Things that bugged me about INDY IV

IJ4 IA 1012 R Things that bugged me about INDY IV
You’ve all seen it, right?

Okay spoilers after the jump.

1) After watching the last few Indiana Jones movies recently — and I know this had been endlessly commented on — it’s appallingly clear that Indy is the worst vandal imaginable. He just goes around DESTROYING ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIGS willy nilly. Like in LAST CRUSADE, he finds — after centuries!! — the tomb of the last Knight Templar or whatever…and promptly dumps it into a lake of flaming oil. Nice. Similar acts of vandalism are rampant in CRYSTAL SKULL. Seriously, this guy is a menace.

2) So basically, Indy hooks up with Marion again at the ends of RAIDERS, knocks her up and dumps her for the second time and never even wants to talk to her again? Who is this guy — Superman? Isn’t it sad that Indy ended up spending the biggest part of his life alone? It’s nice that they got together when they were in their autumn years — just like Ged and Tenar in TEHANU — but it makes me sad that Indy and Marion didn’t spend more time together. Indy is a history-vandalizing cad any way you slice it.

3) Why was Ray Winstone‘s character even IN the movie. He spent the entire last hour tagging along without saying a word or doing anything significant. Red shirt all the way — was there even any question that he was going to die? Did you even care when he did?

4) Those goddamn CGI chipmunks. GROSS. JAR JAR. I’d rather watch Ewoks. At least Ewoks were midgets in suits, and not little farting CGI animals.

GOOD THINGS:

Irina Spalko. Best Indy villain ever. And, yes, it was nice to see a female villain who wasn’t just a seductress. Sure. Irina was just a man in drag, but Cate Blanchett played her as just as tough, competent and formidable as any of the Jones boys. In a movie where a 65-year-old dude is jumping off motorcycles, belief is already suspended all the way so have fun with it. Go go Galadriel! Unlike many, I thought the first hour or so was okay…I really only LOVED the middle part with the car chase and the fire ants.

For those who have seen it and want more, Todd Alcott analyzes the story here, here and here.

Comments

  1. I agree that Cate Blanchett was very very good in this film. She brought some much needed depth to this sequel…

  2. Glen Newman says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong (as I haven’t seen Last Crusade in like, 2 weeks) but Indy didn’t torch the tomb in Last Crusade, it was the guys with the funky red hats. He did trash the chamber where the Ark was hidden in Raiders though.

    Couldn’t agree more with points 2, 3 & 4.

  3. Thomas says:

    OXLEY: It’s a PORTAL… to ANOTHER DIMENSION

    INDY: Yeah, let’s not go that way.

    And that’s just one of the bad pieces of dialogue in the movie. Also, this was kind of an Indy Jones movie… for about the first 20 minutes, and Ford owns the role yet again in those minutes, like —

    INDY: Put down your hands, you’re embarrassing us.

    or when asked about any last words:

    INDY: I like Ike.

    The moment the wuss version of Marlon Brando shows up, it all turns from one iconic hero to a retreat of George Lucas’ most craptastic moments. Mutt (I’m sorry, that just is the worst name since Jar Jar) saves Indy from the Russians by starting a WILD ONE fight, Mutt saves Indy’s ass… on a bike, no less… from Russians in a car, Mutt saves Indy from quicksand, Mutt Mutt Mutt Mutt becomes Tarzan and catches up with two speeding jeeps in the jungle … and he brings monkeys! Mutt fights evil Louise Brooks on the jeeps with a sword, boah ey!

    First of all: INDY DOES NOT NEED SAVING! Ford is a f**king passive observer in almost everything after the opening. Oh, look! Passing the torch! Mutt Williams and the Lost hairgel! Marion shows up, and you think she is the one who lost her mind, for all she does in the maybe 20 lines she has in this film is to grin like a moron. Where is the woman who drank a 280 lbs Asian dude under the table? Where is the woman who stated “I am your goddamn partner”? Stupid. Silly Moronic to the max.

    Also: INDY KNOWS HOW TO FIGURE SHIT OUT! Not in this one, really. It feels like NATIONAL TREASURE: THE GREASER YEARS, where they just stumble upon clues. Oh, look, it’s a skull. Oh, look, we’re in Peru. Oh, look, there’s the temple.

    I disagree with Heidi abotu Cate Blanchett. It was the worst performance since… actually, since ver. Psychic-Sword-Carrying-Ultimate-Knowledge-Seeker (really? That was your motivation? Not, hey, we could use that alien technology against the US in the Cold War? Nope. No. Just: I WANNA KNOW EVERYTHING! OOoooookay then)

    Ray Winstone is the dude from THE MUMMY 1. It’s like Cluedo. Ray Winstone. In the National Treasure Chamber. With a candelabra! Well, if only the man-eating SCARABS, er, ANTS would have killed him, it would have been complete.

    Also: the final act in the temple was nothing short of silly. And silly is a kind word I use. Let’s think about it. ALIENS from ANOTHER DIMENSION built this thing, then collected knowledge and stuff (mostly stuff), then they had the temple built, then 13 of them sat on their asses in a circle and dead, with only their skeletons remaining. Minus one skull. The moment the skull gets returned to its rightful place, said Aliens play a little tune from CLOSE ENCOUNTERS — and then what? They trigger a “let’s return home, gosh, wow” device?) Temple crumbles. Spaceship (ssssshhhh… to ANOTHER DIMENSION) emerges, goes bye bye. Which means, actually, Indy didn’t destroy a thing. The aliens were just stupid (there goes that ultimate knowledge theme)

    Cate looks into alien’s eyes and does the 1950s atomic version of the Nazi face meltdown, not before proclaiming that “she knows!” Then she turns into little energy fractals! Assuming that she probably ascended and will soon have a recurring role in STARGATE ATLANTIS.

    Mutt tries on Indy’s hat for size (NOOOOOOOO! MUTT WILLIAMS AND… please, oh, god, no, I know it now…), which makes us compare Shia LeBoff for a fraction of a second with River Phoenix… and it’s not a flattering comparison, we might add.

    In the short, the movie should have been called INDIANA JONES AND THE BAD CAST REUNION, EPISODE 4. It was a typical modern George Lucas movie, with no plot, no heroes and dumped all over good story telling

    (did I mention Shia Tarzan? Yes? Okay)

    Harrison Ford deserved a better screenplay. As much as I loathed the past eight years of his career (Hollywood Homicide anyone? Please! Please! Let’s kill SOMEbody in Hollywood for this), when he was alone, he still WAS Indy. But of course, neither Spielberg nor Lucas bothered with that.

  4. Dave Hackett says:

    Sorry, the CGI Ants bugged me as much as the CGI Gophers.

    The biggest problem for me was the script. For something that they supposedly waited 20 years for to “get it right”, it was tremendously disappointing. There was no wit, very little fun, and no mystery. Telegraphing two major plot points (the origin of the skull and the identity of “Mutt”) and then making it out to be a big deal when they “reveal” them 30 minutes after the audience has already figured it out is just poor writing.

  5. Chris Dobbins says:

    With regard to point 1: One of the things I liked best about Crystal Skulls was that for once the point of the adventure was to return something to its rightful place, not to steal something away and cram it in a hanger. Back when I saw the first trailer I disliked the look of the scenes in the hanger, using that place as an action set-piece seemed like sloppy fan pandering. But opening the movie where the others ended turned out to be a very clever way to reinforce the idea that Indy was involved in something different this time. Maybe Indy should have been more cautious along the way, but his heart was in the right place for once.

  6. I didnt expect much really…and was entertained.

    the opening was funny, fun, and super. the middle was interesting and the last third with the monkeys on was a mess.

    some cool stuff was set up with kate being able to read minds in the beginning…but the ball was dropped there.

    It summer and i expect the years worst films, but the best popcorn films…and this is what i got.

    hey, i also enjoyed speed racer…which i also was warned in advance that it was horrible.

    people, prepare for a summer crap fest of movies that will make more money in one day than a dozen more interesting independant films.

    worst thing about summer movies for me are kids of all ages in the theatre at all times and these blockbusters being run on multi screens so my local theatre which features 14 different movies, now only features 3. that sucks.

    Jimmy

  7. I may be misremembering, but wasn’t Indy’s goal in “Temple of Doom” to return something — the stones — to their rightful place? At least one of them was returned.

    I liked the new movie for the most part. Yeah it was goofy, but I didn’t think any more so than “Last Crusade,” even with Shia & CGI. Marion grinning like an idiot the whole time did get on my nerves though. As did her & Indy’s quick decision to reunite and get married. But if Lucas’ recent screenplays tell us anything, it’s that he doesn’t have the faintest idea what normal human romantic relationships are like.

  8. Henrik J says:

    I thought Cate Blanchett was useless in the movie, other than the bad accent she didnt really bring anything to the film

  9. I loved the film for the simple reason that it DIDN’T try and do a 1991 sequel to Last Crusade with Sean Connery and Sallah, etc. It let the characters grow old. No, we maybe don’t want to see our childhood icon Indy a little slow and Marion a little different — but that’s what happens. The fact that they did the entire classroom scene almost shot for shot but it was so different because of Indy’s age was very rich. No longer does he live in a messy house with bad luggage, he has priceless pieces, a clean desk, and drinks wine. And with pictures of his dad and Marcus on his desk that have taken a little of the zing off the whip. I think that little scene there really brought it together for me, aliens or not.

    I agree Mac’s only role was to drop those spider-tracers. Did anyone care when he got sucked up?

    First five minutes once you realize where they are and what is there — awesome. And all the little hints as to what he’s been doing (OSS????) and nods to the TV shows were very well done. Why was there never an Indy cartoon?

    It was def. a man out of time movie with the wide-eyed 40s forcing to confront the fifties, George L’s staked-out hometown. It was SHOCKINGLY different from what I thought it would be, but afterwards I’m glad it was. I saw Prince Caspian and it was like “sew some Two Towers, Gladiator, and some Troy” and CUT. It was a good movie, but it was conventional. Spielberg, in HIS older age, is anything but anymore. Jones in a A-bomb test town? Great stuff.

    I and others thought the monkeys were a nod to Raiders when Marion berates Jones that the Evil SS Spy Monkey Who Eats Bad Dates is their child.

    Def. best villain though. It’s pulp, she *has* to have a bad accent, right? She couldn’t be stopped! Not even by the ants! Ants!!!!!!!!!!!!

    -Brad

    http://www.greendoorfilms.com/blog

  10. With no expectations, it was big dumb fun with boring and nonsensical parts interspersed.

    I heard the name “Mutt” and laughed. He was OBVIOUSLY going to be Indy’s son, since he was nicknamed after a dog, too.

    Story-wise, the biggest hurdle it had was establishing a compelling goal for Indy. In each of the three previous films, we found out pretty quickly what they were after, even if it was only “fortune & glory.” In Temple, they had to sacrifice that goal by returning the lost stone to the village, so it was fine that we didn’t get to the material goal for quite a while (after one of the best openings ever).

    In Crystal Skull, the goal wasn’t clear or compelling. Mutt drags Indy along to help his “mother” and Indy goes because of the clue Mutt gives him…which is from an old friend. But that’s NOT enough to drive the story.

    Frankly, it would’ve been a simple fix to clean this up, which is the real tragedy of this film.

    As Heidi notes, Indiana’s a real piece of work for how he treated Marion.

    At the beginning, after Indy’s fired and reflecting on what he’s lost, he needs to really reflect that “for all he’s found, he’s lost so much more” or something to that effect without being whiny or maudlin. We need to see the picture of Marion in that scene.

    When Mutt finds him, Indy needs to almost walk away…but is stopped by an amulet or some artifact that Mutt shows him. He stops, doesn’t say anything, slips the amulet into his pocket…then looks at the scrap that Mutt has.

    Later, when he first sees Marion, Indy needs to not be surprised; he KNEW she was there, even if we didn’t. He takes out the amulet and says, “I got your message.”

    If this story ends with Indy marrying Marion, then we need to FEEL his unfulfilled and wasted life. We don’t, and that’s where the film falls short.

    Marion needed to be his elusive goal, and as Heidi points out, she needs to be the Marion we remember.

    My favorite moment of the film: Indy and Marion arguing so much in the back of the truck that the Soviet guard can’t stand it…and THAT’S when the film is the most alive for me.

    BTW, how many refrigerators had a tag that read “lead lined”? Stupid, but it worked.

    –Lee

  11. In re: the aliens…

    If you think about the kinds of mysteries and artifacts Dr. Jones was studying pre- and during WW2, the natural progression for the 50s would be aliens. It’s hard to be annoyed by them, because aliens are really just an extrapolation of the mythos.

    In re: Shia & The Monkeys…

    A subtle hint that he’ll be playing Yorick when they make the inevitable movie of Y: The Last Man?

  12. Lee- Hi-five! I was thinking the same thing. :) We don’t need the surprise of him seeing her for the first time- I would completely trade that for some deeper character moments of him reflecting on what he’s lost, maybe even think, “Wow, if my life were different, maybe this kid could have been *my* son.”. How could the story have been different then, I wonder?

    I feel a special attachment to her character, as one might guess. ;)

  13. I agree with Lee that the script needed one more pass.

    When I sit back and think about the big things about KOTCS that bug me, it all comes back to Temple of Doom. They’ve done insanse things in TOD, and that movie was filled with lots of scenes that don’t serve the story. They might be exciting to see, but cut them out and it won’t affect the plot at all. That said, I can still enoy TOD for what it is. It’s got some great music, and as corny as it may be, the whole “must save the children” bit gave Indy something to fight for.

    KOTCS doesn’t have that clear motivation. Sure, it’s there. Must stop Soviets. Must return skull (’cause it told me to). Must try to save old friend’s sanity. But they’re presented as very vague goals. And, sadly, there is very little new music in it. Most of it is recylced from the previous films.

    Still, I did have fun seeing it. I can now categorize the movies like Star Trek filsm (though with Star Trek, the even ones are the good ones, and with Indy it’s the odd ones.)

  14. I generally enjoyed it, but I thought the pacing was bad. When Indy & Son find the skull in the cemetery, they stand there talking, for what seems like ten minutes.

    “Hmmm… that means… this skull… uhh… Ox…. hmmm…return…. uhhh….”

    Then once the jungle chase starts, it’s non-stop running for an hour, then the movie is over.

    A classic? Nope, but at least this movie didn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth like Superman Returns did. That was my biggest fear going in.

  15. Overall, I didn’t like it or dislike it. It was just there. Like an episode of Stargate.

    I still can’t figure out why the first 3-minute scene with the rejects from American Graffiti wasn’t left on the cutting-room floor. What was the point of it? It was the equivalent of starting a James Bond movie with a couple of guys fly fishing before the opening credits.

    Cliches took the place of mythology and legends this time around. It looked like a bunch of old guys got together to make a movie like they used to back when they had fresh ideas, which they no longer have. The action sequences were okay, but clearly designed for the inevitable theme-park ride.

  16. Or like starting an Indiana Jones movie with a musical number.

    Oh, wait…

  17. David T.G.Riches says:

    Okay a few random notes here….
    First, All the women (with the possible exception of his mum) in Indy’s life have been strong sexually advanced women. Marion was Abner’s little daughter that idn’t want a father figure in the first film she was a partner. In Crystal Skull, Indy remarks there has been so many Marions which menas he knows he’s wasted his life in that regard. In Temple of Doom, the night club singer was the star of the stage show and making demands of Indy as only a Diva does. In Last Crusade, the woman is manipulating Indy to her own ends and even dmanding him to choose her towards then end inspite of all his rmarks being true she still disbelieves and it’s her downfall. So if the woman is strong and equal to Indy they trust him to do the right thing. It’s when Indy bends to the women the trouble starts.
    Note the line in Last Crusade when Indy reveals the enemy to her father and he reveals he knew since she spoke in her sleep.
    Second, I always wondered what kind of School would allow for the teacher to run off at a moment’s notice to go galivanting around the world. Especially since in the first film he has nothing to show for it. The second film he has nothing to show for it. The third and fourth film has nothing to show for it yet in Crystal Skull he goes from being on the cusp of being fired to Associate Dean? I would I really want to promote someone who just weeks earlier drove a motorcycle throught the school library? (Yes I know it was his son driving and Indy was along for the ride but he got back on after giving advice to fellow students).
    Third, are we facing the law of diminishing return here? The first film was something that had not been seen in sometime people saw it over and over and over. But as we saw Indy on TV and with number two we want a spectacle we haven’t seen we now have expectations of Indy the we look for the first time out. Hence the scene where he goes for the missing gun to stop the fight in Temple of Doom. Thn we get to Last Crusde and we get a buddy comedy with his pa with the banter going back and forth. A different direction but elements of Indy and his resourcefulness still abound. We get to Crystal Skull and things have mildly changed. The magnetic ballbearings to find the skull (I wonder what became of that?), the blowback of the poisonous dart, the scorpions (instead of spiders of the first film, or centipedes of the second film), the contiuing phobia of snakes (does it feel like Friends moment with the rope in Crystal Skull) are all recursive features to the ingenuity of the Indiana Jones concept. But the point here is in the first film he brushes away the spiders tests the steps and figures out where to dig. The second film, he gets the poison cure, survives the crash and finds the stones. The third film he decifers the clues, spells Jehovah, and finds waldo. The fourth film he decifers Oxley’s notes, works the traps (why giant gears to destroy the staircase after they leave?), to activate the prize. With Crystal Skull we don’t get the same ingenuity to puzzle solving like we did in the first three films, none of the lines that make you think only a devout follower would know no J in Jehovah or shorten te staff for Ra’s favour. It’s that missing ingenuity that hurts Crystal Skull. It also hurt Temple of Doom. How do you top Moses, Shiva, and Christ? It just gets less and less to draw on each time and harder to keep people interested. This feels more like Indy meets the X-Files. I want to believe this was not what they are looking for.
    Fourth, How many times would you go see this Indy? The first one I saw dozens of times in the theatre. The second one a couple of times. Ditto the third but I saw the Russia House and would go see Sean read Longfellow he’s that good. If this film came out 14 or 15 years ago would it still be as good that you would go to see it at the theatre more than once. There are already bootleg theatre cams on DVD at Pacific Heritage Mall here in Canada and I heard on the streets of Manhattan. But is it good enough to need to see the theatre experience or will the people flee to waiting for the DVD rental or cable debut? Being a Fan of Indy I have seen Crystal Skull more than once already (twice for Iron Man) but I don’t see myself a month from now saying Hulk is full let’s go see Indy again. Does anyone else see themselves going back to lose themselves in the chase again? Weirdly I would love to see the other Marion’s and possible Mutts show up and the reaction would get me back to the theatre. Of course by then it would be a soap opera and not an adventure.
    Fifth, has anyone fitted this in with Old Indy history with the Young Indy Chronicles? I would want to know after Roswell we have The Mystery of Jazz then abducted by ruskies (not to be confused with Russians) to search Area 51. Harrison Ford was 65 while making Crystal Skull but Indy can’t be older that 58 in 1957. So age is just a concept. BTW for history we heard of the kidnapping by Pancho Villa and does Mutt’s motorcycle look like the used one Che Guevera used to continue interlacing history. What are the chances of tuning into the Young Mutt Chronicles on ABC in 2009?
    Well that’s enough random notes from the back of my skull.

  18. brett says:

    I loved the movie, for me the highlight was the return of Marion. Yeah, it may have been a bit far fetched to have them get together and marry but hey, its a movie and most people are suckers for happy endings. I noticed a lot of people clapping during the wedding scene in the theatre.

    Great, fun flick!

  19. That movie was totally idiotic and boring as hell.

  20. A new INDIANA JONES movie – what was there NOT to love?

    Rich!

  21. I found Blanchett to be a weak link. She is no Lotte Lenya!

    The movie actually wasn’t horrible. The NY Post gushed and created extra stars to award it, but The NY Times might have been looking to take away stars undeservedly. I guess the movie was going to sink or swim, not on Harrison Ford, but on the success of Shia LeBeouf. If his character didn’t work, the whole movie was going to be a total waste of time, and he was perfectly fine I thought in the role. I never saw him before and don’t even know why he is famous other than he makes the occasional appearance on Page Six. I guess the way they went from strangers to Dad and Son faster than Mike and Marcia Brady bonded was a little silly, but that’s about it other than I found the entire first 1/3 of the movie pretty lackluster. Maybe that is because of Blanchett again. She didn’t really work for me.

    I don’t know why people are knocking the name “Mutt”. As it happens my father’s nickname was “Mutt” and he was a child of the 50s, hanging in pool halls, wearing leather jackets and having the DA haircut. I guess because of that it sounds pretty normal to me.

  22. I can’t recommend it at all.
    Very lack-luster, even boring, slow, un-original.
    Go see Iron Man instead if you haven’t yet.

  23. Wraith says:

    I liked this movie. It definitely wasn’t the greatest movie I ever saw, but it was a fun popcorn flip. Which is what I expect from these type of movies. Get real people, this stuff isn’t meant to be high art and it shouldn’t be.

  24. Diego Jourdan P. says:

    What seriously bothered me about Indy IV was:

    a. It supports the racist notion that, while ancient Caucasians could surely have built Rome or Athens, Native Americans (same applies to Egyptians, Easter Islanders, etc.) could never have built their civilization without help from ALIENS from outer-space!

    b. Strong, sexy, cultured Irina Spalko just HAD to be vaporized by a friky Alien, because -of all things-, she happened to be seeking KNOWLEDGE!

  25. Steve Taylor says:

    Computer generated images are destroying modern movies.
    They rob the films of any sense of danger or mystery.
    They give things a creepy generic look.
    That was part of what I disliked about this project.
    I saw the film today and enjoyed the heck out of it,…but not the CGI stuff.
    I loved the idea of the ants,…but not all of the execution was satisfactory. The character design was so cartoony and LOOKED computer generated. Same with the scene with Mutt and the monkeys. It really, really, really looked as if it had been created in a computer.
    I could go on and on,…without ever mentioning the prairie dogs,…BUT, by and large, I had a great time at the movies today.
    It wasn’t perfect.
    But, what is?

  26. I really wish someone could explain why Charles Widmore and the janitor from Scrubs were in this but I know the only answer is that George Lucas wrote this and therefore its inevitable to have pointless plot points.

    Irina wasn’t bad as a villain, despite looking quite a bit like Miss Dwyer from The Invisibles.

    Shia Tarzan was a very, very bad idea.

    And if you show a gopher in the first scene of a film it better have relevance to the rest of the film.

    And why the hell was this film so bright. Did everyone in the church at the end of the film need to have a spot of sunshine on their shoulder?

    And I know Ford hasn’t had a great run of late, and we all knew Lucas has been sucking ash as a writer since he created one JarJar Binks, but how in holy silly christdom did Spielberg actually allow this to be the final product. The director of Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, and Munich, and this is what he made. It boggles the mind.

  27. Tom Spurgeon says:

    “And if you show a gopher in the first scene of a film it better have relevance to the rest of the film.”

    This is funnier than anything in the movie.

  28. The Beat says:

    MUNICH — one of my favorite later Spielberg movies — one of my top five Spielberg movies, in fact.

    We were watching a bit of INDY IV making of stuff tonight an they were talking about how in TEMPLE OF DOOM they used real bugs and the bugs ran off every day — by the time they finished filming only 25% of the bugs were left. in RAIDERS they had BINS of real, live snakes they dumped onto the set.

    What a different world it was.

  29. So, I felt it was wildly uneven. There were parts that really felt like the Indiana Jones movies, and there were others that felt like Indiana Jones & His Amazing Friends, a completely de-balled Saturday morning Hanna-Barbera cartoon. Which isn’t to say that the other films haven’t occasionally veered into the cartoonish, but this set a whole new level.

    The problems for me were mainly the tone, and the complete lack of emotional stakes. When Indy’s father gets shot in the gut in The Last Crusade, you can see on his face that he’s deathly afraid of losing his dad, no matter how estranged they are. When Indy’s about to free the slave children in Temple of Doom, you can tell just how pissed off he is at having seen them abused. When Marion is seemingly killed in Raiders, his body language is of a man who just lost everything. When he stumbles upon her alive, you get a sense of just how overjoyed he is when he rips off her gag and kisses her.

    When he meets up with Marion twenty years later in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and especially when he finds out Mutt is his son… it’s played for yuks, and that put me off.

    And I’m sorry, John Hurt’s Oxley was one of the most useless and distracting characters of the entire series. I realize that the original intent was for that to be Indy’s dad before Sean Connery decided to stay retired, but he brought nothing– NOTHING– to the story. That character doesn’t work without an emotional connection to both Indy and Mutt, providing a bridge between them for the audience. And this while Marion had nothing to do other than be Mrs. Bickerson to Indy!

    Imagine for a second if Marion were the one to have gone crazy in the jungle while staring at the crystal skull for too long. Imagine if Indy, after having gone twenty years without facing how much he loved her, now couldn’t even get through to her face to face. Imagine how much more the audience might empathize with Mutt when he has to see her this way. Imagine how much vital to the story she would have been if she were key to getting everyone to where the aliens were buried (like she was in finding the Well of Souls in Raiders).

    It was really nice to see Ford as Indy, and I have to say the old man’s still got it. He slipped the character on like a comfortable, old hat (pun intended), and I loved the little hints we got about what he’s been up to for the last couple of decades. The opening (mushroom clouds and flying refrigerators notwithstanding), the campus chase, and the grave-robbing in Peru really felt right in line with what I love about these movies.

    But jeez, what’s with the CG gophers? And the CG monkeys? And the friggin’ vine-swinging? And the three giant waterfalls that everybody survived? And what’s the deal with the whole “now that the adventure’s over, let’s get married, and look, I got my old job back and a promotion, and aren’t just a happy, just-add-water, instant family” thing? It just left me feeling like Spileberg’s been hanging out with Lucas WAY too much. When did he lose his taste and objectivity? Is no one honest with them anymore?

    I think that when the two of them were in their primes, they were still childless, and still in touch with their childhoods. Raiders was made by two kindred, childlike spirits; that’s why we got things like melting faces. That’s something a kid would come up with. Now, they’re both older guys with grown children, and their perspective is that of parents. That’s poison to movies like this.

    Anyway, I’d give it a C+, overall, mainly because it’s great to see old friends, even if you’re not as close anymore.

  30. Steve Taylor says:

    Really, though,…too much niggling.
    It was a fun ride despite the inequities.
    It’s obvious that the love of this character and this franchise would provoke these kind of comments.
    Would that we could each produce our own Indiana Jones adventures.
    Sure it’s insane to have a Wild One clone swinging through the trees, thereby transforming the neanderthal persona that Brando was so frequently lumbered with back in the day, quite literally into an ape. But, really, isn’t that the point. Lots of old adventure story references: Tarzan,…Leiningen Versus The Ants,…what else? Lots of funny little details. Did anyone else notice the fact that Blanchett’s character, who was supposed to be this psychic marvel was completely unable to pull off any psychic “tricks”?
    On and on. Plenty of things to bitch about, perhaps,…but, also, plenty to love.

  31. Unpopular says:

    I liked the film. I would debate a lot of the points raised in the comments, but after all the other posts I’ve been making here, I’m too tired to make the effort. Most of the time you can’t change anyone else’s opinion on important issues so why waste the time on debating the merits of a film. There are a lot of good points in the comments section here.

    My only real complaint is that the intelligence factor was reduced in order to increase the frequency of the action. And unfortunately I bought the idea of aliens and NOT the idea of Mutt swinging through the trees and landing on the villain.

    One other point: It’s the desire for POWER that is always the undoing of Indiana Jones’ villains.

  32. The Beat says:

    Cully — that was the best write-up yet of the coldness at the emotional core of INDY IV. You are totally right. LAST CRUSADE is my least favorite of the first three, but even so that moment when the bad guy shoots Dad is wrenching.

    It’s George Lucas to the hilt. He Does Not Understand Humans.

  33. I kinda think that, like always, Tucker Stone is right. The only thing I enjoyed was Ford. His take on playing an older Indy was fun. Everything else, not so much.

  34. Torsten Adair says:

    Doesn’t the blame for story shortcomings rest with the screen writer, David Koepp?

    What happened to the grave ghoulies after Indy did the blowback? Why visit in the middle of the night?

    I couldn’t help but think of Uncle Scrooge when they entered the temple.

    The prairie dogs serve as bookends for the opening sequence. Woulda been better to have a kid ALA Rick Jones stop and give him a ride in his jallopy. (Nice job on the atomic destruction.)

    What if the replacement of the skull was a test? Just like the Monolith on the Moon, it would signal that the “locals” had progressed enough to trigger another visitation, perhaps.

    79% at Rottentomatoes.com

    It was worth the $6 I paid.

  35. moose says:

    i really wanted to like this, but the truth was, it was just SO BORING! At 37 years old, i felt like i wasn’t old enough to be in the theater (it was filled with a lot of borderline baby boomers and their trying to stay awake mothers.) Afterwards, my kids had nothing to say about the movie and were begging to sneak into the theater next door which was showing Iron Man.

  36. Single word for me on this one – boring.

    It was like watching a friend play a video game, without the tension of hoping my friend will eventually succeed.

  37. What an incomplete handjob of a movie.

  38. Brian Spence says:

    Hey Diego, ever hear of a film called “Stargate”? You know, the one where aliens built the great pyramids in EGYPT??

    This is the first I’ve heard that it’s racist to say South American pyramids being built by aliens is racist. This theory exists because nobody knew how pyramids were made and the pyramids show up around the world at roughly the same time despite the cultures not being able to communicate with one another, and some SF writer said, “maybe it’s aliens” and that was that.

    Don’t trivialize the word racist. Not cool.

  39. re: Karen Allen grinning like an idiot through the whole thing. I just assumed it was either a face lift or botox that kept her from moving her face.

  40. I don’t know, I have a feeling that when all is said and done, 50 years in the future, this may be the Raiders they talk about in telepathic film class. Whereas Raiders is THE great adventure film (and my all-time favorite), it is a conventional adventure film. Skull really pushes pulp to the level of sheer lunacy (almost Venture Bros. level — Cate had a speed suit!), made all the more so since its in sharp contrast to the FIFTIES. I like it more every day. And we keep on talking about it. Did Iron Man get this much geek amateur criticism? Or was it just a perfect jigsaw puzzle? HAve we been had?

    I do wonder though if this came out in the alien-crazed nineties if it wouldn’t have been an even more enormous hit, you know? Jones solves Roswell and all that.

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