My Worst Fears Have Been Realized

George Lucas must be stopped at all cost! He won’t rest until he fills all of our favorite movies with crappy jarring CGI.

Spoilers ahead as I will probably reveal almost every retarded plot point in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to tell you exactly what is wrong with the latest Indy installment.

The movie opens on a sour note… CGI prairie dogs.  Is it so hard to find actual prairie dogs that they had to rely on CGI?  Perhaps not a big deal, but Indiana Jones movies are supposed to be full of campy old fashioned effects.  Not creepy unrealistic rodents.

Next, for no reason that appears to have any bearing on the rest of the movie, Russians, posing as US soldiers, attack some secretive base in what appears to be Nevada.  Nuclear testing is going on, so Nevada is a likely candidate.  They break into a hangar to steal stuff from the Roswell UFO crash.  This is when you say, “Dear lord, this movie had better not be about aliens.”  Don’t hold your breath.  The doors of this massive warehouse/hangar are covered with a giant “51”.  At this point I, being a huge nerd, first got really mad at the movie.  Everyone knows that (Area) “51” is the secret base in Nevada where the Air Force tests UFO technology, it’s not a hangar designation.  It also goes without saying that the Roswell crash remains are kept in Hangar 18 on an airbase in Ohio.  And I shouldn’t have to tell you that the Ark of the Covenant (seen briefly as Indy makes his escape) is stored in an Army crate in an Army warehouse (See Raiders of the Lost Ark) and that the Roswell remains would have been kept by the Air Force.

After some silly fighting in what appears to be Jabba’s palace with some old knobs and switches, Indy makes his way into a small town.  Sneaking past the commies, he slips into a house only to find that all of the people there are mannequins.  He seems puzzled until an air raid siren anounces that it’s time for personnel to get the hell out of Dodge as there is only one minute until a nuclear test.  Indy stumbles awkwardly over a few plastic people until he blunders his way into a lead lined refridgerator.  The bomb goes off in the distance and the town is vaporized, except for Indy’s fridge.  It is thrown miles away and our hero escapes unharmed to turn and stare into the giant fireball he so narrowly escaped from.  Let’s review the facts:

  • Being 2 miles from a nuclear bomb, you need more than a few millimeters of lead to protect you from the radiation.  In fact, you need more than that to protect you from an XRay machine.
  • Lead has a very low melting point, about 620 degrees Fahrenheit.  The initial flash from a nuclear bomb can burn your shadow into concrete.  We’re talking thousands of degrees.
  • No matter how much shielding from heat and radiation you might have, the resulting shock wave would turn a fridge into dust, not propel it to a safe distance.
  • Whoever came up with this scene should not be allowed to breed.

Moving on… we spend a long time with a lot of boring parts.  The FBI sends two bumbling clowns to investigate Indy, he gets fired, commies hate statues and we find out that the only way to make Shia LeBeouf less appealing is to make him a “greaser”.  Also, Indiana Jones was a spy?  WTF?  He’s not a spy, he’s a professor/archeologist.  That’s what drives him.  If I could revoke Spielberg’s right to the character, I would.  Oh, before I forget, the instant that LeBeouf reveals that he’s looking for his mother who knows Indy, you realize that he’s Indy’s son.  The movie will string you along for another 90 minutes, but it will be no surprise.

Some silly clues send Indy to South America to seek the Crystal Skull in Peru ontop of Weathertop.  While he and LeBeouf are poking around, they get attacked by Nazgul indigenous people.  I learned from this scene that poisoned darts are pointy and poisoned on both ends and if you just force the dart back toward the person holding the blow gun, it’ll poison him instead.  I also learned that this movie was going to be unrelentingly stupid.  Indy, of course, finds the crystal skull and learns that gold is attracted to magnetic substances.  The skull itself is obviously supposed to be an actual alien’s skull, not just a representation.  Nevermind that the jaw and cranium appear to be one solid piece that would allow no movement of the mouth.  In true Indiana Jones fashion, the bad guys stop Indy as he leaves the cave and capture him and the skull and LeBeouf (french for “the beouf”).

Their escape from Cate Blanchett’s (I’ll say this, this isn’t her worst movie, but it’s not much better than Bandits) nefarious clutches is possibly the most drawn out, convoluted fight scene I’ve ever witnessed.  Characters are jumping back and forth between vehicles so often that you feel like you’re playing three-card monte.  All is confusing and absurd enough, but the movie has to take it one step further.  Somehow, LeBouef finds himself dangling from a vine dozens of feet in the air after being yanked off a vehicle (some kind of magical vine).  Next to him, he sees one of his own kind.  A spider monkey.  Suddenly, everything makes sense to our confused greaser.  Shouting, “Monkeys go!” (ok, that part, I made up, the rest is true) he literally swings into action along with a gang of other monkeys.  He is suddenly one with the monkeys, swinging gracefully from tree to tree.  Maybe his father wasn’t Indy, but a spider monkey.  He and his new-found family attack Cate Blanchett’s vehicle, which is soon swarming with monkeys (still not making this up).

Because the movie hadn’t given us an absurd enough look at the fauna of the Amazon, the fight soon ends up on the hill of a fictional species of gigantor ant.  These ants don’t just eat people, they drag them whole into their lair.  I know that the Amazon has some pretty scary species of ants, but none of them will drag you off in one piece.  I think you can imagine how this action sequence goes.

From there, the movie follows a few more jumps in logic until all of the characters are implausibly brought before the council of crystal alien skeletons who use their eye lasers to burn out Cate Blanchett’s eyes.  By this point, I had lost the will to live. The End.

P.S. – Mr Spielberg, if you hand over the Indiana Jones reins to Shia LeBoof, I will never forgive you.  You will be dead to me.

7 Comments

  • Johnny says:

    Did you catch the out of place character quote?

  • juco says:

    Ok – I’d like to add some things. Remember when Indy was a badass? Remember when courageously got the artifact, beating up one Nazi at a time? This movie isn’t about Indy – not really. It’s about Harrison Ford dressed up in a fedora and bullwhip, bumbling around and counting the minutes until his stunt double comes in to take over. He a sad, old puppet, saying vaguely Indiana Jones-like things at times, and then giving the scientific definition of quicksand while he’s sinking in it. And don’t even get me started with how they get him out of the quicksand. They’ve made Indy into a teacher foremost, not the adventurer and archaeologist that is his character. Oh yeah – and he gets twitterpated at the sight of Marian. It’s creepy.

  • Johnny says:

    I think the unrealistic action scenes would have been much more plausible had they opted for “practical” effects rather than all the CGI. At least all the jumping between cars (even if it was with stuntmen) would be easier to believe if there wasn’t a digital jungle flying by. That is what kills me about that movie, sure, when you have a space station or 500 ft monster you need to do CGI or miniature, but when it is just a fight scene atop 2 vehicles or swinging on vines or an animal (that DOES exist), why do CGI? Mr Lucas I love computers, but they are not the only way to make a movie.

    That being said, I did like some of the stark color grading that was done early in the movie. That looked kinda cool.

    Dan, Sorry that our conversation on Friday did nothing to prepare you for this utter let down.

  • xadrian says:

    This made Temple of Doom look frakin Oscar worthy. What a steaming pile of heartbreak.

  • schmichael says:

    I liked it. Sure it had plenty of groaners like the nuke, praire dogs, monkeys, etc., and as always I’d take crappy models over crappy CGI any day. But really I thought it was a good homage to the old Indy movies and enjoyed watching it significantly more than I enjoyed Temple of Doom.

    I have to admit Dan, I didn’t make it through your whole review (sorry!)… I think you put about 10x the effort into the plot research as George Lucas.

    I like the aliens plotline. They did Jewish ghosts, immortal Christian crusaders, Pagan rituals, so why not aliens? Are religious legends the only acceptable ones for Indy to encounter? Maybe I’ve watched too many crappy alien documentaries, but I thought the premise of this one was classic Indy.

    Oh and as for Harrison being old and just going through the motions… well Indy was old in the movie. I thought Harrison acted the part of old Indy quite well.

    Sam & I both thought we wouldn’t mind some cheesy spinoff movies starring his son. Despite a few groaners from him like swinging from vines and combing his hair, I thought his acting was pretty good and his character interesting enough to follow on future adventures.

    But I can see how people could get turned off by some of the more horrendous Lucasisms in this film. I just don’t see a lot of movies in the theater, so just the experience makes almost any amount of cheese pretty entertaining for me. 🙂

  • schmichael says:

    And after I complain about the length of your post, I write a book in the comments? Mea culpa. I’ll go back and finish reading your post now. 😉

  • Dan says:

    The reason that aliens don’t work for me is because Indiana Jones has, in the past, been an homage to old pulp grave robber/tomb raider/adventurer movies. That’s why they had supernatural themes. The aliens don’t really fit into that genre. For aliens, they should have made a Sky Captain sequel, not Indiana Jones. The CGI also went a long way to ruin the campiness of the pulp movie it should have been.

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