April and I have just finished watching the extended versions of Lord of the Rings with Shawn and Britt, and I have to say, my mind is made up. LotR is simply better than Star Wars. One could probably argue that the movies are better because Tolkein was a genius and gave them a great background and body of work from which to draw, but Lucas really has a fantastic world as well. I’ll never argue that the Star Wars universe isn’t well developed, because the idea is quite good. The problem is that Lucas took this great idea and didn’t know how to translate it to film, so he ended up butchering it.
The original Star Wars movies are only any good because the actors were phenomenal. They changed things and brought life to the script it wouldn’t have otherwise had. Jackson took a number of actors, some of which were almost completely unknown, and through his drive he made an equally expansive story into an artistic masterpiece of film.
Watching the Making Of special features of LotR is quite an experience, and almost as good as the movie itself. They really poured their hearts into the movies, and the level of detail makes the film seem almost real. If you ever watch the Making Of special features for Star Wars, it’s kind of amusing. It essentially starts off with George Lucas talking about how great a genius he is, and the actors saying that he’s a visionary, and as the feature progresses, the actors become more and more caustic, sometimes insulting him and talking about how they changed atrocities in the script into something actually decent because Lucas’s writing was so bad.
It’s night and day, and I know that while I’ve probably never written something quite so nerdy as this entry, I feel it needs said. Peter Jackson is simply a better director than George Lucas.