Saturday, May 31, 2008

Jones, Jones, Calling Dr Jones...

Ah crap Vengaboys songs, marvellous. Fear not I’m not about to waffle on about the greatness of 90s cheese instead it’s positively 80s as I talk Indiana Jones.

As I child of the 80s I love these films… well 2 of them, Temple of Doom is a bit meh however Raiders is simply one of the greatest films ever made and it’s with much excitement I settled down to watch the Crystal Skull this week.

Oh dear. First 40 minutes is class, pure Indy as he stomps around Area 51 and gets debriefed by the CIA. Harrison Ford is superb and I can even excuse THAT fridge scene. (Indy did after all plummet god-knows how many feet in a rubber dinghy in Temple so the twisted physics are well established in the Indy universe.)

Mutt’s not that bad and the scene in the diner is great and well paced, then it all goes wrong really. Once Indy’s off on his travels the film unravels. Indy arrives at a cemetery to find the crystal skull and that’s what he does. Eh? He literally walks into the tomb and picks it up…. Where’s the booby traps? Where’s the creepy crawlies?

It’s this lack of immediate threat and lack of suspense that spoils the rest of the film. At no point do you feel Indy’s life is threatened. Remember clinging onto your cinema seat during Crusade’s fantastic tank fight or Temple’s mine cart scene? Sure there’s a big chase scene in a jungle but there’s no danger to it. Also there’s the anti-communist CGI monkeys…. Seriously, what the fuck’s that about? A steaming pile of Jar-Jar shaped CGI ruined Star Wars please Lucas, for the love of god learn from your mistakes.

Then there’s the waterfall. I said before that twisted physics are an established feature of the Indyverse however twisted physics on a massive scale thrice in a row jars my belief heavily.

So ultimately you go away from the film with a feeling of sorrow, it could have been so good and indeed it does perhaps rise above Temple Of Doom but falls flat of Crusade & Raiders by far.

The big mistake is forgetting Indy is human. He’s not a superhero. This is the same trap Bond producers fell into on Die Another Day. Seeing Pierce Brosnan smugly surfing a crap CGI tsunami almost had me sharply exiting the cinema. Thankfully Bond was fixed and in Casino Royale the producers realised it’s Bond’s subtle human traits that make him such a fascinating character. Spielberg & Lucas should have taken notes from Royale, with the inclusion of Connery in Crusade they blatantly admitted Bond is Indy’s cinematic father and Indy 4 should have followed the lead. Instead we’re treated to a superhuman Indy who can survive 3, 300ft waterfalls with no problem leaving the audience with no sense of threat. Sorry, but Indy 4 is a miss for me.

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