Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Indy… Eh, Nah

I've started writing this post fifty different times, fifty different ways, without any success. I tried presenting a cohesive, somewhat standard movie review. I tried waxing sarcastic about George Lucas' galaxy-sized ego and how it relates directly to his narrative dysfunction. I even considered doing an Adaptation-like post of me trying to write this post, but decided it would require too much effort, and I'm afraid that I, like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, just don't give a shit. So instead I'm gonna shotgun some observations, commentary, juvenile insults, etc., and you can put them in order or context and assign whatever meaning to them you choose. I won't give any of the plot away, for the benefit of those who haven't seen it yet, which won't be difficult because there's not much to give away.

1. The stakes aren't high enough. The baddies aren't bad enough. And the good guys solve their problems and overcome their obstacles way too easily. Classic storytelling blunders made by alleged storytelling geniuses.

2. Sometime in the mid-80s, George Lucas started believing the overblown praise being heaped on him by the sycophants, and ever since then he’s considered himself a cinematic genius. Like all people who believe themselves to be geniuses, he thinks everything that comes out of his shitful skull is brilliant. George baby, you need to reconnect with your internal editor.

3. Spielberg joined him in the 90s.

4. Spielberg described the new Indy as "the sweet dessert I give those who had to chow down on the bitter herbs I used in Munich.” What an arrogant prick.

5. To give you an idea of how out of touch Lucas is, he was creaming all over himself when talking about how the movie wasn’t shot in digital format, and that it looked "like it was shot 3 years after the Last Crusade, you'd never know there was 20 years between shooting." Earth to George: 99% of the movie going public don’t give a shit about that. We’d rather have a good story.

6. I was blown away by the lack of effort devoted to the character relationships, especially when compared to The Last Crusade and Indy’s relationship with his father. Hell, his relationship with Shorty in Temple of Doom was deeper and more fully developed than the ones in this movie.

7. Between Spielberg, Lucas, and Harrison Ford, it was obvious to me at least that Ford was the only one who cared. If he had phoned it in like the other two, the movie would’ve been nearly unwatchable.

8. Actually, the acting all around was pretty decent considering what they were given to work with.

9. Lucas, who seems to have embraced the New Income Streams Over Good Stories operating procedure, has said he envisions Shia LeBeouf continuing as the MC of the series, with Harrison Ford making a Sean Connery like cameo in the next film. I actually don’t have a problem with that, as long as they find someone else to come up with the story. Shia LeBeouf has two things going for him: 1) he’s funny. He’s got the false bravado/hero clown shtick down to a tee; and 2) he’s not Hayden Christensen. By the way, for those of you wanting to increase your blog hits, mentioning Hayden Christensen in a post is good for 15-20 additional hits minimum. I know. I don’t understand it either, but it works.

10. Apparently, the Russians are pissed about the portrayal of communists in this movie. I think that says more about where they are today, than where they were fifty years ago. This movie portrays the FBI in a worse light than the commies, which says more about Lucas and Spielberg than the FBI.

11. There’s some dialogue between Indy and Marion about what went wrong with their relationship, and she says something along the lines of, “There must’ve of been plenty of women after me.” To which he replies, “There were a few, but they all had the same problem.” And she says, “What’s that?” No less than five people sitting in my immediate vicinity shouted out the answer before Indy. I would’ve shouted it out too, but I hate people who talk during movies. Though, I hate it less than predictable clichéd dialogue.

12. I’m guessing the “big reveal” at the end was supposed to be shocking and unexpected and therefore emotionally satisfying or at least interesting, but it was so unoriginal, and it’s been done so many times, and it had been telegraphed non-stop throughout… I dunno. Maybe I expected too much.

13. There’s a scene involving a snake that was teetering back and forth between Stupid and Funny. Funny nearly won out, until the last line of dialogue, and then it swung back way past Stupid and into the realm of I Just Lost Respect For Indy.

14. At some point, George, you have to acknowledge that stupid titles are not clever homages to the adventure serials of yesteryear. They’re just stupid titles.

15. It would’ve been fun to see writers like Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio take a crack at Indy. They’re the writing team responsible for the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and the two National Treasure movies. All five of those are better Indy movies than this one. Plus, they challenge the viewer to keep up, or at least, they don’t explain everything to death, a technique genius George has yet to master.

16. Karen Allen was good for the first two minutes. She spent the rest of the movie in a pointless role wearing a goofy grin that said to me, “Hey! Lookit me! I’m in another Indy movie!” Not her fault.

17. I liked Cate Blanchett in this movie, but her character is weak. She’s the main baddie, who apparently has some psychic/mind reading abilities. The problem is she never uses them successfully. So what’s the point? I got no satisfaction from seeing the alien turn her into dust at the end. (Oops. ***SPOILER WARNING***) In fact, I almost felt sorry for her, and I’m not even a communist.

18. Also, if “knowledge” is the treasure, and Cate Blanchett is turned to dust because she seeks the treasure, what the hell kinda view point is that? Are we supposed to be happy with whatever little knowledge our alien teachers decide to dole out? Screw that. Possibly, I'm not smart enough to comprehend the subtle sledgehammers of George's story, or the raspberry tarts of Spielberg's vision.

19. I could go on (pointless monkeys, no sense of danger, random tangential bad guys dispatched too easily, etc.), but it’s just a movie, so who gives a shit?

12 comments:

Travis Erwin said...

Don't beat around the bush. If you didn't like just come out and say so.

Just kidding. I never saw the third one and most likely will not see this one either.

Hayden Christensen Fan News said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hayden Christensen Fan News said...

I always wondered why I would find Hayden's name mentioned randomly in articles and some having absolutely nothing to do with him or his movies. Like finding his name on a fishing site.

LOL Thanks for enlightening me.

He does have a pretty big fan base though. :))

Barbara

blogless troll said...

Ha! Thanks for stopping by, Barbara. And the rest of you think I make this stuff up.

Travis, saving your money on this one is a wise choice.

Whirlochre said...

You sold me.

I'm rushing out to watch the movie tomorrow.

pjd said...

Another gem of a rant, full of pith and vinegar. But the visit from Barbara clinches it. I don't actually know who Hayden Christensen is (I vaguely recognize the name, but the same could be said for the names of my children I suppose), but I'll have to start peppering my own posts with it. And maybe Paris Hilton and David Archuleta. (There, that should be good for another dozen hits or so on this post. No charge, dude.)

As to Indy... well, that sux. I was really looking forward to this movie. Thanks for the review. I suppose this reduces the number of summer blockbusters I have to see, which in turn reduces the home equity loan I'll have to take out in order to afford movie tickets, popcorn, soda, and gas to get to the theater. Ah, hell, I'll just netflix 'em all anyway. OK, maybe I'll go see Narnia.

Robin S. said...

Wow, BT. If you and Chris bot hate it this hard - that's saying something.

I'm so disappointed - knowing you both have good and funny tast- I now know I'm gonna have a sucky movie experience. I'll rent it months from now, so I can do something else while I'm watching.

Bummer.

But thanks for being honest. I'm not into punches being pulled.

Wonderwood said...

Nice rant, BT, and thanks for not giving away the plot by saying knowledge is the treasure.

I'll wait for it to come out on DVD and I'll add it to my collection of Indy movies. In my opinion, each one has gotten a little worse for wear, so I'm not surprised this one falls flat. I'm disappointed, though, because I thought after 20 years maybe they could have come up with something worth a shit. Raiders is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I wouldn't expect it to live up to that, but how about something close, eh?

ril said...

You mock what you don't understand.

Anyway, I hear they're teaming up with Woody Allen for the next one. Better start studying now.

blogless troll said...

So how was it, WO?

Pete, I had to look up David Archuleta. And yeah, I'll probably go see Iron Man at some point, definitely The Dark Knight and Hancock, and no doubt the kids will want to see the animated flicks. So that's what? 400 bucks?

Robin, honestly I didn't hate the movie as much as I hated the lack of effort and the missed opportunities.

Wood, er, sorry about that. But I agree. Raiders was the best.

Ril, of course you'd say that. Alien.

pacatrue said...

Was it better than Battlefield Earth?

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