Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – Good?

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::: Crack! Indiana Jones takes whip to doomsayers
The Times

As a big fan of the Indiana Jones film, it would go without saying that I’m very eagerly anticipating the latest entry – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

There was one online review that slammed the movie and somehow it translated into the larger media that the online critics all hated it. This seems a bit odd that one online film review can somehow be pulled out to say that this is the only online film critic unanimous view of the film. Though it still feels incredibly weird when I read traditional media describe everyone that writes about cinema on film sites as if we were all one and the same person. At last check everyone that writes about cinema online has to be one of the most diverse groups of writers in any one medium that currently exists.

One article I read suggested that studio heads (without naming the studio) felt that Spielberg phoned in Crystal Skulls. This seems to me more like wild speculation. Spielberg as a director has always seemed one of the most hands on directors working in Hollywood. I don’t seem him ever out to lunch while a movie gets made. What could this speculation really hint at? Perhaps at work here is that some are nervous on if it the film in its current state will translate into big box office. This is always something that seems to pit studio heads and directors against each other. Studio heads/brass want various mainstream touches in a film to help make it cater more to the demographics they are hoping will see it again and again and spread the word of mouth. Directors are making the film with their vision and not always throwing in a scene so a demographic at a certain point gets entertained at the expense of the narrative. As far as tent pole and big summer blockbusters go, you really can’t go against Spielberg (just look at his record). Not every summer film he has done has always worked, but his batting average and profit are certainly in their own zip code.

As for the latest Indy effort, I can say I have no idea what to expect. I finally see it in 2 days and I can’t wait.

I think the main thing with the film will boil down to the film made for Indy audience versus the film made to introduce Indy to a new audience. We seem to have all the original creative team for the most part back to whip us up a new adventure. Their collective voice and collaboration has worked to date. The weakest hour of the whole franchise to me was the really underwhelming and confused ending for Temple of Doom (I liked everything else in the film). They have established Indy and his universe and if they tinker with it too much or it seems completely off track from this, then of course the Indy audience/purists will certainly not be satisfied. In addition the film also has to introduce Indy to a new audience, so we can expect some of this as well and perhaps allow them new room to grow the series and its universe out more. This growing out though could also work against it in that in offering new avenues to go down, it derails established things we already liked. So point being, keep what we like and bring us back the adventure we love from this series.

As artists they have to get back to the original places they were when crafting this series. If they can’t dial back into that magic then we will have one big slobber of a movie that feels more like a parody of itself that never gets off the ground. It would be like seeing a high school crush twenty years later, only to discover they have tanned every day of their life, never showered, have more arm pit hair than hair on their head and stinky feet. Let’s hope when we bump into Indy again, he has faired much better. I certainly am counting on Lucas and Spielberg getting a chance again to be the boys that were in love with the movies they grew up on and couldn’t wait to tell the world and tell their own stories by making their own.

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