Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Raiders Of the Lost Franchise

I know I said I was going to share my thought about Hellboy II: The Golden Army, (good but not as good as the first), but I caught up with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom Of the Crystal Skull at the bargain matinee, and boy, am I glad I didn’t pay full price to see it.

(SPOILER ALERT, although I’m sure everyone’s seen it by now.)

This is the kind of movie that makes you want to pull a gun on the cashier and demand everybody’s money back. There is an almost palpable stench of desperation about it, from the opening sequence, which takes place in the same warehouse in which the Ark of the Covenant is hidden (and which is inexplicably located within a quantum leap of White Sands Testing Range). Which leads to Indy escaping a nuclear test blast at ground zero by hiding in a refrigerator.

I guess they made ‘em better back then.

An attempt at believability was made by labeling the fridge as lead-lined (who knew they were that worried about irradiated produce back in the ‘50s?). So all he had to deal with was the shock wave and the thermal blast, which would've cooked him like a Swanson’s TV dinner. I know I’m supposed to park my brain at the door, but even my spinal cord couldn’t take this. And it went downhill from there.

Don’t get me wrong - I loved the first 3 movies. (Well, I loved the first and the third, and parts of the second.) But I don’t --

Well, that’s not entirely true either. In fact, I think I may be the only person on the planet who has a severe problem with the ending of Raiders. At least, I’ve never heard anyone else mention it. And oddly enough, it’s exactly the same problem that Han Solo has in the “Special Edition” of Star Wars. In that version, as every fanboy knows, Han didn’t shoot first.

And Indy didn’t either.

I’ll go into detail in my next post.


Steve Perry said...

You really are turning into an old curmudgeon, ain'tcha?

Indy, in all his incarnations, has been a Republic serial, and reality in any form was never part of any of those.

Me, I think the nuked fridge was a nod to all those cliffhanger endings where you *saw* the hero die, only to see a somewhat different version of the car exploding in the opening of the next week's episode.

Frankly, that Ford was able to do any of his own stunts -- and some of them you can tell it was him -- was worth the price of admission alone, and I had a fine ole time. I was like the last Rocky movie -- a wrap-up and fond farewell.

Silly? Sure. So what?

Ed said...

Ditto - 1st and 3rd are the best. I just wish I would have waited till it got to the cheap theater like you did or watched the 1st and 3rd again. That is a common theme the last 6 years - waiting till the cheap seats. It seems more and more I/we am/are being disappointed by the movies - I am getting older but it has always been a matter of the movie industry needing better writing not better unbeleivable special effects aided scenes - Dumbing down comes to mind because of bad movie execs gettin in the writers and or directors way - wasn't Lucas and Spielberg in there -- oops. The one time the execs got it right is on the movie Payback - they changed the writer/directors cut/3rd act and released their version. I have both dvd's and boy the first release is so much better - to me. The directors cut does have some great extra features in it. I think better writing can still be done on action and other movies and more often. They need to get their "Top Men.....Top Men" on the projects. We/I need more classics made.

Jonathan said...

I followed the production of this religiously and blindly. The first three Indy movies helped shape me into the person I am today, that I am sure of (as a child, I watched them hundreds of times). I waited for this eagerly. I took a 500-mile "vacation" to Connecticut with a friend conveniently when they were doing extras casting for this. I was convinced this couldn't be bad. It was bad and I knew from the opening frame - the CGI gophers - that I was in for disappointment. Half-way through the movie when I realized I didn't have a smile on my face, that this was just a bad sequel all around.

I could go pretty in-depth on this (and I did, in a review I wrote), but we'll leave it at that for now.