Friday, May 23, 2008

Ok, so Indy 4

Under no circumstances should you see "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." Sweet merciful crap it's bad. I mean ugh.

I take that back. If you just picked up the kids from soccer in your SUV, and you want to go to the movies anyway just so you can see one of the Fandango commercials that you always laugh at because those paper bag puppets are just "so cute," then by all means plop down your whatever-you-last-paid-for-a-move-plus-75-cents and go see it.

Make no mistake, it's not Harrison Ford who's showing his age in this movie, it's George Lucas. I honestly don't know if the man remembers how to tell stories anymore, or at least which ones are worth telling.

For the core of the problem, I point you to "Wikipedia:"The film's long gestation coincided with Harrison Ford growing older, and this meant the filmmakers had to give a new approach and setting. Instead of tributing Republic Pictures's 1930s serials, the film needed to be more like a 1950's B-Movie."

WHAT.

The 1930 serials had charm, George, charm that came through brilliantly when real actors and directors were applied to it. There's not a lot of charm in "The Crawling Eye" or it's contemporaries, and I know because I've seen plenty. Now please stand up an admit to the class that you just wanted an excuse to make another movie set in the 1950's, because you and Spielberg are part of that generation that remembers the era as a sort of Eden. Also, apparently your Eden is a time when women were largely subjugated and black people weren't allowed to vote.

Lucas' chronological obsession is why Indy 4 goes out of it's way to beat us over the head with 1950's clich├ęs. When Indy was in the diner and told his greaser sidekick to punch "Joe College" so they could escape the Communists, and a classic 1950's hit started playing at just that moment, I knew it was all over.

Three final thoughts on the matter:

1. The sad part is that "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" keeps alluding to Indy's career with the OSS during WWII, which sounds far cooler than the chapter of his life we got. "Indiana Jones and the Quest to Kill Hitler" is infinitely more promising than Harrison Ford running around like Bugs Bunny on a nuclear testing facility. Hey, maybe Lucas could farm that "OSS" stuff out to Genndy Tartakovsky like he did with "Star Wars:Clone Wars!"

2. Every time I try to think about Indy 4, I find myself drifting off to "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune." That game was really a lot of fun, and a better model of this kind of story.

3. They waited ten years to find this script. To find THIS SCRIPT! THIS ONE!*

*TEN YEARS!

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