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IrishJedi
05-26-2008, 10:19 AM
Yeah, I'm starting a new thread. (Sue me, haters)

Okay, so after the third viewing I have pretty much coalesced my thoughts and settled on a cohesive opinion. Instead of rushing to judgement (in either direction) and let hype or disappointment breed hyperbole into my how I feel about the movie I decided (beforehand, mind you) that I would give myself some time to fully digest it, think about it, and see it a few times. (Note: As of this writing, I have seen “Kingdom of The Crystal Skull” three times).

First off, I like this movie. I don’t quite love it (yet anyway). But I do like it and enjoy it already. The closest equivolent Indy movie to me would be “The Last Crusade”… a movie which I actually detested upon my initial viewing at age 17 in 1989, but quickly warmed up to on subsequent viewings. This leads me to my first observation regarding how this movie will ultimately be received by the core Indy fanbase:

I’ve said it in other threads, but it bears repeating here: This is the “Anti-Prequel”. And by that I mean that unlike the SW prequels, which wear on on many of us over time and upon multiple viewings, this movie grows on you… much like “The Last Crusade”. At least for me. When I came out of “The Phantom Menace” the first time I was euphoric, on Cloud 9. I was so excited the first couple of times I saw that movie that I was absolutely blind to its problems and flaws. Later, that hit me like a ton of bricks. The same happened with “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith”, but to a much lesser extent. I was very leary of this happening again with INDY IV, so I braced myself mentally. The result is that I came out of the movie the first showing numb. It almost seemed like it was all a haze. Things about it really bothered me (some have already been discussed ad naseum, others I haven’t really seen mentioned at all – but we’ll get to all that in a bit) and I was really on the fence about the movie, even leaning toward the side of disappointed. Because, I will freely admit that it was not exactly what I would have expected even as an “informed” fan of the production.

So I stewed on it. I even refused to go online and gather the initial reactions of others (because, let’s face it… the internet is the land of the irrational and melodramatic). Instead, I replayed the movie in my head and started to dissect it. I started reflecting on its flaws as well as the things I really liked the first time. I took it all apart and tried to reverse-engineer what it was I believe Spielberg, Lucas and Co. set out to create with this movie and its purpose. And a lot of it started to make sense already, even before the second viewing…

Having known of Lucas’ main idea (and “Indiana Jones and The Saucermen From Mars”) since the early 90s I was well-prepared to expect a 1950s sci-fi Cold War B-movie starring Indy. And that’s exactly what they delivered.

To clear the air, there are several elements of the movie that bug me. So I’ll get those out of the way:

- The Indy character himself was done quite well (even the subtle and not-so-subtle changes they made for his age and the time period which I will get to in a bit). But there are a couple of things I think were completely amiss: Aside from the opening sequence he hardly uses his whip at all. This was surprising and disappointing. But even worse, imho, is that he only uses his gun once… and he doesn’t even fire it! WTF is that all about? Indy shooting his gun at folks was a staple of all of the original movies (save for TOD, because he lost it in the beginning) and is a huge part of the character. Well, in KOTCS the only people who actually fire guns at all are the bad guys. Why? This isn’t Indy Spielberg at work… it’s “The Lost World”/E.T. Special Edition Spielberg. And it’s annoying. Other than these aspects and an awkward line here or there, I think they nailed the Indy character.

- There was also a glaring lack of booby traps in the movie. Whenever they were in an area looking for something they were mostly figuring out riddles and solving puzzles. Fine, but where were the flying darts, spikes, etc., things that can crush you, etc.? Very odd.

- I’m also trying to figure out why they decided to make Hangar 51 (Area 51) the same warehouse from the end of RAIDERS simply for amounts to a glorified 3-second cameo for the Ark. Honestly, I was expecting it to have a larger role in the film (and apparentlty it did in “Indiana Jones and The City of Gods”, which was the Frank Darabont draft). It’s fine that they didn’t really use the Ark like I thought they would, but to set the scene in the same warehouse was a cheap parlor trick. It’s also pretty silly, because that means either the final shots of RAIDERS are a flash-forward or it isn’t actually the very same warehouse… because there is no way that hangar existed in 1936. It would have been mid-late 40s at the earliest.

- I just don’t dig the Jungle Chase sequence. I’m all for hokey and over-the-top Indy action… but there was just too much of it all at once here. The sequence also seems too long, protracted and laborious and really adds nothing to the plot whatsoever. I can really live without anything that happens in between the quicksand scene and when they finally enter Akator.

- What is up with this Oxley character and his overall relationship with Marion and Mutt? It seems pretty clear to me that they seriously toyed with the notion of revealing him as Abner Ravenwood himself but decided not to. Yes, I know Abner was said to be dead in RAIDERS, but they very easily could have explained that away by saying that he faked his death to try and protect the Ark from being found by the Nazis. Anyway Oxley just doesn’t completely connect with me, because they don’t touch on what his relationship with Abner was. They barely even explain why Mutt cares about him so much. In fact, the first time I saw the movie I completely missed Mutt telling Indy how Oxley helped raise him because his “father” was dead. There is so much exposition in that diner scene that it completely went over my head the first couple of times. I think they could have afforded to spend just a little more time on this aspect to give it all more weight.

- Marion. Ugh. How did this turn out so bad? Not only did she seem like a much different character from RAIDERS she was just completely out of place here, smiling and having a good time no matter what the circumstances. And as much as I love Karen Allen, this was a very diasppointing performance (and one of the few things that hasn’t gotten any better upon repeat viewings). Her “Yes, dear” line after Indy says “Never do that again” is beyond cringe-worthy. What a wasted opportunity to have Marion back only to do this.

These are my main gripes with the film. Some of them I’ll likely soften up on over time, but a few I will probably always scratch my head over.

Now, to the things that I really like:

- The whole McGuffin angle and how it ties into UFO folklore, Area 51, Roswell, Chariots of the Gods, etc. It was one of the elements of the movie that actually turned out exactly the way I hoped it would, inclusion of actual “alien” beings and saucers and all. They definitely did their homework on the mytology behind this, and there are details in the movie that most would not appreciate. For example, when they go to “Hangar 51” in Nevada the gate area is an almost exact duplicate of the“Back Gate that exists today at the actual Area 51. I know, because I’ve been there. The Guard Shack is cut off in the closer pic, but you’ll get the idea:

http://www.dreamlandresort.com/trip_reports/trip_023-7.jpg
http://www.dreamlandresort.com/trip_reports/trip_023-6.jpg

I’ve also been to Belize several times and visited some Mayan ruins, including Altun Ha and Lubaantun… the site where the Mitchell-Hedges skull was claimed to be found (which is probably a lie). Anyway, for this Roswell, Area 51, UFO, et al. buff it is an absolute thrill to see Indiana Jone dabble in the mythology. From the first moment he refers to “…that Air Force fiasco in ’47.” It all completely clicked for me.

- I also dig the whole 50s Sci-Fi B-movie approach, which is apparent from the first shot in the movie (a prairie dog mound) and then quickly thrusting the era at you with “Hound Dog” and car racing teens. Then we get the Doom Town sequence, which might be best interpretation of that era I’ve seen in a movie. But at its heart, the flick is about Cold War paranoia and the fear of not only saucermen from Mars, but communism. And John Williams hammers this home with the Crystal Skull theme… which is right out of a 1950’s saucer movie. They utterly nailed this aspect, imho. But it’s a double-edged sword. Those who don’t like it are almost automatically inclined to dislike the movie… because this is what it is and what it was always designed to be. They also infused some 1950’s filmmaking aesthetics as well. A good example of this is the ADR in the beginning. Indy’s dialogue in particular (“You’re not from around here, are you?”) is not only written right out of that time period, it also sounds like it because of the way the ADR was recorded and mixed. Clever and brilliant, imho.

- Another thing I really like is the Indy character himself. He’s not the same as he was in previous films. And nor should he be. This is 20 years later. The man has been through a war, he’s older… of course he’s changed some. He’s become more of a patriot (due to his service in WWII and the red scare) and also seems more comfortable in his role of professor/teacher than he did in his younger days. To whit, he’s become a bit more like Henry Jones, Sr… which is also apparently by design.

- The Mutt character was also done well and turned about about as good as I could have expected. There can be no doubt that he’s more than Indy’s foil and sidekick in this film… he’s meant to reflect the youthful Indy himself. Their relationship mirrors that of Indy and Henry Sr. in “Last Crusade”. There are certain moments in the film where it appears Indy is sinking to older, Professor Henry Jones only to be sprung out of it by the more na´ve, youthful Mutt who is at times more like the younger Indy than Indy himself. This dynamic works so strongly that I for one would not at all mind seeing further films that focuses solely on this aspect.

Aside from a lot of the stuff that happens in between the quicksand scene and when they finally enter Akator (about 20 minutes of wasted movie, imho) this is every bit of a classic INDY movie. Yes, even the beginning and the motorcycle chase around campus. It's more "Last Crusade" than the others, but the beats are all there... and they're identical.

Like Harrison Ford himself, this film will age quite gracefully.

In all, I would give this movie a 7.0 out of 10 and probably rank it just ahead of “The Last Crusade” for #3 on my list of INDY flicks. This of course can change over time, for worse of better. But one thing is for certain: I will not allow myself to get caught up in what I call Toxic Cynicism fueled by hyperbole. This movie is what it is: It’s an “Indy” flick. And a darn good one. Different? Yes. Flawed? Yes. Worthy of its place in the franchise? Hell, yes.

Flame away...

MaulFan
05-26-2008, 10:33 AM
Nicely written review Carl. I think you hit upon the things that will also make this film a tough swallow for some; if you're unfamiliar with the history, myths and film styles represented in this movie, it may make it seem out of place. I think this is the only Indy movie where your experience can be affected by a lack of knowledge about the subject matter and such. I know little about Ark of the Covenant and Holy Grail and all, but those plots felt like that's what Indy is about. KOTCS makes more sense having learned of the details we discussed previously, but viewing it without that background knowledge left a lot of points feeling innappropriate. I think, if there's an Indy 5, it would be better apt to reach a broader audience if the subject matter and presentation require less knowledge outside of just watching the movie.

pjam
05-26-2008, 10:43 AM
Well done Carl! :whip

IrishJedi
05-26-2008, 10:44 AM
Thanks, guys!

Sean, you may be right... perhaps it's the mythology and era/style that makes it harder for some to swallow.

By the way, another interesting observation: In "Raiders" the action begins in the jungles of Peru and ends in the desert. In "Crystal Skull", the action starts in the desert and ends in the jungles of Peru.

Wor-Gar
05-26-2008, 10:49 AM
I concur with this review in general, although Carl's thought it out much more than I have.

I'm glad someone here has mentioned how out-of-place Karen Allen seems. My biggest cringe worthy moment came when she first stepped out into the light. I've read many reviews here that say how good it was to see here again. I'm not one of those. Her part seemed forced, very forced, and the necessity of the wedding was only because Lucas and Spielberg are not going to have Mutt be a bastard child.

I disagree with the jungle chase -- which was a highlight for me. Necessary? No. But is any chase really? This chase was fun and silly at times but I enjoyed it. I like chases. And the climax -- the ants -- was great! I didn't find this chase to be any more ridiculous than the mine car chase or the tank chase in LC. And I prefer this chase to either of those. The only chase that's better is of course Raiders, which is in a league all it's own, much like the movie itself.

I find KOTCS to be in line with the sensibilities of TOD and LC -- all are broader and more comic than Raiders was. By comparison, Raiders almost seems like a tougher, grittier adventure piece -- there's humor from the character within the action, but the action itself isn't silly. Just goes to show you how hard it is to make a really good action/adventure. The balance between thrills and chills -- and making something amusing but not comic -- is a magic that seems to come only once in a blue moon...and rarely in any sequel form.

MaulFan
05-26-2008, 10:54 AM
Ya, I think Marion was the only only concrete flaw of the movie; her whole personality was quite a 180 from Raiders, there was minimal bickering between her and Indy, and even in Raiders you knew she loved him from the dialogue regarding their past, but she never gushed over him until the close when all was normal again. My only expectation/hope going in was to see more of their Raiders relationship, it's very entertaining, but outside of a few brief moments, it wasn't there.

The Josh
05-26-2008, 10:57 AM
Nice Job Carl! :whip

I think with the whole alien vs religous aspect people like my Dad/Mom (average joe fan) are more able to digest the religious than the sci fi. Like what Sean was saying where as most of us are into it and can digest both.

OK SITHLORD
05-26-2008, 10:58 AM
I concur with this review in general, although Carl's thought it out much more than I have.

I'm glad someone here has mentioned how out-of-place Karen Allen seems. My biggest cringe worthy moment came when she first stepped out into the light. I've read many reviews here that say how good it was to see here again. I'm not one of those. Her part seemed forced, very forced, and the necessity of the wedding was only because Lucas and Spielberg are not going to have Mutt be a bastard child.

I disagree with the jungle chase -- which was a highlight for me. Necessary? No. But is any chase really? This chase was fun and silly at times but I enjoyed it. I like chases. And the climax -- the ants -- was great! I didn't find this chase to be any more ridiculous than the mine car chase or the tank chase in LC. And I prefer this chase to either of those. The only chase that's better is of course Raiders, which is in a league all it's own, much like the movie itself.

I find KOTCS to be in line with the sensibilities of TOD and LC -- all are broader and more comic than Raiders was. By comparison, Raiders almost seems like a tougher, grittier adventure piece -- there's humor from the character within the action, but the action itself isn't silly. Just goes to show you how hard it is to make a really good action/adventure. The balance between thrills and chills -- and making something amusing but not comic -- is a magic that seems to come only once in a blue moon...and rarely in any sequel form.

Karen Allen can't act !!! She is done. I sill liked the flick though.:monkey3

Bardoon
05-26-2008, 11:27 AM
Very nice review there Carl and you touched on a lot of the issues that I felt were problematic with the film.

Like you as I sit here and boil over the movie, I've found myself liking it more...definitely not as classic as the first 3, but it was fun and entertaining. Like you, I also think the film had a lot of "Missed Opportunities"...certainly things like Marion's character, Oxley/Abner (it would've been BETTER if it was Abner...would've given Indy more motivation to solve this Crystal Skull mystery), and even Indy himself...but that's script for you.

I think Indy aged nicely, I think there was some missed chances for him to make a smart comment or do something more "Indy" (I'd have to see the movie again to point out these parts) but it was fantastic to see him on screen again.

Where is the best place to get all the details on Frank Darabont's script?I've heard of it and how people were praising it...where can I see the information regarding the plot?

Wor-Gar
05-26-2008, 11:29 AM
I think with the whole alien vs religous aspect people like my Dad/Mom (average joe fan) are more able to digest the religious than the sci fi. Like what Sean was saying where as most of us are into it and can digest both.

It does seem amusing to me: people can accept "God" more than super advanced "beings". I mean, context aside, isn't it more or less the same thing?

Anyone read, or see the Discovery show version, "Aliens and Angels"?

pjam
05-26-2008, 11:31 AM
Karen Allen can't act !!! She is done. I sill liked the flick though.:monkey3

In defense of Karen, she hasn't acted in many years and has been busy running a knitting business in Mass and raising her son so she was out of practice. Karen Allen CAN act, or certainly could. But it was more like someone's Mom was plucked out and inserted into the film.

My own Mother and many Moms out there enjoyed seeing her at least, a nice nostalgic nod to the past but I do agree Steven could have gotten more out of her... and her scenes felt "out of practice" as could be expected.

We should probably cut her some slack.

The Josh
05-26-2008, 11:34 AM
It does seem amusing to me: people can accept "God" more than super advanced "beings". I mean, context aside, isn't it more or less the same thing?

Anyone read, or see the Discovery show version, "Aliens and Angels"?

Depending on who you are it is more or less the same thing. I believe in God and to me he is highest of high powers but I also think its totally possible there is life out there with all kinds of intelligence. Until its proven there isn't it could be.

I think I saw that one. I've watched countless shows similar in nature and they do start to run together.

zoid2323
05-26-2008, 11:35 AM
Cant disagree with much that was posted.Nice review very honest.

pickard
05-26-2008, 12:02 PM
Just got back from seeing the film (finally) and the first thing I had to read was Irish' review.

I agree with everything you wrote, Irish.

I'm going to see it again in a few days with my wife, when we can get a sitter, because I know I missed things while doling out popcorn to my kid.

I did catch Indy calling one of their situations "intolerable", just like his dad did. That was a nice touch.

I agree that Karen Allen was the weak spot. All the haters assumed it'd be Shia, and they were wrong. He did a great job in the role.

Some people said Cate's accent was over-the-top, but it didn't seem so to me, at all.

I also heard complaints about the obvious overuse of CGI, and I don't agree.

MaulFan
05-26-2008, 12:16 PM
In defense of Karen, she hasn't acted in many years and has been busy running a knitting business in Mass and raising her son so she was out of practice. Karen Allen CAN act, or certainly could. But it was more like someone's Mom was plucked out and inserted into the film.

She's from Massachusetts? No wonder I think she rocks :rock

pjam
05-26-2008, 12:27 PM
She's from Massachusetts? No wonder I think she rocks :rock

Karen makes and sells Navajo zip sweaters, scarves and hats at her Karen Allen Textiles shop in Great Barrington, Mass (Western Mass). :D

RJMacReady16
05-26-2008, 12:30 PM
I think we should start another thread to discuss this movie...

MaulFan
05-26-2008, 12:37 PM
Karen makes and sells Navajo zip sweaters, scarves and hats at her Karen Allen Textiles shop in Great Barrington, Mass (Western Mass). :D

Hmmmm, maybe I should take a road trip sometime, though I bet she gets quite a few people stopping in to comment on her being in Indy.

DarthNeil
05-26-2008, 12:45 PM
Great review Carl... we're of one mind it would seem.
I found the character of Oxley perplexing as well-- for a multitude of reasons, but what was your impression of Ray Winstone's Mac?... He's another character that I really didn't enjoy for what he was supposed to be.

Your thoughts?:whip

(the absence of a gun shooting Indy was annoying as well:gun)

MaulFan
05-26-2008, 12:53 PM
The thing I found odd with Oxley was casting John Hurt, I find with his voice, he can really bring a presence to a role, I was expecting a bigger role for him when I heard he was in the picture, an underused talent I think.

tomandshell
05-26-2008, 12:59 PM
Nice review that gives us more to think about.

As I think about the film, I would say that the enemies didn't provide a real sense of menace. I liked Cate Blanchett, but she didn't really have any truly memorable sinister moments. When Marion comes out of the tent, everybody is just smiling and bickering and there was no sense of danger or threat in spite of their captivity by Spalko. She reminded me more of Belloq--someone who is a kindred spirit to Indy in search of something, but with a dark side. In the past, that "champagne villain" was always balanced out by a more menacing character or two (Belloq/Toht/Dietrich or Donovan/Elsa/Vogel).

The big fist fight in the ant scene was OK, but it was just a matter of trading punches. In Raiders, Indy overcomes his weakness by kicking in the crotch, biting the arm, throwing sand in the face, etc. He was a little more desperate and creative when facing superior muscle power. He was a resourceful fighter rather than a fair one. I thought that a simple "fair fight" wasn't quite in the spirit of Indy, who would much rather shoot you down than get in a boxing match.

I was expecting to be annoyed by Shia and really enjoy Karen Allen, and I would agree that the opposite happened. She was even smiling when she washed up on shore with a detached steering wheel firmly in tow. I was really expecting her to give Indy a good punch to the jaw when she came out of that tent.

One other part that will probably always have me scratching my head is what exactly Indy was thinking in the quicksand scene when he tells Oxley to go and get help. The only other people around were the bad guys. What was crazy Oxley supposed to do?

The Josh
05-26-2008, 01:03 PM
Indy did his normal resourceful then when fighting since he grabbed the big piece of wood.

darthviper107
05-26-2008, 01:10 PM
For me one major thing that was missing was violence. I mean, in the others we saw people getting shot, burned, melted, exploded, disintegrated, and beheaded. In this? Well, some large ants swarmed some guys.

IrishJedi
05-26-2008, 01:14 PM
Indy did his normal resourceful then when fighting since he grabbed the big piece of wood.

Yep. He even tries to trick Dovenchko into thinking he's actually reaching for his hat.

The Josh
05-26-2008, 01:17 PM
Yep. He even tries to trick Dovenchko into thinking he's actually reaching for his hat.

Yup, he just doesn't to a physical psyche this time.

miles
05-26-2008, 01:17 PM
Good,thought out review even though we would disagree about where to place this movie in the series.For me it is a tie between Kingdom and LC,being under Raiders and over TOD. IMO Kate Capshaw is the "Jar Jar" of the series,but I can still enjoy the movie. I also do not agree with the "anti prequel" garbage, I enjoyed KOTCS when I first saw it and it gets better with each viewing. I still can watch and enjoy the prequels with multiple showings.I saw ROTS 5 times in the theatre and many more viewings at home.I have never been to a movie theatre that many times to see a movie before, so I don't buy the anti prequel crap. I do like your terminology about fanboys Irish: "cynical hyperbole", that hits the nail on the head about the world we live in now and the age of the internet. The Indy movies and the Star Wars movies are the movies of our generation and we should be glad to have them. By the way Irish,my born on date is '72 also........

IrishJedi
05-26-2008, 01:18 PM
For me one major thing that was missing was violence. I mean, in the others we saw people getting shot, burned, melted, exploded, disintegrated, and beheaded. In this? Well, some large ants swarmed some guys.

That's not quite accurate. The soviets shot and killed many people (Army guys, Ugha warriors, etc) and there were even some incinerations.

The problem is that Indy himself only dispatches one person, and that's with the reverse blowdart. Otherwise, all he does is punch a few dudes. Lame.

DarthNeil
05-26-2008, 01:39 PM
Great review Carl... we're of one mind it would seem.
I found the character of Oxley perplexing as well-- for a multitude of reasons, but what was your impression of Ray Winstone's Mac?... He's another character that I really didn't enjoy for what he was supposed to be.

Your thoughts?:whip

(the absence of a gun shooting Indy was annoying as well:gun)

:wave:confused:

stshammgod
05-26-2008, 01:43 PM
You make some great points. I have yet to see a second viewing but I had that same NUMB feeling that you did coming out of the theater. I also noticed the relationship with Mutt was similar to the Indy/Henry one from TLC. ESPECIALLY when they get away on the bike and Mutt is grinning, only to look and Indy and get that same cold disapproving stare his dad gave HIM when they escaped from the castle on the bike... Really good moment there.

LOTRFan
05-26-2008, 02:42 PM
One other part that will probably always have me scratching my head is what exactly Indy was thinking in the quicksand scene when he tells Oxley to go and get help. The only other people around were the bad guys. What was crazy Oxley supposed to do?

My wife nudged me at that point as well; maybe Ox had a connection with the gymnists guarding the gravesite?

:google

IrishJedi
05-26-2008, 02:46 PM
Great review Carl... we're of one mind it would seem.
I found the character of Oxley perplexing as well-- for a multitude of reasons, but what was your impression of Ray Winstone's Mac?... He's another character that I really didn't enjoy for what he was supposed to be.

Your thoughts?:whip

(the absence of a gun shooting Indy was annoying as well:gun)

Hey Neil.

It's weird that I forgot about this. Not only your post, but the Mac character in general in my review. Which I suppose says it all: he's utterly forgettable.

I'm with you. I was expecting a much more interesting dynamic with him. When I learned before the movie that he was Indy's old WWII I expected some fun banter between the two, but that really went out the window when he turns on Indy 5 minutes into the movie. From that point on he's a throwaway character who's only purpose is as a plot device to have the FBI suspicious of Indy and always lead Spalko & Co. to him. He's not the foil or fun sidekick many of us were expecting. And that's okay, because Mutt fills that role perfectly.

IrishJedi
05-26-2008, 02:49 PM
My wife nudged me at that point as well; maybe Ox had a connection with the gymnists guarding the gravesite?

:google

I took that totally differently. At the time I think Indy was perfectly willing to have Oxley seek the Russians for help.

darthviper107
05-26-2008, 02:56 PM
That's not quite accurate. The soviets shot and killed many people (Army guys, Ugha warriors, etc) and there were even some incinerations.

The problem is that Indy himself only dispatches one person, and that's with the reverse blowdart. Otherwise, all he does is punch a few dudes. Lame.

It didn't show the people getting killed though, that was out of view of the camera. In Raiders it actually showed people getting shot, with blood. I'm meaning that kind of stuff.

tomandshell
05-26-2008, 03:02 PM
Even in Last Crusade Indy fires his gun and the bullet goes through three Nazis in one shot and they crumple away.

IrishJedi
05-26-2008, 03:15 PM
Oh, I'm with you guys on this, don't get me wrong. Which is why I brought it up in the first place. It appears that Spielberg is now too sensitive to Leftist issues to have the hero on a fun action-adventure shoot at folks. It wasn't quite as shameful as "The Lost World" but it is even more annoying, because this is INDY for crissakes... he used to shoot at everybody. Hell, he even shiskabobbed a dude.

Cursed 1941
05-26-2008, 10:14 PM
My main disagreement with your review, is that I don't think they portrayed Indy as the same guy we know.. I know he's supposed to be older and all that.. To me it seemed like Harrison didn't even remember how he played him sometimes..

Why is Indy always so eager to HELP the enemy??!!

I smiled at the beginning because I thought Indy was up to something with taking all the ammo and gun powder... it was going to pay off with him detonating it or something turning the tables.. nope just helping the bad guys find the alien body..

Why did he continue to help them when he was captured at the camp... MUTT finally does the right thing resulting in their escape.. Only to have Indy complain about it!

I'm all for humor, but Indy was almost a buffoon at times..

pickard
05-27-2008, 03:05 AM
In each instance, I assumed that Indy was going along with the Russkies until he found an opportunity to escape or turn the tables.

He helped Donovan for the last 10 minutes of Last Crusade, but he did it for his father.

Karma
05-27-2008, 06:08 AM
Just saw it & loved it...only bit I didn't like was the monkey vine swinging bit like tarzan

doesitmatter
05-27-2008, 06:56 AM
Great review, Irish! I posted mine on my blog (not nearly as long as yours):

http://notinmybook.blogspot.com/2008/05/review.html

IrishJedi
05-27-2008, 07:14 AM
My main disagreement with your review, is that I don't think they portrayed Indy as the same guy we know.. I know he's supposed to be older and all that.. To me it seemed like Harrison didn't even remember how he played him sometimes..

Why is Indy always so eager to HELP the enemy??!!

I smiled at the beginning because I thought Indy was up to something with taking all the ammo and gun powder... it was going to pay off with him detonating it or something turning the tables.. nope just helping the bad guys find the alien body..

Why did he continue to help them when he was captured at the camp... MUTT finally does the right thing resulting in their escape.. Only to have Indy complain about it!

I'm all for humor, but Indy was almost a buffoon at times..


I think you're missing the point a bit. Indy is exactly the same character, only 20 years older, mellowed, and changed by serving in WWII and now dealing with a paranoid political climate. I think Ford nailed his performance, actually.

As for "helping" the bad guys. This isn't the case, either. I don't see him being "eager" at all. He was held at gunpoint in the opening sequence (and also feared for Mac's life before he turned) but still managed to find a way out of it. At the camp, he was equally enthralled with figuring out Oxley's riddle as well as being aware that Marion and Oxley's lives were at stake if he did not help. The "complaining" about Mutt's escape in the camp was due to it being rash (which is something Indy would have done in his youth) and not fully calculated. That's why the "This is intolerable." line ensued. Indy is becoming more and more like his father. This was done on purpose and makes perfect sense to me.

You need to see it again with all of this in mind.

Reinhardt
05-27-2008, 08:36 AM
great review Irish.

And I totally agree, that while it was cool to see Karen Allen in the movie, there was just too much smiling on her part.

The Josh
05-27-2008, 08:49 AM
I think you're missing the point a bit. Indy is exactly the same character, only 20 years older, mellowed, and changed by serving in WWII and now dealing with a paranoid political climate. I think Ford nailed his performance, actually.

That was something that took me just a second to realize during my first viewing. That he had been in all these things, lost countless friends, and then the fact you toss in the loss of his Dad and Brody. These things will change you make you a little different and age will do that to you as well.

IrishJedi
05-27-2008, 09:07 AM
That was something that took me just a second to realize during my first viewing. That he had been in all these things, lost countless friends, and then the fact you toss in the loss of his Dad and Brody. These things will change you make you a little different and age will do that to you as well.


Absolutely. Also, even though he's mellowed he also seems a little rougher around the edges when he's outside his now more comfy academic surroundings. One nice touch is when he and Mutt are walking through the village in Peru and he just casually spits a loogie in mid-conversation. :lol

The Josh
05-27-2008, 09:36 AM
That kind of made me go wtf was that cause it just seemed like Indy was at the point he's gonna just do it all his way and be comfortable doing it. :lol

ProgMatinee
05-27-2008, 01:16 PM
A lot of the things you picked out as flaws were what me and the wife picked too. His whip was all but irrelvant. I liked the part with the snake being used to pull Indy out, but the wife was immediately like, "why doesn't he just use the whip?"

Karen Allen was horrible. Not only was her acting poor, her character was weak. Why in the world would they not use a drinking reference for her? Have her tell Mutt to avoid the booze or something like that?

Anyway, for the last 15 years I used to think Temple of Doom was the weakest of the films, but I watched that film after seeing Crystal Skull and it is infinately better. Especially in the humor department.

Crystal Skull lacked laughs...big time.

IrishJedi
05-27-2008, 08:34 PM
It depends on what type of laughs you're looking for. I saw it again today (#4) and the audience (decent size for a 4:00 matinee on a Tuesday) laughed pretty good at several bits.

One of my favorite moments now is the exchange of glances that Indy and Mutt give each other after the KGB agents' car hits the Brody statue and the head falls off. Classic... and it perfectly mirrors Indy and Henry Sr. in the "Last Crusade" motorcyle chase.

Khev
06-04-2008, 11:51 AM
Well the wife and I finally secured a sitter and were able to catch this flick last night so I figure I best post some thoughts while the movie is still fresh. We actually had sneak preview tickets to go attend a special screening with other lucky ticket holders and the reviewing press on May 19th but the theater was overbooked and we thought about the hassle of standing in line for hours and I finally decided that "I'm getting too old for this ^^^^." :lol We did that for Revenge of the Sith and it was a euphoric experience but I decided for Indy we can wait.

So we go last night and very shortly into the film I realized one thing. I'm ready for film to say its final goodbye and let HD reign. We saw Iron Man and Prince Caspian on glorious DLP screens and was let down by the presentation of Crystal Skull. The whole reel was scratched and caused those frustrating black lines to run through the picture for the majority of the flick. At one point my wife leaned over and asked if the film was supposed to look like that (she was familiar with the "slightly damaged" look of earlier Spielberg films; Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report, etc.) but alas I had to tell her that no, its just our lowsy print, and to just pretend that we really were watching a film that had been around since the 50's.

But the screen has huge, the sound was cranked to ten and the movie, well, in spite of the presentation I liked it. A lot.

I *loved* Indy's characterization in this movie. He really came off the way I hoped he would; the Indy equivalent of Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven. He was assured, cocky, weathered, and *damn* competent. At first I assumed we'd see him up to all of his classic dirty tricks; biting, cheating, hiding behind children, etc. But then I realized that while those are classic down and dirty survival techniques they're also acts of *desperation*. This Indy was beyond that. He wasn't kinder or gentler, he just didn't need to fight so dirty because he's that good at staying alive. I liked that he was never on the verge of panic over dying like in his earlier adventures (hanging on the edge of the pit in the opening of Raiders or "We are going to DIE!" in Temple of Doom.) He was obviously concerned over the nuke going off but never came close to losing his cool. And if a nuke won't panic him, you know for the rest of the flick that NOTHING will. I LOVED that.

Let me address the nuke for a second. I have NO problem with how he survived it. Is it technically realistic? Hell no. Unless you take into account the *clearly established* world these movies take place in. Regardless of anyone's real life opinions on God, the Indy movies operate under the assumption that the God of the Bible is very much real. The Ark and Holy Grail proved that. Of course we know that the "grail" was never reported in the Bible to have any powers but the movies obviously suggest that it does because it was used by Christ.

God obviously favored Indy at the end of Raiders and with one more battle in proximity of the Ark with enemies who had no regard for preserving it (you even clearly see its box get damaged) I take the fridge as God saying, "Here Indy, one last miracle for not abusing my ark." So he was preserved in the fridge like Jonah in the whale and on with the rest of the movie. Within the context of the story and miracles that have ALREADY been shown (and accepted without question by the audience I might add) the fridge works. If it had occurred at the end of the movie (like Indy's surviving the wrath of God when the ark was opened) I don't think people would have had a problem with it. "Oh yeah, these movies always end with something supernatural." But put it at the beginning and then suddenly its absurd and unrealistic. Not quite.

I'd rank Crystal Skull slightly below Raiders and Doom and far above Last Crusade.

I loved the graveyard scenes. He was such a badass. I have no problem with him not firing his pistol. He didn't need to! He wasn't afraid or PC, he pointed it at people and they ran away! People just somehow got that this wasn't an old man to be messed with. I think some people need to get out of Spielberg's head and just note what's appropriate in the context of the story. Luke Skywalker was pretty heavily associated with blasters and X-Wings after Star Wars but in The Empire Strikes Back guess what, he didn't shoot *anything* with his blaster or X-Wing! He pointed his gun at the swamp when R2 was swallowed and once at a fleeing Boba Fett and in 28 years I've seen NO ONE cry foul over that.

My two favorite shots in Crystal Skull were when Indy crested the rise and saw the mushroom cloud (WOW! One of my favorite shots in the entire series!) and in one scene during the jungle chase along the cliffs I got an awesome sense of vertigo.

The ending was a slight WTF and had shades of the finale of Ang Lee's Hulk and The X-Files movie which I don't consider a plus in either sense so in that sense it didn't end on quite the high note as the other three movies but I liked the wedding epilogue.

One reason I think I was able to enjoy this more than some is that for me, the perfect Indy movie was made right out of the gate--Raiders of the Lost Ark. That's about as close to a perfect all around movie as I've seen in *any* genre. As far as I'm concerned the last three movies have been celebratory victory laps providing some extra thrills and laughs at the same time. I don't need a them to finally get an Indy movie "right", I just like to see Dr. Jones on another adventure with funny dialogue and ingenius action sequences. Its still possible for an Indy movie to "fail", Last Crusade almost did and the various Mummy and Sahara flicks actually did. But Indy hasn't, and for that I'm glad.

Terrific entertainment and a worthy curtain call to the series if that's what it turns out to be.

DarthNeil
06-04-2008, 01:48 PM
Great review Khev. I like your theory about God letting him live with a miracle (Jonah and the whale..nice:D) for him not messing with the ark.

barbelith
06-06-2008, 10:46 AM
One nice touch is when he and Mutt are walking through the village in Peru and he just casually spits a loogie in mid-conversation.

Actually that's a standard Mexican response to his mention of Victoriano Huerta.

jedibear
06-06-2008, 11:27 AM
Wonderful review, Khev.
I caught another show last night (my fourth...I wanted one more viewing on the good-sized screen before it's shuffled to the shoebox in lieu of the week's latest releases taking over the big screens) and I like this movie more and more with each viewing.

IrishJedi
06-06-2008, 01:07 PM
Actually that's a standard Mexican response to his mention of Victoriano Huerta.

That's even cooler, then. :rock

spekerol
06-08-2008, 04:52 PM
they could have did a better production yes nice review by the way what a waist of film space