A very interesting interview with Gary Kurtz...

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A very interesting interview with Gary Kurtz...

Post by GeorgeC » August 14th, 2010, 3:13 pm

A very interesting interview with Gary Kurtz...

about Graffiti, Sith Lords, and Ewoks...

http://www.asitecalledfred.com/2010/08/ ... interview/



Very, very illuminating about what happened to LucasFilm in the 1980s and the differences between old time "creative" producers versus the "money-men" most producers today are.

I only read about the first 4-5 pages but it's 9 pages in all.

Good read!

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Post by Ben » August 16th, 2010, 8:15 am

GL on Empire: "we could have made just as much money even if the film hadn't been as good". That's a quote I've heard a few times before, and it still astounds me.

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Post by GeorgeC » August 16th, 2010, 9:54 am

Yep.

That about sums it up.

Explains the quality of the Prequels and all the spin-offs, doesn't it?

Like a teenager, he didn't bother to do all the prep work before he started writing his Final Paper assignment and look what we got!




Ben,

Some people just don't want to listen...

Star Wars: Classic Trilogy versus Prequels: The Last 11 Years are two almost entirely different film series in terms of quality and presentation. There's the mythic childhood/genre-redefining series versus the established machine that keeps going and perpetuates itself irregardless of the quality.

(The closest I come to this abrupt break isn't even Star Trek. I think of Classic Star Wars versus Prequels as sort of like Godfather I/II versus Godfather III. Are these films even that related??? Does the quality of the latter product really compare to what went on before???)

You'd almost swear the creator(s) of Star Wars was two different people!

With all the mistakes, rewriting of basic Star Wars mythos, and continuity gaffes you have to wonder sometimes if George Lucas actually wrote Star Wars to begin with!
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Post by Ben » August 16th, 2010, 2:20 pm

I wouldn't even say Classic Trilogy. First two films were fluke skywalkers for various reasons, with the rot setting in on Jedi.

I knew much of this Kurtz stuff from being involved with people at Elstree Studios who were there and living through that period first hand (my Dad included), and that interview also misses other stuff out. Although I enjoy Jedi, the film has always felt like a Star Wars rehash to me, even as a kid, and since then I never really bought into the SW mania. Love the first two movies, but they're just movies, ultimately. When I found out that Vader wasn't Luke's father until the third draft of the Empire screenplay (Lawrence Kasdan's idea), it became clear that Lucas' whole "nine films" thing was phooey.

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Post by GeorgeC » August 16th, 2010, 5:45 pm

Second film is definitely my fave of the whole lot.

Star Wars Saga or not, Empire is a GOOD film and like Excalibur to John Boorman, the fact that Irvin Kershner made such a fine genre film excuses the messes he's made with some other films.

(I forgive a lot if someone makes just ONE film that I remember fondly and can watch without fidgeting 20 years later...)

Empire is going to be the film he's remembered for if it hasn't proven to be already. Far and away the best of the whole lot.

It's his pass to nirvana as far as I'm concerned...

All is forgiven unless he did something nasty with some Ewoks...!


P.S. -- I agreed with Kurtz. Jedi was too much of a rehash of the original film. (The Second Death Star business bugged me although it has the best space battle scenes in motion picture history. Nobody's topped the masses of dogfights in Jedi!) It could have been so much better than it was... Ah well, at least there was Empire before it all went downhill!

Star Trek has been up and down with sequel films and TV series with a general consensus that the Kirk era is the iconic Star Trek.

Star Wars, whether a lot of other people want to admit this or not, has generally gone downhill since Jedi...

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Re: A very interesting interview with Gary Kurtz...

Post by droosan » August 16th, 2010, 6:32 pm

I have to say .. even back when Return of the Jedi was originally released .. seeing that -- out of a literal galaxy of possibilities, Lucas came up with: another Death Star .. and that he'd set the entire first act on Tatooine, again -- was a tad dismaying. :?

But, the Han Solo rescue sequence did 'pay-off' satisfactorily .. the speeder-bike stuff was mind-blowing, for the time .. and, as GeorgeC says, the climactic space battle far surpassed the first film (and many of its shots indeed do hold up well, to this day). For my own part, I've never minded the Ewoks .. but the Endor ground war does come across as 'comic-relief', much of the time.

Four movies later, The Empire Strikes Back is now the only entry in the series which doesn't have a sequence set on Tatooine. It is also the only chapter which makes absolutely no references to the Death Star. (One could technically say the latter of The Phantom Menace, as well .. but the Droid Control ship does function as a 'proxy' Death Star during its climax).

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Post by Ben » August 17th, 2010, 7:01 am

It's also interesting that it's the second films in each trilogy that do the best work, for my money anyway. Attack Of The Clones easily was the best in terms of story and intrigue, because it was a reaction to the "no kids stuff" argument from the first film, but had room to breathe considering the stuff he was holding back for the third (too much stuff, as it turns out, which is why Episode III is a by-the-numbers, this-is-what-has-to-happen piece of Sith).

In fact, I'd say that Clones was nearer to Star Wars and Empire in terms of what the franchise is about, because it develops more than the rehash of Jedi. It never made sense to me that Death Star #1 took 15/20 years to build, and they have Death Star #2 more than half completed a couple of years later (assuming, realistically, that there isn't three years of time lost between chapters).

It was a shame that Lucas didn't drop Phantom Menace, and start the story a little bit before Episode II. Then Episodes II and III could have been the plot of III but given room to breathe properly, and left enough space at the end to have more of Vader do some seriously bad things, since at the start of the next chapter he's supposedly this big bad dark overlord who is the threat of the universe.

Oh, wait, that's before it was all re-written and retro-fitted to suit the merchandising potential... ;)

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Re: A very interesting interview with Gary Kurtz...

Post by eddievalient » August 17th, 2010, 10:39 am

I guess I must be the only true Star Wars fan here. I love all the movies (and shows, comics, novels, etc) despite their flaws because I can see the good in them and enjoy them for what they are, not what they could/should have been. Is that so wrong?

And GL does more than just Star Wars, ya know. Take a look at his producing credits sometime. He's done loads of good stuff. In fact, he has a movie coming out soon about the Tuskegee Airmen, something he's been wanting to do for years and finally had the chance. He said it would be in the same vein as Tucker: The Man and His Dream, another non-SW, non-Indy Jones movie he did.
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Re: A very interesting interview with Gary Kurtz...

Post by droosan » August 17th, 2010, 12:43 pm

:shock: If not being allowed to have a critical opinion about some aspects of something means that one is not a 'true fan' .. then, I aspire not to be considered a 'true fan' of anything.

I do rather enjoy Tucker: The Man and His Dream .. and Radioland Murders. Heck, I even enjoyed Howard the Duck (though, I will admit it was far from an 'ideal' take on the comic book .. so, perhaps I didn't 'truly' enjoy it). :P

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Post by Ben » August 17th, 2010, 2:21 pm

This is something we came across with a discussion on The Muppets: in order to be a "true fan" one needs to be objective and see the bad as well as the good. Many times, being a true fan is to find the bad and try to explain it, to discover why it's not as good as the good.

I'm glad many people go gaga over every piece of Lucas-endorsed SW stuff he puts out. I feel "good for them" if they can see past the inadequacies and just get on and accept it. But that's like the difference between a child and an adult, or an innocent and a wise old soul. Like children, those people don't see the potential, they only see the surface gloss. That's why, sadly, there are so many bad movies out there that make a lot of money.

Then again, I guess, if Lucas' "it's good enough" mentality is good enough for him, then it's good enough for the non-demanding audiences that accept it. But there are many - and they're true fans too - that can appreciate something but still know it isn't very good, or the best that could have been done given the potential.

Lucas does indeed have many decent producing credits. But just as with the two SW films he didn't have total control over (Star Wars, for Fox's budget insistence, Empire for Kershner's unbowing directorial stance), those films were products of other peoples' intentions. Tucker was a Francis Ford Coppola picture that Lucas helped producer, but Coppola had the control (I actually love Radioland Murders, but again that was an experimental project that was really all about the invisible special effects and Universal picked up the tab, just like he got Fox to fund the 1997 Special Editions).

It's the same with the others, especially the Indiana Joneses, since Spielberg had so much say too. Willow? Ron Howard didn't exactly take orders. Twice Upon A Time? Mostly made by the animators because Lucas didn't have the patience to be involved. And on all these he was an executive producer as opposed to a producer, meaning he was either on the fringes with other people, or he was basically lending his name to a project to help it get financed (as with Tucker and Kasdan's thriller Body Heat).

As for Red Tails (the Tuskegee airmen picture), Lucas didn't wind up directing it. In fact, he didn't even write the screenplay. After years of saying he wanted to start making other types of non-commercial films, he eventually only contributed the story. This is not all to "bash" Lucas, but just to say that he's really about as good as an average filmmaker who has been amazingly lucky early in his career and done very well to keep that momentum going via a few smokes and mirrors.

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