Official Guide to Indiana Jones

There is a fair bit of dissension about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, with a lot of people enjoying the ride and a lesser, but still vocal portion, not enjoying it. Currently I toss my fedora in the pile of people who weren’t exactly pleased with the movie, though I hope it grows on me over time. That being said, as I left the theater, I knew I had more problems with it than pleasantries, and decided to share just a few of them with you below.

Be warned, if you haven’t seen the film, Here there be Spoilers, arrrggghhhh.

Ten Things I Hated:

10. Indiana’s Age – Now this may be a low blow, but going into the film I didn’t think I’d have a problem with how old he was, and I might not have, if he still wasn’t capable of leaping, bounding, and swinging over rafters like a 25 year old. Ironic that we have the oldest Indy yet be perhaps the most athletic.

9. Lack of Tension – Was it just me or did the film lack any real sense of tension and danger? The action came off much sillier than in past installments.

8. Karen Allen - Sorry Karen. I know I’m not the only one who didn’t care whether or not she came back. All she really did for the last 40 minutes was smile goofily.

7. Unbelievable – Now I know this is an Indy flick and there have been some amazing things happen, but the crap that goes on here. I’m referring mostly to the Duck (amphibious craft) that goes driving off the edge of a cliff, lands in a tree straight out of Looney Tunes, which gently sets them into the water before swatting down some Communists. They then survive without harm, three ever increasing waterfalls.

6. The Death of Henry Jones, Sr. – Just because Sean Connery didn’t want to be in your movie didn’t mean you had to kill him. I felt this was cheap. Denholm Elliot, the actor who played Marcus Brody, died in 1992, so I’m ok with his off-screen character death.

5. Shia LeBeouf’s Haircut - It looked like it had a butt in the back. I know he’s a greaser, but could he be any more of a stereotype? I suggest to you no, he couldn’t.

4. Monkey See, Monkey Do – Was this The Mummy Returns 4 that no one told me about? Seriously, LeBeouf swings from vines with an army of digital monkeys that have his same haircut. They then, en force, attack a communist babe. For crying out loud!

3. The Wedding – Number one, I don’t buy that our charming, masculine Indy, who clearly had more relationships, was so enthralled with Marion. Second, I don’t want Indy married, that is boring. This scene, while not glaringly wrong or anything, just didn’t sit well with me or fit.

2. No Connection – There was a tenuous connection at best to some of the previous themes of the movie. Indy barely used his whip. Maybe on four or five occasions and they were relatively uneventful. There was no great snake scene. The one snake scene they had was pretty laughable. It was intended to be funny, of course, but to me it was borderline insulting. In a jungle full of fines and trees (see 4), that greaser LeBeouf can’t find a damn tree branch or vine, but he finds a gigantic harmless snake? And how does he know about gigantic harmless Amazon snakes – he dropped out of school.

1. CGI – I could write ten pages on this, but I’ll be damned if right off the bat, the first scene, full of CGI, didn’t put me in a bad mood. CGI prairie dogs, at least 3 separate shots of them. WTF? CGI whips. CGI scorpions. CGI ants. CGI landscapes. CGI alien things. CGI collapsing pyramids. CGI rearranging pyramids. The original movies had tons of practical effects and looked great. Real stunts, real bugs, real locations, and I loved every damn one of them. The CGI in this film was over the top and distracting. Hated it! And while I’m on the subject – those CGI ants? Ten billion ants that can climb, move at 30 miles per hour, and kill a man nearly instantly. WTF? The originals were at least somewhat grounded by reality.

5 Things I Liked

5. The Originals – I was happy to see the fedora, the whip, and hear the theme. Glad none of that was unnecessarily changed. And the whip was only CGI once or twice.

4. Mac – I thought Ray Winstone did a good job in the film. I liked his and Indy’s initial banter and while later on he became your stock “I’m greedy so I must die” character, he was fun most of the time.

3. The Shadows – Spielberg did get a little nostalgic with the use of shadows. They reminded me of the original trilogy. There were about three ‘shadow shots,’ one at the beginning when he puts on the hat, and most notably later after staring into the crystal skull, then again in the pyramid. The last two felt close together and too similar, but overall glad they were there.

2. Soviets Instead of Nazis – Nice to see Indy in a new time period with a new enemy. You can only battle Nazis for so long, so I’m glad to see Indy’s patriotism lasted well into the Cold War.

1. Seeing Indiana Jones on the Big Screen – As a relative youngster, I never had a chance to see Indy on the big screen. I liked seeing him up there and hearing the theme song. Now, I wasn’t enthralled with the movie, but there was something about just seeing it up there that pleased me.

Honorable Mentions

The Crystal Skull – I was ok with the alien angle and Area 51 and stuff. I think it wasn’t handled all that amazingly, but I was on board. Though when you start talking about aliens developing the Earth and temples that re-arrange themselves, you’re taking too many cues from Alien vs Predator.

The Jungle Chase – While it lacked some tension, had too many silly jokes (LeBeouf’s nuts being pummeled), too much CGI, and those damned ants, overall the 15 or 20 minute jungle chase was pretty cool. A lot of time and effort went into planning that, and I really liked seeing it. Probably would have made the list if they had actually done more of it outside, rather than CG-ing it in.

Conclusions

This Indiana installment, as of now, I classify as a let-down. There was a lot of bad but some good. I hope that on a second viewing I can get past some of these problems, but who knows. I’d be interested in hearing what everyone else thinks. And despite all the things wrong and my Boiling Point on leaving them alone, secretly, if they could do it right and make it amazing again, I would want a sequel. But they won’t. So leave it be. Sad face.

Sound Off: What were your favorite and most hated parts of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?


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