Indy IV review

photo 44 hires Indy IV review
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull should just be called Indiana Matlock. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It was a lot of fun and very enjoyable. We liked the fake, Frazetta-esque backgrounds during the “Jungle Chase” sequence. We also liked Harrison Ford just fine, and loved Cate Blanchett’s villain. We did not like the space aliens. [Spoiler] Nor did we like the CGI orgy in the third act, but what ya gonna do now–you can’t make a movie like you made Raiders any more.

Also, why was Shia LeBeouf’s crotch constantly being endangered?

The bottom line? Nothing well EVER top the first 15 minutes of Raiders. That boulder was REAL.

Comments

  1. There are space aliens in Crystal Skull? I didn’t see that one coming.

  2. I’ll just put that DVD of RAIDERS back in the player. It’s good for at least once a year.

  3. Torsten Adair says:

    That’s part of the joy of watching Raiders of the Lost Ark… all of the effects were touched by hand. Yeah, the film’s a bit grainy, the effects don’t startle like they used to, but it adds to the charm. Knowing how it was done just adds to the whole wonderful experience.

    That said… special effects are special effects. Does it help the movie?

    Let’s play “Match Game”! Fill in the SPOILER blank above!
    “I didn’t like the [blank].”

  4. Torsten, here’s my entry!

    “I didn’t like the George Lucas involvement.”

    I think something happened to the real George Lucas. Forger Star Wars, American Graffitti is one of the finest movies ever made. There are no special effects, no tropes from pulp fiction, just a movie with characters romping around in an era so far before my time I have no nostalgic investment. It’s beautiful, charming, and stirring. What happened? In the past 10 years, the Lucas name has come to mean there will be *lots* of CGI.

    I’m probably not going to make it to Indy. I’d rather spend the time seeing a movie with something new in it. I can’t revisit the nostalgia of my childhood anymore, it’s just too disappointing.

  5. Dave Ziegler says:

    I’m not familiar with Ray Winstone’s body of work, so this isn’t a comment on his abilities, but every single picture of him that I’ve seen in conjunction with this film reminds me of Benny Hill. I’m not sure why that is, but I am sure that it says more about me than it does about Winstone (or Hill, for that matter…).

  6. “I can’t revisit the nostalgia of my childhood anymore, it’s just too disappointing.”

    Nostalgia is a blast. It’s disappointing movies that disappoint. After RAIDERS became such a hit, the next two Indiana Jones films seemed hellbent on recreating the thrills, but they didn’t seem too concerned with the script. STAR WARS and RAIDERS were happy accidents. The sequels to those films were victims of demographic planning. “We need to have a film that’s family friendly, but still have action. There’s gotta be something for the kids …”

    I still don’t know which demographic Jar Jar Binks was aimed at …

    I haven’t seen the film. I stood in front of a theatre this afternoon, on my lunch break, wondering should I? I thumbed through the graphic novelization on Tuesday evening (in the Princeton NJ Barnes & Noble) … so, I already kinda know the ending … It’s basically the RAIDERS formula, Indy Jones by the numbers …

    If you want to enjoy an Indiana Jones adventure, I suggest you pick up the original novels published by Bantam Books, which are now being re-issued. Rob McGregor wrote six, Martin Caiden wrote two, and Max McCoy wrote four (which were probably the best in the series). McCoy even used the Crystal Skull as a subplot tying together his four books … he used the skull in a much more interesting fashion. And these authors came closer to capturing the spirit of RAIDERS than the film sequels.

  7. “So much for the spoiler …”

    Oh, I really don’t mind that. It’s the telling of the tail which I’m in it for.

    “I still don’t know which demographic Jar Jar Binks was aimed at …”

    I think you’re wrong (respectfully) about demographic planning. Jar Jar Binks is like Falstaff, wherein his every blunder is taken as brave leadership by the army he is put in charge of. I never had a problem with him. I also think that it’s nostalgia that is keeping people from realizing that the new Star Wars movies are better then the old ones. The same may be true for the new Indy. That or fans are to afraid of fanboy scorn to admit that they really liked it.

  8. Kenny,
    I agree American Graffitti is one of the all time best movies ever made!
    Didn’t Lucas in some interview himself acknowlegde he went to the dark side?:)

  9. “I also think that it’s nostalgia that is keeping people from realizing that the new Star Wars movies are better then the old ones.”

    Wow. There’s an opinion I haven’t heard in … well, ever. In what manner are the prequels better? Special FX maybe … but the scripts were bland at best.

  10. “I also think that it’s nostalgia that is keeping people from realizing that the new Star Wars movies are better then the old ones.”

    Wow. There’s an opinion I haven’t heard in … well, ever. In what manner are the prequels better? Special FX maybe … but the scripts were bland at best.

    “Oh, I really don’t mind that. It’s the telling of the tail which I’m in it for.”

    Yeah, but someone might mind, which is why Heidi whited out the text.

  11. “Wow. There’s an opinion I haven’t heard in … well, ever. In what manner are the prequels better? Special FX maybe … but the scripts were bland at best.”

    Yeah, I’m not feeling you on that one. Especially with episode II.

    Heidi, You may have to remove my first post. Now I’m the one giving out the spoiler.

  12. That perfectly round boulder was the stupidest thing ever. And Jar Jar wasn’t any different than Chewie or R2- made to sell toys to children!

  13. The prequels may be more spectacular, but they’re certainly lesser movies (mind you, I thought it was downhill after EMPIRE). Your mileage will vary.

  14. “That perfectly round boulder was the stupidest thing ever. And Jar Jar wasn’t any different than Chewie or R2- made to sell toys to children!”

    Everyone thought Star Wars was going to flop when it was being made. Is it so bad to want to imagine these things and make it into an artful movie. It doesn’t always come down to selling toys. I’m telling you. Jar Jar is Falstaff.

  15. “The prequels may be more spectacular, but they’re certainly lesser movies”

    Now, I hear this a lot, but no one ever seems to explain to me why. It’s not the dialog. That’s consistent throughout all six movies. Shame goes for cheesy droids and aliens. The stories for I – III are layered, action pact, and interesting. If someone can tell my WHY they’re so bad, please do. I’m not saying anyone’s stupid for not liking them, but the way I hear people talk about them, it’s like we saw different movies. I hated Star Wars until I watched the new ones back to back when I was sick one weekend. They changed my mind.

  16. Your statement that you hated Star Wars until you watched the prequels is explaination enough.

    If you did not see what made the originals good films, how can someone show you what makes the new ones bad films?

  17. “If you did not see what made the originals good films, how can someone show you what makes the new ones bad films?”

    I’m not sure I fallow your line of thought.

  18. Just look at the writing in EMPIRE compared to any of the other movies. Even the acting is a step up (and STAR WARS is dire in that regard). The first trilogy isn’t well acted, which is a crime considering the talent at play there. Lucas went whole hog for beautiful backdrops and costumes and really bland storytelling. There were moments in Episode III that had some power, but overall, hugely disappointing set-piece driven stuff.

  19. You didn’t think Empire was slow? I mean, not much happened in that movie. It was all training and running from the empire. I – III were all self contained, but also played as one big story of discovery, love, friendship, honer, conspiracy, betrayal, and paying tribute to just about every great movie and sci-fi writer in the last 100 years. Come on. I’m challenging people to build me a case here. Someone’s got to be up for it.

  20. John Warren says:

    Christopher, it’s clear that *you* don’t mind the spoiler, since you’re the one who gave it away.

    Try to be considerate of *others*….

    Please?

  21. “Christopher, it’s clear that *you* don’t mind the spoiler, since you’re the one who gave it away.”

    No, it was Heidi. She whited it out, after my post. It’s been a Hell day for her and she didn’t realize that she hadn’t done it before hitting send. We’ve talked about it already and she’s going to fix it when she’s done putting out what ever other fires are in her day. I’m sure that you can show her the same forgiveness that you would show me. :)

  22. “Christopher, it’s clear that *you* don’t mind the spoiler, since you’re the one who gave it away.”

    No, it was Heidi. She whited it out, after my post. It’s been a Hell day for her and she didn’t realize that she hadn’t done it before hitting send. We’ve talked about it already and she’s going to fix it when she’s done putting out what ever other fires are in her day. I’m sure that you can show her the same forgiveness that you would show me. :)

  23. bah. i dug it. :)

    and for dave ziegler…

    watch SEXY BEAST with ray winstone. no benny hill there! (and a kick ass/scary ben kingsley).

  24. EMPIRE was slow?

    Yeah, we’re just not gonna agree on this. Intelligent people can disagree and be civil, however.

  25. “Yeah, we’re just not gonna agree on this. Intelligent people can disagree and be civil, however.”

    Your a good man, Matt. I hope to meet you at a con one day.

  26. Lukecash says:

    I am one of those guys who think that The prequels were better than the originals. And I saw Star Wars first run when I was 9. I’m an original fan, and i’ve loved pretty much everything Lucas has done. Howad the Duck excepting and I never saw Radioland Murders.

  27. Pretty sure we met at SDCC last year after the blogger panel. Maybe.

  28. Mark Coale says:

    oddly enough, Heidi’s spoiler is not whited out when I read the Beat on my Blackberry. It says [spoiler]said text in question[/spoiler].

  29. “Pretty sure we met at SDCC last year after the blogger panel. Maybe.”

    Hey, we did, didn’t we? I remember now. I just forgot your name. Sorry. There are a lot of people to meet during Comic Con. Well, I’ll just have to meet you again.

  30. Steely Dan says:

    I actually agree with Christopher. While the new films aren’t perfect (The Phantom Menace is particularly weak when viewed as a stand alone film), I think the prequel trilogy, when taken as a whole, is better than the original trilogy, and the special effects have nothing to do with it. The prequel story is more layered, more complex, and more morally ambiguous. The characters are less black and white and are, instead, presented in more varied shades of grey. As an adult, the Machiavellian political angles of the prequel trilogy are, for me, far more interesting than the farm boy journey of the original trilogy.

    I loved the original trilogy as a kid, and Empire, on its own, continues to stand out as an exemplary film in and of itself. But the original trilogy was made by a young man whose world view hadn’t yet coalesced. For better or for worse, George Lucas is a more complex individual now than he was thirty-odd years ago, and those extra three decades of growth are visible in the point-of-view he presents in the prequel trilogy, whether you personally agree with that point-of-view or not.

    What’s most interesting is how the prequel trilogy has made me fall in love with and appreciate the original trilogy all over again by reshaping the prism through which I see it. Lucas has repeated over and over again that the story of Star Wars is really the story of Darth Vader, not Luke as everyone originally assumed. Viewed this way, the entire story takes on a tinge of sadness and melancholia that wasn’t there when the films were originally released.

    I also think Lucas deserves credit for the audacity of his experiment: telling such a long, complex story over the course of thirty years, and essentially telling it in reverse. And all the while presenting such a rich and complicated story in the framework of a children’s fairy tale. That, to me, is brilliantly subversive.

    I understand that this is not a popular opinion, but I respectfully offer up that much of the anger directed toward the prequel trilogy is due to the nostalgia most people hold toward the original films. In the end, though, the series is meant to be seen as a whole (all six parts), and as such, flawed though it is, I think it succeeds quite well.

  31. You go Steely.

  32. If what someone likes most about the prequels are the things about it that are different than the original films, and the things another person dislikes most about the prequelse are the things that are different from the originals, then neither will be able to compel the other into changing their mind over which is better.

  33. Oh, I change my mind about movies, comics, and books all the time. All that is needed is a good case to be made. I made fun of Episode I when it first came out, because I didn’t like the fist three. Then it grew on me, and I talked it over with friends. Now, I watch them (or put them on for background noise as I work) all the time. All that is needed is to keep an open mind. Just not so open that my brain falls out.

  34. By the way, Heidi- when I was just now loading the page, the spoiler appeared clearly before the rest of the page loaded. Some people may freak out on you about that.

  35. “I also think Lucas deserves credit for the audacity of his experiment: telling such a long, complex story over the course of thirty years, and essentially telling it in reverse.”

    Well, he deserves credit for creating a lucrative franchise. I don’t think audacity had anything to do with. He created a series, did three movies, and then wondered, “Where do I go from here?” *SNAP of fingers* “I got it! Let’s do three prequels!!”

    Lucas claims that he decided to begin the series with part four and then go backwards — that’s just something designed to sound creative instead of commercial. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, for instance, only recently had the obligatory “Indiana Jones and the ___” added to the title. And Jabba the hut was originally a human, thus the costume worn by the actor in the deleted scene — but Lucas claims the “technology” wasn’t ready for that character, who later became a blob-like beast. A little spin-doctoring of his company’s history goes a long way, since the fans eat it up.

  36. Steely Dan says:

    I’m as skeptical as anyone when it comes to the spin put out by Lucas and his staff regarding the Star Wars franchise. I agree with Rich for instance regarding his Jabba the Hutt example (I never bought the “technology didn’t exist” argument that he cites). But how deliberately Lucas planned the stories in advance is irrelevant. No matter what his motivation was for going back and doing the prequels (and I’m not ascribing motivation one way or another), the fact is, he told the end of the story first and then, 15-20 years later he went back and told the beginning. I personally find that impressive, especially considering that he clearly wasn’t the same man that he was when he created the original trilogy (during the production of the first trilogy he was fighting against the establishment; during production of the prequel trilogy he had become the establishment). That the stories meet up in the middle as well as they do (not perfectly, mind you) is pretty remarkable and worth commending.

    In the end, the only thing that matters is whether or not the story holds up as one coherent whole. And as flawed as the story may be, I think that it does hold up quite well.

    As far as adding “Indiana Jones and the” to the “Raiders” title, I don’t think there’s any argument that that was for commercial purposes. It simply makes it easier for retailers and others to catalog the series together.

  37. And the title isn’t added within the film itself, just the packaging.

  38. James Van Hise says:

    I enjoyed Crystal Skull, certainly more than I ever liked Temple of Doom (I always felt sorry for Kate Capshow and the thankless role she had to play of a screaming meemie) and the so-called spoiler had been out there for months ever since the Crystal Skull had been revealed at a merchandising show.

    Regarding the Star Wars films, I really disliked Return of the Jedi and the prequels aren’t any better than that, weak scripts and too many special effects meant to distract you from the weak script. Each of them have their moments, certainly, but Jar-jar is so annoying I can’t watch Phantom Menace again. And in Revenge of the Sith, Anniken goes dark awfully fast, even to quickly moving on the butchering children.

    Raiders is still the best of the 4. I noticed that it was on a Spanish language channel recently so I watched the open and there’s so little dialogue in those first few minutes that nothing is lost even watching it in another language.

    Raiders has been digitally cleaned up, though, as I still remember when it was originally released you could see the cobra’s relection in the pane of glass separating it from Harrison Ford, but that reflection has been digitally removed.

  39. They also removed the support rod the boulder was on, which you can see (along with the snake reflection) on the VHS version.

  40. “weak scripts and too many special effects meant to distract you from the weak script.”

    Can you be more specific about what makes them week?

    “Each of them have their moments, certainly, but Jar-jar is so annoying I can’t watch Phantom Menace again.”

    I don’t mind him, but I can see how others wouldn’t like the voice they used for him. Other then that, he’s no more or less annoying then any other person or alien in that film.

    “And in Revenge of the Sith, Anniken goes dark awfully fast, even to quickly moving on the butchering children.”

    But that was not the first time he had butchered children. He said he killed all the women and children of the sand people (who he also killed) in episode II. Anniken had gone to the dark side long before anyone, even himself, had realized it.

  41. “But how deliberately Lucas planned the stories in advance is irrelevant. ”

    I suppose you’re correct … but I think the spin doctoring gets me steamed … that Lucas would even bother with it, instead of just saying “we decided to do prequels instead of sequels.” And that some Lucas fans so slavishly lap it up … Ultimately, though, I suppose the movies stand or fall on their own, and everyone is gonna have their favorites.

    Although, I am glad to hear that RAIDERS has the Indiana Jones jag added only to the packaging.

  42. “that Lucas would even bother with it, instead of just saying “we decided to do prequels instead of sequels.” And that some Lucas fans so slavishly lap it up …”

    I remember Lucas saying that when I was a kid on my bike. That’s why he started with episode IV. I also remember (as a kid) Lucas saying that he wanted to wait on doing them because FX weren’t able to do the things he had in mind yet. He’s crazy, but I still believe that he’s an artist. Just because he likes to make money, it doesn’t mean he’s in it just for the money.

  43. To that last point Christopher, I would add that, as much as I don’t care much for Lucas’ films, perhaps he realized that to make the movies he wanted to make he would need LOTS of money- especially to do them HIS way and not have to meet the ridiculous dictates of some studio exec (on the other hand, it seems many times he needed someone to tell him no).

  44. “on the other hand, it seems many times he needed someone to tell him no”

    Don’t we all sometimes? I’m enjoying this. A blog debate where no one is angry. What a great idea.

  45. enjoyed the indy film…amanda and i went tonight at the zigfield to a packed house and had a blast. agree the third act wasnt the greatest, but it entertained all the way through and was fun.
    fun is what i was looking for. it’s what i got.

    JIMMY

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