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May 28, 2008

Comments

Shane

I find this part of your review interesting:

"Some critics and commentators, overly wedded to academic theories of dramatic structure, have pronounced the climax of Raiders dramatically flawed, on the grounds that the protagonist fails to perform the climatic action. This is the classic critical fallacy of the small-minded, rule-oriented critic failing to discern the freedom of a great work of art to flout the usual rules for dramatic effect."

The reason is that this is precisely the reason I sat through the first 105 minutes of Spider-Man thinking it was a pretty entertaining flick until the last 15 minutes utterly ruined it for me. I don't think I have the same feelings about Indiana Jones. I guess for me, there's a difference between dealing with a mere human being and a super hero. Of course, Spider-Man is in many ways the most human of all the super heros (either first to Batman's second, or vice versa), and so in some sense I can understand the meaning and the depth of how the film ends, but the ultimate judgement really lies in the fact that when the Green Goblin was defeated, I was entirely unsatisfied.

Foxfier

Shane-
My mom would say that sometimes you can break the rules, but you have to make sure it's the right thing, and you have to do it well.

Speedmaster

We watched it Sunday and loved it. I could have lived without the alien angle though. ;-)

skyhawk

I agree with Speedmaster. I enjoyed this lastest Indy, but I wasn't impressed by the "alien" angle. SDG's review is dead on about the action and villains of that movie too.

All in all this movies was better than I thought it would be, though still disappointing in some ways... If that makes any sense.

Tom

I keep hearing about the "alien angle" and thinking that I'm gonna go and be disappointed when a wookie doesn't show up with blasters blazing to help out...

David B.

Eight years ago, before Decent Films existed, I jotted down a few quick sentences on Raiders as part of a list of 35 or so movies I particularly liked and recommended.

So that's why some of my favorite movies got such short 'views from you!
I thought maybe they were capsule reviews for NCR, or that you thought enough 'ink' had been spilt on the more widely-respected films.

Raiders would probably make my personal all-time top 10 list, if I ever drew one up, while Star Wars and Die Hard wouldn't.

Those nine other movie must be realllly good! ;-)

So, just what else would make your top ten list?

You've piqued my interest.

What are your favorite films as a movie-goer?

What are your favorite films as a film critic?

Smoky Mountain

Raised on Indy, I had anticipated the fourth installment for 20 years. I went on opening night, and my main reaction was disappointment; though, I almost expected to be disappointed -- it's certainly not easy to live up to 20 years of expectations.

I went again Friday night (2nd night) with my fiance; the second time around, knowing what to expect, I enjoyed the movie much more; it's still tied for last among Indy films (with Temple of Doom) in my book, but I think it's a reasonable addition to the canon.

I thought Spielberg / Lucas did a good job in terms of continuity -- they didn't go overboard with CGI, so this movie could almost be watched after Last Crusade and not feel technically out of place (like the Star Wars prequels feel out of place next to the original Trilogy); I actually felt the CGI was poorly done by today's standards in many scenes -- you could tell when they were using blue screen. Not sure if that was on purpose (continuity with late 80's technology) or laziness / ineptitude.

However, my main gripe was the sci-fi angle. I really like the supernatural aspect of Indiana Jones, but it felt unnatural to bring science fiction into the supernatural mix.

Oh well. The movie has whetted my apetite for an Indy 5. Indiana Jones remains my hero.

Cheers,
Matt

TomH

Sorry to be overly critical but Indy 4 was a non-stop stinker. National Treasure II was a more worthy 4th than this film.

This seems, once again, like a Lucas sell-out of the art just the same as Star Wars.

Two words: Monkey Swinging. Absurd.

Veronica

I thought Crystal Skull was better than I expected, I certainly had lots of fun watching it! I might like it more than Temple of Doom, with that shrilly blonde, disgusting feasts, beating hearts being ripped out of people and the glowing green stones.

I much greatly preferred 'aliens' (for lack of a better word, since they were really inter-dimensional beings) to the implication that Shiva is a benign 'god' with magical powers. But that's just me.

Oh, and kudos to Spielberg and Lucas for bringing back Marion Ravenwood as Indy's true love. That truly rocked.

The Masked Chicken

I must confess that I have not seen any of the Indiana Jones films, but if Veronica's summary is correct and inter-dimensional beings are involved, why is this not a plagiarism of the Stargate SG1 episode from season three, entitled, The Crystal Skull? The solution to the problem also involved inter-dimensional beings.

The Chicken

Maureen

Re: action heroes getting beat up a lot ---

Actually not too uncommon. Hardboiled detectives commonly achieved their ends by getting continually captured and knocked out by the baddies. Sherlock Holmes villains often got their comeuppance by way of a natural disaster. Offscreen. Months in the future.

It's very similar to the end of She, really. Haggard's heroes eventually just have to sit back and be saved by the miraculous.

Christopher Fair

Boy, I hate to be critical of an Indiana Jones movie, but I really just did not enjoy this particular one for the following reasons:

1) Harrison Ford's acting was really poor in this one. That is a shame because he has much better capabilities.
2) The premise is to fantastical for me to suspend disbelief long enough to watch it. This was also my problem with the temple of doom.
3) It had to many unbelievable tieins to previous films.


These are my three main reasons (apart from spoilers that I am avoiding) but even with these distractions I enjoyed the movie. I won't go see it again in the theaters but I will probably buy it on DVD as soon as it breaks below the $10 point ;)

SDG

Re: action heroes getting beat up a lot ---
Actually not too uncommon. Hardboiled detectives commonly achieved their ends by getting continually captured and knocked out by the baddies.

Ah, but that's quite different. To begin with, if the hard-boiled detective is achieving his ends, he's still in charge of the situation, as Indy certainly isn't when he gets beat up. And even when the hard-boiled detective lost control of the situation, he was typically all stoical and tough about it. You might see three guys gang up on Bogey and give him a working over, but you never saw Bogey look as silly as Indy falling to the sand after getting punched by the big German, not to mention wincing and moaning while Marion tended his wounds. (Bogey might have winced, a little, if Bacall tended his wounds, but he didn't look silly, he was all cool about it.)

By the same token, action heroes of the past didn't typically get overwhelmed and freak out like John McClane (another vulnerable 1980s hero). They were straight shooters and tough talkers who were stoical even in defeat.

It's very similar to the end of She, really. Haggard's heroes eventually just have to sit back and be saved by the miraculous.

Not entirely unlike, but still quite different, I think. The heroes in She aren't tied up and helpless and irrelevant, are they? The climax is all about the hero, and how (spoiler alert!) Ayesha wants to make him her immortal consort by bathing him in the same pillar of fire that made her immortal. And he challenges her to show him that the pillar of fire is safe, and her second immersion destroys her. Not entirely unlike the end of Disney's Aladdin, in which the hero tricks the villain into wishing for the omnipotent power of a genie, so that he becomes a slave to the lamp.

In the climax of Raiders, Indy is totally irrelevant and helpless. It's got nothing to do with him -- he was a mere nuisance; the villains have bigger fish to fry. Even in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (spoiler alert!), it's the villainess herself who wants the full alien revelation; it isn't something she does at Indy's bidding, let alone for him, nor does she want it for him. Once again he's irrelevant in her designs. That's quite different, I think.

JV

I loved it. I thought it was cool how, in the tradition of the previous Indy movies, he encounters legend become fact. In this case we had the double legends of the Maya and modern American UFO mythology. Great stuff!!

And Mutt Williams was a great new character!

David B.

When Indy said "I believe, sistuur," I knew that David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson should sue George Lucas' hot air-filled body. :-)

Yeoman

Wow, a whole thread on the Jimmy Akin blog and not one reference to the biblical overtones in three out of the four Indiana Jones movies. Your English 101 profs would be ashamed.

I liked the film. I've liked them all except for the Temple of Doom film, and I'm a hard sell on most movies. I even like them in spite of the historical and physical culture errors that show up them. Frankly, I went in fully expecting to be really disappointed with this one, and was quite pleasantly surprised. They handled the characters increased age nicely, and filled in some blanks on what he's been doing in the intervening years.

And they even threw in a reference to the Young Indiana Jones tv series, for those who used to watch that. Nicely done.

But, back to my introductory point. Obviously, the biblical references In Raiders and The Last Crusade do not need to be filled in, but did nobody see the heavy analogy to the Book of Genesis in this one? I don't want to spoil the ending for those who have not seen it, but make the ending of the film an allegory, rather than literal, and consider the actions of the Russian female character. . . and, . . .well I think you'll see what I mean.

Ian

I went with several people this weekend and no one thought the movie was worthy of being in the series. It was FAR worse than TOD. Aliens? Pan-dimensional beings? "When they start looking for reds in academia, it's time to retire?" Tarzan?

Oh, and what about young Jones commenting on not knowing any fencing but being good with a knife and then taking on the Russian? Talk about incongruity.

One of the things I couldn't get out of my head the whole time was that they wrote the entire movie in order to create a ride at Disney World.

They couldn't have done much worse.

Padre Steve

I enjoyed it but was not thrilled with the alien angle at the end either. It suddenly didn't feel like Indiana Jones but more like a Will Smith movie! But, in general it was entertaining. For my money Ironman was the movie of the summer so far! God bless! Padre Steve

David B.

Oh, and what about young Jones commenting on not knowing any fencing but being good with a knife and then taking on the Russian? Talk about incongruity.

Actually, he said something like "I was taught fancy stuff like fencing and debating but didn't like it. I'm good with a sword, though." This was not on my list of faults for the film.

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