Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

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neil
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Post by neil » Mon May 26, 2008 11:49 am

Alright, I haven't seen the last movie in a very long time, but here's what I don't understand: Shouldn't Indiana Jones and his dad be immortal, after drinking from the Holy Grail? I remember being consumed with dread at the thought of them getting stuck in a fissure or covered with rubble at the end of the movie (when the temple started to collapse), and not being able to die. Anyway, I thought that's why the series had ended there.

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Post by dik pose » Mon May 26, 2008 12:25 pm

I could be wrong, but I think the effects of the grail only lasted while you were in the tomb area? So you had to stay there forever.

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Post by patrace » Mon May 26, 2008 2:19 pm

So any suggestions on what could have been done to clean up the lazy storytelling and make this a better film? Here's what I think..

(spoilers beyond...)

Here are some things that *might* have made the story stronger.

1. Magnetism
The magnetic properties of the crystal skull could have been more consistent or done away with completely. The skull seemed to be especially magnetic only when convenient and this inconsistency took me out of the story. If gold coins can fly across the room and stick to these things why aren't they buried in metal debris?

2. Mac
Indy's double-triple agent friend wasn't a strong character and primarily served to keep the Russians on the trail towards the end of the movie by leaving little breadcrumb tracking devices. This character could have been developed more or completely discarded in favor of a compass. The magnetic skull would have guided the Russians with a compass as Indy suggests in the warehouse scene. Hmm... It could have been nice to work in a little mystery there too by suggesting that some of Earth's natural magnetic disturbances might not be so natural.

3. Aliens
I didn't mind the alien connection too much but I think it was a little too ham fisted and could have been dealt with in a more subtle matter. For instance, not showing the aliens forming into one being at the end and mind melting Irina. In many cases it's more effective to just suggest these things.

4. El Dorado
Maybe I missed something but I thought it was strange to have these really cool acrobatic blowgun guys hopping around without any explanation. Do they want the skull back? Are they trying to keep it from being returned? Are they just a bunch of crazy dudes with face paint? Do they live in the city? Why don't they take better care of the place? I thought that their relationship could have been sorted out a little better because as they were presented they seemed like just another environmental obstacle to overcome... like a trap door or waterfall.

I didn't think the old age was a problem for Indy. There was an appropriate amount of huff and puff to him and I thought he was believable when taken aside from other problems in the story.
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Post by thirdeyeh » Tue May 27, 2008 4:16 am

I dunno, I think a lot of the problems people are having with the film is kind of what happened with Star Wars. The new movies came out and we all thought they were too cheesey and what not, but when I think about those movies, they were all pretty cheesey. And the outlandish stuff in Indiana Jones: What about the faces melting in Raiders, or the heart still beating after being taken out in Temple, or the super old knight in Crusade. I think all of thesem ovies demand a grain of salt viewing and in that context they are all very entertaining and stack up well together. Besides, how often do we get greaser fights anymore?
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Post by Ganter » Tue May 27, 2008 12:43 pm

For me it wasn't the outlandish stuff, it was the lack of any sort of conflict.

It's just that a lot of the stuff happening in the movie seemed to be happening for no reason other than convenient plot-weaving. In Raiders, it was a judgment being put upon those who were evil (and Nazi's are easily the most evil characters in recent history), in Crusade it was a lesson on the dangers of unlimiting one's ego (thinking you're better than Jesus to deserve his grail), and Temple was about the terror of abuse (enslaved children!). There was something compelling to fight against, something evil that the bad guys were trying to pursue that made it easy to be with Indy 100%, and made for a fun ride when he triumphs in the end.

But in Kingdom, the thing the bad guys are trying to pursue is what... knowledge? It was just harder for me to swallow than the other Indy films, putting the conflict into vague terms rather than using real, visceral temptations on the human condition to propel the story forward.

I think the negative reactions to Indy has nothing to do with the fun quality of the movie-making (because it was very well made and very watchable in the way that an amusement park ride is equally meaningless but enjoyable) and everything to do with a lack of real conflict for the characters including the villains.

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Post by thirdeyeh » Tue May 27, 2008 3:52 pm

I guess its just the people I saw it with because for them it was more the whole alien thing being too weird or something along those lines. Personally I think the conflict was fine. The Russians wanted to be able to control people through the skull and with the Red Scare in the 50's and all, it worked for me. Because the whole thing during that era was people fighting for a perspective; capitalism or communism. In the end we get it revealed that the knowledge they wanted so they could change people's thoughts wasn't what the skull was all about and crazy Cate Blanchett's head blows up. I dunno, I guess I just didn't see the disconnect.

but I can concede that the conflict could have been more direct or stated in the film. Because while I think I got it, they only go into for like that brief scene in the woods when Indy stares at the skull and they convince him aliens exist. I actually thought the whole thing with aliens was going to revolve around the Roswell crash and the Russian's desire t o steal the technology obtained for military strength. That would have been a fine approach too.
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Post by b.patrick » Wed May 28, 2008 2:27 pm

I really liked it. That shot of Indy with the mushroom cloud was the perfect way to bring a '30's serial hero into the atomic age of the '50's. I thought the story was solid for what the movie is -- another installment of a pulp-hero adventure series. Better than Sky Captain which is kind of in the same genre - and I still liked Sky Captain. My only complaint is that there seems to be a booby-trapped temple requirement in all Indy adventures which I don't think is necessary.

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Post by gau dog » Thu May 29, 2008 5:44 pm

There were some good parts, some really bad cheesy parts, and some parts I wish never happened.

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Post by Michael J. Dowswell » Sun Jun 01, 2008 3:32 am

THE POSITIVE:

The opening credits (this probably largely depends on wiether you like the Elvis song being used (which I did), BUT you cannot argue that this was beautifully shot, and 100% real, excluding the very first shot with the CG animal) 80% of the motor bike sequence?, the big long shot at the end, 70% of the opening story, Igor Jijikine, Pavel Lychnikoff, Harrison Ford, The shot of the Jungle cutter cutting through the forest, the low shot of the ants walking towards the characters, The wedding scene (this was odd cause I thought I’d not like it at all, but there was a line from John Hurt that got me), the detail in the sets (pretty incredible), the shot of indy jumping from one jeep to the other (camera behind both jeeps) very nice shot.

THE NEGATIVE:

The Screenplay.

Too many sidekicks, Ford losing the centre stage due to too many side kicks, Cate Blanchett not nearly evil enough and not enough on screen time for character development / lost due to too many sidekicks, Sword fight sequence, Tarzan sequence, Jungle Cutter hardly in it, No outside battle with gun fire with Ray Winstone wielding Thompson sub machine gun in the streets of some dusty town/city, Spielberg going anti violence on us with regards to people being shown to be machine gunned down (this is very un-indiana jones I have to say), John Williams repeating too much of the old music and not enough new music with memorable themes, not enough Jim Broadbent, not enough of the class room scene, The Screenplay, The fact that I had a whole bunch of stuff in my head that I thought they had done and they hadn’t done it, no memorable lines, bad acting, way too much ray tracing aka CGI, The Screenplay, Janusz Kaminski’s fuzzy picture and added blue tint look creeping in on some of the film, The fight scene in the rocket sled room was too short, opening adventure wasn't a fully separate adventure about another artefact
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Post by LetsMeetUpInParadise240 » Sat Jun 07, 2008 7:50 am

I still enjoyed Indy 4 myself, but I agree with alot of the things you guys have pointed out about the film. It seemed rather rushed, Ray Winstone's character wasn't really of much use, and Amy's point about the whole "knowledge" was spot on. The mention of it at the end pretty muched raised my eyebrow.

My biggest problem was the script and that it was written by David Keopp, whose work I'm not really fond of....his past credits being the script for the first Spider Man movie (ugh), Mission Impossible, and Jurassic Park....all those movies I think suffered from script problems.

All I can say is, I'm extremely annoyed at Lucas for nixing Frank Durabont's draft for the film. If you've seen The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, you know how good he is. Just imagine how tighter the film's plot, story and characterization could have been if they stuck with his version.

Anyways, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)

UPDATE: That scene in the a-bomb testing field was beautifully done, I must say. And I'm more in love with Cate Blanchett than ever before. :)
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Post by Mikie » Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:00 am

I really didn't like it. I thought it had some moments, but as a whole, it just fell flat. With the previous three films, I felt a sense of grand scope. This one felt like it was shot mostly on sound stages or a back lot.

The story was over explained, leaving no sense of mystery. The alien concept of the plot, though no more fantastic than what was in the first three, felt wrong and out of place.

The movie didn't feel dangerous or exciting. It seemed to be an excuse to string together the scenes they wanted to shoot. The whole thing felt over the top and more like bad set-up for obvious jokes.

And no, my expectations were not high going in. They were low after all the things I'd heard from people who had seen it already.

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Post by Donal » Sat Jul 05, 2008 11:40 am

neil wrote:Alright, I haven't seen the last movie in a very long time, but here's what I don't understand: Shouldn't Indiana Jones and his dad be immortal, after drinking from the Holy Grail? I remember being consumed with dread at the thought of them getting stuck in a fissure or covered with rubble at the end of the movie (when the temple started to collapse), and not being able to die. Anyway, I thought that's why the series had ended there.
The Knight said the powers of the Grail don't work beyond the great seal. That's the price you pay for immortality, and Indie related a tale of two knights returning from the crusade and dying of extreme old age.
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Post by jdalton » Tue Jul 08, 2008 1:12 pm

After much thought I think the main problem was that Indy is a product of the 1940s and the movie (necessarily) was set in the 1950s. The movie started out feeling like it was the 1950s, but the entire second half took place in some faraway fairy-land that just didn't suit the time period. What made Indy beating up Nazis so exciting was that it tied him in to the whole epic of Nazi paranoid delusionists traveling around the world messing stuff up. The Communists in this movie were poorly connected to anything.

They should have had the story set in Central America, not the Amazon, and you could have Indy wind up in some secret (or not so secret) struggle between the CIA and Soviet-backed guerrillas. The Cold War was all about Americans versus Russians and everyone else paying the price. It needs a completely different sensibility than the "evil empire" of the Nazis. Central America would fit better with the history of archaeology too- at that time the "mysterious" Maya were all the rage and the theories about them were pretty wacky. Archaeology in the middle of the Amazon is a present-day obsession and in my opinion just doesn't fit.
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Post by CameronCN » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:54 am

jdalton wrote:After much thought I think the main problem was that Indy is a product of the 1940s and the movie (necessarily) was set in the 1950s.
The original movies were set in the '30s.
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