Indiana Jones and the Worst Installment of the SeriesBack in 1981, the marketing campaign for the original Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, included the line, "From the creators of Jaws and Star Wars." After waiting 19 years for a new Indiana Jones film, I'm afraid the marketing campaign should include, "From the creators of Jurassic Park II: The Lost World and Howard the Duck."
On Saturday, I watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with Moobi. We are both avid fans of the works of George Lucas and Steven Speilberg. Both of us find redeeming values in all of their projects from their classics in the 1980s to those that missed the mark in the 1990s and today. As we both left the theater, we said the same thing, "What the hell was that?" On the ride home, we attempted to unearth anything worthwhile to discuss. We even questioned if we were being too hard on the film since it was an Indiana Jones film. Would we feel the same if was something like, National Treasure 3 or The Goonies 2.
I am one of George Lucas' most supportive followers. I enjoyed the Star Wars prequels. Sure, they are not as good as the original trilogy. Most people blast The Phantom Menace with an ion canon, but if Jar Jar Binks was toned down a bit, it's honestly a good Star Wars movie. Anakin Skywalker should have played a more prominent role in that one though. In Attack of the Clones, Lucas missed his mark a bit. The overall story was good, but the script probably required one additional rewrite. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was fantastic with a powerful story and outstanding visuals.
I just do not understand how this is receiving on 79% fresh rating on rottentomatoes.com.
- SPOILER ALERT -
If you have not seen the new Indiana Jones film yet, please stop reading here. I am going to discuss spoilers. Come back after seeing the film and share your thoughts.
Let's address some good points first. I did enjoy the concept of the story. It was a pleasant change of pace to see Indiana Jones hunting for alien technology rather than another religious artifact. I always wondered if Indy would have some connection to the Roswell incident in 1947.
If you were a fan of the original films, you received a few glimpses at familiar territory. In the warehouse, that's where the Ark of the Covenant was stored. It even makes a brief cameo. Indy even took a moment to remember Marcus Brody and his father.
The movie had some good chase scenes. I did like the bike chase on campus.
During the early portion of the film, far too much time was spent reminding me that we were now in the 1950s and not the late 1930s. Going into the film, I knew that it was set later, so I had that advantage. I knew we were in the 1950s when the kids were racing the army vehicles and listening to Elvis Presley. Insert a few, "comrade" lines and the occasional, "I like Ike" comments and I understand that the Russians are the enemy and not the Nazis.
I wanted to love Cate Blanchett's character, Irina Spalko. She was apparently a psychic, but after one scene, they completely abandon that point. Moobi and I disagreed. He didn't buy her as a Russian. I did.
I've always believed if a scene doesn't advance a story, or at least offer some type of character development, cut it. I wish George and Steven cut the nuclear test site scene. For me, it was a little too much - Hey, we're still in the 1950s. Did you forget? The refrigerator? I could take it or leave it.
One of the worst elements of this movie dealt with Karen Allen's character, Marion Ravenwood. She's actually Marion Williams in this one. Marion is arguably my favorite fictional female character of all time. She's tough and can stand her ground against some of the most evil men. She can also also be soft and caring. I'm afraid she suffered Princess Leia's fate in this one. Leia transformed the same way from tough leader of the rebellion standing before Darth Vader and General Tarkin, to weeping in Han Solo's arms. At least she had three films to soften.
I was afraid that Shia LaBeouf's character, Mutt Williams, would end up being Indy's son. Sure enough, Marion gave birth to Indy's on, and he didn't know about it. I was prepared for that to happen, so I was caught off guard. When Mutt started swinging in the vines with the monkeys, I knew the movie was lost. I hate when television shows add younger stars when the principal cast becomes too old. To me, Mutt Williams was to Indy that Olivia was to The Cosby Show, or Andrew to Family Ties.
Let me know you're thoughts, but wait until you've seen the movie.