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Old 07-20-2018, 11:38 PM   #26
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Originally Posted by TheFirebird1
1. Terrible special effects. The "ball lightning" was perhaps the most laughable thing I've ever witnessed. Whatever you want to say about Lucas's CGI on the prequels, it was a hell of a lot better than this episode. In fact, I could probably draw something better in MS Paint. And I suck at drawing in MS Paint.

Considering the effects were made for a TV show meant to be aired in 1993, they're not bad; they certainly don't distract me when watching it. The digital effects here are a lot better, for example, than the cringey CGI the Sopranos used in 2001, almost a decade later. Even when you compare them to effects from The Mummy, a big budget 90s film, they hold up okay.

2. Awful plot. It starts off as a rip-off of Apocalypse Now (no, not just a homage, it literally rips off lines from Willard gets his briefing) and then becomes a...vampire story? What? The supernatural actually cheapens the show in the episode, because it started out as a fairly dark exploration of the war and its side-effects on the human psyche (with Istanbul) and then becomes a hilariously stupid only-scary-for-the-kiddie fest afterwards. It's so incongruous with the rest of the series that it becomes a stain on the entire series. It's actually painful to watch.

I feel the supernatural made for a nice twist; you think you're getting your standard Heart of Darkness type of story and the episode surprises you in turn. I think having the villain be supernatural works with the themes you mention; one part shows us the human side of evil (Stefan) and the other the truly demonic. Also, I found it quite creepy at times, as did my (24 year old) girlfriend, who is a horror movie buff. I don't think it's just scary for kids.

3. Acting. Everybody tries in this story, let me tell you, but none of it pays off. The dialogue can be cringey and uncomfortable at certain points ("I don't drink on an empty stomach EITHER!" ), and the character portrayal comes off as weak, with mostly one-dimensional denizens inhabiting this hellhole of a production.

I don't see any issue with the acting really. Waters and Maria are great and Bob Peck was a terrific actor. The characters are a bit one dimensional but at the same time, it felt like something out of an EC comic. They were developed just enough to be intriguing and not detract from Indy.

4. Why, oh why, must there be Vampires? The YIJC, and by extension, the AOYIJ, highlight the formation of Indy into what he finally becomes come 1935. The cynicism that comes with that during the war years is marked by a supreme lack of belief in the supernatural, positive or negative. Having your main villain be a supposed vampire who dresses in 16th century rags (why that and not a 1914 Romanian officer's uniform?) doesn't exactly reflect well on that view.

Indy is a confirmed skeptic. Even after the events of Temple of Doom, he laughs off Marcus' warning about the Ark ("I don't believe in magic, superstitious hocus pocus'); even after the events of TOD and Raiders, he dismisses the legend of the Grail as a "bedtime story"; even after that, in CS, he dismisses the Crystal Skull and legend of Akator as "just a story" when talking to Mutt. Indy is a scientist. Even when confronted with a literal alien body a few feet away, when Spalko says "There is no other explanation" Indy replies, "There's always another explanation." Compare his character to that of Dana Sculley from The X-Files, who sees tons of unexplainable things happen and yet clings to rationalism, to science, and doesn't buy into every hokey legend or urban myth. Indy is much the same way; he had a creepy experience in 1918 that he probably later researched and made himself believe there was some rational explanation to what he saw.

Even at the end of the movie, Indy isn't even sure what's happened. Even after seeing men rise from the dead, ball lightning and human combustion, he didn't believe Targo was more than human; he believed the fall must've killed him. In 1918 there was still a lot about the human body that was not understood, and less so cosmic phemonema; Indy probably viewed what happened as natural, explainable things that science hadn't figured out yet.

As to the villain dressing in 16th century rags? If you're a skeptic like Indy, the guy was a nutjob who truly believed he was Vlad Tepes and as such was dressing the part.
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