I wrote this in an email chain a few days ago. May I ever meet George Lucas, I hope he understands. Or, if he's going to hire me, this page may just go on sabbatical a while.
But, dammit Lucas! It's been years now, and I still can't get over it. Why did you do this to me? Why did you release 3 *terrible* movies that utterly cannibalized my childhood?
The why seems clear: he's de-evolved. He's willingly allowed himself to walk down the past of lazy storytelling for dollars. I came to this conclusion when seeing him interviewed on The Daily Show, pushing his own book on making blockbusters. He actually defended the newest-created Star Wars films, by saying they "appeal to different generations". Because pre-schoolers apparently like the newer ones, you see, they're really just as good.
The problem: the old films appealed to young and old. The new ones appeal only to the very youngest.
Jon Stewart, ever the agreeable host, said his preschoolers love the newer Star Wars, including the Clone Wars cartoon series. Of course, all the pretty stuff that explodes looks awesome, and the plot may work all right for pre-schoolers. Hey, maybe Clone Wars is even good. I just can't bring myself to even try to watch them. I've been burned too bad. But also, George Lucas isn't writing the Clone Wars. Seems like he's the background Gene Roddenberry of that scene, if even that...
Which is the crux of the problem. Lucas is not a 3d artist, or a set designer, or a costumer, so he has to hire experts. And they have to impress him. But when he comes up with an idea for a script, who does he have to impress? Emperor Jack of squat. (Or perhaps Simple Jack, which would explain any screentime for the loathsome and borderline racist Jar-Jar). So he can just roll with the lamest idea off the top of his head.
It's just being creatively out-of-shape, developing into the condition of being a middle-aged 600-pound man.
This de-evolution is painfully obvious when looking at Lucas' work. It has steadily gotten less and less mature. He starts with the genuine, raw unsettling genius of THX-1138, then the adult, insightful nostalgia of American Graffiti, then the teen fun of Star Wars ending in a pre-adolescent marketing-emasculated Return of the Jedi (Ewoks!1!! He could have had a planet of ass-kicking wookies and he went with freaking Ewoks????), to the abortive half-heartedness of Willow, to....this bunch of preschool shit with maybe 3 good fight scenes.
What's next, Boba Fetal??
Maybe Lucas really didn't know what he was doing in the beginning, but had to do something. And was supported by people with good instincts. And now that the story is all him, and he isn't facing bankruptcy, he's completely divorced from common (story) sense on the outside and his own unconscious from within.
I can hope one day he'll get it back, because it will be great. In the meantime, it's not a tragedy in the grand scheme. But metaphysically, it's a freakin' shame.