Lucas Knows His Dialogue Is Wooden, but Thinks That’s Just Fine

Stephen Colbert and George Lucas talk Star Wars, wooden dialogue and Howard the Duck – Polygon

Colbert: Do you think it’s necessary for a great movie that you still understand the emotion with the sound off?

Lucas: No. I believe half a movie is the sound. The sound is extremely important, but the dialogue is not. That’s not where the issue is. I’m notorious for wooden dialogue, but at the same time … It’s like [points ahead and above himself] ‘Here comes another one!’ You’ve got to say that. But what it does is … it’s part of the sound track. It’s like singing. Obviously you can do it a capella, you can, it’s beautiful, but ultimately when you have a big symphony orchestra, you have a lot of stuff. And the singing is in there, the choir and everything. It’s all one big sound track.

This interview is really good, and I think Lucas gets too much crap, but this quote just had me thinking “wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong…wroooooong!” Even if we agree that dialogue is just another player in the orchestra (and I don’t agree), bad dialogue is like a violin that can’t hit a note. It’s a complete cop out to say that your dialogue is fine because the specific words don’t matter.