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.