Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Big Disappointment

(Spoilers to follow, obviously.)

Okay, I did it--I went to see the big Indy Jones Part IV that everybody's been going on and on about. Well, actually, come to think of it, nobody's been going on and on about it. Except maybe Entertainment Weekly and that was only until the actual movie came out. There was a decent size crowd though, which was more than I can say for the half-dozen movies I've seen in the last six months. And one might unfairly point out that all of those movies were seen on my sofa in my living room, and one would be right.

Was it a total waste of time? Nah. I could have done worse with two hours and eleven bucks. Shia LeBouf was great as the rebel without a point, and Cate Blanchett, despite the bad fake Russian accent, was a knockout as Evil Doctor Whatsherface. The sword fight between moving cars was awesome, and there were too many good lines to mention. And it was nice to see the Lost Ark again, however briefly. Still, I found myself kind of wishing I could have this one and Temple of Doom erased from my brain so I could remember the glory of Raiders and Lost Crusade unsullied by the memory of lesser filmmaking. It was a good movie, and if Indy hadn't been in it I'd have said it was a not-half-bad ripoff of an Indiana Jones movie. But from Indy you just expect more. You've got Spielberg, Lucas, Harrison Ford and John Williams, fergodsake. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, actually, I don't know. There was something just not there about this particular installation of the grand saga. I can't put my finger on any one thing. So let's just hit ten of 'em and hope that covers it.

10. Opening shot of the Paramount mountain faded into...a gopher mound. What?! Uh, look, people, said Paramount mountain has faded into a cool mountain in Peru, Mount Everest overlooking some nightclub in China, and an arch at Arches National Park. It's always something grandiose and cool. But a gopher mound? That's just--that's just not right somehow. Not even as a joke.

9. Indiana Jones was a colonel in World War II? Er, how's that exactly? The guy would have had to enlist as a lieutenant like everybody else. The war only went on for five years. That's really not enough time to make colonel. Unless, of course, you kill all of your superiors which, I suppose, could happen.

8. The chase scene through the library was missing a certain vital something. Oh, I know. It may have just been an oversight, but I really wanted to see that motorcycle slam into the card catalog and send cards flying all over creation.

7. Too much plot getting in the way of the story. Any time you have to have long scenes of exposition where the evil Russian doctor talks in a bad fake accent about bringing the capitalists to their knees with the use of - gasp! - psychic powers, you know you're losing your touch. Besides, psychic powers aren't all that scary. Trust me, I've written a book on the subject and I haven't sold anybody the concept. Or the manuscript, for that matter.

6. Space aliens? Come on now.

5. Flying saucer buried in Peru? Come on now. They did that in the first X-Files movie. They also did it better, scary as that sounds.

4. No big finish. Yeah, you had the temple collapsing and the rocks flyin' around and all that good stuff, but so what? The bad guys didn't explode (though they did disappear through a door to "somewhere else"), the good guys didn't get to smooch (too much company) and instead of a tidy wrap-up we got a lecture on the importance of staying in school. Which was nice, but--What?

3. Sorry, comrades, but Communists just ain't as scary as Nazis. Never have been, never will be. Pravda. Dosvidanya.

2. Marion Ravenwood didn't get to kick any butts, or for that matter, even shoot anybody. For cryin' out loud, Spielberg and Lucas, this is Marion frick'n Ravenwood we're talking about here. In Episode I she pan-bashed Arabs, decked gigantic Sherpas, blew away three or four Nazis with one shot, seduced a Frenchman, and pummelled hell out of a pilot with a pair of wooden blocks. This episode she gets to--drive a car. Gee, that's exciting. There wasn't even a courtesy girl on girl catfight with Cate Blanchett. I thought thirteen and a half year old boys lived for that sort of thing.

And finally (drum roll please) the No. 1 reason why Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Whatever The Hell was a big disappointment:

1. The older Harrison Ford gets, the more he looks like my father. Sorry, Harrison, but that's just a little weird.


David Isaak said...

"There wasn't even a courtesy girl on girl catfight with Cate Blanchett. I thought thirteen and a half year old boys lived for that sort of thing."

Me too.

Though I'd prefer the g-on-g sex scene, as in The Hunger. (Catherine Denueve and Susan Sarandon. What's not to like?)

See what maturity does for a guy?

Jen Ster said...

Well, that'd kill the PG rating. But apart from that, I'd be right with ya there, as (ahem) I didn't exactly see "The Hunger" cuz David Bowie is oh so super cute, ya know.