There have been several biographies of Lucas over the years, Skywalking, by Dale Pollock was excellent but finished at the release of Return of the Jedi. George Lucas by John Baxter went as far as the release of The Phantom Menace. They were great as far as they went, but obviously left with the story in flux, and the reader in a kind of limbo as Lucas’s mighty Empire was still rolling on with more films to make and unfolding tales of his life to tell.
This new book draws heavily upon the earlier books, which are credited as sources of reference – and this is understandable. There are, after all a finite number of anecdotes about Lucas’s early years, his upbringing in Modesto, his near-fatal car accident, and his formative years in USC that can be told and recounted by those who were there at the time. So, in effect, the first third of the book reads as very familiar, bordering on repetitive.
The book’s REAL value, of course, is in recounting the events post-Phantom Menace, examining the period in the director’s life when he seemingly lost his creative touch, becoming obsessed with pushing the boundaries of digital effects and computer generated locations. Lucas’s trials and frustrations, leading to the completion of the prequel trilogy to a less than stellar reception by the die-hard fans of the original trilogy are well documented here.
The book rounds off with the sale of Lucas’s Empire to Disney in one of the biggest, most expensive acquisitions in the history of motion pictures and details how the deal was brokered. In fact, the book’s final chapters can be used as a business manual in maximising your own advantage.
There may well be further books about Lucas’s amazing life and uncanny business acumen, but this one tells the story of an underachieving comic book and movie fan who became one of the most influential and powerful forces in genre film history better than any to date – and with the Lucasfilm assets sold off, pretty much covers the whole story.
An engaging and entertaining read about an enigmatic and reclusive man. This biography will be regarded as definitive for years to come.
GEORGE LUCAS: A LIFE / AUTHOR: BRIAN JAY JONES / PUBLISHER: HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW