LaBeouf ‘dropped the ball’ on Indy 4

It has been almost two years to the day – that fateful day at Cinemark. I still harbor bitterness over the atrocity that was Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (my scathing fanboy review). It will be a memory that I’ll never forget: walking out of the midnight screening in a confused daze, shell-shocked, my phone blowing up from others who had just walked out of their screening, and me picking up and only being able to mutter incoherently, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

As the resentful built, I wanted answers. I wanted people held accountable. CGI prairie dogs in the opening scene? What happened to Spielberg’s earlier claim of using CGI only when completely necessary? “How in the hell,” I asked, “could Spielberg and Harrison have read that script and thought, ‘Yes, this is the script that we have been waiting nineteen years for!'” But there were no answers. I and millions of other fanboys were just left with an empty silence, my questions answered only by my own tearful echo.

I soon turned to drugs and booze to ease the pain. I often snapped out – sometimes physically – against those I loved. Watching any films with greasers or seeing the monkey exhibit at the zoo caused painful flashbacks. Even my productivity at work suffered. I was soon fired. It had made me a different man. A hollow shell of who I once was. My friends and family don’t even recognize me.

Still, after all of this and even two years after the fact, it is nice to hear that the two lead actors also thought that the movie was shit. Including Shia LaBeouf, who I always tried not to blame, because, you know, what guy in his early-20s would have turned down a leading role in an Indiana Jones sequel? Not I.

LaBeouf was very candid about his feelings in this recent interview at Cannes. Not that it makes up for the absurdity that was Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – but it is a start.

“I feel like I dropped the ball on the legacy that people loved and cherished. … You get to monkey-swinging and things like that and you can blame it on the writer and you can blame it on Steven [Spielberg, who directed]. But the actor’s job is to make it come alive and make it work, and I couldn’t do it. So that’s my fault. Simple. … I think the audience is pretty intelligent. I think they know when you’ve made [expletive]. And I think if you don’t acknowledge it, then why do they trust you the next time you’re promoting a movie.”

And apparently, Ford wasn’t blind to this either.

“We [Harrison Ford and LaBeouf] had major discussions. He wasn’t happy with it either. Look, the movie could have been updated. There was a reason it wasn’t universally accepted. We need to be able to satiate the appetite. I think we just misinterpreted what we were trying to satiate.”

As for what he thinks Spielberg will think of all this talk, considering it is Spielberg whom LaBeouf owes his career?

“I’ll probably get a call. But he needs to hear this. I love him. I love Steven. I have a relationship with Steven that supersedes our business work. And believe me, I talk to him often enough to know that I’m not out of line. And I would never disrespect the man. I think he’s a genius, and he’s given me my whole life. He’s done so much great work that there’s no need for him to feel vulnerable about one film. But when you drop the ball you drop the ball.”

It’s refreshing to hear him being so blunt, especially in an industry where feeling are hurt so easily and interviews stay as PC as possible, so as not to sever any important ties. They told me in rehabilitation that the first step to recovery is accepting the reality of the situation. Finally putting his public denial aside, I think Shia is finally well on his way to recovery – and maybe I am too.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
rot
Guest

maybe Spielberg is outsourcing his frustration through Shia, I seem to remember him butting heads with Lucas on the story elements to Indy 4. It was bad, it is bad, and really it had little to do with Shia.

Kurt
Guest

Shia LaBeouf was the least of Indy IV's problems, although he added almost nothing to the equation (considering he was totally trumped by past Indy male side-kicks, Short Round and Sean Connery. Screenplay and overall story were the failures.

I wish they went with the Red-Scare and Nuclear-Age more and the aliens and flying saucers less. In fact I wish they simply left it at a nice neat trilogy instead of grafting on an unneeded chapter 20 years after the fact. (after all, the third film was bloody-well called "THE LAST CRUSADE!!" – and the double meaning of that title, beyond the christian undertones, was that it closed out Indy's trilogy!)

Old news, but I'm glad that the guilty parties are fessing up to the disaster. The first step is admitting there is a (serious) problem!

Marc Saint-Cyr
Editor

Don't forget about Sallah and Marcus, Kurt!

Yep, Crystal Skull is the very definition of "totally unnecessary." True story: my Dad picked up the DVD when it was first released. To this day, it's still sitting on the shelf completely plastic-wrapped and unopened.

Drew
Guest

Not to beat a dead horse, but Indiana Jones 4 wasn't that bad, and I don't want to hear anymore fanboy's spew venom on it for a long long time, I had enough of that in the summer of 2008. Simply put it never could of lived up to the diehards expectations and with the advent of the internet, and the fact that Cinema is in a totally different climate than it was 25 years ago when the originals came out, the filmmakers have now been forced to apologize for a film simply because hate spreads fast these days. I still remember late 2007 when it was being promised by the filmmakers that this film was going to be "just as good as the originals." This is just simply how I feel, and I can't help but wonder how this movie would of been received 20 years ago.

Drew
Guest

btw, incase I didn't imply it strong enough in my previous post, I don't believe for a second that Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf actually believe what there saying, especially Harrison Ford.

murph
Guest

drew, there isn't a case for it – it was downright sloppy filmmaking and didn't keep the spirit of the first three. yes, it is totally a different environment in Hollywood but they made promises they couldn't keep (for example, Spielberg's insistence that CGI would be minimal) and it had a weak story and felt more like THE MUMMY or NATIONAL TREASURE than an Indiana Jones movie.

i'm not an Indy fanboy and i see this as the truth. whatever the reasons behind it, that is the way that it came out. it had a different story element (rather than historical supernatual, it went extraterristreial), it had humor more in line with modern day family comedies, and the action scenes were make with visual rather than practical effects, unlike the previous movies.

it was as though they shrugged and said, "well, CGI is easier." and then they also forgot to proofread the script. it was straight up boring and uninspired filmmaking.

and fans damn well have a right to complain and i think now, two years later after plenty of reflection, it is important to still examine the movie.

so quit your whining about the whining.

Henrik
Guest

Indy 4 in my opinion is no worse than the other 3.

"it had a weak story"

Are you joking? Which Indiana Jones has any sort of story? it's always "find this, then go here and do this to find that" it's all just riddle-solving and flying from place to place. There is no story to any of the movies, just a bunch of set-pieces built on some mythological hear-say, with Harrison Ford cracking some jokes in between the stunts. The only thing I can see has changed in the new one is that it was made in 2008, where boys have gotten older and now clamp down hard as shit if the effects aren't up to par with what they want. Yawn.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Suggested reading for Henrik:

http://www.slantmagazine.com/house/2008/05/smitte

David Brook
Guest

I'll back Drew on this one. Indy 4 is not a great film and it's easily the worst of the series, but I didn't think it was that bad. There were a couple of shitty moments (prarie dogs, monkeys etc.) but on the whole it was still fun to watch. It was the first film I watched in Cannes '08 though and I'd seen the red carpet line up the day before, plus it was the first time I'd been to the festival so the circumstances made it ten times more exciting than it probably should have been.

Henrik
Guest

"Speaking of danger, Mr. Jones can't seem to stay out of it. Raiders opens with one of the greatest sequences ever committed to film, a mini-masterpiece of storytelling and editing that establishes the character's motivations, enemies, skills, flaws and temperament better than pages of exposition. "

This guy needs to learn how to distinguish between a story and a situation. The opening of Raiders is a situation, it's not a story. A lot of action movies have no story – including classics like Die Hard, Predator etc. – they just have situations. An action movie that has a developing story is Terminator 2 – the first Terminator is also a situation. (I'm stealing this comparison from Quentin Tarantino on Charlie Rose on my Pulp Fiction DVD, but the examples are my own).

"The film's dialogue sequences seem to be impatiently waiting for the action to begin; the storyteller is speeding up the tale to get you to the good parts."

I have to take issue with what this guy thinks are the good parts.

I didn't read any further.

Henrik
Guest

Cool funny video about Indy 1-4: http://www.cinemassacre.com/2009/07/06/top-ten-du

murph
Guest

that was an EXCELLENT piece by slant magazine.

Kurt
Guest

Certainly my favourite piece on the Indiana Jones movie, particularly the Temple of Doom article, It was written just before Indy IV by the folks at Matt Zoller Seitz's The House Next Door blog before they were absorbed (?) by Slant.

Kurt
Guest

I'm impressed with that SPIKE/Cinemassacre video in finding the exact visual scenes that Spielberg/Lucas used from the matinees from the 1930s and such. That was pretty swell. I'm not in agreement with all of those moments, but it does kind of prove the argument that about 50% of the 'dumbest moments in the Indiana Jones Series" come from one film, Indy IV. So really, Henrik is supporting the case as much as he is calling them all equal.

Henrik
Guest

Kurt, I highly recommend all of Cinemassacre's videos. James Rolfe who does them got famous for Angry Video Game Nerd (which I'm a big fan of), but he loves movies, is a filmmaker, and has done tons of respectful and insightful review of all sorts of films, all highly entertaining. And his Top 10s are usually great as well.

For an awesome place to start, check out his Godzilla marathon.

Kurt
Guest

Hah! I knew I recognized that voice. I love the AVGN, particularly his SEQUEL rant, which passed from video games to movies! Awesome.

Drew
Guest

I can't believe Henrik and David are the only ones backing me… the evidence is all in the film!!! I agree 100% with David in that, NO, Indy 4 wasn't great… it wasn't the best of the series… but it was still a fun and nostalgic throwback to the originals. It's a million times better than any shitty fan film or fiction you could ever get. Yes… there are some weird moments with gophers and Louis from Even Stevens swinging on vines… but for everyone of those theres a courtyard scene that gives nods to countless Speilbergian scenes of the past.

Andy
Guest

This movie was a steaming pile of crap. I need to make sure that I've communicated that effectively enough. That being said, some of the CGI wasn't so bad. Ignoring the blatant points already stated about the terrible misuse of CGI, the running on the beams through the warehouse was neat and made that whole sequence tolerable. I found myself wanting to like the relationship between Indy and Mac, even thought it didn't really go anywhere and was used primarily as comic relief in that ridiculous sword fighting scene (another grossly misused CGI scene).

I'm on board with the general sentiment that the story was sloppy at best and the characters were flat and uninteresting. The other movies left you wondering what adventures Indy and his friends were involved in off the screen. This one left me wishing I'd never seen it on the screen.

wpDiscuz