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June 9th, 2008

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Drinky
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Clint Harris

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June 9th, 2008

Warning.  Here there be spoilers.  Consider ye self warned!

This weekend, the family and I saw Indy 4.  Where not nearly as good as Raiders, or Last Crusade, it was only a little bit below Temple of Doom.  I liked it, but seriously, it was an Indiana Jones movie only because Indy happened to be in it.  And most of the time, he called himself Henry.  Not cool.  I want to make a disclaimer.  I didn't hate the movie.  It was fun.  It was non-stop. But it could have been so much BETTER!  This is not the reaction I had when I saw the last attempts at George Lucas asserting his relevance.  When I saw Star Wars Episode I, I was seriously pissed.  This movie was more like the Indiana Jones choose your own adventure books I used to read.  It was fun, but I really wouldn't even put it at the same level as the predecessors.  And no, it's not because "Indy got old."  Big deal.  He still kicks ass.  It's because of my biggest fear.  Lucas and Spielberg have moved beyond our hero in the fedora.  Harrison Ford, being the only man for the job, and a decent actor, I might add.  Was able to still give us the feel of Indy when he was allowed.  He needed to smirk more.  In this, he seemed like a relic taking the world entirely too seriously.

If you haven't seen the movie yet, don't scratch it off your list.  If you like Dr. Jones, see the movie.  It's worth the $7.

My wife and I have been discussing what would have made a much better Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull movie.  This is it.  I think you might agree.

First of all I'm fine with aliens.  Really I am.  It was a bit of a segue from the biblical relics and arcane artifacts of what made it great before.  See, I don't like the idea of aliens handing out culture and technology to human beings in ancient history because of the automatic insult it throws.  What, people weren't smart enough to learn farming or building without spacemen?  Whatever.  The aliens are there, we're going to go with it.

Shia Lebouf did a good job, but Indy should have discovered he had a daughter.  A daughter that had known for years that he was her father. This would have continued suspension of disbelief in two ways.  1) the daughter would have recognized him at the train station from old photographs or something 2) It would have made better sense that they had a connection later in the movie, rather than Shia Lebouf just being cool with finding out the man he knew as his father for years and years just wasn't, and now this old deadbeat is calling him "son."  Why a daughter?  Irony.  And a fitting, organic foil to what we know of Indy.  Plus there could have been the great line of "A girl?  What the hell am I supposed to do with a girl?"  From then on out, she could totally whoop ass and amaze dad.  Why didn't a girl get written into it?  Because neither Spielberg nor Lucas know how to handle women.  They were practically absent in Star Wars.  Spielberg usually uses them to create tension by screaming for no reason. 

On an audience level, this movie was very low on the eye-candy.  Cate Blanchet was the baddie.  There was no sexual tension.  Karen Allen was not used very often, but she was in the mother role.  If Indy had a daughter, they could have paired her up with Indy's assistant, Shia Lebouf.  Wacky tension could have ensued.  "Quit looking at my daughter like that, kid!" or "She must get it from her old man."  Good times.  He could have been this movie's Short-Round or Sallah. Instead of Indy being this movie's version of Henry Jones Sr.

Ray Winstone was not used right in this either.  He is a powerful, brooding man with a lot of depth and darkness.  He would have been a better villain than the 2D Alfred Molina from Raiders type that got killed in the first five minutes of the movie double crossing sidekick he was cast as.  And why the Soviets?  Why not a secret cabal of mercenaries, ala James Bond's villains?  When your enemy can cross all borders without fear, they become creepier.  Ixnay on the Oviets-say.

Overly-long chase scenes.  Problems with this.  A) if they blow up the dangerous road making machine right off, what the heck are they driving on in the later chase?  The Amazon is not a racetrack.  B) Between the parts when Cate Blanchett wound up on Karen Allen's duck and the scene when the ants are eating everyone, where the hell was Marion?  What, did nature call or something?  No way, she shows up in the nick of time to rescue them!  Total flub.  Last Crusade had the boat chase, the airplane chase, the motorcycle chase and the tank chase.  Those were done masterfully compared to this.  The chase scenes in Crystal Skull were the movie equivalent of a bored housewife closing her eyes and thinking of England while her inept husband does the deed.  Well, for me, nature called twice during the jeep chase (I can sympathize with Marion).  I got back and realized they were still driving jeeps both times.  Who would have thought that a frickin' chase sense could actually slow down the pace of a movie!

Also, whoever wrote this one must have had their Dungeon Master's screen on their desktop.  What was with the random monster encounters?  "I rolled a 16!  Time to have creepy guys attack Shia and Indy in the Lost Graveyard!"  Ahem, DM?  What part of "Lost Graveyard"  whizzed right over your head?  These two crackheads looked like rejects from a Misfits concert.  Using jujitsu on Shia and Indy too.  One gets darted and the other what, just runs away because Indy points a gun at him?  WTF? Just two guys?  What is this, Brokeback Graveyard?  Or do they just wait until the next shift of skull-facepaint goons come to relieve them when their whistle blows.  Again.  Seems like a pretty popular Lost Graveyard.  Virtually unnecessary.  Besides that, they are traveling to Brasil.  Why the hell does Shia need his motocycle?!?  Can't he buy or rent one for pretty cheap?  Or did they drive down to South American on the motorcycle?  What was really missing was the MAP.  You know, the sepia map that tracks Indy through the world as he goes from one exotic locale to the next.  Maybe I was in the bathroom for that.

I drank an especially large Cherry Coke.

Also, tell the writers that the skull is a McGuffin.  Not a Deus Ex Machina.  Every fucking time a problem had to be solved, they would aim the skull at it and their problems were solved.  Stupid.  Someone should have aimed a skull at this script.  Also, if the skulls are the crystaline skeletal remains of these aliens, why then do they need to find the one in South American when they already have one from Area 51?

To the end. 

Alien gets put back together.  Obligatory villain fragging and temple crumbling as they try to escape.  What happened to Cate Blanchet?  Why would the aliens kill her for helping them? Does this mean that rather than being vaporized, they brought her with them?  You know, to spread the wonders of communism to the 7th Dimension!  The whole scene worked out as "Thanks for the skull beotches!  Run your asses outta here!  Before we destroy the temple!!!"

Thanks a bunch alien motherfuckers.

Good on Indy for the end though.  That was worth it.  No, really!

Let's recap, now that you have seen why I didn't like the movie, here's my summary.

Indy discovers he has a daughter.  Her mother, Marion Ravenwood is in trouble, being one of the last known researchers of the Crystal Skull of Ketusalblowxo.  Indy and assistant Shia go to rescue her from the secret cabal.  Indy's daughter is witty, brainy, and dangerous, but a complete social misfit.  Shia falls for her.  Indy tries to choke Shia. 

Not to mention this totally wasted opportunity.  It's 1955.  South America.  There were still Nazi's in South America in 1955.  Why not make this a perfect opportunity for the Nazi's to try to "get the band back together!"  It could feature an aged, disfigured Adolf Hitler running the shots.  Nazi's and Indy go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly!

Next, Ray Winstone scares the hell out of us, cooking John Hurt over a fire on a spit.  Some chase scenes develop. Indy gets the girl, Indy's daughter gets the boy...until the next episode...Marion is still pretty damn hot btw.     
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