Thursday, May 22, 2008

Post Your Indy IV Comments!

I'd like to try something new.

Since most of the world will be watching Indiana Jones this weekend, I'd like to ask all of my readers one, simple question:

What did you think about the screenwriting of Indy IV?


nic said...

Straight from my blog, but it's 3am and I don't have the luxury of skipping work tomorrow...

I was nearly prepared to go all Starkweather and scourge the knowledge from human existence if it turned out to be an atrocity. It wasn’t. But make no mistake, this is not your stock Indy flick. There has been some heavy chop-shop action done to structure whereby introductions and building momentum are done away with in favor of a ’such and such, skip to the end…’ approach. I’m okay with it, but it almost creates a sort of vacuum that leaves things thin or unnecessary in places and insincere in others. Feels almost like all 3rd act which is somewhat better than none. Plenty of good stuff though and no major weak character issues for me except a few beats and one character who no doubt would have immensely benefited from a nice well-crafted first act. Go into it with the first three movies as your intro & building momentum and you’re good to go. (Plus a little AG… and also consider CEot3rdK an epilogue.)

I'm gonna sleep on it and see it again. The Ruskies are my main issue with not having that rising action. In the 50s, specially the late 50s, the world stops being black and white and there's no attempt to codify why my sympathy is with Indy. And sure, I'm not gonna pick the Rocky and Bullwinkle villain OVER my childhood hero, but at least Mola Ram had slave kids and a crazy-ass lava pit going on... Spalko (what, she had a name?) didn't even do anything cool with her mind-bullets.

*le sigh* I enjoyed it but there's a lot to nitpick. And can anyone confirm I didn't hallucinate the guy dressed EXACTLY LIKE Senior behind and to the left of John Hurt in the reverse shot @ the wedding? Cause what the fuck, you have that dude, but you can't stick in some (4) camels with 'Just Married' on 'em?

Mystery Man said...

Hehehe... That's hilarious. I checked. He didn't come across to me too much as a reference to Henry Senior.

I'm not going to say what I think just yet, but I will admit that I side completely with all of the harsh critics. Let's face facts. There were nice things about it, but overall, let's just admit it - it was a bad film that was undermined by a severely faulty story and sloppy screenwriting.

BTW - I'm also going to do one more article on the backlash to the Indy IV backlash.

But, please, guys, tell me what you think!


nic said...

Mind you, it took me some time before I finally copped to outright hating the SW prequels, so I'll probably be deluding myself for a while yet.

Tried hard to stay spoiler free before my chance to see it, so most of the critics reactions I have seen were that it works, but it doesn't shine, and that's where I'm feeling the most shortchanged. How many people would have given their eyeteeth and sacrificing all sleep for two months to make this the best movie of all time? Take the time to craft something phenomenal. Maybe I'm being willfully ignorant toward the bottom line ($), but really? Depressing.

Thinking about it today, much of the lack of character exploration is bothering me. Mac and Ox are huge opportunities to expand the universe but they're dictated and sort of incidental plot devices. If there were some scenes, not long or anything, of solid character development for those two alone, it would have kicked the story up a letter-grade at least. Why give all the time to Mutt & Ox's relationship without it ever paying off. For the sake of too long action sequences? Yeah, not cool. WTF was Mac's last line about? At what point did Marion stop kicking ass on her own terms and turn into nuclear wife sidekick?

And the Russians DO NOT WORK.

Maybe I'm different. Old. I'm almost thirty now, but take a look at TEMPLE OF DOOM- which people love to hate on- I like Temple. I get this shit-eating grin on my face the moment Indy steps on the chartered plan and it stays there the rest of the 118 minutes. To this day. Is that simply nostalgia? With every earnest human emotion in my crazy little head the raft+parachute+sled, chilled monkey brains and Mola Ram pulling a still-beating heart from dude's chest never-- let me emphasize NEVER came off as affected-over-the-top as some things KotCS tries to sell me. The only major difference I can immediately identify is the slave-kid thing I brought up before. At what point is Indy a HERO in KotCS? Is he saving the interdimensional ET, cause the empathy just wasn't there. Or was the whole thing somehow deconstructing the myth? Wake of destruction my ass, Indy's a goddamn champion of humanity, no matter how ruinous his personal life is and that's always what made the wacky pulp stuff work for me and what I think might have been missing from the greater story.

David Alan said...

Is there any way I can convince you guys to not see this fucking catastrophe? Seriously, I’m already hearing bad things from the field. And these people just wanted to see an entertaining movie. Please save your money. Just wait for it to come out on DVD. I mean, shit, do you guys really want Indy V to happen? Believe me, it'll happen! So let’s make them realize that laziness isn’t profitable. Win one for quality.

Mickey Lee said...


no apologies necessary. I love TOD and it's sad to say that a 24 year old movie can put a modern one to shame when it comes to action, direction and good editing. The last hour of TOD has yet to be topped by ANY movie, much less Indy 4 (saw it last night, I'll post about it later).

And Mola Ram's title of Grade A Badass is not in any danger :)

purpletrex said...

Have not seen Crystal Skull yet. Bought tickets with my BFF to see it at midnight, but decided that it was not worth getting no sleep over.

Glad I missed the midnight showing as my BFF said that everyone was talking and texting (Who the F would they be texting at 12-2 am?) throughout the whole movie.

I made my friend spoil the movie for me because the basic, basic, plot of Crystal Skull is very similar to the screenplay I am writing; a screenplay that I have been writing for several years now.

Well, my movie is different, it's a "alien" skull encased in crystal. lol :) However, my alien skull ain't no goody two-shoes archaeologist skull, there's a reason why it's imprisoned in crystal.

Anyhoo, the one BIG thing that everyone seems to overlook, is that Indiana Jones lives to at least 93, to 1993. This is known thanks to the "Young Indiana Jones" series from 1991. So everyone knows Indy can't die.
With the last crusade at least we did not know if Indy was going to die; it was, after all titled, "The LAST Crusade."

One other thing, Indy's apparent son, "Mutt" most likely -can- be killed in any next Indiana Jones Movie, as Mutt is not referenced in the Young Indy series. Dr. Jones has a daughter and grandchildren, but no son.

Ultimately, you can't top Raiders. Nope. Sorry. Cannot be done. Hollywood can try with their "National Treasure" and "Davinci Codes" but they can't be the Ark of the Covenant melting the faces off Nazis.

Anonymous said...

Highly doubt continuity to any of the television 'canon' is playing a major part in GL's current decision-making.

Mickey Lee said...


There are references made to the TV show in the movie, so yes, it's canon.

James said...

It's bad. It's really, really bad.

I've never seen a movie that has 40 minutes of exposition that isn't setting up anything.

If George Lucas passed up a script by the screenwriter of the 3rd Indiana Jones for this -- I am vary curious what he was looking for. 'Cause it sure wasn't in this film.

Also -- what a horrible, horrible mix of genres.

Indiana Jones revived the Adventure genre. It is 80s Adventure film at its purest (and a throwback to serials). Why sully that with the ridiculous plot turn that blends genres and only discredits that achievement?

All in all, this film reminded me a lot of DIE HARD 4.

James said...

Everyone I talk to who were kids watching Indy remember scenes from Temple of Doom over any of the other Indys.

I can't put my finger on exactly why -- but I think it has to do with the action moving the story much more so than expository "plot."

It's hard for critics and businessmen alike to understand that lack of plot (or paper-thin plot) doesn't mean bad. I think Crystal Skull chokes on its own attempt at plot. There's WAAAYYY too much, and nothing is really explained. (And as I stated above, it overstepped the bounds of its genre in a "jump the shark" manner).

More important is motivation for characters, which seems to be severely lacking in Crystal Skull.

Crystal Skull really needed much more action. It wasn't on par with any of the other Indys. Of particular note, one of the biggest trademarks of an Indy flick was completely non-existant, the opening --

-- it was slow.

RAIDERS redefined film openings.

TEMPLE OF DOOM took full advantage of its opening, letting it do something a little different, while still having the feel of a big splashy adventure opening.

THE LAST CRUSADE is a brilliant opening -- take note, this opening is how sequels should be made/written. It gives the feel of an Indy opening while providing new and clever insights into the character we all know and love. It actually ADDS to the character, it doesn't simply say "look how cool he is."

What was Indy 4s opening? Seemed more like an opening to American Graffiti than an Indy film. I know it was for the reveal of Indy in the trunk -- but at the cost of a truly great Adventure film opening?

After watching Indy 4, it seemed to me, the filmmakers forgot why they made these films in the first place.

purpletrex said...

For the record, one of George Lucas' favourite things he has produced was the Young Indy Series, so it's canon.

Mystery Man said...

I love it!

James - motivation was a big complaint of mine as well. On Monday, I'm going to post The 50 Flaws of Indy IV.

So, please share your thoughts! I already have at least 50.

And on Monday, I'm going to "officially" hand David Koepp his ass.



nic said...

MM- sounds like something I'd pay to see! You gotta point out that having the G-men angle go NOWHERE was just weak. You cast someone as AWESOME as Neil Flynn- who got a prolonged LOL reaction from me and the rest of my midnight audience- and it just gets dumped to the side.

An affront, sir.

Mickey Lee said...

re: the TV show, in KOTCS, Indy tells Mutt (God, I hate even saying the name) that he was kidnapped by Pancho Villa when he was a boy. That was an episode of the TV series.

nic said...

Dunno if one episode mentioned really indicates a there's a canon being dutifully followed since Senior dying (as vaguely as it's mentioned with those horrible framed set pieces) kinda directly contradicts the whole drinking the Holy Grail thing in LAST CRUSADE. The comment is more that clinging to the hope that canon's gonna save things is not a substitute for taking the time to craft a fully excellent story.

Not that this has much to do with the screenwriting other than... Continuity = Not yours.

Joshua James said...

I haven't seen it, don't know yet when or if I will.

But I follow a lot of the interviews, etc. And from what it sounds like, Lucas is stubborn to the point of impossibility, and it leads me to think that a lot of the stinky that may exist in this has his fingerprints on it.

Remember, Lucas handed us three Star Wars films, beginning in 99, each one terrible, and was convinced of their greatness . . . in terms of story, he thinks they rocked.

He wanted Spielberg to shoot this one all digitally in front of a green screen, like Lucas did the Phantom Menace, etc . . .

so I think the story that doesn't work has a lot to do with Lucas (I think Ford all but admitted it in an interview somewhere, saying "George is a very stubborn guy when it comes to his ideas") and remember, originally Lucas wanted Indy to take on Martian Invaders from Mars, some shit like that.

Like a lot of kids, I love Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back, but George went to the dark side when he made all the toy money, or something.

Mickey Lee said...


The knight in Last Crusade told them the price of immortality was staying in the temple. If you leave, all bets are off. So no continuity was violated.

Sam Norton said...

So I'm picturing David sitting down at his desk and he's got this list of things to make sure he doesn't lose his way whilst writing the screenplay. Things like "Adventure", "History", "Snakes"... Y'know, Indy stuff.

Anyway, could someone tell me at what point "Aliens" made that list, because I'm stumped.

purpletrex said...

Just saw it and I can sum up the movie with one word. BORING.

Everything about the movie felt lethargic, even the fucking classic Indy Theme felt slow in the movie.

The fucking fridge scene was an utter and absolute insult to anyone's intelligence. Even if you could buy that Indy survived a nuke blast, there is no way he could have survived the fall and then the fall off the cliff only to then roll out unscathed. He would have been turned into goo, with the fridge door opening up to discharge liquid effluence of Indy.

I could not figure out why John Hurt's character stole the skull and then hid it in the conquistador's burial ground.
Furthermore, and this is something I don't think I have heard anyone mention at all anywhere, WHAT THE F HAPPENED TO THE SKULL and ALIEN FROM AREA 51? It's like it was totally forgotten about. Also, the Russians apparently had at least two alien bodies from other crash sites in Russia, so why did they need the "Mayan" Crystal Skull so bad? The Russians, nor nobody else knew that the "Mayan" skull was linked to an Alien Spaceship.


Overall everything about the movie was lethargic. The fights, the chases, the sound effects, the special effects and even the music.
There was no chemistry between any of the characters at all. Shia Lapoof was a practical non-entity. All he did was put on his serious face throughout the entire movie. Granted he could have been bad, but like the rest of the movie, he just comes off neutral.

The only thing that I am glad about is that the movie's premise and plot came nowhere close to my screenplay, although I will have to change one scene.

Any reviewer who gives this movie more than two stars out of four is a fucking idiot. I don't think it will do well outside this weekend. The audience I saw it with was really not responsive to it at all. Iron Man got many times the response that Skull did.

purpletrex said...

My Flaws that I caught:

The area 51 skull's magnetic field makes no sense. It produced a strong enough magnetic field to pull gunpowder to if from several hundred yards, but later in the movie the Conquistador skull's magnetic properties can be nullified by simply covering it up with a cloth.

Why would the government have "buried" the alien corpse in the warehouse so soon after the apparent ufo crash in Roswell? You would think that they would have had the corpse in some even more super secret lab trying to extract it's secrets. I can understand the Ark of the Covenant being put in Area 51, that's fine. It is, after all, just a fancy box (unless you open it, or according to the bible, touch it). But, the government mothballing the most significant find of all known history is just absurd.

Area 51 would not have been guarded by just four guards. Why would a Nuke test shut down Area 51?

A lead lined fridge would not have been sufficient enough to protect Indy from the radiation from the nuke blast. Furthermore he would have been turned to goo inside of the fridge when the shockwave hit and at the very least been liquidated upon impact inside the fridge.

To be quite honest I can't figure out how the Skull went missing in the first place. So, let me get this straight:

Aliens arrive in past, teach the "Mayans" advanced tech. become Gods among men. Then die inside their spaceship. "Mayans" build fancy temple around ship. Conquistadors show up, steal one of the skulls. Conquistador dies somewhere else in Peru and is buried with the skull. Ox finds the skull and tries to return it to spaceship site, but then decides to put it back at the burial site??? and then goes insane. sigh.

What does not make sense, is apparently the ancient skeletons had been sitting on their thrones for ages right? So long that the "Mayans" built a whole elaborate temple around the spaceship. The aliens in skeletal form were all there before the conquistadors showed up, so why did the aliens just leave way back then?

OR the story could have been setup where the conquistadors attacked the aliens and the "mayans" and killed them all and then took one of the skulls.


The CGI in the jungle scenes really sucked. The computer game "Crysis" does comparable graphics, and it's a video game.

The snake scene went from o.k. CGI to rubber snake.

When Indy opens the giant oblisk entrance to the temple/spaceship, why were there dead bodies at the bottom of the apparent trap? It's not exactly a big boulder; i.e. it was pretty freakin' elaborate for an entrance booby trap that apparently was reset since the conquistadors were there.

Why did Indy blow up the jungle cutting machine? It was not really even in their way. It was crossing their path, but not actively attacking them.

The ant scene failed because you knew that the big russian was going to end up getting punched into the ant pile and eaten. With Raiders there was the constant threat of the propeller blades in the infamous fight scene with the big bald german, but you really did not expect the german to be utter shredded by the blades.

The monkeys were just gay. I think everyone in the theater was sighing during that obvious George Lucas contribution to the movie.

There is a lot more that I could nit pick, but to be honest, not really much happened in the movie.

Pat said...

I hate, so much, the things this film chooses to be.

I can't for the life of me understand, how Lucas and family can steal from their own films and fail. In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy heard his dad was in trouble and was given a package with all the clues to retrace his pops footprints. He ran into some dead ends, but found what his dad was looking for.

In this movie Indy hears Ox and Mutt's mom are in trouble and is given a letter with all the clues to retrace Ox's footprints. He runs into almost no dead ends and finds what Ox has already found.

It's as if Lucas ingrained that 'been there, done that' feeling his audience had into the script. Nearly everywhere that Indy goes has already been reached recently. Even the small surprises that are supposed to pique our interests are explained to postmortem. He overestimated that his audience wants to be entertained and surprised. This system brings makes Indy seem like a knowledgeable janitor cleaning up after Houdini and explaining the tricks as he goes along. Even if that was the case, it didn't do so badly in TLC, but then the janitor had a few tricks of his own and it was real solid danger against him, not computer generated.

The problem with this movie is that, Houdini isn't Sir Sean Connery, he's a crazy old man with no real tricks left and little of value to say. Even his assistant has nothing, but baby mama drama to offer. At least Shia Labeouf knows how to swashbuckle.

The lack of tricks and surprises isn't so bad. The "heroes" don't need tricks, because their enemies lose track of them the second they start moving. Four KGB trained soldiers can be taken down by a 60-year-old at the same time. Movie luck is nothing new to the Indy series, but invincible characters make up for that in this one. Bombs, bullets, waterfalls: nothing is dangerous in this film, merely inconvenient.

George Lucas doesn't have a heart; his soul is a different story. This motion picture spends an hour explaining the importance of the crystal skulls without ever trying to express it cinematically. The movie wants you to think its goals are important, because it keeps telling you they're important. It's like removing the first scene from Citizen Kane and expecting the sled to hold the same impact. On top of that, it really feels like none of these characters really even like each other. Shia feels like a James Dean wannabe who walked on the wrong set. Indy gets commissioned into rescuing Ox and Marion, but once he finds them, the skull is nearly the only thing he really cares about.


Indiana Jones' inventiveness had always been a hallmark of the series, but it simply won't recognize the films that have happened in its hiatus. It wouldn't be such an uninspired dud if it was at least committed with convicion: the mashup finale of both X-Files: Fight the Future and The Mummy Returns was not. Ironically, the film never crawls to any scene, it jogs quickly, but it tends to bog down and stop for idle monotonous exposition.

The only reason you'll care about this movie is because you either already did before it started or you just wanted to rekindle some of the feelings the other films gave you. Some of those are there and if you don't nitpick, you shouldn't have that big of a problem. This old family brain-drip genre is starting to evolve. The Pirates of the Caribbean sequels were victims of it as well. It's obvious the culprit is special effects. Ever since Star Wars Episode One, poor writing and big special effects have gone hand in hand, save for a small exception that happened 3 years in a row. Why should this be any different? more watchable than the Phantom Menace, but only because it's not a case of George Lucas trying to insult us.

Mystery Man said...

Nic – I completely agree with you about the wasted characters and unresolved subplot involving the FBI. You would’ve thought that we had that interrogation scene because the U.S. government would continue to spy on Indy around the world and this would’ve played a part in the third act climax after which Indy’s name would’ve been cleared. But, no. Those scenes were pointless except to make statements about government witch-hunting which has already been done more brilliantly in other films.

Purple – That’s a huge flaw! Correct me if I’m wrong, but Indy said there are only 13 skulls. Spalko found one in warehouse, and Indy got another one from behind the Conquistador’s head. And there are 12 in the chamber. That makes 14 skulls, does it not? What was the point of Spalko obtaining the skull from the warehouse?

Here’s another thought:

If Indy knew what the Russians were looking for in the warehouse and how to find it, why did he later ask the General what was in the box because he “didn’t see it”? If he didn’t know what was IN the box, how did he know it had magnetic properties?

Pat – Great, great point about Indy finding things that have already been found. I’m going to add that to my list and give you a hat-tip for it. Also – Indy was many things, but he was never confusing and he never over-explained anything. Exposition was a huge complaint of mine. Consider this:

50’s Diner Scene - the exposition in the diner scene was the worst in the franchise. This was the most amateurish rock-bottom handling of exposition that could be written. It was two talking heads in a diner. Remember how visual the exposition was in the Raiders setup with the big book and the chalkboard and the talk about the Well of Souls? That's great exposition. That was exciting! In TOD, we had the visual of the dying village. In LC, at least we had the visuals of dad's journal. Here, it's just two talking heads. And Spielberg had to add those visual flourishes of Mutt toying around with the coke and beer to keep the scene from being boring and visually lifeless. One of the bedrock principles of screenwriting: show, don’t tell.

Kevin Lehane said...

Taken from my blog:

The fourth movie in the franchise is the fourth best Indiana Jones movie. It doesn’t even come close to challenging Temple of Doom or Crusade for last place. Spoilers ahead:

While there are, as is to be expected, some brilliant set pieces like the bike chase and jungle chase, and the ’50s setting is fun, the film is overall very uneven and choppy and unfortunately the good doesn’t outweigh the bad. Even one of the proper highlights of the film — the jungle chase — is completely tarnished when Marion Ravenwood inexplicably vanishes mid-way through while Shia LaBouef apes Tarzan and swings across the jungle to save the day. It’s just odd, and not in a good way.

The problems with the film start early. It takes too long to get going and when it does it’s interrupted with a redundant and utterly stupid moment in which Indy supernaturally survives a nuclear blast — which devastates his surroundings, rendered much like Judgement Day in T2 — by locking himself in a fridge!!

Crystal Skull sadly lacks the magic of Raiders, the flare of Temple of Doom and the pathos of Last Crusade. Even though this fourth one is a thematic sequel to Crusade, it doesn’t have the heart or wit of its companion film. The engine of the film is just not strong enough and the aliens and flying saucers angle just doesn’t work.

Despite huge set pieces and (dodgy) CGI enhancements, the film feels small. Much of the tale takes place in one locale with Indy this time round sidelined to being just one of the gang, rather than the leader. Indy takes all his cues from Oxley (John Hurt) who is really the true hero of the story. Oxley is the one on the journey, with the most at stake. Indy is just along for the ride. Even Cate Blanchett, as Russian baddie Irina Spalko is just not bad enough and her whole psychic angle is never properly explored, yet she has more purpose than Indy. On a sidenote — Spalko dies seeking knowledge, which is an odd message to convey

However, the cast are all on top form and cannot be faulted, but there’s just too many characters doing the same thing. Even Karen Allen, back as Marion Ravenwood — which is one of the films genuine highlights — is reduced to a very minor role. She may be there, but she’s not doing much. She can’t, there are too many characters to service.

I wish I could praise the hell out of the film, but I can’t. For the first time with one my Poster Quote Reviews I’m advocating people see the film, even though I don’t think it’s brilliant. I was sorely disappointed and I love Indiana Jones. All of the movies … just not this one. I don’t hate the film, I just really expected better.

It’s good, just not Indiana Jones good.

Pat said...

I just realized another thing really ticked me off about the 4th film. For some reason Indy needs no guidance in this one. In the other films, he's always needed help in some way, be it situational guidance, like when he's in a country he doesn't live in going to a remote village in the middle of nowhere. I understand he's old enough and wise enough to be independent of historical or intellectual guidance, but to be able to drop into remote countries and never interact with any locals much more than a few crazy locals attacking them, feels wrong. It gives the film a claustrophobic tone as it flaunts its international adventure, but never absorbs any of the characters into any different culture or surrounding. The scene in the mannequin suburb might have been more cultural interaction of the main characters than any other location save for the monkeys in the tree. Maybe Spielberg really didn't go anywhere except the desert and a few towns over from me in Yale. How did Jumper manage to be more of an international film then Indiana Jones? Maybe in Sin City when the comic was written to be intimate vignettes in the same familiar dirty slums, it's alright to shoot most of a film in front of green screen, but did Star Wars really teach Lucas nothing. Et tu, Steven?

Kevin Lehane said...

Pat, which is exactly why for me the film felt small. Not to mention stale. The longer away the film the more I am prone to loathe it. It's such a half-assed piece of crap, and I hate it all the more because it promised so much and delivered so little in every capacity, within scenes, with reintroducing characters etc. It was a horrible mess and I do not consider it worthy of buying on DVD. Fucking laziness. God damn George Lucas.

Anonymous said...

Saw this review at, and had to share . . .

I’m not an Indy fanatic like most folks, but I think that they are entertaining flicks. My father, on the other hand, is a really big Indy fan. If you visit the CHUD forums, you may have seen my post in the Indy thread as HarleyQuinn22. I told the story of how my father and his dad went to see every Indy movie in the theater together. The Indy movies are THEIR movies. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed four years ago, and did not get the opportunity to see this film. When I broke the new to my dad that Indy 4 was a go, my father cried, knowing he’d have to see this without his dad, but he was very happy to have the chance to take me and my little sister to see this. Call it his way of continuing the Indy tradition. We were supposed to go on Saturday, but he just couldn’t wait and decided to update our tickets to today and take us. I got home from college this morning to find my father in full Indy costume, grinning like a teenager. He drove us to the theater, bought us a massive tub of popcorn, and settled in the back of the theater for Indy 4. So, after all of the hype, all of the talk, what did I think?

Like I said, I’m not a HUGE Indy disciple, but I know a good movie when I see it. Indy 4, unfortunately, is not a good movie, in my opinion. I am not a “hater” or “troll”, so let’s get that out of the way before the hate begins in the comments. It is not the worst film I’ve ever seen. It did not rape my childhood. It just did not do it for me. Sorry.

Let’s start with what worked first. Namely, the first hour. The first hour of this movie moves rather briskly, and has a pretty entertaining setpiece(the motorcycle chase) that gets the blood pumping. I liked Harrison Ford at times. Karen Allen has a pretty smile. That’s about all that I can think of that works. It’s time for the bad news.

If you are looking for a good Indy movie, this is not it. Honestly, and I know this is going to sound strange, but I don’t think Indy 4 felt like an Indy movie. Those movies have a certain look and feel to them that this movie does not share with the others. It was so incredibly odd to me, and it’s an odd nitpick, but if you’re going to make an Indy movie, MAKE AN INDY MOVIE. Yes, we live in a CGI age, but for Pete’s sake, the other movies have such a realistic feel to them that this one will stand out like a sore thumb during eventual marathons. The sets feel like sets. The backgrounds feel like a product of a computer rather than a product of an imagination. The CG is painful to watch at points. Just watch those monkeys and tell me with a straight face that it looks good. I dare you.

The story is very muddled at points, and there are many issues that are glossed over or left unresolved. From the beginning of the movie, a plot thread is introduced involving Indy being suspected of being a Commie sympathizer, leading him to lose his teaching job. Now, you’d think a major event like this which shakes up Indy’s life would be addressed and cleared up, with Indy’s good name restored by film’s end. Uhh, no. We do find out that he’s gotten his job back, but the way that the story introduces this idea without really carrying it through to fruition was just plain lazy in my book. The entire mess involving the crystal skulls was a bore. I didn’t care about the skulls or whatever powers they had. I also found problems with every single character in this film.

Let’s start with Indiana Jones. He starts out beautifully. Beautifully, I tell ya! When he starts swinging around in that warehouse, I was pumped. Things were on track. I found a real melancholy to him in this movie which I was starting to like. We get a really sad moment where he just stares at pictures of his recently deceased father and his BFF Marcus, and it got me. However, Spielberg and Lucas forgot that the appeal of Indy is that he is an Everyman, a guy who gets his ass kicked on numerous occasions, but manages to come out on top. Note that I said on top, not unscathed. Indy is not a young man anymore, yet he takes more punishment in this movie without spilling a single drop of blood. I literally do not remember seeing any blood on Indy at any time, and he takes even more punishment in this movie than in the others combined. This movie is the proud owner of the most ridiculous scene of the year: Indy hides in a fridge as a nuclear bomb goes off. The frige is thrown for miles but Indy survives the blast due to the fridge’s lead lining. He emerges from the fridge, perfectly fine, and gazes up at the MUSHROOM CLOUD. How he doesn’t get any radiation or any aftereffects after soaking up those nuclear rays is beyond me, but I digress. Remember when I said how I liked that Indy was a bit sadder this time? The guy has some friends for sure, but essentially he is alone in the world. He lives in that house by himself. He has no family. What a sad existence that must be, going off on adventures and having no one to really share them with. Well, Georgie and Stevie decide to solve that problem! Problem is, they do it piss-poorly.

Yes, the rumors are true. TheBeef is Henry Jones III. Joy. Problem is, this, like the Indy/Commie thing, is glossed over so much that you barely register the enormity of what this revelation means. Marion just comes right out and says, “Yup, that’s your kid” without any buildup or anything. I don’t mind this. What I do mind is the fact that no one seems to want to address the fact that Marion has kept this man from his son for however long the kid’s been alive. You would think that Indy, whose relationship with his own dad was well-documented in Last Crusade, would be a bit more upset and stunned over the fact that he is sudenly a father to a child he never knew existed. You’d think he’d be, I dunno, PISSED at Marion for lying to him and knowingly keeping Indy away from his own child. You’d think the kid would be a bit more shocked by this news and angry at his mother for lying to him his entire life (quick aside: the kid is called Mutt Williams in this movie, but Marion reveals his name is actually Henry Jones III. Mutt is unaware that Indy is his dad, and has been under the assumption that his stepdad was his real dad. Uh, does this kid not know his real name? Who signed the birth certificate, his stepdad, who is clumsily mentioned in yet another scene of blatant exposition? WTF?). You’d think he wouldn’t be arguing with Marion over the child one minute, then making goo-goo eyes at her thirty seconds later. It made no sense to me at all. You would think there would at least be a moment where Indy pulls the kid aside and says, “Hey, sorry for not being around, but your mom’s a scandalous ho”. They had a great opportunity to do…SOMETHING, but they didn’t. It was like watching Superman Returns all over again!

That brings me to Marion and Beefy. Karen Allen is a lovely lady with a killer smile, but if you aren’t going to give Marion Ravenwood something to do, leave her out of the movie. She is nothing but a device to get Indy and Mutt together. Bummer, since Marion was a badass in Raiders. She does nothing but smile at Indy and make goo-goo eyes at him. She’s still got an acid tongue, but after a couple of scenes, she goes silent. Beefy does well with what he has to do, but his greaser character is horribly out of place here. His entrance in this film had me rolling my eyes, as well as his Tarzan impersonation later on. He’s not nearly as bad as people were trying to say he would be, but the character was just off. Once he gets rid of the whole hair-combing, quick-temepered punk routine, he improves greatly. He’s got good chemistry with Harrison, too.

Blanchett sucks. Flat out sucks. She’s bland, boring, dull, zzzzzzzzzzin this movie. She’s less than a standard-issue villain here. I never feared her, I never felt anything towards her. She can do a mean accent, but I found her very forgettable. Sorry Cate. Ray Winstone is abysmal. As for John Hurt…hope the check cleared.

This was a one-and-done flick for me. Once was enough. It was not an absolute crapfest like Southland Tales, but after the great first hour, the rest of it devolves into a lazy, rather dull movie. If you’re a diehard Indy fan, I guess you’ll see this no matter what, but just temper your expectations a bit. My dad enjoyed the experience of seeing an Indy film with his kids, but he sure as shit did not enjoy this movie very much, lemme tell you. I had a choice as to whether to give him advance warning of this movie’s potential shittiness, or to just let him have his experience. I let him have it, for better or for worse. Steve and George, you two should be embarrassed by your laziness. Really. You two can do better.

Octavio said...

It's 00:27 now in Portugal and i just came from the movie theatre where i saw Indiana Jones and the Kindgom of the Cristal Skull. I wasn't dissapointed by it because i wans't expecting too much. Call me pessimistic but that trailer previewed a disaster.

Well, it had some good, funny and exciting moments but the overall is bad. Let me do my own list of mistakes that the script have:

1. Where's the beginning? i know what i mean...the episode that kicks the film right into action like in the James Bond films. That's part of the structure of all Indy films. You can't mess with that. Consequence: slow pace at the beginning.

2. Aliens? Come on...even if you used the idea, couldn't you keep it more mysterious? Not show the alien so much, specially with that crappy CGI at the ending. In Indy films the supernatural is always left for the end but in here they used the supernatural from the beginning.

3. Action sequences. I felt that that some of the action sequences were INSERTED into the narrative. Like the quicksand scene. They just runned away so the audience could see them in the quicksand.

4. The communists? Ok, im european and im not communist but i think if the russians are going to be the antogonists at least they could make them less sketchy. And that moral at the end? With the communist knowing The Truth becoming blind and destroyed by it...Come on...the world isn't so black and white anymore.

5. Where's the whip? How many times the whip has really crucial to get Indy out of a jam? The whip is as much important as the hat.

6. The mad man? We have to follow a mad man trough the jungle because his mubbling is key to treasure? What a lazy screenwriting...

7. Travelling. They went from America to South America ( Peru and the amazone). In movies before we could feel that Indiana Jones was travelling trough the world. In last cruzade he was in America, Portugal, Venice, Austria, Berlin, and Africa. This time he just did a little travelling...i mean in Temple of Doom he just went from Macau to India but those places were really exotic, full of great details (the trees with vampire bats, the rope bridge, the mine rollcoaster, etc)
In this you have the feeling that you already seen every location in previous movies.

8. The Macguffin? Why does he have to return the Crystal Skull? what's his motivation? Saving Professor Ox?But i didn't felt anything anything for Ox. I didn't care for his character because he's just a crazy old man. It wasn't like Indy's father or Marcus Brody, those characters were great and they really matter for Indy. But this guy what's his story with Indy. They explain it to us trough dialogue but he don't see any emotional connection.

9. The weeding? Spielberg is getting more and more conservative. It's like Spielberg is trying to fix the moral flaws of his characters and films ( did u see what he did to E.T.? erasing guns and putting walkie talks). So Spielberg has a character that is basically a womanizer like Indy and he doesn't like it so he make him marry with his first love and makes him a good father. Arghhh!

I have a lot more to say but it's now 00:50 and i'm tired. Look forward to see your 50 mistakes Mystery Man. I just have 9...for now...

Mim said...

I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would, but it is lame Lame LAME.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Funny that my script written over 12 years ago shares elements with the new film... skull quest... Indy's son... Soviet villain... return of Marion...

Heck, even the LA Times noticed a similarity:,0,4413222.story

Now, I can't say for certain if my script Sons of Darkness influenced the new Indy film or not... but I think the circumstantial evidence alone would attract a lawyer eager to sue Lucasfilm... because they either borrowed from my script or it's a colossal coincidence and I just happened to plug into George's stream of consciousness back in 95 when I first sat down to write SOD.

12 years ago Lucasfilm wanted me to sign over the rights to my screenplay and in exchange they wouldn't sue me. I refused to sign after talking to a lawyer and explained to Lucasfilm that if they wanted to control my script then they would have to buy it. Months later it all went away and everybody got on with their lives.

The script itself, while a superior idea by far (Indy and aliens, c'mon!), is a work of fanfiction, and I wrote it with the best of intentions and from my heart and soul. I was passionate about the material... not about deceiving Indydom.

I could be a royal prick about this and milk it for all it's worth... but I don't want that kind of attention... and I don't what George's money either... I just wanted the man to read my script and give me his honest opinion. And it seems, on the surface anyway, he did read it.

It was such a benign stunt I pulled back in 96 but the reaction to it was so hostile -- nasty feedback, threats of lawsuits, jail, and calls from the RCMP... all over some Indy spec script written by some dude up in Canada.

There was, however, on occasion, high praise for my screenplay and the belief that it was indeed the newest Indy film. After 12 years, here's what one of my fans wrote:

I remember the first time that I read the Sons of Darkness script: it was so good that I was enthusiastically telling other people about it and was even practically praying "Dear Lord, PLEASE let this be the next Indy movie!" If there was to be another Indy movie then I thought the post-war period would be when to set it and I thought your script conveyed that quality perfectly. Putting Indy in Qumran when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered was a particularly great touch, and Vladimirov was a classic Indy-style villain.

If nothing else, I think that years from now your Sons of Darkness script will be regarded as at least very prescient, if not downright prophetic, in the light of how Kingdom of the Crystal Skull turned out (which I might go see again tomorrow).

For me, I think the new film got it all wrong and my script would have made a much better film.

But what the fuck do I know, right? I'm just a fanboy.


Rob Smith

Toronto, Canada

Script link:

heathtom said...

Suck-o-rama. Don't get me wrong; I'm glad I saw it. But only so I can say,from personal experience, that the screenplay sucks instead of relying on someone else's opinion. How disappointing. All that money and talent...what happened? Billy Mernit's got a great post on this called "Steven Spielberg Thinks You're An Idiot." Perhaps the lesson here for screenwriters is: fight to do good work. Or, bow out when you've fought and it's obvious people are bent on destroying the integrity of their franchise (Ahem, Mr. Lucas). Or, take the money and ask to have your name removed and hope for the next gig.

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