31 May 2008

Comments on Crystal Skull

Having been compelled to see the latest Indiana Jones film, I have returned in one piece and will provide my comments below.  (There are numerous spoilers also, so look out.)

The film was precisely what I expected - a half pastiche, half homage to the previous films (relying too much on those past films, I'm afraid), half setup for the inevitable sequel.  (Dat's three halves but oh well.)  I wasn't expecting a cinematic masterpiece, of course, and I wasn't disappointed in that regard.  Too much emphasis on comedy when there should have been action and seriousness.  The CGI effects were terribly obvious from a viewer standpoint.  

Harrison Ford looked tired and delivered many of his lines like he didn't know why he was there. I honestly couldn't believe that he could wage a fistfight of that nature in the real world.  Spielberg/Lucas ceded good chunks of the film to Shia LeBoeuf's Marlon Brando doppelganger character, obviously crying out that the show will go on with him wearing the fedora and whip in the future.  Of course this becomes screamingly obvious when it is revealed that he is Indiana's long lost SON!!!  Well isn't that convenient?  Son of Indiana Jones, I dare say?

Cate Blanchett's Russian character was ridiculous and definitely not threatening.  Need I say more?  The Nazis made much cooler villains.

And when did these films become family domestic dramas, or 1950s period pieces?  I thought I was watching a goddamned soap opera at a number of points.  While it was cool to see Marion Ravenwood return (she got old, didn't she?), I did not expect the film to degenerate into dysfunctional long lost family histrionics.  Well, Indiana and Marion (finally) get married at the end and that was kind of cool, so maybe it was worth it.  I did expect the film to make much use of its 1950s setting, and boy did they milk it for all it was worth.  

And nobody can survive falling down three huge waterfalls.  No way.

And finally, the major surprise - aliens as the plot drivers.  (To quote the legend himself, Neil Young: "Well I dreamed I saw the silver spaceships flying in the yellow haze of the sun...")  I know that the original idea was something like Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men from Mars.  A complete change of nature for these films.  I don't think they ventured too far from that idea, now did they?  Guess not everything can stay the same, eh?

This was the main item which dropped this film from something theatre-worthy to Sci-Fi Channel film of the week material.  Sickening turn of events for Mr. Spielberg and company.

In short, I was expecting candy corn and dat's exactly what I got.  Now if I had watched this film on my cruddy laptop and Brazil in the theater, that would have been much more enjoyable.  But dat'z the world we live in today.