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Clambone said on May 25th, 2008 at 9:47 am

I didn’t see the new movie, but didn’t Indy drink out of the Holy Grail near the end of the Last Crusade? Wasn’t that supposed to grant immortality? Did they address that at all? Just curious.

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Zenrage said on May 25th, 2008 at 9:55 am

Not immortality, just extended life. Remember the second knight was explained to have died from extreme old age. If it offered immortality with just one sip, then the Nazis wouldn’t have felt it necessary to take it out of the cavern.

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The Grail’s effects last as long as you don’t cross the seal in the temple.

Shittiest immortality ever.

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Alexandra said on May 25th, 2008 at 10:34 am

I gave up expecting anything coherent around about the time Shia turned into Monkey Boy.

I also had a weird moment When All Was Revealed and it felt like a later episode of Stargate. I expected Michael Shanks to pop out at any moment and say “no, no, don’t you see what this IS? how exciting this IS? What these beings ARE, Jack? – er – Indy?” or some other such Daniel Jacksonisms. I even had a frisson when Indy said “but if I run it through Mayan first…” earlier on.

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It was a good movie.

But it wasn’t a good Indiana Jones movie.

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The first half of the film was really fun. It was kind of a romp, “Let’s bring Indy into the fifties! Hijinks ensue.” Then as soon as Indy had the MacGuffin, they said, well, time to use the template. If you’ve seen any indy movie before, there’s no tension or surprises in the second half, unless you were under a rock and missed the spoiler months ago about the alien.

On the flip side, the transition from supernatural adventure to sci-fi adventure is spot-on for the change of decades. Mutt’s worship of James Dean is well played, and I didn’t find his character grating.

but realistically, no, this isn’t the story I wanted to see. Show us the WW2 years, that’d be awesome, and keep the nazis around to fight. or even go the Hellboy route (which owes a lot to indy anyway) and have Hitler survive the war and fight a clandestine war for several years afterward. The plot would center around the Spear of Destiny.

on the other other side, at least Spielberg saved us from Lucas’ worst ideas: http://www.stv.tv/out/films/latestnews/George_Lucasx_Indiana_aliens_118705

repeat after me: decent CGI looks like shit in two years, decent practical effects look good 25 years later.

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Katzedecimal said on May 25th, 2008 at 12:01 pm

“Betrayal in the first five minutes…” “Check.”
“Aircraft engine peril…” “Check.”
“Snakes…” “Check.”
“Giant insects…” “Check”
“Flashy swords…” “Check.”
“Swooshy special effects…” “Check.”
“Bad Guys Win But Don’t…” “Check.”
“‘Be Careful What You Wish For, You May Get It’ moral…” “Check.”
“That’s it, then – it’s definitely an Indiana Jones movie.” “Are you implying they’ve gotten formulaic?”

On the minus side, it felt like “Star Trek: Generations”, a movie made simply to hand off the franchise so they can make more money*COUGH*movies, sorry, movies. On the plus side, it was a lot better than “Generations.”

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I liked it. It wasn’t perfect, but only Raiders was.

I would like to address the whole “But Indy’s supposed to fight NAZIS!” thing, because this seems to be a big beef with a lot of fans. I’m glad they skipped WWII, frankly. I was much more intrigued by the idea of Indy adapting to life in the cold war era, where even the government he’s always been such a patriot for is tearing into itself. My major complaint is that this wasn’t more of a plot point.

I got into an argument with a guy last night about the alien thing. He found it completely out of place, when the first two established religion as the major theme. My main argument is that, actually, super-powerful entities that have influenced humanity in untold ways but who are ultimately callous to our plight is the big theme. Remember, the only reason the ark didn’t kill Indy was because he kept his eyes shut.

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I have no inclination to see this flick (I learned my lesson with the first and then the second SW trilogy. I never needed to have seen the prequels, and they add nothing to the story), but I wonder about Lucas’ idea, linked to by Exar. I’ve seen the whole Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men from Mars thing mentioned a couple of times, and part of me wonders whether, if they truly wanted to continue the franchise, that wasn’t truly the way they should have gone. Lucas and Speilberg (Spielberg? I never remember) always mention Indy’s foundation in the old serials, which are well before my time, admittedly, but there seems to have been a campy sort of quality to them, no? “The Temple of Doom”? “Raiders”?

Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men From Mars actually seems like the more logical choice for the story, because after we stopped fighting the Nazis, we got all scared about Sputnik and started focusing on the Soviets (I mean, it was a while after, but it was still after nonetheless. I still remember Stephen King’s story about how he was in the movie theater, watching a serial, when the theater manager cut over the loudspeaker to bear the Sputnik news). The red planet would have been an obvious choice for a red scare.

All of which is to say: I mean, if you’re going to jump the shark, why not hurdle the fucker?

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Sofa King said on May 25th, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Spoiler:

Thing that got me was that if the FBI hadn’t gotten him fired, he would have had no reason or way to get through the rest of the adventure. Though it was cool to see the Janitor from Scrubs again. This was a movie that had Indy in it, not an Indiana Jones movie. The whole thing was pretty meh, from the suddenly introduced best friend to the largely ineffectual bad guys. Shia wasn’t bad though.

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People need to stop claiming they were waiting for this movie for 19 years. It was a rumor 18 years ago and had been ever since, but no one was waiting.

George had another idea for a Indiana Jones movie and didn’t give up on it. And here it is. And it was pretty cool. I had fun. I liked that it was a different movie for a different generation (both fictionally and literally) and it used one of my personal favorite “Inexplicable Relic”s as the MacGuffin. I was more or less happy with what we got.

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Andrew W. said on May 25th, 2008 at 6:41 pm

I wonder how much the generational thing figures into it. Reminds me of the thing with Transformers where there were a lot of people who wanted Peter Cullen and Frank Welker, but they hadn’t been Optimus Prime or Megatron in over twenty years, and since then there was a whole new crop of fans of Transformers for whom Optimus Prime was Gary Chalk and Megatron was David Kaye. Doesn’t fit since we haven’t had any Indy in the interim, but still, you know?

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I was happy with the direction they took the Crystal Skull, at least. As a history buff, I was disappointed when they went with one of Lucas’ minor obsessions and made the Crystal Skulls the big mystical artifacts. You go from three major (well, they really played around with Hinduism in “Doom”) religious artifacts, and then you go with a set of objects that are very likely forgeries. So perhaps when they went a different direction with the skull, even though it wasn’t as great as it could have been, I got into it because it wasn’t the Indiana Jones movies lending credence to historical forgeries.

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Actually, we have had Indiana Jones in the interim. ‘Young Indiana Jones Chronicles’. Not that I think anyone other than Ford is the definitive Indy…

I thought it was a decent enough movie; I think the problem most people have is that, like our host, they’re asking themselves, “I waited twenty years for this?” instead of evaluating it on its own merits. By that standard, it’s a pretty good action movie with some very nice set pieces and a few bits that someone should have wisely excised at the script stage (the vine swinging, the fridge.) I’m a little biased against it because I think von Daniken should be strung up by his thumbs and his genitals used as a pinata, but then again, it’s not like I really believe in the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant, either. :)

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“Not that I think anyone other than Ford is the definitive Indy…”

I have a feeling Indy is bigger than Ford, or at least should be (and would be were Lucas and Spielberg smarter about it). Indy is an iconic character a la Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Superman, Spiderman, Batman, and the Doctor (regardless of the incarnations); just about anyone ought to be able to play him, interpret him, and tell his story. I think the character itself taps into bigger myths (mostly because of the talent of the aforementioned messrs. Lucas and Spielberg), and myths are mutable.

Personally, besides just embracing Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men from Mars, I think they should have just let Shia play Indy, because it seems like that’s where they’re going, and why pussyfoot around it?

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karellan said on May 26th, 2008 at 9:27 am

I liked Raiders of the Lost Arc pretty well, thought Temple of Doom was too cheezy for its own good, and wondered why they just remade Raiders for Last Crusade. Crystal Skull was shit. Everything from the plot to the acting to the special effects to the action scenes to the obvious stunt doubles was just atrocious. The only thing I remotely liked was Shia’s performance, except I thought he was mis-cast, so who cares how good he could act? Karen Allen looked like she didn’t know where she was or what was going on for most of the movie.

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I haven’t seen it yet, but I know all the spoilers, and one thing I find funny is that so many people are finding aliens to be this big shark-jumping fall from believability, when the earlier movies (particularly Raiders and, to a lesser extent, Last Crusade) featured intervention from, you know, Gawd hisself.
I was speculating the other day that an aversion to sci-fi elements and wholesale acceptance of religious woo-woo on the part of the American mainstream might in part account for the hostile reception that this aspect of the story is receiving.

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Stacy Dooks said on May 26th, 2008 at 9:39 pm

I liked it a great deal as a coda to the Indy saga, and had no problems letting my inner 8 year-old run wild as Indiana Jones punched bad guys in the face.

On a more serious note, I recognized going in that this movie was going to be a bit of a different breed. Spielberg and Lucas maintained that this film was going to take it’s queues from the 1950s B-movies more than the Adventure Serials of the 1940s. At once the film was a nod back and a move forward(though if they make a fifth film, what’re they going to homage then? The Bond films?).

Expecatation after an interval of 20 years was going to generate some ill will for this film, but I’m also thinking that some people just look at anything with Lucas’s name on it and shoot it through the ‘It Sucks Because We Have Decreed It To Suck’ prism. Crystal Skull stands up there with Last Crusade in my estimation of follow-ups to the cinematic lightning in a bottle that was Raiders. It’s better than Temple of Doom at any rate.

Stacy

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Will, I disagree. You mentioned Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Superman, Spiderman, Batman, and the Doctor, but all of those originated in books and comics, and were already part or the culture before movies were made of them. Except the Doctor, but being played by different actors is written into the character.

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Sofa King said on May 27th, 2008 at 5:47 pm

Indy didn’t really fight much (and it lasted too long), used his whip maybe twice, and really just ran around looking at stuff. Hell, at the end his knowledge was useless, since who knows aliens? And John Hurt was deeply wasted. And Indy gets MARRIED!? Lame bad guys, lame concepts. And Harrison Ford waxed his chest for this movie, which is weird.

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I can’t really believe anyone reading this far down needs a Spoiler Alert, but what the heck, right?

Spoiler! Don’t read this if you don’t want to be spoiled!

*

Feel free to add me to the list of people who politely disagree. I went tonight after hearing a few murmurs about people disappointed and found myself pleasantly surprised to be having a really fun time throughout the movie. Sure, there were a few places where I rolled my eyes a bit, but I enjoyed it, I believed in Indy and Mutt’s relationship, I was generally amused and not annoyed by Marion’s return, and I genuinely laughed out loud at the parts written to be funny. And, unlike people’s perception that the third movie copies the first, I felt quite strongly that the self-referential bits here were forgivable and ultimately made sense, given Harrison’s age. I liked it, but better, I enjoyed it as an Indiana Jones movie.

I am eager for people my age to start realizing, as I am beginning to, that the Internet is quite rapidly becoming the modern equivalent of that old cliche where the grumpy old man says, “Back in my day, we didn’t need NOUN and we got by on OLD TIMEY NOUN.”

And I think it’s pretty fitting that this movie in particular and the scuttlebutt about it is what made me realize that.

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gestalt said on May 31st, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Indian Jones and the Saucer Men from Mars would have been a better movie.
I wasn’t sure about this. I mean, I liked it, I liked the Commies… still not sure about the aliens. I quite liked the random atomic bomb, in a kind of unrealistic way. (The fridge flight was a bit silly tho.) However I found the ending to be vaguly unsatisfying. I can’t really say why, I just expected something… more. I can’t really quantify it tho.

Anyway, it was still a good movie overall. Could have maybe been done better, if they’d made it a bit more B-movie, and layed off some of the CGI. Especially those ground-hogs. Man, they annoyed the shit out of me.

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