George Lucas says new animated film Strange Magic excites him as much as Indiana Jones movie did

Star Wars creator George Lucas says that his new film, the animation feature Strange Magic, stirs the same feelings in him as when he saw the first Indiana Jones movie, released in 1981.

"I'm very proud of the film that got made, it's better than I had hoped. That's always a great experience for an executive producer. The only other time I've had this experience was with Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark," he says at a press conference here on Thursday.

As with Strange Magic, Lucas, 70, conceived the story of the intrepid archaeologist and was the movie's executive producer.

Lucas is here to promote Strange Magic, large portions of which were created here at Lucasfilm Animation Singapore. The film opens in Singapore next week.

The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, when Strange Magic was already in production.

Lucas jokes about the friendly rivalry that exists in the corporation that is also home to animation giants Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, a fact made especially poignant as Pixar began life in 1979 as part of Lucasfilm, before Steve Jobs became its owner and made Toy Story (1995).

"We do have some competition, even within the same company, some of them started with me... it's like three animation companies within the same corporate shell, and we are the junior ones.

"But we have surpassed anything the other guys have done," he adds, with a smile.

His new film is voiced by actors Alan Cumming, playing the villainous Bog King and Evan Rachel Wood, who plays the fairy princess Marianne. Both stars also sing all their characters' songs.

The team at Lucasfilm Animation Singapore, at its peak, numbered around 150. Other than front-end areas such as story, layout, and character and art design, the majority of the film was created here, in areas such as animation, lighting, compositing, rendering and modelling.

The idea for Strange Magic, a fairy love story set to popular songs, came to Lucas, mainly because 15 years ago, when he noticed how much his two daughters then (he has three now) enjoyed hearing him read The Wizard Of Oz to them.

"Star Wars was a mythological adventure for 12-year-old boys, but it appealed to everybody... So I thought about making a fairy-tale adventure for 12-year-old girls and hope that all the boys will see it. It's got adventures and sword-fighting.

"Obviously, it's more upbeat, funny and magical than Star Wars was."

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