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George Lucas Predicts…

George Lucas made a prediction that big budget pictures will start to disappear, and lower cost movies (15 million or so) will start to make thier way into theatres. Now I find this interesting in that George’s last few movies were giant budget affairs, that if they didn’t say Star Wars, would not have even made a dime. Anyways, since we have a poll about SF and Hollywood – this is somewhat intriguing. I wonder can you make a decent SF movie without huge special effects and a monster budget – my guess is yes, but what do our readers think?

11 Comments on George Lucas Predicts…

  1. This is an easy one! πŸ˜€

    Gattaca

    Charly (based on the Daniel Keyes’ awesome short story “Flowers for Algernon”)

    A Clockwork Orange

    Escape from New York

    The Andromeda Strain

    Enough, I think, to prove that you can make a good scifi movie without special effects. That said, there are many, many decent movies that do have special effects. Check out the Top 100 SF Movies by the Online Film Critics Society.

  2. PRIMER, one of the best new SF movies to come along in years, was made for a measly seven grand, so I think that means the answer is definitely YES.

  3. THX-1138. Directed by George what’s-his-name. What’s interesting on the DVD version is to listen to his commentary. It’s clear that is the kind of movie (small budget, small crew, etc.) that he always wanted to do, not the big sprawling epics that made him millions.

  4. It’s already been said, but Gattacca, and dare I say Equilibium? I’m not sure how much that was made for. I know of a film that is based on Dick’s “Ubik” but I haven’t seen it. It didn’t strike me as big budget, but who knows how “sci fi” the film remained.

  5. Allan Rosewarne // March 6, 2006 at 11:06 pm //

    All the above choices are good one, but I’ll not let any group forget Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind as a low special effects movie that is very SF, and a very good movie.

    Of course this Lucas fellow, has proven that not even if one has a huge budget for special effects, will there be guarantee that it will be a decent SF movie.

  6. Star Wars itself wasn’t shot on some enormous budget ($11 million in 1977 dollars.) It wasn’t until it became the biggest grossing movie of all time that the big budgets started. Of course, I’ve heard that budgets like this are often foisted on the filmmaker – both because the studio wants a certain look that can only come from big budgets (like crane shots or helicopter shots or big special effects) and because it’s hard to hide huge profits unless the budget is also large.

    Sure you can make a good movie (even sci-fi) on a reasonable budget, but the question is, will the public accept it? Some special effect work seems flat out gratuitous (look at all the work done for Contact if you want to see it taken to extremes) but there’s now plenty of it that you’ll likely miss.

  7. George doesn’t think that the Star Wars prequels had big budgets (weren’t they around

  8. Scott said, “Sure you can make a good movie (even sci-fi) on a reasonable budget, but the question is, will the public accept it?”

    Given the recent media attention of falling box office profits, I’d sooner ask if special effects are really as much of an attraction as studios think.

  9. What George Lucas and Hollywood seem to be missing is that the general moviegoer MISSES the movie expierence of old. Gone are the days of the desire to wait in line for the next installment of the great blockbuster. I blame the theaters mostly for ruining this experience. Too expensive, too noisy, no one keeping order in the theaters, and to top it all off, the movie sucks.

    I am moderately encouraged that there is talk of allowing first run movies to be pay-per-viewed in the comfort of our home theaters but ya know what. While I have a great home theater, I would still miss that theater experience of characters being larger than life.

    Back on point, George Lucas lost his ability to predict for me what my future movie desires will be when he let “story” take a back seat to “merchandising.”

    It’s time to take creative control away from the studio exec and put it back in the hands of the director, and more importantly the writer. George seems to have lost his ability to write once he had kids.

    As it stands right now, I have not attended a movie in a theater since october of last year, and I don’t feel too bad about that.

    All hail Netflix!

  10. It seems to me that all too often these days, the effects are being touted as why you should see the movie rather than the storyline. The remake of King Kong for example . . . I kept hearing how the effects for this were so wonderful because they were able to portray Kong’s emotions so realistically that the audience cared about him as an actual character. However, this feat was accomplished way back in 1933 with simple stop motion puppetry. When Kong died, people cried . . . not because of great effects but because of great film making.

    As far as what I consider to be a great SF movie on a low budget. Cube . . . I love that film.

  11. I don’t mean to imply that the special effects are the attraction or should be the most important part, but that we’ve grown used to seeing major special effects all the time and now would look at a film without them and see that notably.

    This is especially true for science fiction movies. If the alien is a ‘guy in a suit’ with an obvious zipper, I suspect we’ll all get very upset. Try watching E.T., for example, and you’ll notice how the special effects and ET himself just doesn’t hold up to today’s standards.

    It’s like playing a top video game from 1995 – even the best game of that era just won’t hold up against today’s mediocre games because of the poorer graphics quality.

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