“Lucas had controlled the way his movies were filmed, edited, financed, and merchandised. Now he would control the way they sounded in theatres as well-and get paid to do it, no less.”
-Brian Jay Jones (from George Lucas: A Life)
Not all that long ago in a small town fairly far away…
Someone was born
who would create his own fictional
universe and forever alter the motion picture industry
and the way the world goes to and enjoys the cinematic experience
as well as add phrases like “disturbance in the force” and “Kessel Run” and “dark side”
and “I am your father” and to our common vernacular so that nothing will be the same again…
It is no secret that my “sad devotion” to Star Wars changed my life. Now with Rogue One set to hit theatres everywhere and the promotion machine getting into high gear I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the new biography by author Brian Jay Jones about the man who imagined the aforementioned saga simply called George Lucas: A Life.
I will resist the temptation to employ tired, clichéd observations like saying that the first three chapters of the book were the best, but then the next three, which covered the subject’s early life, were pretty lame, but the book rebounded in chapter seven…however not coincidentally the tome is divided into three parts (called Hope, Empire and Return) that do cover all aspects of Lucas’ life, both personal, professional, and uncountable instances when the two were inexorably intertwined, with the second section being my favorite.
Well-paced, thoroughly researched and never dull, Jones leaves few stones unturned, creating a multi-hued portrait of a deceptively complex man and how he became who he is through inspiration, effort and “apply(ing) himself” (something all too often dismissed simply as “genius”).
Even with that going for it, George Lucas: A Life doesn’t give us anything original. Although some facts were new to me, everything in the book came from another source. (At least Carrie fisher’s latest book had the revelation of her affair with Harrison Ford).
Jones for some reason, especially early on, felt the unnecessary need to blatantly tell us where Lucas got his vision (this is where he got the idea for that, and that is where he got the idea for this…) it seemed at times like I was watching the comedic short film George Lucas in Love (well worth checking out):
(I’m just saying the author should give us the facts and enough credit to be able to connect the dots for ourselves.)
Reading the book made me nostalgic for the time I was a student at Dawson and Concordia’s respective Cinema and Communications Departments (where we were all Spielbergs and Lucases) in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, and dreamed of stardom. George Lucas: A Life would be a motivating read for any aspiring filmmakers, if there are any left. And an excellent treat for Star Wars fanatics.
And by the way: Han shot first!