The PJ Tatler

Maybe He Should Talk to Jar Jar Binks

George Lucas says the motion picture business is “more and more circus without any substance behind it.”

George Lucas offered a bleak assessment of the current state of the film business during a panel discussion with Robert Redford at the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday, saying that the movies are “more and more circus without any substance behind it.”

However, the “Star Wars” director hit back at critics who said his role in kicking off the blockbuster film business has watered down cinematic storytelling. “If you go into ‘Star Wars’ and see what’s going on there, there’s a lot more substance than circus,” he argued.

In its day, “Star Wars” represented a major breakthrough in technology, and it’s easy to discern a throughline from the galaxy far, far away to the comic book movies and special-effects driven productions that dominate today’s movie screens. The tools he helped popularize were all in the service of plot, he argued.“All art is technology,” said Lucas. “That’s the one thing that separates us from animals.”

Well, one of the things, anyway. Meanwhile, there is still the little matter of Jar Jar Binks, not to mention the Ewoks. In fact, when you stop to think about it, Star Wars is pretty terrible, with the exception of the first two films. But since Lucas was also the unsung-ish hero of the Indiana Jones saga, which made Harrison Ford a major star, perhaps we can forgive him. Perhaps.

One thing he did get right, however:

Lucas seemed more puzzled by the current state of culture. The man who took bigscreen fantasies to bold new worlds said he never could have predicted the smallness of popular entertainment options on platforms such as YouTube.

“I would never guess people would watch cats do stupid things all day long,” said Lucas.

I guess there really is a sucker born every minute.