working with him. That was from Portman. She did say also that he does not do much directing. But how does that imply it means "bad" directing? you do not like the guy fine. But others I have read enjoy how he works. I can not find the artcile right now to save my argument.
  13. TadjiStation Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2001
    star 4
    Back when Lucas was directing ANH, he had lots to prove, challanges, triumphs. All those mentioned, showed up on the screen. Now that the man is sitting on ILM & 5 billion dollars, he has nothing to gain or loose. That attitude shows up on the screen now for the PT.

    WSBurroughs,

    Thanks for your comments! :)

    While I thought AOTC showed Lucas warming up again as a director, I was still annoyed in general by the wooden acting, though I thought the performances overall showed some signs of improvement..

    I think if he pulled himself out of his "fun with toys" approach to filmmaking, he could truly do something incredible. Not only from the technical perspective (that;s a no brainer), but from the story, acting and character perspectives as well.

  14. WSBurroughs Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2002
    Regarding Lucas's directing; the end result on the screen is proof enough.
  15. hawk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2000
    star 5
    Many actors have stated that Lucas gives very little direction. Most of us on these boards have heard comments like these so many times now that we all just agree. We aren't necessarily saying it is a bad thing. It is Lucas' thing.
  16. WSBurroughs Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2002
    Absence of direction is a bad thing. A conductor just standing in front of a full orchestra, doing nothing just gives the musicans free reign to play the notes on their own. No synchronization. No emotion, no coheision
  17. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Regarding Lucas's directing; the end result on the screen is proof enough that Lucas knows what he is doing.
  18. Oakessteve Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 9, 1999
    star 6
    I do wonder what George will do once he's finished with Episode III. I think that'll be the real acid test of whether he's in it for his own artistic fulfillment, or just in it to make a comfortable retirement package. George is in a very unique position where he could give birth to a whole new age of films, completely independent of Hollywood, but with the necessary resources to reach a wider audience than they would have done before. So, that'll be the acid test for him, I think.
  19. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    He wants to make a TV miniseries about the fall of the Roman Empire when he is done with SW.

    He also has ideas for films that have no dialogue at all. But he isn't sure that he will release them. He may just make them for himself.
  20. ST-TPM-ASF-TNE Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 27, 2001
    star 6
    Really? That's uber awesome :D
  21. SWfan2002 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 28, 2002
    star 4
    He wants to make a TV miniseries about the fall of the Roman Empire when he is done with SW.

    I would LOVE for this to be true. I've always been interested in Ancient Rome, especially its fall. One question though-- would it be a documentary-style miniseries or a regular "live-action" miniseries like Young Indy?
  22. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    I am not sure. I would suspect it would be a live action movie.
  23. Anakin_Kenobi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 1
    Go-Mer: Where did you hear about GL wanting to make a miniseries about ancient rome?
  24. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Various interviews from Lucas.
  25. WSBurroughs Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2002
    Good god! Lucas to bore us all to death with a Television Mini Series on the Roman Empire!!!??? Very possibly, he will make up all the "facts" to show of tons of CGI. Many historians will revolt.


    Yes, the proof is on the screen regarding Lucas's dirctioral skills: the many people falling asleep in the "action scenes" in the PTs.
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