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*** Official Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Discussion Thread


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#1 of 434 OFFLINE   Pete-D

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Posted May 25 2008 - 03:44 PM

The thing is Spielberg really needs to team with better screenwriters. He's been let down by his screenwriters, that's why I don't think he's been able to top Jurassic Park since 1993 in terms of a pure pop corn film. That was 15 years ago (yikes).

#2 of 434 OFFLINE   Brent M

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Posted May 25 2008 - 03:50 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Allred
Ok so I went to see "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" this afternoon.

If you want a summary, I'll say this........I was sorely disappointed.

If you want a bit more meat, well. I guess the first thing I'd say is that it just didn't feel like an "Indiana Jones" movie. I guess it came across as more of a big budget version of the crappy "Young Indiana Jones" TV series years ago just with Harrison Ford this time. Maybe the picture was too "clean" perhaps? I guess I was used to a grittier "look" to the series but it appeared that Steven Spielberg shot the movie on high definition video (he didn't of course but it looked that way....just too sterile.)

Long gone is the spit and crackle of Indiana Jones with, well, anybody really. If you come in expecting on screen chemistry with any of the secondary characters, you'll be let down. There just isn't any. Indy has no real sidekick to speak of which is a bit of a bummer because you'd think that Shia Labeouf, who plays Indy's son Mutt, would have provided some of that but alas, no. Not even the re-appearance of Marion Ravenwood, his love from the first film (and Mutt's mother) could muster up some fire. It was, much like the brief peek at the Ark in an Army warehouse, just a way of saying "Hey fans! Look who's back!"

"Crystal Skull" also fails to provide us with a decent villain too. Cate Blanchett does her best Natascha (of "Boris & Natascha") impression, vamping it up. You'd almost expect her to keep repeating "Vhat do you vant dahlink?"

The stunt/action scenes often felt like it was filmed in slow motion robbing them of any real excitement and there was one Jar Jar Binks-ian moment of cringing with Shia seemingly turning into Tarzan in front of my very eyes.

There were some great shots however, ones that I must admit I marvelled at, specifically Indy standing in the shadow of a mushroom cloud.

All in all, this is clearly the worst film of the franchise. Russians just don't make compelling (or as compelling) villains as the Nazis but I understand why that had to change (with the film being set in the 1950s and all.) The super happy ending just felt tacked on and doesn't even begin to approach the 'riding off into the sunset' vibe "The Last Crusade" gave us. Of course there's the nod and wink to Shia eventually taking over the franchise as well but I hope that doesn't come to fruition, at least not until he's in his 30s.

I walked out of the theater feeling (again) that this was not the "Indiana Jones" I've come to know and love. It reminded me of the "X-Men" films in a way. One director started and established the series but left for whatever reason and someone else came in and desperately tried to duplicate what worked previously but failed (fuck you Brett Ratner for "X-Men 3" being a turd.) That's what "Crystal Skull" felt like, Spielberg took off and someone else directed it, not knowing how to make it work. It didn't feel "old school," it felt made-for-TV.

If this is the best Spielberg, George Lucas and Ford can come up with then it's time for Indy to hang up the whip. I hate having to say that but alas my first, gut reaction is just that. It doesn't hold up, it doesn't compare. The dialogue was stiff and forced (I didn't buy into the arguing between Indy and Marion at all because again, there was just no spark to speak of which is a shame since "Raiders of the Lost Ark" gave one of the best on screen couples any action/adventure movie has ever seen.) There's no "wow" moment, no single set piece that you could hold up to any action scene from the first three. It felt tame, slow and old.

Both Indy and Mutt are named after dogs and sadly, that's what "Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls" is, a dog.

I think you stole my brain to write that post, Michael, because that's exactly how I felt about the film. A colossal disappointment in my eyes and a film not deserving of the Indiana Jones name. I'm honestly shocked that it's sitting with 79% positive reviews at Rotten Tomatoes because this seems like a film the critics would absolutely blast with no mercy. They're being very charitable giving this film positive marks IMO.
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#3 of 434 OFFLINE   Douglas Monce

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Posted May 25 2008 - 03:54 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg_S_H
Are they even hinting there might be a fifth?

I'm not worried about the Darabont script. You go with what you have and don't look back. Besides, I haven't given a damn about anything he's ever done outside of Shawshank.

Yes Lucas, Spielberg and Ford have all said they would like to do another one.

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#4 of 434 OFFLINE   Douglas Monce

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Posted May 25 2008 - 03:57 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete-D
I'm just curious about Spielberg set pieces ... does Spielberg come up with them first, then give them to the screenwriter and then he writes that into the script?

I wonder how that works. Because yeah, the Indy IV set pieces were really tame by Spielberg standards. Even The Lost World had some walloping action sequences.

I really think they were so busy arguing over the script that they didn't have time to really sit down and create some memorable action scenes.

Cate Blanchett was actually likable. She should've teamed up with Indy at the end to fight Nazi hold overs at the end trying to resurrect Hitler's corpse or something, lol. And pining for Darth Maul says a lot about Spalko, because Darth Maul got criticized for being too played down of a villain in 1999 to begin with.


With Raiders,and I assume all the other films, Lucas, Spielberg and Kasdan came up with the set pieces first, then Kasdan went away and came up with a plot that could hold those set pieces.

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#5 of 434 OFFLINE   Douglas Monce

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Posted May 25 2008 - 04:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete-D
The thing is Spielberg really needs to team with better screenwriters. He's been let down by his screenwriters, that's why I don't think he's been able to top Jurassic Park since 1993 in terms of a pure pop corn film. That was 15 years ago (yikes).

Well as I said before. Most "educated" film goers that I knew at the time, and most reviewers thought that Jurassic Park was a let down and the the story was weak.

Doug
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#6 of 434 OFFLINE   Douglas Monce

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Posted May 25 2008 - 04:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Allred
The super happy ending just felt tacked on and doesn't even begin to approach the 'riding off into the sunset' vibe "The Last Crusade" gave us.

Honestly I never liked the ride off into the sunset in Crusade. I much preferred the punctuation mark of the Ark being crated up in Raiders to any of the other endings. The possibility of Mutt filling Indy's shoes to me felt a little like the Raiders ending. Almost saying, we haven't seen the end of this.

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#7 of 434 OFFLINE   Douglas Monce

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Posted May 25 2008 - 04:06 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent M
I think you stole my brain to write that post, Michael, because that's exactly how I felt about the film. A colossal disappointment in my eyes and a film not deserving of the Indiana Jones name. I'm honestly shocked that it's sitting with 79% positive reviews at Rotten Tomatoes because this seems like a film the critics would absolutely blast with no mercy. They're being very charitable giving this film positive marks IMO.

Roger Ebert loved it and gave it 3 1/2 stars. But then he tends to like big silly adventure movies. On the Yahoo listing Critics give the film a B and Users give it a B-.

Doug
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#8 of 434 OFFLINE   Brent M

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Posted May 25 2008 - 04:20 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Monce
Roger Ebert loved it and gave it 3 1/2 stars. But then he tends to like big silly adventure movies.

Doug


I love big, silly adventure movies. I grew up on them and they're my favorite genre of films to this day. Sadly, I just don't think this one delivers the goods and it's definitely is a dud in my book.
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#9 of 434 OFFLINE   Pete-D

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Posted May 25 2008 - 04:52 PM

Yeah I think the film is benefitting from a lot of good will from people who really loved the series in the 80s.

Objectively it's not a very good action-adventure film, the first half of the movie is quite slow, the new characters are weak, the villain is weak, not much chemistry with the cast, nothing in the movie to really make people jump outta their seats or squirm, the final pay off at the end is so-so, and the set pieces are fairly mediocre for a Spielberg movie.

Quite honestly the first Mummy film is a stronger "big, silly adventure" film.

I think KotCS doesn't do anything as off-putting as Jar Jar Binks or Jake Lloyd's acting or the Hayden-Natalie romance stuff, that sorta has spared it I think from some harsher reviews. It's hard not to like Harrison Ford and he's trying hard in this movie and there aren't that many adventure films being made nowadays anyway ... I think that's playing in its favor big time.

KotCS is smart enough to never commit the mortal sin of actually having live aliens interacting with Indy and company as characters. Though I suspect if George had gotten his way, that is the movie he would've wanted to make. If they had done that, I think people would've snapped and hammered the film, ala Jar Jar in Ep. 1.

#10 of 434 OFFLINE   TheBat

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Posted May 25 2008 - 05:25 PM

indy 4 is better then anything called the mummy.. the mummy films are not even in the same league as indy.
the only one that comes close is romancing the stone back in 1984.
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#11 of 434 OFFLINE   questrider

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Posted May 25 2008 - 05:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Monce
Roger Ebert loved it and gave it 3 1/2 stars. But then he tends to like big silly adventure movies. On the Yahoo listing Critics give the film a B and Users give it a B-.

Metacritic has it at 67/100 and that includes Ebert's review. User reviews are surprising with 335 votes and a 5.3/10. Wow. People are really polarized by this film, as this thread suggests.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008): Reviews

Although their rating system is far from scientific. Very ambiguous.

(Is it just me, or should the last 10-15 pages of this thread be pruned into an "*** Official INDIANA JONES and the KINGDOM of the CRYSTAL SKULL Review/Discussion Thread" ? We're way past discussing NEWS at this point.)

#12 of 434 OFFLINE   Brent M

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Posted May 25 2008 - 05:36 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBat
indy 4 is better then anything called the mummy.. the mummy films are not even in the same league as indy.

Well, that's your opinion, but I agree with Pete that the first Mummy film(1999) was far more enjoyable than Indy IV. Better action set pieces, much better villain and just an overall more well-crafted action/adventure film. I wish I had enjoyed this movie as much as The Mummy or National Treasure, but as it stands I have to put it on par with the sequels to those respective films and that's a bloody shame.
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#13 of 434 OFFLINE   Pete-D

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Posted May 25 2008 - 05:42 PM

Believe me there was no bigger hater of the first Mummy film than me ... before I actually saw it.

I even laughed at my friends for going to go see it and refused to go with them.

Then many months later I ended up watching it on DVD ... and I had to admit -- it was fun. In fact I hated to admit it, but I had more fun with the Mummy than the Phantom Menace which came out that same summer though I thought Entertainment Weekly was nuts for saying that. I even think I hated myself for liking it more than Phantom Menace, lol.

The reason the film works is because of Rachel Weisz. She is a really likable personality, perfect as Evy, and actually has good romantic chemistry with Brendan Fraser which makes him more tolerable. The scene where she's drunk for instance is hilarious. Oded Fehr was cool also.

It's a guilty pleasure, but the first Mummy is actually not that bad of a film. It's fun, it's atmospheric, the cast clicks together very well, and the film moves along at a good pace. It captures the spirit of the old Universal monster movies well and uses the Egyptian theme very strongly as well.

I didn't care for the sequel though. Van Helsing was a trainwreck also.

#14 of 434 OFFLINE   Michael Allred

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Posted May 25 2008 - 05:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent M
I think you stole my brain to write that post, Michael, because that's exactly how I felt about the film. A colossal disappointment in my eyes and a film not deserving of the Indiana Jones name. I'm honestly shocked that it's sitting with 79% positive reviews at Rotten Tomatoes because this seems like a film the critics would absolutely blast with no mercy. They're being very charitable giving this film positive marks IMO.

I think a lot of people *want* to like the movie and so their reviews reflect that. To be frank, I think "The Phantom Menace" was afr more entertaining than Indy IV. Yes really.

#15 of 434 OFFLINE   TheBat

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Posted May 25 2008 - 05:58 PM

I had heard about it.. I rented it on dvd when it came out.. people were saying that it was like raiders of the lost ark..

I watched it and was not impressed with it at all.
not even close to indy.
I will say that it was better then van helsing.. that was dog*****.
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#16 of 434 OFFLINE   Pete-D

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Posted May 25 2008 - 06:00 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Allred
I think a lot of people *want* to like the movie and so their reviews reflect that. To be frank, I think "The Phantom Menace" was afr more entertaining than Indy IV. Yes really.

I dunno Phantom Menace is still an odd movie. Phantom Menace has better action scenes, but the acting, Jar-Jar, and even the overall plot (a trade ... blockade? really?) is duller than KotCS.

I dunno, I'd say KotCS is bad more on a "Lost World" level without the ridiculous T-Rex in San Diego bit.

#17 of 434 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted May 25 2008 - 06:01 PM

The first MUMMY film certainly was a better flim than this last Indy outing. The second MUMMY film should have had the negative destroyed before it was duplicated. The third outing looks promising but a trailer can be deceiving.
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#18 of 434 OFFLINE   Pete-D

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Posted May 25 2008 - 06:03 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBat
I had heard about it.. I rented it on dvd when it came out.. people were saying that it was like raiders of the lost ark..

I watched it and was not impressed with it at all.
not even close to indy.
I will say that it was better then van helsing.. that was dog*****.
Jacob

Raiders is Raiders, but I do think the first Mummy compares favorably to any of the Indy sequels.

Rachel Weisz >>> Kate Capshaw, Allison Doody, and a severely underused Karen Allen in KotCS.

That's a big part of it. Fraser is tolerable, a lot of the other characters are quite solid. The pace is fun, the locations are exotic, the cinematography rich in color (even at night), there's timely but not annoying comic relief ... The Last Crusade was good but it kinda gets bogged down by the middle act (the final act is strong though) and tries a little too hard to be Raiders 2.

#19 of 434 OFFLINE   Douglas Monce

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Posted May 25 2008 - 06:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete-D
Yeah I think the film is benefitting from a lot of good will from people who really loved the series in the 80s.

Objectively it's not a very good action-adventure film, the first half of the movie is quite slow, the new characters are weak, the villain is weak, not much chemistry with the cast, nothing in the movie to really make people jump outta their seats or squirm, the final pay off at the end is so-so, and the set pieces are fairly mediocre for a Spielberg movie.

Quite honestly the first Mummy film is a stronger "big, silly adventure" film.

I think KotCS doesn't do anything as off-putting as Jar Jar Binks or Jake Lloyd's acting or the Hayden-Natalie romance stuff, that sorta has spared it I think from some harsher reviews. It's hard not to like Harrison Ford and he's trying hard in this movie and there aren't that many adventure films being made nowadays anyway ... I think that's playing in its favor big time.

KotCS is smart enough to never commit the mortal sin of actually having live aliens interacting with Indy and company as characters. Though I suspect if George had gotten his way, that is the movie he would've wanted to make. If they had done that, I think people would've snapped and hammered the film, ala Jar Jar in Ep. 1.

I have to disagree with you Pete. This is really now one of my favorite films, and surely my second favorite Indy film.

Doug
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#20 of 434 OFFLINE   Brent M

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Posted May 25 2008 - 06:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete-D

I didn't care for the sequel though. Van Helsing was a trainwreck also.


That's the gospel truth. I don't know if I've ever hated two movies as much as The Mummy Returns and Van Helsing. Funny thing is they're both directed by the same guy(Steven Sommers) who did the first Mummy which was actually a good flick. I guess he's the definition of "one hit wonder" and as far as I'm concerned he should have his director's license revoked after making those other two disasters. I watched the trailer for The Mummy 3 tonight and while it looked decent, if he directed it there's no chance in hell I'll go see it. Fool me once.....
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