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Old 02-11-2018, 10:20 AM   #126
Major West
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I rememeber thinking LC was weak in comparison to Raiders at the time, certainly the action, however it is very entertaining and the dynamic of Connery and Ford is very good and the ending of the film is uplifting.

It's not the weak link of the trilogy. The simple fact is this. Raiders = Best. The others, less good.
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Old 02-11-2018, 07:45 PM   #127
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Udvarnoky, Yes WOW !!! But well put. I think there's a strong comparison with LC and KOTCS, even tough I agree that LC was weakest of the original three movies it is by far better than KOTCS . One can make a point with the discrepancies in LC and then try to compare a movie made almost 20 yrs later, I dunno. I think that LC is still a good movie and there are good performances by a lot of the actors. Overall, do I think it's the best Indy movie .. no Do I think it's horrible ... no.
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Old 02-12-2018, 05:48 AM   #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z dweller
That would be ironic, considering that Connery in 2007 was the same age as Ford will be next year, give or take a few months.

Oh they'll definitely be thinking of Fords age now.
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Old 02-12-2018, 05:25 PM   #129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
Oxley really is a superfluous character when you think about it. His functions in the story seem to be:

1) A motivation for Indy to go to Peru
2) A way of demonstrating the dangers of the skull
3) A guide to Akator

But all of those functions would have been more effectively and elegantly served in other ways. As a reason for Indy to embark on the adventure, Oxley is weak, because we have no investment in the character. Mutt simply saying that Marion Ravenwood has been kidnapped would have been a cleaner and more compelling impetus, both for Indy and the audience. No need to pointlessly shroud her identity, and you can ditch the nonsense with the letter.

There's no need for Oxley once the story gets to Peru, either, because Indy should have been the one driven mad by the skull and used as the "divining rod" to the lost city. The way the final film handles Indy's influence by the skull is utterly without stakes and a huge missed opportunity. Somehow the Soviets make him look at the skull just long enough to interpret Oxley, yet not long enough to suffer any ill-effects himself? What kind of weird cop-out is that? I'm not sure what it even accomplished, because afterward Indy doesn't seem to be employing any special knowledge beyond his own to figure out the directions from Oxley.

Besides, we've never met Oxley before; we don't even know what he was like when he was sane. So seeing him insane has no effect on us. Subject someone we care about to the skull: Indy. When Indy gets captured in the Russian tent, I would have had the corpse of Oxley and maybe a few other guinea pigs dead on the ground, with Spalko explaining that the last few men who were forced to look at the skull went insane and had to be put down. That way there's an actual sense of jeopardy for Indy when he is forced to stare at it.

After that, the movie could have played out largely the same way, except with Indy slowly losing his mind throughout the journey. By the time they get to the waterfall, he is in Oxley's state or worse, and proceeds to the lost city because he has to, and not because "it told me to," which is such a wimpy way to kick off the third act, especially in comparison to, say, Connery being shot before the Three Trials. Indy being possessed does make him less proactive once they're in Akator, but guess what, he's not proactive in the actual movie either. At least this way there's a reason, a degree of drama, and an element of spookiness sorely missing in the final product.

And how about we let the characters solve problems through actual ingenuity, and not just by following the lead of a character who figured everything else out already? One of the more boggling choices the movie makes is to have John Hurt have the real Indiana Jones adventure off-screen and before the events of the movie. People want to see Indy figuring stuff out himself, not just following somebody's breadcrumb trail and being a passive character in his own story. It's ridiculous.

You can play this game endlessly with Crystal Skull, because pretty much every scene in the movie has a much better option right there in plain sight. Why doesn't it ever take them? Why is Indy constantly helping the bad guys of his own free will? Why is Mac a triple agent? Why is Spalko introduced as maybe having psychic powers before the idea is dropped completely? Why was the jungle cutter abruptly destroyed when it was crying out to be the centerpiece of a fight scene? Why are the Akator natives simply cowed by the skull when their capture of the heroes could have been the setup for a fun escape sequence instead? Why doesn't Mac use his feet? Why does the federal scrutiny of Indy utterly evaporate at the end?

It's all such a lazy mess. The movie had great ingredients, but it just kind of threw them in a pot. It has a bizarre lack of interest in itself.

This this this. This should be considered the final word on KOTCS! Been trying to put my finger on what it was about KOTCS that kept missing the mark for nearly 10 years now and you've nailed every single angle here. Thanks for putting me out of my misery.

Just don't wait so long after Indy V is released before doing the same for that one!
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Old 02-14-2018, 11:04 PM   #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
Oxley really is a superfluous character when you think about it. His functions in the story seem to be:

1) A motivation for Indy to go to Peru
2) A way of demonstrating the dangers of the skull
3) A guide to Akator

But all of those functions would have been more effectively and elegantly served in other ways. As a reason for Indy to embark on the adventure, Oxley is weak, because we have no investment in the character. Mutt simply saying that Marion Ravenwood has been kidnapped would have been a cleaner and more compelling impetus, both for Indy and the audience. No need to pointlessly shroud her identity, and you can ditch the nonsense with the letter.

There's no need for Oxley once the story gets to Peru, either, because Indy should have been the one driven mad by the skull and used as the "divining rod" to the lost city. The way the final film handles Indy's influence by the skull is utterly without stakes and a huge missed opportunity. Somehow the Soviets make him look at the skull just long enough to interpret Oxley, yet not long enough to suffer any ill-effects himself? What kind of weird cop-out is that? I'm not sure what it even accomplished, because afterward Indy doesn't seem to be employing any special knowledge beyond his own to figure out the directions from Oxley.

Besides, we've never met Oxley before; we don't even know what he was like when he was sane. So seeing him insane has no effect on us. Subject someone we care about to the skull: Indy. When Indy gets captured in the Russian tent, I would have had the corpse of Oxley and maybe a few other guinea pigs dead on the ground, with Spalko explaining that the last few men who were forced to look at the skull went insane and had to be put down. That way there's an actual sense of jeopardy for Indy when he is forced to stare at it.

After that, the movie could have played out largely the same way, except with Indy slowly losing his mind throughout the journey. By the time they get to the waterfall, he is in Oxley's state or worse, and proceeds to the lost city because he has to, and not because "it told me to," which is such a wimpy way to kick off the third act, especially in comparison to, say, Connery being shot before the Three Trials. Indy being possessed does make him less proactive once they're in Akator, but guess what, he's not proactive in the actual movie either. At least this way there's a reason, a degree of drama, and an element of spookiness sorely missing in the final product.

And how about we let the characters solve problems through actual ingenuity, and not just by following the lead of a character who figured everything else out already? One of the more boggling choices the movie makes is to have John Hurt have the real Indiana Jones adventure off-screen and before the events of the movie. People want to see Indy figuring stuff out himself, not just following somebody's breadcrumb trail and being a passive character in his own story. It's ridiculous.

You can play this game endlessly with Crystal Skull, because pretty much every scene in the movie has a much better option right there in plain sight. Why doesn't it ever take them? Why is Indy constantly helping the bad guys of his own free will? Why is Mac a triple agent? Why is Spalko introduced as maybe having psychic powers before the idea is dropped completely? Why was the jungle cutter abruptly destroyed when it was crying out to be the centerpiece of a fight scene? Why are the Akator natives simply cowed by the skull when their capture of the heroes could have been the setup for a fun escape sequence instead? Why doesn't Mac use his feet? Why does the federal scrutiny of Indy utterly evaporate at the end?

It's all such a lazy mess. The movie had great ingredients, but it just kind of threw them in a pot. It has a bizarre lack of interest in itself.

I do agree by the way that this is the definitive post on KOTCS, by the way. Excellent work and truly well thought out.

I will ask something though. You say with every scene, there's a better option. My question would be how would you "redo" KOTCS without giving it a total re-write; IE keep all of the structural pieces in place (late 1950s, aliens, son of Jones, communist menace, etc) and perhaps even the set-pieces if you choose, but make for a more pleasing film? Am genuinely curious to hear what your version would sound like
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:47 AM   #131
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I guess it depends on what you mean by structure. I think the movie could have retained all those key elements you listed off, and simply been written better. The Darabont draft pretty much proves this, although it doesn't have a son, because at that point in the movie's development the thought was to focus on Indy and Marion as the key relationship, sort of a Robin and Marian approach. It was the better idea.

In terms of the set pieces, I don't think there's anything wrong with them conceptually, but they feel unfinished and utterly lacking in a sense of jeopardy. I've already complained that the natives of Akator aren't even used. They chase the heroes down the steps and are immediately repelled by having the McGuffin showed to them. It's a stunning waste, one that the Spielberg who made the other Indiana Jones movies would never have allowed to happen. The natives capturing the characters is the set up. Where's the payoff where they have to engineer a proper escape by working together, and all the fun character moments that could have come out of that? I bet if I gave you or any other Indiana Jones fan five minutes you could come up with a fun scenario along those lines. Crystal Skull isn't interested in any scenario along those lines.

The jungle chase is thoroughly competent, but it's never thrilling the way you expect the main Indy set piece to be. A perfectly awesome vehicle weapon gets immediately dispensed with, in keeping with the movie's theme of not exploiting cool possibilities. Neither the heroes nor the villains feel like they're in any danger throughout the whole thing, and a combination of Kaminski's curtain of bleached filtration and an overuse of CGI (it is necessary to use CGI to make a mushroom cloud; it is not necessary to use CGI to make foliage hit Shia LaBeouf in the balls) prevents any sense of engagement.

I've seen the following comparison made on another forum. I think it illustrates the visual issues well enough to be reprised here.

The water raft scene from Temple of Doom:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8x2PcmL4pg

The cliff scene from Crystal Skull:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvLfxNZCWaY

Dated effects aside, why does the Temple scene look so much better? Because it's crisp and filmic. The image is tactile and pleasing. There's authentic location work. Crystal Skull, with its ubiquitous background plates and self-indulgent glow-haze sheen resembles Sky Captain more than any of the previous Indiana Jones movies. That doesn't just make it ugly, but meaningless; that distancing effect kills our ability to participate in the action. It doesn't help that Karen Allen behaves like she knows she's in a movie.

Here's a damning observation: Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a far, far spookier movie than Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and it's got benevolent aliens instead of head-exploding ones. What else is there to say? Atmosphere is an important thing, and Crystal Skull has got almost none. I think the above clips shed at least some light onto why.

It is apparently true that Crystal Skull was shot on film instead of digitally, that it employed a lot of traditional stuntwork, and that it made use of many physical sets and real locations.

But you would never be able to tell.
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:58 AM   #132
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-clap clap-

One thing I will say is that I will never believe KOTCS was shot on film. It has that fake overly exposed look that early digital films had. It actually looks more fake than any of the Star Wars prequels.

In fact, I would argue that KOTCS was a worse film than the prequels. The prequels have great moments despite being flawed films and aren't really forgettable. KOTCS is very forgettable and doesn't have any truly memorable moments. The worst thing a film (or any work of art) can be is mediocre, and that word pretty much defined KOTCS.

The overblown, overlit hazy photography in KOTCS is truly one of the ugliest things I've ever seen in a movie. It makes the whole film looks like it was shot through a druggy haze.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:08 PM   #133
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiders112390
It makes the whole film looks like it was shot through a druggy haze.
Cheer up, that would be perfect for Indy 5 since it's likely to be set in the 60s...
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:17 PM   #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z dweller
Cheer up, that would be perfect for Indy 5 since it's likely to be set in the 60s...

If the film is set before 1965, no, it wouldn't have a druggy haze. Watch Mad Men one day. It'll give you an idea of what the first half of the 60s were like before Vietnam.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:40 PM   #135
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiders112390
If the film is set before 1965, no, it wouldn't have a druggy haze. Watch Mad Men one day. It'll give you an idea of what the first half of the 60s were like before Vietnam.

Were you around at that time? Or is your view of the early 60’s is based on one fictional tv show that was set in the 60s?
A better example would be the early Bonds; specifically Dr No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger. Because, just as Raiders carried on the tradition of 30’s cliffhanger serials, and Crystal Skull riffed off of 50’s paranoia/men from mars, if Indy 5 is set in the 60’s it’s a good bet it’ll dip into the spy genre that was so prevalent at the time.

Last edited by Drones33 : 02-16-2018 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 02-17-2018, 12:28 AM   #136
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drones33
Were you around at that time? Or is your view of the early 60ís is based on one fictional tv show that was set in the 60s?
A better example would be the early Bonds; specifically Dr No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger. Because, just as Raiders carried on the tradition of 30ís cliffhanger serials, and Crystal Skull riffed off of 50ís paranoia/men from mars, if Indy 5 is set in the 60ís itís a good bet itíll dip into the spy genre that was so prevalent at the time.

I've seen a lot of films made in the early 60s and from what I can see the Hippie era didn't start until around 1966.
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Old Yesterday, 01:09 AM   #137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
It's all such a lazy mess. The movie had great ingredients, but it just kind of threw them in a pot. It has a bizarre lack of interest in itself.
I concur that this post nails the majority of flaws in KOTCS. I will add my personal pet peeve: a glaring bit of dissonance at the end, when Indy says "Their treasure was knowledge- knowledge was their treasure," while surrounded by enough gaudy bling to make a half-dozen Cecil B. De Mille epics. As HF supposedly told George Lucas, "you can write this stuff, but you can't say it!"
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