05th Jul2009

dijoo coin A PHRASE!?

by jerad.formby

nuke the fridge is equated to fonzie jumps a shark what is wrong with this

This blog first appeared on the pages of the Internet this year. That means that the Internet, television, and any number of movies have a longer history than this blog. Ergo a number of sweet (very sweet) nerd odds and ends have slipped through the cracks. Older than this blog are cracks in Star Trek canon, contests regarding the validity of the Star Wars prequels, and the very obvious and unfortunate persecution of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

I read you guys. I know what you mean about Indiana Jones 4 not measuring up to everything that was shown to us in our childhood. I just want to make sure that each of you are hating the movie for the right reasons and not the wrong ones.

mmm hmm gentle reader it is like that

Here, in an Internet age where a website called NUKE THE FRIDGE is up and running and that very phrase has been coined to be the new JUMP THE SHARK, Hey Star Trek! stands next to the man of adventure.

Oh yes, Dr. Jones fan, you will become a true believer!

why so many do not like this one is beyond me

Like any other movie fan from the early 1980’s, I was under the impression that movies were made by only two people. There was George Lucas who made Star Wars and there was Steven Spielberg who made E.T. I knew other people were making movies, but at the time, I was fairly convinced those movies were made by wanna bes. Those movies were around, but they were movies I didn’t want to see.

The best of both filmmakers came together for one very famous film series and that titled Indiana Jones. I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark as a young child and although I didn’t understand just what the hell was happening, I knew it was cool. I missed Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in the theater. I did get to see Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in the theater (a few days later, of course, Star Trek V opened).

I did all of that running around in the local park with a rope tied through my belt loop (no real whip until I was older). Heck, I even played sidekick to another neighborhood kid who wanted to wear the Fedora. I remember that the true cool thing about Indiana Jones was that he was real. I didn’t want action figures like I might with Star Wars. I wanted to run into traffic. I wanted to perform last minute dodges and saves.

I wanted to be Indiana Jones. I know. Get in line, right?

seriously where are these ladies and do you meet them through those geek love sites

Before I dish on the Crystal Skull, I want each of you to get exactly which type of Indiana Jones fan I am. There is no break down on who makes who a certain type of Indiana Jones fan, just understand this about me and this page: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is my very favorite in the series. Please read favorite and not the best film in the series.

If you’re not sure what I mean, let’s look at some examples.

favorites are not the same as bests

So the best is obviously Raiders of the Lost Ark (now titled Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark cause Lucas can’t leave well well enough alone).

What fascinates me about hatred for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is that the biggest, flaming hate is centered around Indiana Jones climbing into a refrigerator to survive a Nuclear blast. Everybody shakes the fence and starts screaming about everything from the radiation to “getting knocked around in something that tight will kill you.”

I guess these are “realistic” and grounded arguments. I just want to know which Indiana Jones they have been watching up until that point. Because it certainly wasn’t mine.

as if indiana jones has never done anything death defying before

Argue all you want that Indiana Jones and realism go hand in hand and I’ll praise the Ark of the Covenant, the Sankara Stones, the Holy Grail, and even the Crystal Skull for proving again and again that Indy and realism just do not get along.

Hey Star Trek! also requests you back off with the “radiation” would have killed him argument.

and can we stop with radiation complaints please if a man survives the climax of raiders it is not a huge leap to believe he just might survive something man made

This last Indiana Jones movie lost the “feel” of an Indiana Jones movie for me. It lost the feeling roughly when Shia and Indy met up. I’ve watched Indiana Jones bust out with some pretty lengthy exposition, but this Crystal Skull stuff really just lost me. And the kid’s contributions to the dialog didn’t sell me anywhere.

All of this happened after “the fridge” — the supposed worst part! A part worse than the monkeys? The ants? Really? And what was going on with Karen Allen’s performance (bless her heart)?

The “fridge” was actually the best part for me. I don’t know why you watch Indiana Jones, but I watch him to see a desperate choice pay off. You cannot beat Indy under pressure and when he was running around inside of the 50’s motif in acute panic –looking for a way to escape– that was as grand as running from a giant boulder, or grabbing a life raft, or cutting a rope bridge, or riding a tank over a cliff.

That moment was Indiana Jones.

It was also intensely poetic. Don’t forget that the world is different now. Different for Indiana and different for us. What better way to hammer the point home than to set Indiana Jones (in full costume) up against a 1950’s interior house? The image sets up for a new world and a new kind of movie.

how is it so many insist to get on his back about this situation and ultimate choice

If I may be so bold, it also sets up for an Indiana Jones universe with aliens.

I honestly believe the only real problem with the Crystal Skull was the shoe-horning of Shia “Mutt” Williams. This kid character simply felt forced to me. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why until I read an old draft of Indiana Jones 4 that was written by Frank Durabont (Shawshank Redemption).

Durabont’s script had most of the elements in Crystal Skull (including the “god-awful” fridge scene), aliens at the end, and Marion.

a very brief history of george lucas being his own biggest problem

This script featured some of The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’s biggest set pieces:

*Indiana Jones being betrayed by someone he trusts.
*Indiana Jones blacklisted as a Communist.
*Indiana Jones goes to Peru.
*Crazy teacher character who looked into the Skull

But, now imagine it with this:

imagine the possibilities because they already were imagined and rejected by the man with the beard

the set pieces durabont built felt more like an indiana jones movie

daring to actually give them an estranged relationship to explore from page 40 and not later

*Indiana Jones, drunk and defeated, breaks into the museum with all his old findings.
*Indiana Jones competing with a more famous archeologist.
*Indiana Jones working as a lowly “digger” and his boss? Marion Ravenwood.
*Casablanca style bar.
*Indiana Jones beating the snot out of a main character for a righteous reason.
*Russians and 1950’s mobsters.
*Giant Snakes.

“Mutt” Williams was awkward from the start. From the moment Labouff was announced to be part of the cast everyone started scratching their heads. Everyone was curious if the Transformers kid was gonna be Indy’s kid. Even if he wasn’t, it meant that Lucas was possibly going to retire Indy in favor of this new character. So it was weird going to the dance and not being certain who was the date.

can you say awkward no really can you

This is why I say he was forced into Crystal Skull. Other than cutting spectacular action, it seems the biggest reason Lucas didn’t like “City of the Gods” was because there was nobody around to pass the fedora off to. Which is why when he’s slammed into the story it doesn’t work as well as it might have without him.

The backbone of the Durabont story, however, and why it’s superior to what was actually filmed is that the piece is actually a middle-aged love story. This is the story where two people further down the road than they’d like to be hash out lots of old garbage, fight, and love. And yeah, there’s aliens at the end, but wait . . .

The aliens try and seduce Indiana Jones with an “ultimate knowledge” at the film’s end and Indiana must choose between all of the answers in the universe and his love for Marion.

I hope you know what he chooses.

Given George Lucas’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Frank Durabont’s Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods, I know what I would have chosen.

Nuclear refrigerator and all.

honestly it is not like you need a road map


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  • Jay

    Well, said. Sounds like the other script would have been awsome. The thing that killed the movie for me was that it was not an Indy movie. When does Indy give in to help the bad guys? He does it more than once in the movie.

  • Sutekh

    If you’re going to put giant ants in a movie set in the fifties, they better be freakin’ GIANT ANTS, not slightly over-sized ones. But you’re right, alas, the movie lost me at Shia showing up in the Brando gear. Bulls#!t!!!

  • Methos

    TBH – my biggest concern about this movie was simply relevance. I believe that this movie failed regarding relevance – to the genre, to the present day and to the subject matter. It did not payoff as a period piece as Raiders and Doom did so well in the past, and became what eventually Star Wars suffered from in the end: formulaic execution.

    I have to honestly say that when I left the movie – I was ambivalent at best. There were scenes that were well executed and there were scenes that were beyond the pale of even Indiana Jones’ suspense of disbelief towards its own cinematic reality – but in the end, the entire movie left me – flat. Not disappointed, not angry, not engaged or even remotely titilated; simply, plainly – flat.

    Why – quite simply – the lack of emotional investment. Remember, for over 25 years, the legend, the passion and the love of Indiana Jones became one of the more powerful underpinnigs of my generation’s childhood. Anyone 35 and older will probably say so.

    There were no characters for me to care about at all in this film – not even Indy. Mutt’s involvement was simply to introduce the heir apparent for future films, and Marion – solely for nostalgia – but as truly a shadow of her former fiery, younger self.

    I really could care less about the refrigerator, the monkeys…well maybe not that scene…the UFO and the legend of El Dorado – that stuff is always the envelope that Lucas and Spielberg push in these films. My true issue was with how the characters were handled and how irrelevant they felt in this time – this modern filmmaking era. The film did not execute well as a period piece and therefore the characters became too severe as anachronisms against the tapestry of a very thinly veiled historical backdrop.

    And for that – the film left me disengaged and thought I would NEVER feel that way walking out of a theater after a movie with INDIANA JONES in the title.

    Then again, I said the same thing about Star Wars and…well that’s for another time.

    Thank God I have J.J.’s STAR TREK!!!

    Peace –

    Methos

  • http://www.dvdgeeks.tv DVD Geeks

    There are a number of things right and a number of things wrong about the last Indy movie. Unfortunately for me, the bad outweighed the good, and I felt the same disappointment leaving the theatre as Methos.

    No, the refrigerator scene didn’t bother me at all. It was an appropriately ridiculous, high pressure escape, and the contrasting location with Indy’s appearance really did work for me. I almost didn’t mind Mutt (to a point), even though the best kids in previous films (Short Round in “Temple of Doom” and River Phoenix as young Indy) far outshine Shia. Obviously, Mutt was a gimmick way to “pass the torch,” even though there’s really no need for that torch to be passed. It’s kind of cool to just see Indy go through his changes. He already became a father in “Temple of Doom” in a far more emotional, far more compelling story.

    The real letdown for me in “Crystal Skull” (other than the lack of emotional resonance pointed out above) was the Maguffin itself. From the opening sequence, the movie just shows you right up front that it’s all about aliens. There’s no mystery, no mysticism, just a completely naturalistic explanation that everyone seems to take as perfectly acceptable fact. Indy had (up to this point) been portrayed as a skeptic who plunges into other peoples’ strange beliefs out of archaeological, scientific curiosity. At the end of the first three movies, he’s still on the outside looking in.

    In “Crystal Skull” all the mystery had been completely stripped away – which is even stranger when you consider that anything “alien” would not be understandable in the least to humans. Every action, every clue is quite literal which, in effect, took me out of the story.

    I so badly wanted to love this film. I had that same feeling going into the theatre as I did in 1989 about to see “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” for the first time. When I exited the theatre, though, I wished I had not just watched the Indy trilogy back-to-back on DVD because all the deficiencies of the new movie were that much more evident. It’s a good thing that trilogy is, so far, timeless. In terms of my “favorite” as opposed to “the best” – they ALL are. I find myself loving the first three and wanting to see them all and finding new things to like about each one. That’s not a feeling I think I will find in “Crystal Skull” in the years to come.

  • Steve

    When they were announcing a 4th Indy movie back in the 90’s, I thought the two places to go would be either “Indiana Jones and the Lost World” (dinosaurs) or “Indiana Jones and the Ancient Astronauts” (given all the archeological “evidence” for the AA). “Jurassic Park” and its sequel pretty much nixed the dinosaurs so I was somewhat pleased to hear that the AA might be the subject of 4. Interesting to hear that Mutt was not originally part of the story. Would that it were so.

  • Michael Magnes

    The fridge scene didn’t bother me and really the only thing that really bugged me about the film was Shia. I liked the film I guess because I was not expecting the most amazing Indy ever, that goes to Last Crusade.

    On the fridge scene though. I’ve heard a lot of people say they don’t like it because it is not possible. Well of course not it’s a movie. And then I go further saying Jones films have done this before. Take Temple for instance, that scene with the raft, not possible what so ever.

    How about Last Crusade you remember the scen where indy and his dad are getting away on the bike and indy shoves the flag pole into the wheel of the Nazi;s bike and then the bike shots up into the air as they safely drive away. Well not possible.

    And Jerad could not be more right in this saying Indy and realism do not go together. Simple as that. When you watch Indy take realism and tell it to bugger off for a while and just enjoy it for what it is folks.

    Trying to put realism with him is like trying to figure out what the Flux compositor actually dies. Who cares it works that;s al that matters. In Star Trek they don;t tell you how they travel back in time or even in Dr. Who they just do it. Concentrating on it will make you go mad.

    Good Journey…