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Old 09-05-2011, 09:37 AM   #1
Raiders112390
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Kingdom of the Crystal Skull vs. Saucermen from Mars

Which do you think would've been the better Indy 4? Forgetting that Crystal Skull was the final film, just going by both scripts?
I actually like Saucermen more. It takes a lot more risks and might've been a great film. Kingdom is too much of a compromise between Lucas' experimental nature and Spielberg's more conservative view of the series. You can't go both ways and have it flow well--which is a big problem with KotCS. It tries to be traditional with aliens thrown in at the end--sort of foot in, foot out. It feels haphazard. ToD nearly had this problem except that both parts--the comedic adventure, and the dark horror film--somehow fit together nicely.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:27 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiders112390
Which do you think would've been the better Indy 4? Forgetting that Crystal Skull was the final film, just going by both scripts?
I actually like Saucermen more. It takes a lot more risks and might've been a great film. Kingdom is too much of a compromise between Lucas' experimental nature and Spielberg's more conservative view of the series. You can't go both ways and have it flow well--which is a big problem with KotCS. It tries to be traditional with aliens thrown in at the end--sort of foot in, foot out. It feels haphazard. ToD nearly had this problem except that both parts--the comedic adventure, and the dark horror film--somehow fit together nicely.


I think 'Saucermen ' would have been a much braver choice. It would have been much more its own thing... and consequently it could have been a more relevant movie. Saying that, I'm not sure how receptive audiences would have been to such a genre change like this, but could probably be more viable with a different leading charcter i.e. Mutt/Short Round or equivilant in sci/fi period drama action movie.
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Old 07-20-2015, 01:52 PM   #3
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Figured I'd bump my own thread rather than make a new one.
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Old 07-20-2015, 03:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Raiders112390
Figured I'd bump my own thread rather than make a new one.

Why? ...........
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Old 07-20-2015, 10:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Raiders112390
Figured I'd bump my own thread rather than make a new one.

Bump it with a comment. Bumping doesn't just mean dusting it off and raising it to the light again. Add something new to the discussion.

The move by GL to go to 50s inspired sci fi is not really a problem, but I'm not sure how much of an advantage it was either. So I agree with you that it was the script of KotCS that was the issue. Too many drawbacks by trying to nod to so many things.

I will have to reread the Saucermen from Mars script to comment on it.

I liked the mystical element of the pursued objects in the first three. They are unrealistic and do not adhere to laws of science and thus are unexplainable. They remain enigmatic.

Aliens, as remote as they might actually be, are likelier than objects of mystical powers, though of course we might create outlandish sciences to explain arks, glowing stones and healing cups.

The departure of the Aliens is akin to the mystical element of the OT's objects. We don't really understand it, 'the space between spaces', that is. But why did they run away, leaving no trace of their hidey hole? I don't mind questions being left unanswered, but the whole thing didn't make much sense, even as a mystery.
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Old 07-20-2015, 10:53 PM   #6
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It's been years since I've taken a look at Saucermen from Mars as well, but one of the most glaring issues with it from my perspective is that it spends so much time in the United States. There's a good healthy chunk of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull there, sure, but it's the earlier portions. Never really going anywhere "exotic" seems like a touch too much of a deviation from the norm for me.
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickiana
I liked the mystical element of the pursued objects in the first three. They are unrealistic and do not adhere to laws of science and thus are unexplainable. They remain enigmatic.


To be fair, in Saucermen from Mars there absolutely is a mystical object McGuffin; it's just a piece of unknown alien technology (that even the aliens seem to be afraid of.)

I re-read Saucermen from Mars today. Despite being mostly set in the U.S., I have to say think it would have made a much better movie than KoTCS. It really stuck to its theme much more than KoTCS did, and owned the whole saucermen thing. The scenes of fan-service where all past Indy sidekicks were at his wedding would have been terrible though. Hopefully those would have been cut down or removed entirely. Ah well, it's all academic at this point.
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Pale Horse
Why?
I'm guessing he wanted to see if that would prompt any further comments to the subject from fellow members. And if the posts that followed it are anything to go by - it's a tactic that works.

However, bumping with adding nothing by yourself is NOT something we condone, regardless of result. Therefore... a three-day vacation for the OP. Let this serve as a warning and encouragement for proper conduct.
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Old 07-21-2015, 01:51 AM   #9
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Heh...for when the OP gets back, I have to say--I just read all the way through the unused Darabont script for the first time. It's easily the best of the bunch, much better than the final film (though definitely not without its flaws, too.) The Darabont script handles its emotional beats and fan service a LOT better though, without falling so badly into the realm of pure cheesiness like Saucermen or the final KoTCS. With a little pruning and a little toning down of the some of the more ridiculous action sequences (the airplane chase with all the wing walking makes the fridge-nuking seem tame by comparison,) it could have been amazing. The biggest thing that I love about the Darabont version though is the final sequence in the Lost City--it's so much more fleshed out than what we got in KoTCS, and really makes clear the awesome and terrible power of the "gods." Also, the paranormal origin of the skulls is a third act twist, not introduced early on like in KoTCS--it works so much better that way, in my opinion. Damn...it really makes me me long for what could have been. I'd love to see someone adapt it for comics or something one of these days; it's really a great read.
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Old 07-25-2015, 05:59 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Lambonius
Heh...for when the OP gets back, I have to say--I just read all the way through the unused Darabont script for the first time. It's easily the best of the bunch, much better than the final film (though definitely not without its flaws, too.) The Darabont script handles its emotional beats and fan service a LOT better though, without falling so badly into the realm of pure cheesiness like Saucermen or the final KoTCS. With a little pruning and a little toning down of the some of the more ridiculous action sequences (the airplane chase with all the wing walking makes the fridge-nuking seem tame by comparison,) it could have been amazing. The biggest thing that I love about the Darabont version though is the final sequence in the Lost City--it's so much more fleshed out than what we got in KoTCS, and really makes clear the awesome and terrible power of the "gods." Also, the paranormal origin of the skulls is a third act twist, not introduced early on like in KoTCS--it works so much better that way, in my opinion. Damn...it really makes me me long for what could have been. I'd love to see someone adapt it for comics or something one of these days; it's really a great read.

Also, I think the whole bowling ball sequence in the Darabont script should've been scrapped. And the giant snake eating Indy part. It could've been great otherwise. I think a lot of these scripts could've been better. They were purer examples of writing. KOTCS was basically a cobbled together version of all these ideas rather than one or two ideas - that's where KOTCS went wrong. That said I don't think it's a bad movie. It's just the worst Indy movie, but even the worst Indy movie is still better than a Mummy or Tomb Raider movie.

Saucermen I just feel would've worked because it decided to go all-in with the aliens idea. It didn't jump around it or try to pretend to be anything other than what it was. That said, the romance between Indy and the love interest needed a rewrite along with some other parts.
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:32 PM   #11
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The flaws in Darabont's script were mostly related to there being too many characters to keep track of at the same time (which was also a flaw of the final film.) It was even worse in Darabont's though--huge cast of characters all in the same places at the same times.

The other thing is that, despite some cool ideas, most of the big action sequences in Darabont's script were utterly absurd, just as bad if not worse than the stupid jungle chase sequence in the final film.

The script also was too long for a feature-length film. Unless it was drastically trimmed, Darabont's would have easily been a 3 hour movie, and it would have felt too drawn out (as the script itself feels too drawn out.) There also aren't enough breathing moments between action sequences. Once the film picks up, it's action, action, action--this was a flaw in KOTCS, too. Indy films are NOT action movies; to treat them as such is to miss the point that made the original films great, and does a disservice to the series.

I don't know what bowling ball sequence you're talking about--I think you're remembering the script wrong. There is an utterly ridiculous sequence early in the first act that has Indy breaking into the college museum and re-enacting the idol scene from Raiders to steal the idol from a pressure-sensitive museum case. THAT is probably the single stupidest scene in the script, and would definitely need to be cut. And yes, the giant snake bit is ridiculous, too, though I overall I like the idea of them coming across giant radioactive bugs deep in the uncharted jungle--I can tell they were going for a 50s creature-feature B-movie homage there, but it felt too out of place and silly. Tweaked a bit, it could come across more as a Lost World type scene, which would have worked better.

The best part about Darabont's is that it struck an overall darker and more sinister tone, particularly with the motivations of the bad guys and the aliens, and that there are more serious moments to counteract the cheeseball moments (KOTCS was pretty much ALL cheese all the time.)

The sad part about Darabont's script is that all it really needed was one judicious editing pass by a neutral outside party (not Lucas,) and it would have been ready to film. As a story, it is objectively better than KOTCS in almost every way, especially if you trimmed some of the fat from it.

Last edited by Lambonius : 07-25-2015 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 07-25-2015, 01:39 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Lambonius
I don't know what bowling ball sequence you're talking about--I think you're remembering the script wrong.

I recall liking this element, actually; there's a North by Northwest-inflected sequence in which Indy, under a different name, goes to a hotel (in Manhattan?), goes to the hotel room he's told to go to, and finds the crystal skull in a bowling bag.
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Old 07-26-2015, 01:16 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
I recall liking this element, actually; there's a North by Northwest-inflected sequence in which Indy, under a different name, goes to a hotel (in Manhattan?), goes to the hotel room he's told to go to, and finds the crystal skull in a bowling bag.

Oh yeah, that...that's just the bag though. I liked the idea of that sequence in that it felt like a good slower-paced intrigue building bit of the film, as opposed to all the over-the-top action scenes later in the script. The other really great element was the Nazca line/map puzzle bit, which was a lot more fleshed out in Darabont's version than in the final film. Also, Oxley's reveal was handled a lot better in the Darabont script, as was Marion's entire character.
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Old 07-26-2015, 05:23 PM   #14
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There's not much point in judging Saucerman from Mars because it's still a work-in-progress. After getting a few drafts out of Jeb Stuart, Lucas continued developing the idea with Jeffrey Boam. Only Boam's final draft satisfied Lucas, and we don't have it.

Darabont's is by far the best script I've read for Indy4, produced or otherwise.
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Old 08-09-2015, 04:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lambonius
The flaws in Darabont's script were mostly related to there being too many characters to keep track of at the same time (which was also a flaw of the final film.) It was even worse in Darabont's though--huge cast of characters all in the same places at the same times.

The other thing is that, despite some cool ideas, most of the big action sequences in Darabont's script were utterly absurd, just as bad if not worse than the stupid jungle chase sequence in the final film.

The script also was too long for a feature-length film. Unless it was drastically trimmed, Darabont's would have easily been a 3 hour movie, and it would have felt too drawn out (as the script itself feels too drawn out.) There also aren't enough breathing moments between action sequences. Once the film picks up, it's action, action, action--this was a flaw in KOTCS, too. Indy films are NOT action movies; to treat them as such is to miss the point that made the original films great, and does a disservice to the series.

I don't know what bowling ball sequence you're talking about--I think you're remembering the script wrong. There is an utterly ridiculous sequence early in the first act that has Indy breaking into the college museum and re-enacting the idol scene from Raiders to steal the idol from a pressure-sensitive museum case. THAT is probably the single stupidest scene in the script, and would definitely need to be cut. And yes, the giant snake bit is ridiculous, too, though I overall I like the idea of them coming across giant radioactive bugs deep in the uncharted jungle--I can tell they were going for a 50s creature-feature B-movie homage there, but it felt too out of place and silly. Tweaked a bit, it could come across more as a Lost World type scene, which would have worked better.

The best part about Darabont's is that it struck an overall darker and more sinister tone, particularly with the motivations of the bad guys and the aliens, and that there are more serious moments to counteract the cheeseball moments (KOTCS was pretty much ALL cheese all the time.)

The sad part about Darabont's script is that all it really needed was one judicious editing pass by a neutral outside party (not Lucas,) and it would have been ready to film. As a story, it is objectively better than KOTCS in almost every way, especially if you trimmed some of the fat from it.

I agree with just about everything you said here. I loved Darabont's script, and finishing it made me sad that KotCS was what we got in the end. The action is over the top, for sure, but as others have noted elsewhere here, Spielberg seems to make up a lot of his action sequences in production, so it's possible they would have turned out quite differently.

With regards to the giant snake, it is ONLY Ford's reaction that would have sold that moment. I'm actually one of the few people that likes the quicksand bit in KotCS, and again that's all because of Ford's performance. That line where he tries to convince them his feet are touching the bottom of the quicksand, rather than grabbing the snake, gets me every time...
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Old 08-10-2015, 02:37 PM   #16
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I've read EVERY treatment of the script, whether real or fake, and frankly there's very little difference in them. Koepp incorporated the Mutt character, which I thought was an excellent idea (before they cast Shia), and put Marion back in, who was in an earlier script. Lucas's original treatment largely remained intact.
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