‘Indiana Jones 4′: Epic Disappointment The Likes Of ‘Phantom Menace’
Posted on 27. May, 2008 by The Gimcracker in Beratings, Movies
I don’t know what it is with George Lucas and terrible rehashes of once-untarnished film sagas. Everything he touches nowadays turns to dust. If you choose to see a Lucas film, you have chosen poorly. Maybe my brother put it best when he told me “I knew George Lucas had changed forever when he modified the Greedo/Solo dispute for the re-release of Star Wars: Episode 4 and made Greedo the one to shoot first instead of Solo.”
He was right, Lucas has gone incredibly soft… and lame.
They should have buried the series after The Last Crusade. I’m extremely sad to say that Indiana Jones and the Kingom of the Crystal Skull disappointed me more than Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
I left work early the first Friday it opened to see it by myself. I love seeing movies by myself because it lets me fully experience the film without any distractions. However, no amount of preparation can prevent the movie itself from distracting me with unbelievable scenes, bad acting, and a terrible plot. Oh no, The Bad section is going to be long…
There were so few good things about this movie. I can actually list them out – all four of them.
- 1. Shia Labeouf. This guy keeps impressing me. I am officially a Shia fan. I wish I could say he saved the movie.
- 2. Cate Blanchett.
- 3. The Greaser/Jock diner fight.
- 4. The graphics during the alien aircraft launch.
I don’t know which was worse, the plot or the acting. Let’s start with the acting since I believe Harrison Ford to be the main reason the first three movies were so good. I think Harrison has lost his touch. He was really good in What Lies Beneath, which is one of the last movies I remember seeing him in. But that was 8 years ago. He looked a lot older and less in control in Indiana Jones 4, and the one-liners, smirks, and panicked fight sequences that we have come to love him for are non-existent. Most of these qualities were instead found in Shia.
The plot didn’t even equal up to The Mummy movies, which I had previously defined as “Indiana Jones knock-offs”. It’s funny – I would venture so far as to say that Indiana Jones 4 is a knock-off of The Mummy.
What really made the first three films memorable, aside from Harrison Ford, was the story. Hunting after supernatural artifacts that, deep down, we believe really exist makes for a great story. The Arc of the Covenant actually existed at some point in time. A magnetic alien skull make of crystal and quartz from outer space did not really exist at some point in time. It could have, I guess. But we don’t know for a fact that it did like we know with the Holy Grail. As far as plot complexity, IJ4 was on par with the first films, but it was the substance that really bothered me. It seemed very manufactured.
The film also lacked the sort of “heart” that the first three had. I don’t know how to describe it – atmosphere, environment, feel… “heart”. This one is tough to explain, and I am not talking about nostalgia. The fight scene on top of the tank near the Canyon of the Crescent Moon. The scene on the blimp when Sean Connery asks Indy what he wants to talk about and he replies “I can’t think of anything”. The fight after the drinking contest in Marian’s bar. When the guy pulls out the huge sword in the market and Indy just shoots him. These are little pieces that make up the heart of the movie. IJ4 lacked these memorable scenes.
I can’t list all the unbelievable scenes in this film. Sure the first three films had some unbelievable scenes, but at least they were done with humor and class. Let me give you an example. In The Last Crusade, 5 Nazis fighting Indy conveniently stand in single file line on top of a tank speeding through the rough desert terrain, and Indy shoots a single bullet from a stolen Nazi gun which penetrates the torsos of all 5 Nazis – killing them instantly. Unbelievable? Yes. Amazing scene? Yes. Why? Because of the expression of wonder on Indy’s face when he looks at the barrel of the gun he just fired, telling us that the movie is aware of the impossibility it just presented us with.
In IJ4, there is at least one scene involving 10+ Russian goons firing fully-automatic weapons directly at Indy from 10 yards away – missing him every single time. Unbelievable? Yes. Amazing Scene? No. Why? The scene takes itself seriously. There is no joke involved.
Acting – 1 berating.
Just as one or two bad actors cannot ruin a film, one or two good actors cannot make a film. Sorry, Shia and Cate.
Plot – 2 beratings.
Inconsistencies – 2 beratings.
It doesn’t even seem like it belongs in the Indiana Jones series. Besides the same actor portraying Indy and the glimpse of the Arc during the warehouse scene, what else is there to convince me this movie deserves the Indiana Jones prefix?
Unbelievable Events – 2 beratings.
I tried not to bring up this scene, but I just have to seeing as how it’s the most unbelievable scene I’ve
ever seen in the history of Hollywood. There is a scene where Indy jumps in a fridge just before a nuclear explosion (which he later pronounces “nucular” LOL), gets launched a mile into the air and lands without the fridge breaking or even opening, tumbles out of the fridge without a scratch on him, and stands there facing the still-in-progress explosion that should be instantly blinding/burning/cancer-izing him. Anyone involved with creating this scene should be ashamed of themselves. Even you, ILM. Just kidding, I can’t stay mad at you ILM.
Schematics – 1 berating
The graphics were good, but I’m more concerned with the what my ears experienced than what my eyes beheld. Remember the Arc theme? Remember the Grail theme? There was no Skull theme. At least not one that stuck out. The first Indiana Jones films presented some of the greatest film scoring I’ve ever heard. This one failed.
8/10 Berating = Watch it purely for spousal points
0/10 Stand in line for the very first showing
1/10 See it the first weekend
2/10 See it at full price
3/10 See it at the Five-Buck-Club
4/10 See it at the dollar-fifty
5/10 See it OnDemand
6/10 Rent it from Blockbuster
7/10 Watch it on TV
>> 8/10 Watch it purely for spousal points
9/10 Never watch it
10/10 Buy it and publicly destroy it
In summary, I have at least learned a valuable lesson from this experience. Do not put your trust in anything but God. Everything else will eventually disappoint. Sorry, I know that’s a sad note to end on… but is it?
I saw it yesterday; and I agree that it was disappointing. I don’t know that I would berate it as heavily as you did. But I also know how much you value Indy Jones. Every time you come over to my house you intimidate me into playing it on the piano. I’m sorry there aren’t any new memorable themes from IJ4 to play for you.
I’m sorry for being an adult bully. Maybe I should be beaten up and put in my place and turn nice, sort of like Biff on Back to the Future.
Speaking of Back to the Future, didn’t that “Greaser/Jock diner fight” remind you of BTTF?
I like the Greaser/Jock diner fight… but why did it have that Grease knock-off music? The music in that scene seemed really out of place to me, it kind of just broke the tension of the whole moment. It was indicative of the whole movie being a disjointed tangled hunk of confused crap. The scene should have had some of the playful fun music that the scene from Crusade with Sulla and Brody where Sulla keeps saying “run” and Brody is like “yes!” and Sulla punches the guy through the newspaper had. I can’t recall the music from that scene, but I’m sure it was perfect.
Really, the movie was just Temple of Doom II. I mean, when you watch Temple of Doom, you go, “Huh? What is this? Was Stephen or George just doing this whole film to get laid, or recover from a divorce?” And then you find out the leading lady married Stephen, and that George was going through a really foul divorce and the answer to both questions is mostly definitely yes. Then you watch Raiders and Crusade and go “Wow”.
So, my new theory is that Stephen was trying to get with Cate Blanchett and George was trying desperately to convince his newly adult children that he is still cool so they will want to be friends with him the way Mutt is friends with Indy, but then they hear he named the co-star Mutt and they think he’s stupid and they only come over to show their new girlfriend the original R2 and George goes cries and decides to ruin another classic film…
There is so much I can say about this film, but I think it can be summed up in one word:
I have to go see it again though, because the first time I think I went into shock and didn’t come out of it until the next day after I had watched Crusades for the first time in years. I think I was so horrified by how terrible it was that I blacked out. I think now that I am prepared for it being awful I might be able to watch it and enjoy it better. I do have a favorite line from the movie though:
“Big Damn Ants!”
Er… That’s the only memorable good thing I can remember from the whole movie. And I don’t even think that’s the whole line…
Next time I see a bad movie I need to have you write a guest review for it.