This past weekend, The USA network decided to air all of the Indiana Jones movies, including Crystal Skull . Oddly enough, instead of showing them in order, they showed Raiders and Skull back to back, which, ah, doesn’t cast the most favorable light on the latter. I guess next week they are going to show Citizen Kane followed shortly by Orson Welles’ drunken 70’s wine commercials.
Anyway, Indiana Jones was easily my biggest hero growing up. I wanted to be an archeologist for the longest time, before I realized it wasn’t about studying the science of Fightin’ Nazis. Because of this, I have some very mixed feelings on Indy 4, like you have for that uncle who gives you money but also touches your bathing suit area. On the one hand, these were always just lighthearted adventures not meant to be taken too seriously. On the other hand, Shia LaBeouf’s Vine Swinging Monkey Adventure.
Funny thing is, I don’t really have a problem with the story or the over-the-top moments. People have really given this movie sh*t for it’s more cartoony moments (nuking he fridge, et al), but the whole series is filled with moments like this, some of which are iconic movie moments. Lets look at some key Indy sequences: Running from a giant Wile E. Coyote-esque boulder; Nazi’s faces melting from the wrath of god; a man tearing another’s heart out with his bare hands, then lowering him into a pit of lava; a showdown on a rope bridge over a river of crocodiles. Are you sensing a pattern here? I love these movies, but realism is not why I came to this party.
I also enjoyed the basic plot. The concept of ancient civilizations worshiping an alien race as Gods is a very cool Lovecraftian concept that fits the Indy mold pretty well. My biggest quibble is in the general execution of the whole thing. It all has a very backlot, CGI-heavy feel that has the faint whiff of the Star Wars prequels. Not a favorable comparison. The dialog is clumsy and the saccharine-sweet ending completely pisses me off. I honestly have a hard time believing Spielberg directed this. It definitely feels like Lucas was holding the reins.
Whew. Okay, this quickly turned into some kind of Crystal Skull review, I guess. Whatever. It’s my GD website. Anyway, I feel like this franchise, like Star Wars, should either be left the f*ck alone, or put into more capable hands, like when Star Trek was given to JJ Abrams. Or at least anywhere where George Lucas can keep his Cheeto-dust fingerprints off of it.
As a Biased Fanboy: B
As a Paying moviegoer: C