Jump to content

Home

Recommended Posts

We caring about this? Thought I'd make a thread and find out. This is the last Harrison Ford-led Indy movie we'll ever be able to unhealthily obsess over, and it starts filming next month, so let's act like we're all still twelve for one last hurrah of heedless speculation, pre-emptive complaining and the joy-filled hope that it actually looks like a movie this time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Isn't Harrison older than the Ark of the Covenant at this point? Still, if they can paint out his zimmer frame with CGI and inject half the fun of the original movies, I'll be on board.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ehh, after the ugly digital sheen of  Crystal Skull, any proper Indy 5 should be going in the opposite direction, hard. Give me every last line and crag on Harrison Ford's decrepit visage and leave the digital face scrubbing and hideous overlit shooting style to daytime television where it belongs. Phedon Papamichael has a solid track record and I am hopeful for some major course correction on the photography front this time out.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Indy 4 wasn’t great but at least it was led by Spielberg and Lucas. Since it’s bought out by Disney and they practically bullied Lucas and Spielberg out, it’s basically fan fiction to me (just like with Star Wars).


But since Indy is such a hero of mine and is so dear to my heart, I’m still kinda hoping something happens so they can’t make it. I’d rather have the franchise laid to rest with a mediocre part 4, than have Disney take a dump on it…

Sorry guys, just my two cents.

 

If someone is looking forward to this, good for you. I hope you enjoy it.

Edited by Lagomorph01
Link to post
Share on other sites

While it's a disappointment to me that Spielberg isn't rounding the series off, I think it's worth trying to close out the Ford era with something better than Skull if the actor is motivated to do one more outing, which he plainly is.

 

On what basis do you claim Lucas and Spielberg were bullied out? Lucas has shown very little interest in this project from the beginning, while Spielberg seems to have voluntarily assumed the Lucas role, for whatever reason. I guess you are suggesting the reason has to do with interference from above, but we can only speculate about that.

 

What we do know is that Spielberg and Lucas had creative carte blanche last time out, and it resulted in Crystal Skull. I am not interested in an Indy that has been micromanaged by Disney/Lucasfilm executives and made under the same assembly-line methods all branded studio tentpoles seem to be these days, but we have pretty convincing evidence in support of the idea that Spielberg/Lucas aren't the most qualified duo to be spearheading one of these movies in the 21st century. I would have preferred Spielberg had felt he had something to prove and approached Indy 5 as an act of redemption, but his choice to step down suggests he didn't have that kind of fire for the project. We are probably better off with Mangold - a "safe" choice but certainly no hack - if the alternative is a disengaged Spielberg.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If I compare the way Disney treated Lucas with Star Wars, (a spoken agreement that Lucas’ scripts for 7, 8 and 9 would be filmed), and the fact that George Lucas called them ‘White Slavers’ in an interview afterwards (for which he apologised, but come on), says something about how he feels, and how they treat these franchises.

I don’t think they want to make a great new film, they want a nostalgia piece with so many boxes ticked that the story can’t stand on it’s own. In short, they want to make money. If they accidentally make a good film in the progress, that’s a nice bonus for them.

I’m sorry, but to me, those are the worse people to make these movies.

 

But of course I’m not ‘right’ in my opinion, and I hope everyone who’s looking forward to this enjoys it.


I do however like the updates you do on the movie on the front page, because it still peeks my interest from time to time, so please keep it up.

If I could get my front page account working, I would comment there too!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't speak to the Star Wars stuff since I didn't really follow any of those movies. By comparison to Star Wars, Indy has always been way less exploited. It seems every installment was made simply whenever Lucas and Spielberg opted to materialize one, rather than by any kind of directive. Better neglected than worn out, I suppose, but it's still a bummer to think of all the WWII era sequels we might have gotten in the 90s with a fifty-something Harrison Ford had the Beards been interested. Has George said one word about the franchise since the Disney acquisition? He seemed over it before they ever got involved.

 

Indy movies seem to have been pretty walled off from studio meddling - for better or for worse - and I had hoped that would continue to be the case even with the Disney-controlled Indy 5 by the sheer virtue of Spielberg's influence. Disney has the entire future to monetize Indy however they see fit -- you'd hope they'd be smart enough to let its usual custodian handle the last hurrah with Ford, which has been a winning formula at the box office four times out of four, then do whatever unholy business they please with the property thereafter.

 

There's no guarantee of that, of course. And even when Spielberg was at the helm, the potential for this last outing to be The Indy Awakens was probably high. But if they can send Ford off on a better note than they left him in 2008, that's at least worth hoping for. And it's not that extraordinary a hope. There's not a whole lot to lose, sadly.

 

You may want to get with @s-island about your front page troubles.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I might be oversimplifying but I feel like it’s best to just take each film based on its own merits rather than having all kinds of festering presumptions. Disney has been involved with plenty of actually very good movies, but also ones that are by-the-numbers disappointments.

 

It’s probably more pertinent who specifically is involved with the production. Disney is a monster company, but these films are still ultimately made by human beings hopefully trying their best to make a good flick.

 

I also don’t think it can be emphasised enough that to my knowledge Disney wasn’t involved at all with Crystal Skull, and… well.

 

As a random aside, I just want to mention that Disneyland Paris has had an awesome Indiana Jones ride since the mid-90s. I was wondering how that happened given it was long before Disney obtained Indiana. Turns out it was a LucasFilm/Disney collaboration.

Edited by Thrik
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, George licensed Indy for various Disney theme park attractions. I think the Epic Stunt Spectacular was the first result of that deal, way back in 1989. It will be interesting to see if Disney doubles down on Indy's presence in their parks now that they have ownership, but who knows. Of the two big Lucasfilm properties, Star Wars historically gets all the oxygen. Even LucasArts ultimately published shockingly few Indy games on balance. We'll see what Bethesda comes up with.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I don't see Disney as the bad guys here. And certainly not bullying Spielberg or Lucas out. Spielberg said no, clearly, not the other way around.

 

Lucas got his modern sequels: Episodes I, II, and III and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. There were good and bad in all of them, but given that they're considered some of the biggest disappointments in cinematic history, I'd say he had his chance. His rough plans for episodes VII, VIII and IX were likely dirge involving interplanetary trade disputes (although I would actually like to hear what they were, I do like Lucas really). 

 

I think it's time to let others play. And apparently that's what Lucas was thinking when Disney handed him a billion dollar cheque.

 

And Kathleen Kennedy was the perfect choice to run LucasFilm after Disney took control of it, and she's largely done a brilliant job. She had produced every major Spielberg film from ET(!) onwards, including the original Indiana Jones movies. She's been around those two men, and around that world, for decades and decades. Her big mistake during her tenure was not appointing a new "Lucas" to keep an eye on Star Wars (but who would YOU pick? JJ Abrams? Maybe.)

 

The other mistake they've made was listening to the fans. Fans are idiots. Ignore the fans. (I wonder if that was Disney execs pushing her.)

 

If Disney get more involved in LucasFilm, without someone like Kennedy at the helm, THEN I'm going to worry. Disney don't really do a good job when left to their own devices. Their animation department is run by Pixar people. Marvel is run by Kevin Feige. LucasFilm is on the bubble of having some slick-talking suit add it to his CV and then ruining the whole thing.

 

The new film could be great. It could also be awful. It might be somewhere in between. And I'll debate anyone who says differently! ;)

Edited by ThunderPeel2001
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Nicely put, ThunderPeel. Of course the next movie might hit all the right notes and be a big succes. Could be, and if it does, good for us, and for Disney/Lucasfilm.

I guess I just like the Back to the Future approach to moviemaking more. Robert Zemeckis said there will be no sequels/prequels/midquels/reboots or anything as long as he lives, and I think it makes the trilogy extra special. I just don't like what these franchises become when they're trying to stay relevant. Indiana Jones was perfect as a trilogy, I can accept that there is a mediocre fourth part starring an aging Indiana. But after this, 2/5 of the franchise will be about an aging or even elderly Indiana Jones...

I'd like it best if they just let bygones be bygones, and focus on something new. Remember Indiana Jones as a great set of movies, instead of constantly trying to live up to old glory with an elderly actor... and mixed results.

And if a fifth movie is unavoidable (which by now it probably is), I'd like it to be made with Ford, Spielberg and Lucas, because that's the trio that made the magic happen. Without them, there would be no Indy, so to me, they are the only people who should close the book on him, (even if it delivers a mediocre fifth film).

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Lucas gave up his rights to work on the fifth movie when he sold Indy to Disney. He didn't have to do that. He could have kept LucasFilm and just shut it down. Of course I don't blame him for not doing that. $1 billion is a lot of money! And he earned it by creating two of the most popular movie franchises in history. As a result we get the modern sequels... but to be honest, they've largely been great. At least in my eyes. Certainly no worse than the video games we've enjoyed over the years, and often better. Personally I'm glad we have them (well, except the last one).

 

Lucas was never going to make Episode VII, VIII, and IX. I would love to learn what his rough plans were though.

 

It would be nice to Lucas and Spielberg to finish off the series, but again, Lucas had his chance. He pushed for all kinds of things that Spielberg didn't want in Crystal Skull. I don't know if you've read Frank Darabont's original script. It had its faults, but it was overall better than what we got in the end. Darabont fought Lucas on so many things, but he lost, too. Lucas is stubborn, which is great when he's right... (Related: Zemekis refused to allow them to redo the special effects for BTTF.)

 

James Mangold is a talented director. Spielberg is Executive Producer. It might actually turn out to be a return for form for Indy... I mean I sincerely hope it is. I'd rather not have another Indy movie I don't feel like watching. And maybe Ford still has some life in him. Fingers crossed!

Edited by ThunderPeel2001
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven’t read Frank Darabont’s script, but maybe I should.

I actually think the first half of Kingdom of the Chrystal Skull is pretty great! Russians make for a great Nazi substitute, the throwback to the warehouse with the Ark, the dusty old Indy in the pastel 50’s town, nuking the fridge (I know it get’s a lot of hate, but I loved it, it’s just as ridiculous as the rubber boat in Temple, but way more fun!), the bicicle chase through college, the tombs with those Indian shooty guys, all classic Indy in my book!

After they get to the Russian Camp everything goes downhill fast though. Indy gets slowed down by having to many people on board (Marion, the nutty professor guy, that ridiculous and unnecessary Mac character), I didn’t care about the ants, the monkeys, the temple, the space ship and the knowledge is power. Its just a terrible payoff to a good setup.

All in all I don’t like the movie, just because of that second half. But if I rate it, it’s pretty much half good, half bad.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Darabont draft is materially better. Lots of outrageous stuff on it, but it's actually got a pulse. The big issue with Crystal Skull in my view is the weird inertness.

 

I tend to think that the actual story elements of the fourth movie are pretty strong. Lucas basically took some hoax legends about "Akakor" and the Mitchell-Hedges crystal skull and combined them with El Dorado. While I'm sure some would regard the employment of New Age myths as off-brand compared to biblical or Arthurian legend, I think the ingredients were there for a solid 50s-era Indy movie.

 

The problem is that story is to a large degree storytelling, and Crystal Skull fails to execute on its ideas with any sense of mystery, grandeur, intrigue, or stakes -- all pretty fundamental qualities of a good Indy movie, I would say. It doesn't feel particularly cohesive, either. For example, working in the Nazca lines is a great idea on paper, but they are just tossed in as an image and no attempt is made to relate them to the story in any meaningful way. A lot of the movie is like that, like they shot an outline as though it were a script.

 

I also think the movie suffers from a lack of decent transitions, which adds to that nettlesome episodic feeling. The way Indy and Mutt go from the sanitarium to the graveyard via a dissolve to a CGI helicopter shot is a missed opportunity -- why not a small amount of Peruvian location footage showing them traveling there, to give us a sense of location? Why go straight from the skirmish with the cemetery warriors (who aren't given even token characterization and are instead just chirping ninjas who serve no greater purpose) to the characters already inside a crypt? Why go from the characters spotting the waterfall to already being in the cave behind it?

 

None of these things are problems on an individual basis, but in aggregate they cause the movie to feel as though it is just jumping from sound stage to sound stage...because that is exactly what it's doing. Even the subterranean Temple of Doom makes effective use of the location footage it does have, like the Sri Lanka vistas during the elephant trek, or the famous rope bridge climax. I realize these movies aren't characterized by gritty verisimilitude, but Crystal Skull looks like it was shot in a damn hard drive. There is nothing grubby or tactile about it.

 

I am not suggesting they should have shared tonalities, but you look at something like Apocalypto where the director actually made use of his passport to shoot in Mesoamerica because that's where the damn story takes place, and the contrast in the believability of its visuals says it all. And that's despite a movie that has a rather "video" look due to the cameras used. Spielberg shot Indy on film but seemingly did everything in his power to ensure it wouldn't look that way.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

It’s really interesting reading your analysis, Jason. I haven’t looked at it that way, and I have a feeling you might be right. Almost makes me want to see the movie again… almost. 😜

 

Now I’m off on a quest! The quest for the lost Frank Darabont draft!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Another big problem I had with it was the sheer size of the ensemble. Having Indy on his own or at least with just one sidekick, makes everything feel much more dangerous. But if a group of four can make it through all the perils and traps, it probably wasn't too dangerous.

 

And what the hell was the purpose of that crazy jungle cutter vehicle? Judging by Raiders' desert chase or Crusade's tank sequence, this thing would have been the perfect main element for an action sequence. Like Indy fighting bad guys on top of it, throwing them into the blades?

Edited by Laserschwert
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Lagomorph01 said:

Now I’m off on a quest! The quest for the lost Frank Darabont draft!

 

Quest over!

 

27 minutes ago, Laserschwert said:

Another big problem I had with it was the sheer size of the ensemble. Having Indy on his own or at least with just one sidekick, makes everything feel much more dangerous. But if a group of four can make it through all the perils and traps, it probably wasn't too dangerous.

 

I think another weakness of so many sidekicks is that it prevents any one supporting character from really getting their due. You could have a movie whether the central dynamic is:

 

- Indy and his shifty, British WWII pal

- Indy and Marion reunited (the Darabont draft)

- Indy and his old mentor turned Ben Gunn

- Indy and the greaser kid whose mom's been kidnapped

 

 

But instead of doing one or two of those and giving them enough attention, it does all of them poorly. Ray Winstone is given nothing substantial to after his treacherous turn in the prologue; Marion is given nothing substantial to do after a fun reveal (one dependent on shrouding her identity in a contrived, pointless way); Mutt stops being interesting once the court-mandated reveal that he's Indy's son occurs; John Hurt is just used as a device that turn problems Indy should be solving himself into foregone conclusions. In my opinion, it was a huge waste not to make Indy himself a gradual victim of the skull's power -- Nur-Ab-Sal style -- as it might have created some sense of jeopardy, or, say, a third act motor of any kind, both of which the movie lack. 

 

 

27 minutes ago, Laserschwert said:

And what the hell was the purpose of that crazy jungle cutter vehicle? Judging by Raiders' desert chase or Crusade's tank sequence, this thing would have been the perfect main element for an action sequence. Like Indy fighting bad guys on top of it, throwing them into the blades?

 

It's utterly baffling.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Udvarnoky said:

Even the subterranean Temple of Doom makes effective use of the location footage it does have, like the Sri Lanka vistas during the elephant trek, or the famous rope bridge climax. I realize these movies aren't characterized by gritty verisimilitude, but Crystal Skull looks like it was shot in a damn hard drive. There is nothing grubby or tactile about it.

 

Crystal Skull has a totally weird unreality to it. It's not quite fake and not quite real. I couldn't put my finger on what I was seeing... turns out it wasn't (all) a soundstage. They shot on location but augmented it with CGI jungle. Taking real footage and making it look fake. (Lucas's attempt at pushing the technology.)

 

Also, talking about things that didn't work: Cate Blanchett's character. I don't understand how she was so dull and forgettable. I couldn't tell you a single thing about her (it's been a long while since I watched it). There were so many secondary characters and I didn't feel I got to know anyone them.

 

And while I've been dumping on Lucas for pushing for things, I guess Spielberg did get his way too:

 

“What people really jumped at was Indy climbing into a refrigerator and getting blown into the sky by an atom-bomb blast. Blame me. Don’t blame George. That was my silly idea. People stopped saying ‘jump the shark.’ They now say, ‘nuked the fridge.’ I’m proud of that. I’m glad I was able to bring that into popular culture.” – Spielberg 

Edited by ThunderPeel2001
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Like I said! I liked the nuke the fridge scene! I don’t know how anyone can hate it, and not hate the rubber boat scene from Temple of Doom. Good on Spielberg for pushing it!

11 hours ago, Udvarnoky said:

 

Quest over!

 

Thanks! Although I'm kinda bummed that I didn't get to beat any nazi's (or Russians) over it.

Edited by Lagomorph01
Added a thank you.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Assuming there is anything to this, I think people are extrapolating to "Indiana Jones in Space" way too quickly. The space race could be nothing more than a backdrop or the context explaining how Mads the Nazi (another assumption) is in the financial position to undertake his hunt for the mystical breadbox or whatever the McGuffin proves to be.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/19/2021 at 6:42 PM, ThunderPeel2001 said:

 

Also, talking about things that didn't work: Cate Blanchett's character. I don't understand how she was so dull and forgettable. I couldn't tell you a single thing about her (it's been a long while since I watched it). 

 

I like how pulpy Blanchett went with the character, but her potential as a villain is really undermined every step of the way. While she seems ruthless enough, her most villainous acts (the slaughter of the soldiers at Area 51 and of the tribesmen at Akator) are carried out off-screen by henchmen. It doesn't help that her threatening of Marion's life to make Indy cooperate is just used to kick off a comic tiff between the couple. If the characters treat it as a joke when the bad guys have guns trained on them, how seriously are we supposed to take them? Spalko doesn't really have the menace nor the hissable qualities you'd want in an Indy baddie. Donovan, a much less colorful villain, nevertheless has the moment where he shoots Henry Sr. and gives Indy's final task a clock and some weight. Spalko doesn't really have that moment. At no point does she prove to be a credible threat to any of the main characters.

 

I also remain puzzled by the decision to make Spalko maybe have psychic powers but then again maybe not? It's an ambiguity that doesn't feel intentional (there was apparently a deleted scene that showed her powers to be legit) and it's certainly not welcome, because it's another example of the movie undermining her as an intimidating foe. When Indy scoffs at her psychic stuff, we're never really given any reason to think he is wrong to. We can kind of ascertain that Spalko's inability to "read" Indy and the skull's refusal to "speak" to her (by contrast to the "pure-hearted" professors, I guess) are related, but it's yet another idea in the movie that isn't developed to the point where it means anything. Why does it matter that she can't read Indy's mind if we never see her read anyone's?

 

Finally, Spalko is denied the kind of memorably grotesque death that any archnemesis in an Indy movie should be able to depend on. Bloodlessly disintegrating into CGI powder is really weak soup given the tradition it's following. Blanchett showed up to play, and it was squandered by shoddy material.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...