Dear George Lucas

Last modified on May 26th, 2008

Please, for the love of god, stop making movies. Whatever magic you used to bring to the table evaporated a long time ago.

As you can tell, I saw the new Indiana Jones movie on the weekend. Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy it, and found myself looking at my cell phone from time to time to see how much more I had to endure.

First, you don’t need CGI gophers to propagate the plot. The first time the camera swung by and I saw them, I almost groaned out loud, seeing the obvious resemblance to the little furry Ewoks that stunk up the screen during Episode VI of Star Wars. And to add insult to injury, he showed those stupid gophers TWO MORE TIMES, as if we somehow needed them in the film.

To be honest, George Lucas used to make really good movies. The first two Star Wars films in 1977 and 1980 had a sense of wonder to them, and the special effects only enhanced the timeless nature of the film. But since that time, George Lucas has just gotten worse and worse with each film. Star Wars episode III was the moment that trilogy started going downhill, and the last three episodes were simply terrible in my opinion (the static dialog and acting effectively ruined the last three films for me).

The moment he started losing his edge, in my opinion, was when he started spending most of his time hanging out with the ILM guys. Instead of thinking whether or not a special effect *should* go into a movie, George seemed motivated by whether or not a CGI effect *could* go into a movie, and went overboard whenever be set his hand on the celluloid.

Peter Jackson, along with Weta Digital in New Zealand (another big effects warehouse), seem to understand that special effects should serve the plot and the characters, not the other way around. In fact, I remember reading about a visit that George Lucas made to Weta where he walked around, looked at all the huge Lord Of the Rings miniatures and what-not and commented “yeah, we used to do it this way, but now we do everything digitally.” The reply to that was “we could too, but why would we want to?”

Another glaring problem with the new Indiana Jones is that the dialog is fairly horrendous. Many of the lines simply don’t work well, and the delivery by the actors is nearly unbelievable in some cases (which is more of a reflection of poor directing ability instead of poor acting ability). Like Harrison Ford commented during the Star Wars films, “George, you can write this shit, but you sure can’t say it.”

Another huge beef I have with the film is that the characters don’t seem to ever feel the magnitude of the situation. Maybe jumping out of a plane in a huge rubber dingy is a little far fetched, but at least the characters seemed somewhat scared and worried about the result in Temple Of Doom. In the new film, we see Indiana and crew going over 100 foot waterfalls in a little boat. Based on their reaction, you’d think they were coasting down the water at the Pirates of the Caribbean exhibit at Disneyland.

I really liked the previous Indiana Jones movies, and it’s disappointing that George Lucas bunted this one instead of shooting for the fences. If he wants to continue making films he really needs to start asking some of his buddies for some direction, because he’s clearly lost his way.

7 responses to “Dear George Lucas”

  1. John Biehler says:

    Totally agree…Indy 4 = fail.

  2. bcxs says:

    Damn… still going to see the movie tonight though. Gotta see it for myself.

  3. Dh and I said the same thing after I saw it last night. And I was ready to write pretty much the exact same post.

    I LOVED Raiders of the Lost is a flawless homage to the old Stewart Granger, Chuck Heston flicks.
    It also had people like Frank Marshall and Philip Kaufman at the helm.

    People who were not around for the subsequent disasters.

    Since then, Lucas has surrounded himself with Yes men and him and Spielberg just don’t have it in them to make a good genre film anymore.

    What bothers us more is that people will say they loved this movie purely for the nostalgia…that they will be FAR too forgiving as they were with that last lot of Star Wars dreck.

    I could go on and on..but is it worth it?

  4. Raul says:

    My friends went to see it on Friday – they weren’t impressed either.

  5. Phaedra says:

    thank you for saving me 12$ and 1.5 hours of my time.

  6. Tania says:

    Fortunately, Lucas seems to be out of ‘good’ movies he made once-upon-a-time to ruin … unless of course he decides to do an update to American Graffitti … I wouldn’t put it past him.

    I was dreading the release of the new Indy film … after reading so many bad reviews, I’m debating as to whether I should simply give it a pass.

  7. Jana says:

    Above other things, my problem was that they involved aliens.. (sigh). C’mooon! Aliens in Indiana Jones!
    But at least that chick had a truly good Russian accent 🙂

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