Monday, June 11, 2012

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

In a fit of madness I decided to watch "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" I just wanted something light to watch and for some reason couldn't remember anything about the plot of this movie except something to do with a  magnetic box.

Since watching it again I now realise why I didn't recall much about it - my brain was acting to protect itself.

Just from the first half hour this is what I had to contend with.

Okay I can live with movie physics. Sure a magnetic box will attract gunpowder from metres away and so strongly that it will pull it towards itself before it manages to fall under gravity, but at the same time won't attract the overhead lights, weapons, or crowbars of the people around it until they remove the wooden lid.

Putting such a highly magnetised on the flatbed of a metal vehicle and not have it attracted to the metal sides and being able to slide it on and off is perfectly understandable.

Wandering off into the Nevada desert rather than tracing the tracks back to the base and, presumably, a working telephone is fine. As is setting off a nuclear detonation so close to an army base filled with whoo-whoo artefacts.

Nothing wrong with surviving such an explosion by getting into a freezer; hey we even know it was lead-lined because the camera stops to show us. Getting out unhurt to share a comedic moment with a gopher is just one of those things that happens right?

However it took just one scene to show me that the writer and director simply didn't care or just weren't doing their damn jobs. Indiana is being questioned by the FBI and is asked if he can identify the women in charge. He responds with

"Tall, thin, mid-30s, carried a sword of some kind, a rapier, I think" 

Hey so what? He's trying to answer the question isn't he?

Well perhaps because Indy worked out she was from the Ukraine by her accent which might have helped narrow the field down a little. Maybe telling them that she boasted about having been awarded the Order of Lenin three times and received the title of "Hero of Socialist Labour" might serve to identify her. Or maybe failing all of that just telling them that she's called Dr Irina Spalko which is how she introduced herself to him at the beginning of the film. But hey at least he was paying enough attention to determine she carried a rapier.

Plotholes I can try to ignore - how did the conquistadors obtain a skull from a room that requires a skull to open it? How did a landmark next a waterfall remain untouched for 7,000 years?

Same goes for lack of information - who exactly attacked Indy in the graveyard and why? Did those inhabitants of the lost city live in those mouldings?

But not paying attention to your own film's chronology during the writing or even editing phase - that's unacceptable.


Orphi said...

Indiana Jones and the kingdom of the disinterested script writers… it's truly a sad way for an epic series to end.

I gather a similar thing has recently happened to Pirates of the Caribbean…

FlipC said...

Does seem to be the case that once you go past three any film series degenerates sharply. Of course some fall far quicker (cough Matrix).

Seems like a combination of things in that despite a proven track record that should secure a budget and talent said original talent may have used this very series to launch themselves away from it or only appearing due to contractual obligations and thus simply going through the motions.

Add in that a fourth story needs to be provided that is both new and recognisably belonging to the series and failure seems the most likely outcome.

Thinking about it the Harry Potter series was consistently above average perhaps due to a sustained talent base and a pre-written series of scripts.

That would suggest that book-series based films are less susceptible to this phenomenon provided the same talent can be recruited.

Then again there was Twilight ;-)

Orphi said...

I think failure can come at any moment.

What so frequently happens is that a film is put out, does unexpectedly well, and an unnecessary sequel is hastily rushed out. And sucks. Hard.

(Anybody remember Home Alone? But does anybody remember Home Alone 2? Yeah, exactly.)

Sometimes a thing is designed as a series from the beginning. (E.g., Lord of the Rings.) Occasionally an unexpected sequel is made, and somehow manages to be as good as (or even better than) the original. (E.g., Shrek.)

It seems there can be several things which make a sequel suck:

* A change of director / producer / main cast.

* A large time delay between the original and the sequel.

* Financial issues.

I'm still trying to figure out how The Mummy was quite entertaining, The Mummy Returns was fresh and interesting (if a little dubious in places), and then Tomb of the Dragon Emperor was an unmitigated catastrophe. I can only imagine they blew all their budget on big-name actors…

PS. &lt:ul> is a prohibited tag? WTF?

FlipC said...

Well LotR was a pre-set book series; Home Alone was a one-trick pony with no thought to a sequel. Shrek had a whole pre-made fairy-tale world and Shek 2 kept its cast. Oh and recall Tomb lost its secondary star.

Oh and yeah there's only a small set of elements that blogger's comments will allow lists aren't one of them.

Orphi said...

In the case of Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, you can't help but think they lost a star because she saw how awful the script was!

FlipC said...

Heh yeah not wanting to travel to China with her young child was merely a convenient excuse. "No no I'd love to do it it's not that the script is terrible it's just my young kid'