Jonathan’s Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Director: Steven Spielberg (Jaws, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, Munich)
Story: George Lucas, Jeff Nathanson
Screenplay: David Koepp
Starring: Harrison Ford, Shia Lebeouf, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone, John Hurt
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 124 min





This review contains spoilers. You’ve been warned.


Oh, where do I begin? Where do I begin? Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull is a movie I’ve been waiting for over the course of most of my young life. Throughout the years, I’ve watched the movies literally hundreds of times. Nothing before or since has ever captured my imagination the way these had. During my childhood, I’d go out in the woods and pretend I was Indy, running from imaginary boulders, swinging on the rope tied to a tree branch in my backyard across make-believe snake pits, always saving the damsel in distress. Through my teenage years, I’d dress up as Indy for Halloween and often use his sarcastic one-liners in every day conversation. When it came time to go to college, the movies were much of the inspiration behind my choice to study history. Even as recent as last summer, when I heard there was an extras casting call for the Crystal Skull, I couldn’t resist going, despite the five-hundred mile drive. Needless to say, this must been kept in mind when reading this review. These movies are a huge part of who I am, as weird as that may sound.

So, it’s true that I had some high expectations for this. Maybe blindly high, but I felt I had little reason not to trust Spielberg and Ford. Even in the week before it’s release when my brother – another die-hard Indiana fan – revealed to me that he was a little worried with the latest TV spots, I stood firm, convinced there was no way that I couldn’t love this. Granted, I expected nothing on the level of the other three movies, but I expected something enjoyable and fun to finish off the series with a bang. Yet, once the credits began to roll, “enjoyable” and “fun” weren’t the first words to come to mind – and it kinda hurt. This is probably the most scattered, difficult review I’ve written, but bear with me.

One of the best parts about the Indiana Jones franchises is the interesting supporting characters, whether sidekicks or villains. In Crystal Skull, the supporting characters, besides Shia LaBeouf’s knife-wielding greaser Mutt Williams who I thought was both a good character and sidekick, are all weak. Mac, played by Ray Winstone, is a throwaway, undeveloped, completely forgettable sidekick. We get a few glimpses into he and Indy’s past together, but I just wondered why they didn’t just bring back an already developed, staple character like Sallah (who criminally didn’t even get written an appearance or even a reference in this movie)? John Hurt’s Professor Oxley shows signs of being an interesting character, but they only give brief explanations of his connections, and he and Indy never have that moment or conversation where we see how close they had actually been, like it was hinted at. Cate Blanchett is fantastic with the little she’s given as the Russian soldier Irina Spalko, but overall, she’s probably the least memorable of all of Indy’s main adversaries and her intentions are unclear. Even Marion becomes only a shell of her Raiders self (maybe it was the twenty years of motherhood, who knows). The biggest problem is that with the new characters, they are just there and they chose not to delve too deep into their relations with Indy – there are few scenes of the subtle character-driven, intimate conversations that break up the action in all the other movies – such as Indy’s conversations with Belloq, Marcus Brody, Walter Donovan, or Elsa.

Harrison did fine as an obviously older, more tired, more conservative Indy – a man becoming far more similar to his father than he’d ever want to admit. It felt like a natural progression for his character, especially as he was given the “father” role in this movie. Still, some of the charm that made Indy perhaps the most memorable character in American film history was missing though, but I assume a lot of that was due to the script itself, not Ford. Unsurprisingly, just like with the other movies, he is the best part of the film.


There are so many particular instances in this movie that left me cringing. The one I assume will be the most talked about it Shia LaBeouf swinging effortlessly through jungle vines amongst dozens of CGI monkeys – monkeys that somehow knew to attack only commies and not the good guys. It is a moment that goes beyond silly (a word that can describe much of this movie) to just mind-numbingly painful to watch. Hey, I know – it’s Indiana Jones, so I expect and want unbelievability and some over-the-top action and I’m all for suspension of disbelief, but the movies always had a way of having the fantastical feel grounded in reality. This really threw that right out the window.

The prior movies had situations that felt like a guy such as Indy could really get himself into and out of and there was always so much tension – something that the entirety of this movie lacks. But here, giant carnivorous fire ants began to devour and drag commies into their underground lairs. It’s not that it’s unbelievable, it’s just that it was plain stupid and relied 100% on CGI. Then Marion drove the car, with everyone in it mind you, over a large cliff, landing it on a CGI tree that bent to let them land safely in the river only to have it snap back to take out some commies. Besides the ridiculousness and pure cartoony feel of it, I can think of absolutely no reason why Marion was motivated to make that decision and risk all of their lives like that. It didn’t make sense and I questioned why it was in the movie at all. At times during these action scenes, I wasn’t reminded of the past Indy movies, but the last two movies in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy or another installment of The Mummy where the action gets a little too over the top and there never seems to be much at stake during the scenes, thus reducing any sort of tension that might be felt otherwise.

On reflection, I guess it’s safe to say that my biggest problem is where they decided to take this story, a personal preference by all means, as they seemed to take it to the places that I had verbally in the past hoped they would stay away from. In fact, I hated where they took the story, at least during the second act. I understand that Lucas was trying to transition from 30s action-adventure serial to 50s b-movie sci-fi… but I don’t understand why he chose to do so. The first three movies are the former, so why throw in such a loopy b-movie Sci-Fi channel worthy story here? Indy dealt with supernatural before so it’s not that I think it falls in the realm of unbelievability because that’s what Indy is all about, but interdimensional aliens? I mean… really? I couldn’t even crack a smile during the last act of the movie that was so unsatisfying while there was in internal struggle within me as I was trying my damnedest to like what I saw, but I didn’t. I just plain didn’t.

There are parts I thought worked well, of course. The Russian villains were a natural transition, fitting both the time period and making an appropriate replacement of the Nazis. The whole McCarthyism aspect was cool and relevant. I enjoyed the allusions to what happened between Marion and Indy, something that every Indy fan has wondered. In fact, I didn’t even have a problem with Mutt being Indy and Marion’s son like I thought I would – and the Marshall College motorcycle chase was a classic action scene that I really found myself enjoying. The opening action sequence was pretty cool too with some pretty solid one-liners from Indy (“Put your hands down will you? You’re embarrassing us.”)


I try to keep an open mind, but the amount of CGI was to the point of infuriating. This may bug me so much because of Spielberg’s constant insistence that it would be kept to a bare minimum. I had very little problem with the CGI backgrounds and there was a place for other uses, but the moment during the opening scene that I saw the CG gophers (honestly, what was the point of this?), I knew we were in trouble. There was just so much pointless CGI that seemed to have no purpose other than to distract me.

Which leads into other problems with the visuals. With cinematographer Douglas Slocombe – who did the first three movies – no longer working (and pushing 100 years old), Spielberg stuck with his now regular DP Janusz Kaminski – a brilliant man in his own right- but it just feels all off. I’m not an expert in the technicalities of the craft, but I have a general sense when something feels wrong – the cinematography, the lighting, all of it. It certainly didn’t look bad or amateurish by any means, but it certainly didn’t feel like Indiana Jones and it assisted in giving the movie an unreal, completely different feel from the other movies.

To sum it up and reading over what I just wrote (which really is more of a scattered fanboy rant than a review), this just didn’t feel like an Indiana Jones movie to me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, they just don’t make movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark anymore. I really didn’t hate the movie, but the word that sums it all up is disappointment. Maybe as I watch it more and more and with a more open mind, I’ll soften up on it and leave many of my criticisms behind, but as it stands, all I can feel is a deep, heavy feeling in my chest that this was a sloppy mess of a sequel, something that shouldn’t happen after nineteen years in the making. I will undoubtedly have to catch this two or three more times in the theatre to see if I will warm up to it (and I hope I do) and see where this will ultimately stand alongside the other films – or whether I’ll just try and forget it altogether.

Until then, I cannot possibly give this score an accurate star rating.

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Marina Antunes
Admin

You will forgive me if I don't read the entire thing yet. I'm going to wait until *after* I see the movie!

Matt Gourley
Guest

SPOILERS as well.

Boy, those are almost the exact same critiques that I came out with. It did feel like The Mummy, and worse, The Mummy II. There were too many sidekicks and the story, particularly the ending…huh? Also, the riddles and Milton quotes gave us nothing. In Last Crusade we at least got a cool scavenger hunt with "the shields being the second marker," but this was revelation without anticipation or frankly, desire. We needed to be let in on the hunt, not just taught the rules as we went along. That's the mark of an inexperienced screenwriter, it seemed written for each subsequent set piece and the story was secondary. The arbitrary re-animation of the alien? Why? How? Who? Screenwriting 101. Everything I've read said that Lucas said it was this story or nothing. He's done it again – his franchises really should be taken away from him as an unfit father and put into the home of a foster producer/director. Give him Howard The Duck and maybe he'll unwittingly fix it in trying to 'improve it.'

On a more positive note, I went to see it again, if only for a new fix of nostalgia, and it plays better. The disappointment is out of the way and I enjoyed it more. Hope that happens for you as well. This is my first real perusal of the site, I'll be back – that was a great review.

Henrik
Guest

This review reads like a little boy idolizing Steven Spielberg refusing to recognize his own growth and desperately trying to hold on to his uninformed youthful idea that Indiana Jones is actually great filmmaking. Realize your own potential and grow Jonathan. You'll find that the potential in being an adult is infinitely more worthy of pursuit than the potential in staying childish.

Goon
Guest

^ 10/10 Douche Tremor

Henrik
Guest

Oh Goon, I've given up on you. Keep your childish dreams of being the Remy of popart, but don't call people who have realized something else may be the case douches. And yes, this is directly related to Indiana Jones… It's all about growing up, unromantic as it may sound.

Andy
Guest

This movie was AWESOME! This is what fantastic cinema is all about! I hope they make at least two more sequels!

Goon
Guest

"but don’t call people who have realized something else may be the case douches. "

blah blah blah, childish childish childish, you want to stir this up amid a condescending call to Jonathan to "realize his potential and grow". You dont realize it now, but it may be the most fucking personally insulting thing ive seen you write to anyone, anywhere.

Dave
Guest

As I've said before, if it hadn't been for Indiana Jones I may never have known of Francois Truffaut, Ingmar Bergman or Federico Fellini. Indiana Jones is the reason I fell in love with movies.

Childish? maybe…fun? Absolutely (I'm referring here to 'historical' Indiana Jones…I have yet to see Crystal Skull).

Henrik
Guest

I don't mean it to be insulting in the sense you're taking it though. I am being honest, I am not trying to be malicious. I won't lie to avoid hurting anybodys feelings though. When you're out there, you deserve honest judgement.

You're not adding anything, you're just calling me names for the sake of it. That's acting like a child, but it's pretty well established that you are very much in touch with your inner child.

Blank-Mage
Guest

Everyone's childish except Henrik! Really, we're like toddlers. I don't even know how I can type so effectively despite my woefully under-developed hands. But seriously, Henrik, make at least one comment that doesn't involve the word "child(ish)", and I'll respect you a little more for it.

Anyway, I think the review is pretty much in line with my thoughts, the whole movie was an example of the "throw money at the problem until it goes away" strategy. For the record, I think all movies from here on out should be directed by Peter Jackson. (Obviously, I'm not being serious about that last part.)

Andy
Guest

If you don't like Indiana Jones, you are clearly an uncultured swine.

Rusty James
Guest

@ "I am not trying to be malicious."

I'm starting to wonder if it's a translation issue. Maybe his comments sound a lot different in danish.

Henrik, if you're really trying to not be malicious and sincerely don't understand the responses you're getting try the following:

Try to phrase you remarks so they're less about the individual and more about the issue at hand.

"You're an idiot for liking this movie" WRONG

"I think this movie was idiotic" RIGHT

Stuff like that makes a big difference in english. Also, notice Andy's comment about where he calls you (as well as a lot of other poeple) an "uncultured swine". The big difference between "idiot" and "uncultured swine" is that you wouldn't actually call someone an uncultured swine if you wanted to offend them.

From your comments I get the impression that you think people find you objectionable because you're an opinionated loud mouth who doesn't back down. Exactly wrong, that's actually what people like about you.

The part people find objectionable is that your comments are mostly about how everyone's stupid and this or that is simple minded and americans are pathetic. And then a little bit about film thrown in incidentally.

I've hinted at this before but I really suspect this is a cultural divide. Maybe where you're from that really impresses people.

To us N. American types you come off as someone trying to play the part of an intellectual but getting it wrong. You've got the pompus attitude down; now you just have to learn to say actual smart things.

Also Henrik something Americans hate (Canadians are the same thing as Americans) is when someone acts like a fucking douche but acts like they're doing you some favor by it.

@"You’ll find that the potential in being an adult is infinitely more worthy of pursuit than the potential in staying childish."

That's almost exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about. Really try to avoid that.

Remember, just because you're being honest (a double edged virtue) doesn't mean you're not also being a cock sucker.

Henrik
Guest

"it makes countless greatest films lists, sits high among critics with a 95% positive review rating, sits high among casual movie-goers by ranking 17th highest on IMDb, it was nominated and won loads of Oscars and other awards… but of course, none of that matters, because you know oh so much about what is and is not great filmmaking."

I know what I appreciate, and it isn't a film full of set pieces. The fact that you're going to things like average critic rating and oscar nominations to somehow objectively back your opinion up is ludicrous. I understand Raiders of the lost Ark is praised for its structure and I understand why it is being praised for its structure as well, it's just not enough for me to say it's a good movie, let alone one of the best movies ever. Unless you're the sort of person who lives to map out films, try and place the value of a film in the craft of editing together sequences instead of within the content of the piece, the characterizations, the ideologies, the teasing, the interesting, everything that may have the potential to destabilize your world as you're watching it, I don't see how Indiana Jones could retain any sort of quality. It's a kids film, and I have outgrown it. With TMNT I admit to nostalgia being a part of it. It took me by surprise, maybe I'm not as adult as I like to boast about? I assure you that if people were going on and on about how TMNT is a lesson in this or that, or one of the greatest movies of all time, I would be spewing bile all over them as well. I like the movie, but I definitely don't hold it on any sort of pediestal – if you like ninja animals named after rennaissance painters, you should like the movie.

"Remember, just because you’re being honest (a double edged virtue) doesn’t mean you’re not also being a cock sucker."

Indeed the risk of communicating anything without trying to cutesy it up or apologize in advance. I'm willing to take it. I will take into account your little advice though, maybe in time you will realize that in fact everything I have ever written in comments everywhere is really intelligent, and my goal of impressing you lot will have been achieved. I am only joking.

Henrik
Guest

Surely you can't possibly be ignorant enough to think that Titanic is better than A Clockwork Orange because it won more awards?

Rusty James
Guest

@ "the risk of communicating anything without trying to cutesy it up or apologize in advance. I’m willing to take it."

yay!

Henrik
Guest

Do you think that if you see something you don't like, but professional critics love, that you are then wrong? That's insane is my point.

Dave
Guest

While the number of awards a film receives is no benchmark of quality in and of itself, I would venture to guess there are hundreds of thousand who would prefer Titanic to A Clockwork Orange (no, I'm not one of them).

Personal tastes! Nobody's is more correct than anyone else's, not even if you yourself believe it should be.

Dave
Guest

From your comments I get the impression that you think people find you objectionable because you’re an opinionated loud mouth who doesn’t back down. Exactly wrong, that’s actually what people like about you.

The part people find objectionable is that your comments are mostly about how everyone’s stupid and this or that is simple minded and americans are pathetic. And then a little bit about film thrown in incidentally.

I’ve hinted at this before but I really suspect this is a cultural divide. Maybe where you’re from that really impresses people.

Well done, Rusty. I think you've hit upon the problem perfectly.

Henrik: As I stated before, I believe your opinions are well-grounded, and that you come to them from a very intelligent place. It's the presentation that's lacking, and it may very well be cultural.

I believe I knew what you were trying to say to Jonathan, that his lack of enthusiasm for the new Indiana Jones film might signify a shift in his tastes, an evolution if you will, as a result of his being exposed to many films since his last first glimpse at a 'new' Indiana Jones movie. That's an absolutely valid observation. However, be ready for the fact that it may also be incorrect. Don't state this assertion as fact (and maybe you don't intend to…but it seems that way).

I absolutely believe that you are often surprised by the reaction your comments generate, that you truly don't mean to offend. The next time this occurs (which, if history holds true, may be before I even finish writing this post), just go back and look at what you wrote. Don't assume it's the 'other person' not understanding…it may be you not communicating your own thoughts properly.

Finally, I must say that I will also make a concerted effort to try and 'read deeper' into your comments, looking for what it is you're trying to say before assuming you're only out to insult. In the end, while you may struggle sometimes with choosing the right word of English to convey your thoughts, the fact remains that your english is 1000% better than my Danish will ever be.

Goon
Guest

I havent posted much on FilmJunk or RowThree much lately, I've just been waiting for podcasts. I'm not afraid of Henrik, I'm probably more used to what is disliked about him than anyone here. It's simply a matter of seeing him act this way on both sites has become simply too annoying to put myself through, flame wars are not something I exactly avoid, but I don't have the time to involve myself in them on multiple fronts.

Henrik
Guest

I won't say I feel guilty if I have scared people away from posting comments, sticks and stones and all that, but I do think it's a shame. I'm not out to eyegouge anyone for the sake of it.

rot
Guest

I like Raiders of the Lost Ark, I made my own fan raiders film when I was a kid. I did not go into Crystal Skull with any pent up expectations though, I just wanted to be entertained. I figured Spielberg has a pretty good track record, so there had to be something to like about it. I cannot even muster the energy to write how ridiculous I found this film, and I think Jonathan actually did a good job pinpointing a lot of the problems. but wow. I will leave it at that. wow.

If people are scared away from posting because of you Henrik then really it is no great loss. You are unusually candid about what you think but really so what, if they want to shut you up they can ask you to defend your opinions and stick to the facts, but instead they tend to flame back, and it takes two to tango.

Kurt
Guest

FYI Goon. Next Podcast will (obviously) be heavily Indy-bent and we are going 100% Spoilers for that discussion. And The MovieClubPodcast.com for C.R.A.Z.Y. and The Icestorm should be up soon too.

Rusty James
Guest

@ "You are unusually candid about what you think"

see that plays exactly into his delussions about himself. Please refer to article five in my henrik manual.

rot
Guest

yeah Rusty like you are a saint. If anyone, I would think you would understand the impulse Henrik has to say what he thinks without sugar-coating it. I may not agree with the contents of his opinions all the time but I do agree with candor.

Rusty James
Guest

@ "If anyone, I would think you would understand the impulse Henrik has to say what he thinks without sugar-coating it."

That's exactly right! I refer you to article four.

"From your comments I get the impression that you think people find you objectionable because you’re an opinionated loud mouth who doesn’t back down. Exactly wrong, that’s actually what people like about you."

See.

Henrik types love to think they get into trouble because of their uncompromising honesty when in fact its the low brow combatative content of their opinions.

No one wants him to sugar coat anything (god, did you not even READ the manual?). If Henrik's posts were less "blah blah your an idiot" and more "blah blah jacque tati's use of misc-en-scene" then we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

Lord know's I'm no saint (in particular my antics on the movie blog. scroll down.)

I'm not coming from a place of superiority. But christ, at least I have more to say than "you're an idiot.", "you're a child because you don't get TMNT".

Wait, I guess I am coming from a place of superiority. I'd be a good mentor for him.

Henrik
Guest

Well Rusty, I think its unfair to imply that all I ever do is berate people. And I definitely would not call somebody who disliked TMNT a child. If somebody honestly came up to me and said that they didn't understand the movie I'd be sceptical though.

Rusty James
Guest

@ "I think its unfair to imply that all I ever do is berate people. "

Henrik,

I agree. See your indepth defense of Lady In The Water, which I complemented you for personally.

But your signal to noise ratio is very low. See this thread.

Andrew James
Admin

Avoiding all the unrelated bullshit in this conversation started by Henrik (although I think Rusty's comments in #13 above may have something to them), I'm bringing it back to Dr. Jones. I just saw the film for a second time and it's really interesting. I also agree with 99% of everything in Jonathan's review. To make it easier, I made a bullet list…

1) The second time through, I realized how the first half of the movie is straight up, vintage Indiana Jones. It hits every note right and might as well have been filmed in 1990. It's great having my hero back for one more adventure.

2) The main reason the second half doesn't work (besides the retarded direction the story goes) is that there is nothing at stake. In the first film, if the Nazis get the ark and are able to research it and discover its power, they win the war. In Temple of Doom the stone will save a culture from dying out and saving an occult from taking over the world. In Crusade, Indy must find the chalice to A) Save his father's life and B) to stop the Nazis from having eternal life. With Crystal Skull, who gives a shit? Give the bitch her skull, watch her evaporate and go home. No one cares what happens; nothing matters.

3) I agree with Jonathan. I don't care what the masses say, I though Lebeouf was pretty great in this film and he was a terrific sidekick (as I mentioned in my review). He's actually pretty great in everything he's in – even if the movie he is in is lacking (which is usually the case).

4) Harrison Ford is fantastic and is easily the best part of this movie. He's hardly aged a bit and looks just like the Indy we all know and loved.

5) Cate Blanchett kicks ass. Always. Fuck you if you don't agree.

6) The Crystal Skull itself looks like a yard sale trinket. Someone made a skull with some clear plastic and shoved a bunch of saran wrap inside. I'm not even being facetious. I honestly think that's exactly what it is. STUPID.

7) John Hurt and Winstone are completely wasted. Why use Hurt to just mumble a bunch of riddles and stare off into space fro your entire movie. Again, STUPID.

8 ) There are too many people tagging along with Indy 1 or 2 sidekicks is good enough. 4 is way too many. Bogs everything down.

9) In the past, Indy has been the "genius" figuring everything out. This time he's just following the words of an old eccentric: "you figured this out in your cell, didn't you Oxley?" Jonathan is RIGHT ON. Where is Sallah? Why use these useless characters that do nothing?

10) There are plenty of good thing about the film which I will get into during the upcoming podcast, but I felt I must vent. At first I thought this was at least a good film, but it really isn't. It's a mediocre film at best with a few things going for it that make it tolerable.

11) The last ten seconds is what won me over to liking it.

Rusty James
Guest

ha ha, worst avoiding ever Andrew.

But I actually have a very un-intellectual type question. Should I go see this movie?

I want to go because I love going to see the summer blockbusters. But I just can't get excited about this one.

Usually I'm in line opening weekend but this year I've been really out of the loop concerning the summer block busters. Maybe it's the movies, maybe I'm just depressed… I want to want to. I want to believe, guys.

Andy
Guest

Good call on that, Andrew. #5 is the only one I don't agree with, however. I think she was just as wasted as Winstone and Hurt. I was so incredibly irritated by them not using Winstone properly. What irked me the most about this movie though was hearing Spielberg tell interviewers that CG would only be used when it was necessary. He kept saying it was filmed like all the other Indy films. Then, in the first five seconds of the film, there's an unnecessary CGed groundhog. To me this movie fell into the category of the Episodes I and II of Star Wars franchise: When we can't think of a good story, we'll add computer animated crap to try and cover it all up. The movie as a whole was all too pretty and clean and lacked the rough-and-tough shots from the first three movies. The whole movie looked like it was shot green screen/sound stage style. Ugh.

rot
Guest

spoilers

The only positive thing I can say in agreement with you Andrew is Shia LeBeouf was fine. I did not once feel the 'fun' of the originals in this film, everything felt belabored, and I entirely disagree about Harrison Ford I thought he was horrible in this film, no matter how hard one wants to squint and see the old Indy there was none of the charm, none of the natural snappiness to him, here it was too much of the screenwriter's ventriloquism. Occasionally I liked some of the ideas (I am fine with aliens, Roswell, and atomic bombs) but the delivery of this was horrible. Of course it is a dumb action movie and the realistic details should not matter but it is the extent to which things go beyond realism, beyond possible to plain silly in everything that there were no stakes and yes, this was a cartoon that made Temple look restrained. Even the details of the Atomic town irked me, like they would have televisions on and sprinklers, Shia throws Indy a snake, and of course Tarzan.

which reminds me, the search for El Dorado, and there is a scene where Cate is holding a monkey up to her face and throws it away… that has to be a nod to Aguirre.

Blank-Mage
Guest

Man, TMNT rocked hardcore. Raph vs Leo was awesome, and it had Patrick Stewart.

rot
Guest

camoflauged google ads, very clever.

John Allison
Editor

@rot – yeah sorry about that… 😉 The site is growing and we are going to be at the point where the site starts costing us so we are going to look at adsense. If at any time anyone feels we have ads in poor places or too many please let us know and we'll see if we can accommodate. The ads right now are not in the spot where they will end up eventually but I give my word that we'll try to keep them out of the way and we won't try to trick you into clicking them.

Andrew James
Admin

No fucking pop-ups. Ever.

Marina Antunes
Guest

Indy, Oh Indy. What happened to classic Indy? Agree with all of Jonathan's comments and with Andrew's second viewing mini review in point form.

It wasn't a bad film but it was sadly disappointing and as with Andrew, I was won over by the closing 5 seconds – even if I did grown for a second when the hat flew in at Mutt's feet. And though the special effects with the ship were cool, wtf were they doing in this movie? It seemed so out of place!

I don't feel the need to see this one again. Once was enough for me. I just hope Spielberg doesn't come back for another sequel any time soon. I'd prefer to see him work on something else.

Kurt
Guest

Isn't Spielberg's new film going to be a sequel to The Color Purple, working title, "The Color of Light Purple"

No, wait, it was a sequel to Always, called "Always. Again. All The Time. Forever."

Marina Antunes
Admin

Ram is giving me all the best stuff:

<center><img src=&quotcomment image" alt="Indy Comic" /></center>

Goon
Guest

I still havent seen Indy 4. However with the way people are talking about it/trashing it, my expectations have dropped to what should be an easily attained level…

I mean, the other day I watched the Condemned and thought it was passable, so thats my current mendoza line.

stump
Guest

Good review. I also thought this movie was shit.

Andrew Jones, nice points up there, but I disagree with you on the first – the first half of the movie is very un-Indy, mainly in that as soon as he is introduced, he is shown to be weak and compliant with the bad guys. They tell him what to do and he just doggedly does it, no hesitation, and no secret plan going to escape.

And on the sidekicks thing, you're right about there being too many, but I think the root of the problem there is the same problem with any characters at all in this movie – the script is terrible in character development, from Indy to Spalko and all the supporting roles. There's no clear motivation for the behavior or actions of any of these characters, and nothing to motivate any interest from the audience, neither positive nor negative.

Rusty James, only see the movie if you don't mind spending $10 on a bad film. You'll have something to have a strong opinion on, at least. Or you can just wait for the other blockbusters – Hulk and Hancock both look interesting.

John Allison
Editor

I haven't chimed in yet but the movie has its good points and its very bad points and unfortunately the bad outweighs the good.

I can handle CGI but I hate it when CGI is used in action sequences. The bits where Indy was fighting in the jungle were good but then the whole sword fight looked too much like it was in front of a green screen. The reason this bothers me is that it looks fake it is that it just doesn't feel real. That may sound like the same thing but it isn't. Ford bumping around looks like he is not in control and that is good. If Labeouf and Blanchett would have really bumped around during the sword fight then I might have enjoyed it. The action while over the top should still be gritty and real. The sword fight was anything but gritty and real.

Mercurie
Guest

Well, as to why Lucas used the sci-fi plot, I think perhaps he felt he had to. When people think of the Thirties, they think of pulp magazines and movie serials. By the Fifties, the serials were pretty much dead (Blazing the Overland Trail was the last in 1956) and people are inclined to associate that decade with sci-fi. Anyhow, it pretty much turned out to be what I expected, which was a good popcorn movie.

Goon
Guest

I thought the movie was fine just fine, and that the nitpicking is even whinier and sillier than the Spiderman 3 "emo" "Omg dancing?" bullshit.

Maybe its my atheist leanings talking, but I see so many one line reviews complaining about the ending being farfetched… in a series that has every religion being true. sorry kids, but its all fantasy to me. thrown around a desert like a rag doll in a fridge? vs falling down a mountainside on an inner tube?

i dont get it. are people judging it as how it affects the whole series of films as a whole? are people judging it as its own adventure movie? I love Indy but have never held the serious as so very precious. Anyone telling me that this is outright horrible, sorry, just goes into my ears as the utmost of hyperbole.

rot
Guest

you know what Goon, I agree with you… I do not quite understand the emphasis on the ending of the film… to me the same lack of quality began in the first scene and carried fairly consistently throughout the entire film. Aliens are fine, 50's sci-fi pulp is fine. Execution of those ideas were not fine. I am not nitpicking in this case, I am taking everything to task, well, ok, Shia was serviceable, and Cate did her best, but besides that everyone else was out to lunch.

take a listen to the cinecast to get an idea of how this is a bit more than nitpicks, I mean when you are counting problems into the double digits it becomes something considerably more than nitpicking, but I do take your stance… I cannot really be bothered to plead my case further, because I cannot even begin to understand the other side of this. You liked it, I didn't.

Goon
Guest

"I am taking everything to task"

since that would have to include the ridge race back and forth fight, sorry, any other argument you make falls on deaf ears. I saw your quote that jay used in his filmjunk post and it sums it up nicely, yours was maybe the epitome of full blown hyperbole. its like someone raped your teddy bear and then wiped your face with it. good lord whats wrong with you man.

Jay C.
Guest

It's funny, because all of this Indy 4 back and forth really reminds me of another recent critical attack on something that I thought was totally undeserved; Scarlette Johansson's album.

I've heard so many people rag on her 'bad singing'. This coming from people I've never heard drop a critical word such as 'range', 'pitch', or 'tone' in their lives, especially in regards to an indie-spirited (not Indy spirited) album. I could name fifty critically acclaimed 'indie' releases that feature folks who simply can't sing. I always thought the joy of albums such as this wasn't their ability to sing, but rather the spirit of creativity and an element of risk taking. It's the presentation and instrumentation, not the range or pitch. In this case, Johansson's album consists of Tom Waits covers. A hefty weight on her already burdened shoulders. Afterall, actresses should stick to acting, right?

Well for me, the album works, much due to the great production of Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio) Of course this is ignored by most, as mainstream media simply sinks to un-informed jokes and potshots towards Scarlette's failed attempt in the music industry while indie snobs attack her for stomping all over their precious Tom Waits originals. (As though it really has any effect on the originals.) Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

I guess, to sum this up for those who have glazed over…I don't care if Indy 4 can sing, as long as he's got a great backing band.

Henrik
Guest

I understand your position but I definitely don't agree. Your arguments ring true for me of the indiana jones trilogy in general though, and I understand why you like them in this sense.

I can look past Bob Dylans limited singing talent because of his lyrics and melodies. I would not give him a pass for having a well-produced drum sound on his records.

Jay C.
Guest

"I can look past Bob Dylans limited singing talent because of his lyrics and melodies. I would not give him a pass for having a well-produced drum sound on his records."

I think you're confusing what I'm referring to as 'producing'. I'm not talking sound engineering. I'm talking about the arrangement of music and it's instrumentation.

Henrik
Guest

Indeed I was being facetious (I believe I'm using this right?) by reducing it to drum sound.

Rusty James
Guest

@ "I believe I’m using this right?"

I guess you were using it right. But next time why don't you try responding to Jay's point, rather than dismissing production quality as "some drum sound".

I think the point Jay was trying to make was that Indy 4 would've been better if Scarlett Johansen were in it.

Henrik
Guest

I did respond to his point. Dick.

rot
Guest

I like the Scarlett Johansson tracks I have heard, actually using one of them for my Wong Kar-Wai mixtape.

so Goon, its impossible to dislike everything about a film? I had the same experience with Tomb Raider and I would pair them up pretty evenly. Are you going to tell me what I felt, or that what I felt was adjusted in order to make a show of it? Get off it man, I am entirely honest with my words on this, it was all of those adjectives I used, I picked them deliberately because I remembered feeling them. If nothing worked for me in an Indy film then is far off for me to call it a trainwreck?

you can have your monkeys and I suppose if Indy levitated or the villain was struck by lightening you would be cool with that too… anything goes just play the theme music and you are fine, just fine.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I think that the Scarlett Johansson album was more of a personal experiment for her. It was never designed to have a mass appeal or be overly commercial, just to give her the challenge of capturing some of the magic on recreating some hipcat Waits tunes.

The ire often comes from ignorance of the mass public (the E! culture) and their desire to see people stay in their little pre-formed boxes.

It is funny how ms Johansson seems to polarize people, (it's probably the connection to Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation, a film that also polarized folks)

@rot on Tomb Raider. I wanted to like those movies, but ouch they made it pretty difficult for me to care. Good call, Indy IV is definitely playing in that part of the sandbox – the 'bad Spielberg imitation' side.

rot
Guest

To riff on something Kurt and Andrew brought up in their cinecast I think one of the main problems I had with Indy 4 is the lack of stakes involved in the story. I think the execution of the story was also seriously flawed, but this element is key for me to its failure. The constant refrain from those who enjoyed the film is that everyone should lighten up, its an Indiana Jones film, leave your brain at the door. To which I wonder aloud is there anything in the Indy universe that would stir your brain to question it? If to escape a siege of Russians Indy suddenly was able to fly, would you be okay with that? There is an attempt by some to make everything black and white, but I see much more subtlety to how things work in a film. Each film has its own universe and implicit rules on how that universe should work.

The action adventure universe portrayed in the previous Indiana Jones films have all pushed the limits of believability, but never so fully as to remove entirely the stakes of danger for the main characters. We can believe that when a tank goes over a cliff Indy could possibly hold onto a vine and climb back up, or that even in the roller coaster mine scene obstacles are put in the way but there is still some sense of threat. Likewise, as Andrew pointed out, in the previous films there were some vested stakes for going on the adventure in the first place, and the more dire the stakes (the kidnapping of Indy’s father) the more forward thrust the action adventure has, because we want to see Indiana persevere in order to achieve his end. There was joking and winking at the audience in the previous ones but this was mixed in with set-pieces of genuine threat. In Indy 4 everything is a parody of itself, everything is a joke. Also, there seems to be no natural progression to the story, plot points are shoe-horned in to get some idea in the screenwriting room passed. In Indy 4 the crystal skull is used multiple times to easily prevent a problem, Indy might as well of had an invincibility cloak – it’s the same effect. The result of watching this, knowing there is no stakes, knowing there is no reason to move forward, is to not be engaged in the action of the film but glaze over and enjoy it for its faint nostalgia, when the music kicks in and familiar faces show up.

The Indy universe is not the Bourne universe, I understand that and I would never want it to be, but there is transgression in each, and when there is nothing to transgress, when you give something a pass that anything goes, then there is nothing different between that and Teletubbies, a bunch of color and light bouncing across a screen. What distinguishes is the stakes, the vested interest in one color blob over the other color blob and the possibility of threat and something to achieve.

The fantasy elements in Indy come with their own limitations, The Ark and the Grail did not pervade the entire story, they were contained spaces that when you entered you understood the mystical realm was tolerated. The fantasy elements are introduced into the universe as certain parameters that aspects of the story can enter and then they enter. There was no introduction to the possibility of monkey ESP (to name one of many believability transgressions) it happened because a writer wanted it to happen. There are endless examples of this in the film, continually resisting any direct stakes for the characters, they exist as personages to be moved around according to some nostalgic agenda. In the previous Indy films they moved because of some inner logic to the story (although I do have problems with Temple too in parts).

leeny
Guest

I could comment on what I didn't like about the film, Instead I think I'll comment on what I liked.

1. I really liked the whole idea of the Colony of Ants being one of the dangers. I think the "Ant menace" as a movie subject matter should experience a new renaissance.

2. The Preps vs. Greasers fight was a lot of fun.

3. as always the soundtrack for indy was great

Goon
Guest

"so Goon, its impossible to dislike everything about a film?"

Its possible to dislike everything about a film, but i dont think its very likely each thing you dislike is based on very sound reasoning. I'd say its more likely 'guilt by association'.

Any other comments on Indy 4 from me will be done over at FilmJunk's thread.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

@rot "The action adventure universe portrayed in the previous Indiana Jones films have all pushed the limits of believability, but never so fully as to remove entirely the stakes of danger for the main characters. We can believe that when a tank goes over a cliff Indy could possibly hold onto a vine and climb back up"

Diehard 4 certainly crossed that line you are getting at. Definitely violated the 'rules' implicit within its universe in order to big "BIGGER". But because the quality was already in sharp decline in the series, it didn't bother me too much. But I think there can be a lot of parallels drawn between Indy 4 and DieHard4

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

@rot "when you give something a pass that anything goes, then there is nothing different between that and Teletubbies"

You know someday in the far off 'idiocracy' future, someone is going to do their masters thesis on the artistic genius of Teletubbies. I hope I live to read it, because that show truly baffles me on every level, particularly its popularity in the late 1990s for parents to show their kids.

Goon
Guest

"Definitely violated the ‘rules’ implicit within its universe in order to big “BIGGER”. "

last comment: Die hard 4 and Indy 4 are their own universes. I judge either film on its own self contained merits and the universe created within its own film…

…not by the universe created within OTHER films. Die Hard and Indiana Jones to me are not truly ongoing stories the same way the Matrix or Star Wars are. With the gap between Indy films, to me its a lot closer to James Bond films, where you carry forward many things people like but allow for a different, be it grittier or more absurd, universe to be built around these characters.

So Indy 4 has frequent moments as over the top as the raft escape from ToD. All I can say is "big fucking deal". really, so what? I'm not supposed to enjoy the jeep fight because it wouldnt have happened in a movie made 25 years ago?

rot
Guest

From what I can remember of Die Hard 4 it did not try too hard to be a part of the same universe that the other films were in. It did set the tone as goofy throughout, and I did not have much of a problem with it because it knew what it wanted to do.

Indy 4 did not know what it wanted to do and had one foot in the nostalgia Indy universe and one foot in B-movie sci-fi universe, and on the whim of the writer did whatever it wanted without the faintest regard for what happened five minutes ago.

I have taking your cue Goon and gone to Rowthree… though my responses are still in moderation.

rot
Guest

a few of my comments at filmjunk got lost in moderation for a bit so I will just repost one:

To assume Indy 4 is supposed to be enjoyed in a vacuum, that is has no relation to what came before it ( stylistically, thematically, narratively) and that images are never used to implicitly draw associations with other images (i.e. genre archetypes) is a gross fabrication of how anyone encounters Indy 4. One does not need to bring some extraneous baggage to the film, these associations are not even implicit in the film, they slam you over the head… this is the same Indy universe but poorly done. Aliens have just as much a right to exist in this universe as Holy Grails, I am pre-empting the suggestion that I have a problem with the B-movie sci-fi elements because I don't, I have a problem (among other things) with the integration of these elements into the Indy universe. Indiana Jones has never been so useless in a film before, the stakes and fantasy elements never so arbitrary.

Kurt
Guest

"To assume Indy 4 is supposed to be enjoyed in a vacuum, that is has no relation to what came before it ( stylistically, thematically, narratively) and that images are never used to implicitly draw associations with other images (i.e. genre archetypes) is a gross fabrication of how anyone encounters Indy 4."

Yea. What Rot said. I'm sorry, I can't watch franchise films in a vacuum, (ditto on genre films). Sometime breaking the rules are exhilarating, sometimes manipulating and turning them over are equally exciting, but simply taking out the rules and past do not in any way apply is not doing it for me.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Reading REVERSE SHOTS very well laid out Indy IV review, and I had to share this particular paragraph;

The opening sequences especially show a Spielberg on sure footing; over the credits is a brilliantly vertiginous blast, a mostly tire-level speed-race between a jalopy full of soda-fountain teens and a military vehicle of scowling troopers en route to a Nevada nuclear testing facility. Set to Presley’s “Hound Dog,” it’s a sly, tongue-in-cheeky beginning that, while not as instantly jaw-dropping as Raiders of the Lost Ark’s jungle obstacle course, thrillingly unexpected as Temple of Doom’s Busby Berkeley number, or as primal in its engagement as Last Crusade’s shoot-for-the-stars myth origin, sets things off on a fittingly ominous note, while also immediately establishing time and place. Anything can happen, and for the next two hours, Spielberg proves, for better and for worse, that it does; these opening images of intergenerational bumper cars, as well as an imminent, instantly classic set piece that finds Indy lost within an alarmingly model perfect Levittown simulacrum on a nuclear test site, smartly set in motion a plot that will see Indy reunited with family, including a son he never knew he had. Ford confusedly stumbling upon a (literal) nuclear family mere moments before vaporization is a perfect visual representation of the character’s continued rejection and distrust of domesticity; Jones looks terribly out of place between four walls and a roof, let alone surrounded by ephemera of the 1950s product boom, and the irony of a commodified community constructed explicitly for the purposes of extinction is thick.

Goon
Guest

I'm looking forward to it coming out on DVD. If it doesn't play nearly as well a second time I will gladly cop to it, it won't be the first time I've had to do so. But even if that's so and I end up like Kurt or rot on it, there's no way its going to ruin my day or my childhood.

Sad, nerdly, so collector-ish of me that I hope the packaging fits the existing box set i have perfectly (single case dvd) so I can just put the mediocre extras disc in another case and shove the other one with the others. I'm sure one of you will call that blasphemy, but thats what i did with the Die Hard set too, which is probably blasphemous as well 😛

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I’m with you in that the opening act up to and including the Nuclear Bomb is GOOD, GOOD stuff. After that. Very very little interest, it all feels tired and sad. The alien angle does little to enliven things. I simply prefer to ignore this film.

Jandy Stone
Guest

The fridge scene was ridiculous to me (in a bad way). I didn’t mind the warehouse stuff in the beginning, and I liked some of the jungle fighting stuff, just because it was over the top and ridiculous in a good way. But the alien thing was really where it totally lost me. I hated that. Hated.

I’m still pissed at myself that I chose to see Indy 4 in the theatre instead of Speed Racer. 🙂

Andrew James
Admin

Familiar territory here, but I agree. I hated the aliens stuff. And I really REALLY hated Shia Labeouf swinging through the trees with the monkeys. That shit was incomprehensible.

But the fridge scene isn’t much different than the opening scene in Temple of Doom (the airplane jump most specifically). The mine cart chase is ridiculous, but A) it looked good B) it was exciting and C) it was original. I don’t know where I’m going with this…

I liked the “nuclear age” Indiana Jones idea.

Nat Almirall
Guest

I didn’t love Indy 4, but does it really deserve so much hate for three or four sequences that, totaled up, last about a minute? I think the film is scorned more for what people’s conception of Indy is than what’s actually on the screen.

Granted, as Andrew points out, it’s not always exciting or original, but I still don’t understand the hate, particularly regarding the aliens. What’s so different about aliens as opposed to Jewish, Hindu, or Christian religious artifacts? Where does the acceptable supernatural end and the unacceptable supernatural begin and why? Even going by the religious-artifact angle, Indy himself says it’s all subjective: “Depends on who your god is.”

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

Andrew, I also didn’t like much in Temple of Doom, to be fair, except the cart chase sequence. I only like odd-numbered Indiana Jones films. 🙂

Nat, I like the ones based around Christian artifacts because I know the history and legends associated with them. That’s probably one reason I don’t like Temple of Doom as much, because I’m not as familiar with the background. With Raiders and Last Crusade, at least half the fun for me is seeing how they use and modify the existing legends. With aliens, the constraints of existing legends aren’t there to nearly the same degree, and that takes a lot of the fun out of it for me. I realize that won’t be true for everyone, but for it me it was a deus ex machina because there are no rules anymore, no constraints like the first and third films had.

Andrew James
Admin

Fair enough Jandy. I can TOTALLY see that point of view – and I’d agree to some extent. In Temple though, the way the legend is explained and built up is really good. And there is so much fun going on while the build-up is happening. Plus it’s got that solid 60 minutes of literally non-stop action. When I was a kid, Temple was my favorite by a long shot. Just saw snippets of Raiders while at Flyway this weekend and once again, my God what a great film.

I digress. In Indy IV, I don’t even really have much of an understanding what they’re trying to do and don’t really care much. With Temple, you see firsthand the affects that the missing stone has on an entire village/culture. With IV, there’s some crazy guy and a shitty prop and bad CGI. But like I said, the first half of the movie is actually pretty great IMO.

Nat, I agree. Now that the fever has settled down a bit, I think people should go back and watch Indy IV again. It’s not great and CERTAINLY the worst in the franchise, but also not worthy of the hate it received.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

It was way better than National Treasure, for whatever that’s worth. 🙂 I do think a lot of the hate was because of the franchise that it’s in, whereas if the same content were in a movie that wasn’t labeled “Indiana Jones” people would’ve had a better time with it.

Andrew James
Admin

National Treasure is fantastic! I don’t get the hate for that movie. Rewatched with the gf a few weeks ago and we loved it… again.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

Nope, don’t like it. :p

Andrew James
Admin

.

Nat Almirall
Guest

It’s a stretch, but perhaps the dislike stems from the fact that Indy 4 reverses the usual Indy plot. That is, instead of trying to recover an artifact (or grave rob, we might as well call it what it is), he’s trying to put something back. Similarly, instead of the Bondian method of quickly disposing the girl, he ends up marrying her.

I actually liked those aspects and thought the exploration of Indy’s dual nature as scholar and scavenger, physically represented by the John Hurt and Ray Winstone characters, respectively, was an interesting touch. In fact, Crystal Skull, for good or bad (and I’d argue good), deals more with the character of Indy than any of the preceding three.

That said, I recommend seeking out and reading Frank Darabont’s script for Skull — or maybe not, because it would have made a really good film.

rot
Guest

I read today Jurassic 4 is confirmed and Spielberg said the script is much better than 3… man he is really shitting on the old lately. I thought 3 was better than Lost World, haven’t seen it.

Kurt
Guest

Um, the entire basis of TEMPLE OF DOOM (outside of antiquated racial caricatures left over from the 1930s serials) is to watch Indiana Jones go from a ‘fortune and glory’ mercenary to a ‘saver of children and assembling a nuclear family (Willie/ShortRound/Indie) whilst restoring the Indian village.

There is no bloody way that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has half the elegance of how essence of character is handled in The Temple of Doom. Most people don’t even notice this aspect of the movie, but it is elegantly (and clearly) articulated in this piece by Matt Soller Seitz — http://www.slantmagazine.com/house/2008/05/smitten-with-a-whip-three-appreciations-of-indiana-jones/
(scroll down to the middle entry of course.)

Nat Almirall
Guest

I agree that’s an important aspect of Doom, but I think Skull fleshes it out even more. Of course it’s not handled as subtly in Skull as it is in Doom, but then again in Skull, it’s his literal, rather than semi-adopted, son, and, similarly, the preservation of family guides his actions more in Skull than it does in Doom.

Is Short Round’s burning of Indy and declaration of love any more subtle than the metaphorical rebirth-in-quicksand? I think it’s at least debatable. Or is Indy’s decision to give up the stones to save Willie and Short Round (I wonder if Spielberg meant to suggest that preserving the family denotes a sort of castration with that situation) more effective than his giving up all the knowledge in the universe to be with his soon-to-be-wife and son? Again, we can argue about the elegance, but my point was that Skull explores it, too.

And, as I said, there’s the whole Oxley/Mac theme adding another layer. And it also ties in the father theme from Crusade, and brings Indy’s relationship with women to the forefront.

Matt Brown
Admin

Wow, amazing to see this conversation kick off again 4 years later!

For my money (and here’s the rest of my money: http://tederick.com/reviews/indy4.shtml) the trouble with Indy 4 is neither the aliens nor the fridge. The fridge was just awesome – deal with it – while the aliens were completely mishandled. There’s an opportunity with the aliens that the film fails to utilize.

There’s no point bringing Indiana Jones back as a 60-year-old if you’re not going to attempt to address what it’s like to be that man at that age. I think the aliens genuinely represent a MacGuffin that had the opportunity to tie into character and theme – here’s a guy who’s seen it all, now confronted by an artifact that legitimately opens up the possibility that there are “blank spaces in the map” yet to be filled in – but the movie Spielberg and Lucas and Ford decided to make does not allude to those ideas at all.

The only truly evocative image in Indy 4, fridge notwithstanding, is Indy mounting that ridge and seeing the mushroom cloud. That says more about where Indiana Jones is, in 1958, than the whole rest of the film combined. The movie does nothing with it, though. It’s too busy fucking around with gophers, aliens, monkeys, and Shia LaFuck.

What it comes down to for me is, Raiders was a great movie, and Indy 2 is a great movie because it legitimately takes the entire concept in a fresh direction and tells a completely different kind of story within the same universe.

Indy 3, however, is just a remake of Raiders, and Indy 4 is just a remake of Indy 3 – a copy of a copy. And that’s a shitty, weak-assed conclusion to what is, apparently, my favourite film franchise of all time – given that I supported Lucas through all three Star Wars prequels, yet given a single bad Indiana Jones movie I turned on him like a crazed digital monkey.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

A-fucking-Men Brotha: “The only truly evocative image in Indy 4, fridge notwithstanding, is Indy mounting that ridge and seeing the mushroom cloud. That says more about where Indiana Jones is, in 1958, than the whole rest of the film combined. The movie does nothing with it, though. It’s too busy fucking around with gophers, aliens, monkeys, and Shia LaFuck.”

Nat Almirall
Guest

It’s too busy fucking around with gophers, aliens, monkeys, and Shia LaFuck. Yeah, those two minutes of screen time with the gophers, aliens, and monkeys really made the whole movie utterly unbearable.

Andrew James
Admin

Essentially you’re reiterating what I said above, I just ended up liking the final product (at least the first half) much more than you guys. While I agree with your statement, I’m not all that concerned with my Indy films being particularly evocative (by my definition of the word). Like I said earlier, I like the idea of Indy in the nuclear age and I wish they’d run with that idea a bit more and yes, the CGI garbage essentially ruined what otherwise could’ve been a pretty fun adventure film.

Matt Brown
Admin

What, I’m supposed to read ALL the comments now? 😛

Andrew James
Admin

Shit no. Just mine.

Goon
Guest

I still like Indy 4.

That is all.

David Brook
Guest

I’m with Goon and Nat – yeah there are a couple of brief crappy moments in the film, but not enough to stop the film from being enjoyable as a whole. I’d argue Kate Capshaw in Temple of Doom is equally if not more annoying than anything in Indy 4 (not to say it’s better though, the rest of Temple of Doom makes up for Capshaw). As for the alien stuff, that really didn’t bother me.

Saying all that I have only seen the film once, so a rematch might change my mind.

Kurt
Guest

“I’d argue Kate Capshaw in Temple of Doom is equally if not more annoying than anything in Indy 4.” And you’d be wrong, sir. 🙂

I’d make the argument that Willie Scott is the ultimate ‘girl’ for Indy, as she is always in need of rescue. Marion Ravenwood and Elsa Schneider have the veneer of strong women, but they still end up being in need of rescue A LOT. At least with Willie, they make no bones that she is a wonderful raison d’etre for each set-piece, even if outside of the action, she frustrates Indy. I’d postulate that one of the best interactions between Indy and the girl is the sex-farce in the middle of DOOM.

Still, I do like that each of the first three films have a radically different female personality, I just think that Willie Scott is the ‘Serial’ ideal for the franchise, as perhaps is Temple of Doom, which bears the most pure resemblance to those classic 30s serials….Even more than Raiders.

David Brook
Guest

That’s an interesting take and I see your point, but surely the ‘damsels’ in the 30’s serials were never so irritating? I don’t mind her getting into trouble all the time, she’s just so bloody whiny about it! I guess she’s the 80’s version of the damsel or something. Either way I’d have left her to die 🙂

Kurt
Guest

Heartless Bastard! Actually the damsels in the 1930s were probably just as annoying. Look at what Buster Keaton did with his ‘love interests’ in his films, spent the entire runtime kinda torturing them! Ha.

David Brook
Guest

I guess I’m not much of a hero 🙂

Andy
Guest

@Andrew

I disagree that it feels like an Indiana Jones movie at the beginning or at any point in the movie, really. That was the problem I had with the movie, personally. Even in the middle of that motorcycle chase on campus, Indy stops in the library and tells the kid to get out in the field more. Indy felt like a parody of himself most of the movie. It wasn’t witty or clever or tongue-in-cheek. It seemed like something that would be in ‘Not Another Action Movie’ starring a Wayans brother.

There were times where I felt like you were watching the Indy of old, like the cemetary scene (with the both witty and clever ‘Part time’ line), but for the majority of the movie it felt painfully campy instead of feeling like you wanted to get lost in the story.

I also really enjoy that this thread is still going on in 2011.

Andrew James
Admin

It’s cool to disagree. But I think it’s VERY similar to the beginning of Temple of Doom and even Raiders to some extent (though maybe not as iconic). I really REALLY feel like it’s hard to disassociate oneself from the original trilogy at an older age. It may not feel or seem like it, but I can guarantee part of the dislike for the film comes from the simple fact that we’re not teenagers (or younger anymore). Our film tastes have changes and our perception of what things were when we were a kid are different than they actually are.

Nostalgia. It can be a real bitch.

Nat Almirall
Guest

@Kurt Yeah, but a lot of Keaton’s films were silent, so there wasn’t much screaming (then again, I’d love to see a dialogue card reading, “YAAAARRRRRGGGHHHH!!!”).

Kurt
Guest

At the 1:17 mark here, I like how my son sums up how silent films are intertitled.

Nat Almirall
Guest

That was awesome — I almost thought the review was going to be silent as well. And those must be some sharp kids if they can sit through a silent b/w film. Will they be watching any others soon? You going to toss in some Harold Lloyd or (even better, though not silent) Laurel and Hardy? Does your son know that Steamboat Willie is named after this film? And is this your transition into showing them the airplane-engine scene from Jackass 3D?

Kurt
Guest

Thus far, only Keaton Silent films (7 Chances, The General, Neighbors, Steamboat Bill Jr.). We’ll move into Chaplin and Jannings at some point. There is a cinema in Toronto that shows silent movies on the big screen with live music accompanying. That is the venue that I take the children too, although We’ve watched THE GENERAL a few times at home.

Nat Almirall
Guest

Emil Jannings? Isn’t that a little advanced?

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

Silent comedy is awesome to show to kids, I think. Most of the time the intertitles don’t really matter even if they can’t read yet, and slapstick is timeless. Whenever Cinefamily shows silent comedy, there are always a handful of people there with their kids, and they love it.

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