Likewise, just because many stories share the same structure (e.g., a hero's journey), that in no way entails what kind of quality or experience each story provides. Creativity still plays a role here by filling the structure in.
But in the original SW, the structure is not just the basic story structure of the "heroes journey", it's several huge actual specific plotlines and plot elements taken from other sources, melded together skillfully and the "filling in" is almost entirely "lifted" from other sources as well, some bits may be entirely coincidental, but the quantity and totality of the lifting suggests otherwise.
Like Allen said "The first Star Wars was *intended* as an homage to many things," and now when I watch it I have a hard time not seeing those homages. And I don't see that as inherently negative.
I'm sure we all can recognize elements of the heroic journey in anything we read or see, or even just the similarities in one movie or another, without it negatively effecting the experience.
In my case because SW is almost entire "lifted" elements of various size and shape, I have a hard time seeing SW as transcending the collective homage anymore.
I think Indiana Jones does a better job of transcending homage, because it isn't entirely homage. I can watch Wrath of Kahn an notice it's Moby Dick told from the point of view of the whale. And see it still see it as unique twist, and i still enjoy it, i still think Lucas blending the original SW parts all together was very creative. Like I said above, I give him more credit on the writing than you do and I think SW was much more imaginative and successfully crafted than similar attempts at making nearly 100% recycled movies, like ID4 and Silverado.
Where I get confused though is statements like...
Yeah, no matter when the source material came out, there's no way the movie (John Carter) will not be influenced by Lucas.
How is it possible for everything to be influenced by SW, but it's "bullshit" to recognize the huge influences on SW?
It took imagination and creativity to construct a movie almost entirely from the parts of other movies, serials, novels comics etc... it's still the sum total of all of George Lucas' influences.