George Lucas went from the king of sci-/fi fantasy in the '70s and '80s to a figure of ridicule once the Star Wars prequel trilogy was released in theaters from 1999-2005. Most of the criticism of his more recent Star Wars films had to do with their over-reliance on CGI special effects, rather than plot and character. Earlier this week, while speaking at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Lucas warned young filmmakers against making those same mistakes by telling an audience:
Don’t forget the basics. Don’t get enamored with new technology, because it’s not new. Just the medium we’re working in is new, but that doesn’t change anything. The art of what we do is exactly the same. It’s beyond technology. It’s the art of movies.
While the cynical reader can view this as Lucas not recognizing his own faults, it’s more than likely that he is speaking from the lessons he learned while making the reviled prequels. Maybe an older, wiser Lucas would have never dreamed of a character like Jar Jar Binks, replaced the beloved puppet Yoda with a digital version, or put Hayden Christensen into Return of the Jedi. Hopefully J.J. Abrams is taking notes somewhere.