Friday, May 23, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Before I start my long and in-depth review of this movie, I must warn everyone that this CONTAINS SOME SERIOUS FUCKING SPOILERS SO GET THE FUCK OUT NOW WHILE YOU CAN.

Because seriously, you can't even imagine the spoilers I'm about to impart on you.

Things That I Didn't Like:


And by A, I mean aliens.


What was that.

I mean, alright-- supernatural force imparts some wisdom on some Mayans. Cool. We can handle that. There's weird alien looking skull with mystical powers. Sure. They need to return it to a temple. Got it.

Was it really necessary to have a living alien right there on the screen? With a saucer? Seriously?

It would have been fine if aliens had kind of happened, because it tied into the Area 51 bunker lock-down stuff they were doing in the beginning, but... they should have been long dead and just... opened up a thing to the city of gold or a huge ancient library or some kind of actual ancient shit instead of some inter-dimensional space beings. That was too much.


They did well adjusting to the appropriate time period, but... Russians ain't no Nazis. Spulko was interesting, but I wanted another Dr. Schneider. The Nazis were smart enough to use someone who appealed to Indy's character, not some hard ass that everyone knows he's not going to actually go along with. I missed mein fuhrer and his cronies.

Indy Girls

There wasn't an Indy girl. Yes, there was the return of Marion, but she wasn't an Indy girl any more. She wasn't trying to resist his sarcastic charm and inevitably falling in love with him. She wasn't even really much help. And they got married, which seemed to me to be very out of character. There wasn't even an good age joke to go along with that.

The Natives

There were all these violent tribal people who didn't do anything. They looked creepy, came out of walls, tried to attack, then backed off. That's it. They could have done so much more with those people, either trying to protect the skull or whatever, but they were just tossed off to the side.

...And nothing happened

No booby traps. WHAT. There were several times in the movie when Indy told Mutt (LeBouf) not to touch anything while they were in some tomb or cave, and Mutt didn't touch anything, AND NOTHING HAPPENED. What. No.

That didn't sound right.

There was something not quite right about the score of this one. I checked several places and they do say that John Williams wrote the score, but it didn't sound like him. Well, I mean, the Indy theme sounded like him but there wasn't enough decrescendos and crescendos and sweeping fanfares, and the few attempts at sweeping fanfares were poorly placed within the film. It sounded like someone else trying to write his music for him and I don't know why.

You know how you can pick out your favourite band's music, even if you haven't heard the words yet? I do that with film composers. I can recognize John Williams from Hans Zimmer from Harry Gregson-Williams and I honestly couldn't tell that this was John Williams' music. And that's disappointing.

Sit and stay there.

They were all over the place in this one. There's usually about three main locations for an Indy film, but this one was jumping all over South America. There were two travel montages. That's too many. You set it up with a line, do a short scene on transport, and either get there or get sidetracked. There's a specific formula for Indy movies and they didn't follow it.

South America

I think part of the reason I have some issues with this movie is because this took place in South America, whereas the other three have all ended up in Asia (or Northern Africa, but the Middle East is in Asia and that's close enough). It didn't feel right to be in jungle for most of the movie. I missed the desert and familiar ruins.

Not enough backing.

The crystal skulls was a poor choice, I think, for a central artifact. If they had gone about it like they did in Temple of Doom, I think it would have gone better, but they tried to play it out like Raiders and Last Crusade and we, as Westerners, are drawn to those kinds of things because Christianity is so ingrained in our culture. Temple of Doom draws us in because it plays on our interest in both the occult and "heathen" Asian cultures, but I think the crystal skulls and their role in ancient South American cultures is too big of a jump.

I mean, you say crystal skulls and there's not much connotation that comes to mind. You say Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail and there's immediate connotation. You say Temple of Doom and there's immediate intrigue.

They needed to set it up better. We needed more information from the ruins and the legends and less from the government conspiracies, I think.


This Indiana wasn't really Indy. He was like all of the stereotypes and iconography of Indiana with some age thrown it. All the subtle things that made him a great character were gone, and all the things people remember (the whip, the hat, the stunts) were overplayed. I mean, he was still a good character, but he wasn't really Indy.


I just watched The Last Crusade the other day, but I was still puzzled when people kept calling him Henry. Especially when all there "old friends" called him Henry because those friends should know better. He's been calling himself Indiana for years and years and no one even knew his name was Henry. It was dumb.

George, put your toys away.

George Lucas... we know you have the best FX company. And we know you like to push them into making new and better computer generated stuff. But we really didn't need it for this movie. Sweeping views of Mayan ruins and overly FXed shots aren't what we want. We want some punching and some history and some good one-liners. We're simple people.

Things That I Did Like:

Hey, old man.

I liked the old jokes. I missed them when they stopped coming. They were delivered brilliantly by Harrison Ford and those delivered by other characters resulted in some great responses. There weren't enough.


I have to admit, the stunts were great. They were fun and ridiculous and everything a good Indy stunt should be.

Bike Chase

Probably the best thing about this movie was the chase through some city that wasn't supposed to be New Haven but I couldn't help just seeing Yale everywhere. XD

It was amazingly directed and the actors really seemed into it and it just felt right.

In addition to the actual chase, the scene in the library in the middle of it was great. Answering a student's question while clambering onto the back of a Harley? Yes please.

Set Work

The set work was amazing. In the close cropped, interior scenes in the tombs and ruins, you really felt like you were back in an Indy movie. They kept it tight in on the characters then because the sets weren't very large, but I like the feel of those shots.

Hey, hey, we're the Monkeys

It was a really stupid gag, but a bunch of monkeys following Mutt because they have the same hair and then attacking a Soviet jeep? Fucking hilarious. Really stupid and not especially great for an Indy movie, but hilarious.

Keep Your Indy Fresh!

Bomb. Plus refrudgerator. Plus Indiana Jones. Equals win. XDDD


A corner of the ark, Brody and Jones, Sr.'s pictures on the desk... I liked all these tributes to the original trilogy. They made you remember little things that you loved about the first ones and, really, just having Sean Connery's face on the screen made the movie that much better.

I really don't have that many specific things that I liked about this movie. Mostly, I thought that the initial ideas were good but they were taken too far and exaggerated to the point of extreme. But it was an Indy movie and parts of it really felt like an Indy movie, so I can't say I dislike it.

I liked the first half. I really liked the first half. The second half makes me wonder what the fuck they were smoking that day, but I really really liked the first half.

I don't know. I think you'll have to see this one for yourself.

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