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Old 10-08-2012, 12:44 AM   #76
Montana Smith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooke Logan
lol I'll go along with that.

CS was on USA today, I put it on as nothing better was on. I just didn't feel the characters meshed well together. And that's something that was such a strength in the other three films, everyone had outstanding chemistry, vibes and relationships with one another. I am not sure why that was so missing with CS.

Yes, KOTCS looked to me very much like a paycheque movie, rather than than a team effort with any honour or kudos attached to it.

Were it not for Harrison Ford it might have been called Jack Hunter and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. No villain could fare well within that environment.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:00 AM   #77
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Something that becomes abundantly clear upon reflection is that Harrison Ford pretty much carried this movie whatever distance it compassed.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:55 AM   #78
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When I think of Spalko.....

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Old 10-08-2012, 12:41 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Crack that whip
If you consider Walter Donovan actually a sympathetic figure, perhaps.
I don't but still do, so can you explain your take on sympathetic figures?

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Originally Posted by Crack that whip
Well... different strokes, as they say. I'll just have to respectfully disagree.
Don't leave yet! You're just getting interesting!

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Originally Posted by Nurhachi1991
When I think of Spalko.....

Looks like Malcolm X with down syndrome...yo.
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Old 10-08-2012, 01:52 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
I don't but still do, so can you explain your take on sympathetic figures?


Don't leave yet! You're just getting interesting!

Oh, I don't know that I can offer much more than I have already. I just meant that I consider Irina Spalko a stronger, more compelling villain than Walter Donovan. That's not to say I think Donovan is a completely uninteresting villain, or that I think he's not a villain; I just think Spalko's a better one. You don't concur. We've both explained why, and neither of us has changed the other's mind. I don't think there's much more to it than that.
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:02 PM   #81
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Frenchmen are not that compelling as protagonists to me which makes me disinclined to want to see a Belloq movie.
You've already made that clearly obvious. My question to you was: WHY? Why is a Frenchman not compelling? If nationalities matter so much, it's very telling that you didn't describe Donovan as: Boring and American.
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Originally Posted by JediJones
I never said Belloq's only villainous trait is his French accent. Way to exaggerate. I simply said his French accent is the primary cue that he is a villain,...
Nonsense. You said that, without a French accent "it'd be easy to forget that he even was a villain". Bad guys are bad guys because of what they do, not how they speak and, according to you, Belloq "never does anything directly violent".
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Originally Posted by JediJones
...because everyone knows Lucas/Spielberg and American action movies in general tend to have actors with foreign accents play their villains.
What a load of myopic hogwash! "Everyone knows", eh? American action movies are FILLED with villains who don't have foreign accents.

Dick: When I seen dat bad guy's head explode, I was like, "Ooh, snap! Take dat, b*tch!"
Hick: He weren't no bad buy, fool.
Dick: Say what? That dude, like, stoled that gold monkey thing and he was dang tight with them Notzees!
Hick: Whatch you been smokin'? He weren't bad. He ditt'nt have no foreign accent!
Quote:
Originally Posted by JediJones
Much of what is "shown" about Irina is through her acting. It's a strong performance that communicates a lot about her personality and character that takes it beyond the printed pages of the script. A movie character is supposed to go beyond their "traits" as written in the script or their biography, otherwise they come off as flat. Blanchett takes Spalko's character that distance in a way that no previous Indiana Jones villain was able to.
We aren't "told" much about any of the Indy villains, except for Spalko. Her character gets more expositional dialogue than any other and Blanchett's performance came off very flat (to me, anyway). How & where does Spalko "show" this kind of emotional depth & personality you keep speaking about? Besides, it was you who said: "These are Indiana Jones movies, so you can't expect to really 'get to know' the characters."

I didn't realize that "exotic accent and seductive looks" were criteria for a great villain. It's amusing how you think Spalko is the best villain simply because you want to see her in spin-off movie. Perhaps it's to satsify some dominatrix fantasy you have? JediJones, would Belloq or Mola Ram be better if they had boobs, wielded (light)sabres and spoke with a Ukranian accent?
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:05 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Crack that whip
Oh, I don't know that I can offer much more than I have already. I just meant that I consider Irina Spalko a stronger, more compelling villain than Walter Donovan. That's not to say I think Donovan is a completely uninteresting villain, or that I think he's not a villain; I just think Spalko's a better one. You don't concur. We've both explained why, and neither of us has changed the other's mind. I don't think there's much more to it than that.
You could explain:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crack that whip
If you consider Walter Donovan actually a sympathetic figure, perhaps.

I don't understand what you mean.

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Originally Posted by Stoo
How & where does Spalko "show" this kind of emotional depth & personality you keep speaking about?
That's what I want to know!
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:37 PM   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
You could explain:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crack that whip
If you consider Walter Donovan actually a sympathetic figure, perhaps.


I don't understand what you mean.

Oh. It was a response to your statement "In the lineup with Indy Villains she's still dead last." I meant "she might indeed be dead last, as long as you exclude Donovan from the list altogether (for example, by not considering him a villain)." It was just a roundabout way of saying I think she rates ahead of Donovan, that's all; I didn't mean to actually suggest he's not a villain, as he clearly is.
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:40 PM   #84
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Spalko partially eaten by ants:

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Old 09-25-2014, 09:59 PM   #85
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Spalko partially eaten by ants:


More proof they deliberately kept removing any truly intense, dark element piece by piece as they went. Damn it Steven! This would have been awesome.
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Old 09-29-2015, 04:17 PM   #86
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A Tribute to Colonel Doctor Irina Spalko

Let me pre-face this (probably long-winded) ramble by saying that I love Irina Spalko, as an antagonist and as a character in her own right. I also admire, greatly respect and (ahem...) lust after the brilliant Cate Blanchett and I've seen pretty much every movie she's ever made, but that's not the reason I'm so biased towards Spalko. When I saw KOTCS for the first time I wasn't really a Blanchett fan. I knew who she was of course and I knew that she was a highly respected actress but I didn't follow her or her career to any degree. I ended up enjoying her portrayal of Irina so much that I found myself wanting to know more about the character, her back story and motivations, e.t.c, and in turn I found myself interested in Cate as an actress. So I guess you could say that it was Irina Spalko who made me a fan of Cate Blanchett, rather than the other way around. So, why post a Spalko tribute thread? Because I see that general opinion of KOTCS seems to be on the upswing these days but I still feel that Spalko is a character that doesn't get the discussion that she perhaps deserves, so I'd like to try and redress the balance.

I've been lurking and reading around on this forum for quite a while and the main criticisms of Irina Spalko as a villain seem to be that she's not enough of a threat, she's not 'evil' enough and she always seems to be two steps behind Indy. I respect those opinions (and I actually agree with the last one which I find as irritating as the detractors do) but I have to say that, in total contrast, the first two are just a couple of the many reasons that I like her so much. Okay, so she's not the crazy, one note maniacal supervillain that some Indy fans perhaps wanted her to be, and that's exactly why I think she's a good and memorable villain. There are fleeting moments in KOTCS where she, dare I say it, even shows tiny flashes of fear and self-doubt which give me the impression that she maybe wasn't always the cold hearted, impenetrable uber-dominatrix that we meet in the movie. So, what happened to this woman in her life to make her become what she did? How did she become so obsessed with knowledge, power and control? Why does she want to know (I VANT TO KNOW! ) everything? Just the mere fact that I'm asking these questions and am so interested to know more about the character's back story indicates to me that there's a lot more to her than people give credit for.

There are many more reasons I love Spalko as a villain and a character:
  • Her achievements are damn impressive. In KOTCS she's only in her mid-30's and yet she's already a Colonel in the Soviet Army. She was hand-picked by one of the most fearsome dictators of the 20th century to lead teams of soldiers all of the world looking for objects of paranormal interest (as a sidenote, that would make a fantastic graphic novel - 'The Earlier Adventures of Irina Spalko' anyone?), she's a KGB agent, she's a highly respected scientist, she was awarded the Order of Lenin (3 times!) and the Hero of Socialist Labour which (according to trusty old Wikipedia) is 'the highest degree of distinction for exceptional achievements in national economy and culture' in the Soviet Union. Not to mention she can fight as well as any male soldier and she's an absolute demon with an edged weapon.
  • As an extension of the above, she's a very powerful woman in a time period when powerful women (who weren't born into power like a Queen) were as rare as gold dust. I love how all her soldiers seem to respect and fear her in equal measure. Dovchenko, a huge brute of a man, ceasing from pounding Indy into the ground immediately on her order springs to mind as an example. As a woman, watching her bark orders at her regiment of ever-compliant male soldiers with so much authority kinda gives me a vicarious thrill, I must admit.
  • She's somewhat a rarity as a female villain in that she's not overly sexualised. Yes, to a lot of people (including me) she is very sexy but that's more due to the fact that she's played by Cate Blanchett than anything the character actually does or says. She has her moments (the ant thigh crushing moment, the double entendre when she's dueling against Mutt, e.t.c) but other than that she doesn't behave in a traditionally 'sexy' manner at all, other than the obvious dominatrix vibe. Look at her uniform, nothing flashy there. Just a standard military uniform that's not even particularly tight-fitting, nothing like the ultra-sexualised female bond villains or comic book villains like Catwoman or Harley Quinn. Yes, of course there are female villains that aren't sexualised - Spalko's countrywoman Rosa Klebb being an example, but the key difference between Rosa Klebb and Irina Spalko is that the latter is thin and beautiful whereas the former clearly isn't. I like the fact that Spielberg, Lucas, e.t.c, bucked the trend of having their primary female antagonist swanning around in inappropriately tight and revealing clothing flashing T&A everywhere. They could have had her stumbling around the jungle all sweaty with her uniform torn to shreds, thereby showing a lot more skin by the end of the movie, but they managed to resist that old cliche.
  • I really enjoy her interactions with Indy. He clearly intrigues her and she almost seems to respect him as a worthy opponent. I like that. They even (briefly) worked rather well together, you get the impression that had they not been on opposite sides of the moral and political spectrum they could have made a formidable treasure-hunting team.

The biggest complaint I have about Spalko's role in the movie is that I wish they'd touched on the whole psychic angle a little more. Was she actually psychic? Was she a fraud? Or did she just believe that she was psychic when in fact she was just highly intelligent and perceptive? I absolutely love the part in the KOTCS novelisation where Spalko displays her (genuine) abilities to a freaked out Mac by reading his mind and shares with him the Soviet experiments in ESP with the rabbits and the submarine. Why oh why did they cut that scene out of the movie?? It was a fascinating scene for both Spalko and Mac and it seems ridiculous that they cut it when it made both characters more interesting and would have added a couple of minutes to the movie's run time, tops. In an ideal world I wish that all the cut Spalko scenes had been left in the movie. The alien autopsy, how she escaped the (big damn) ants through her freaky mental powers rather than hanging from the tree, the way she eventually found the entrance to Akator through her psychic abilities rather than Mac's tracking beacons, e.t.c.

Anyway, to go alongide my aimless rambling, I thought I'd post some of my favourite Spalko-centic fanart and fanfiction.

Fanart (click thumb for full size):

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Old 09-29-2015, 04:19 PM   #87
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(Apologies, I had to split this across two posts as I broke the character limit... )

Fanfiction:

1. Through Time and Space

Irina Spalko is captain of an infiltration unit in the Russian Army, in the final years of WWII. This is the tale of her struggles in the midst of machine warfare, and the slow path she treads to insanity through her driven hunger for knowledge and order in a world of illogic.

My absolute favourite Irina fic, I love this story so much that it's pretty much now my own personal headcanon of Spalko's past in the military. She's in essence the very strong-minded, badass woman we meet in KOTCS but younger and less intense, jaded and obsessive. The fic chronicles the beginning of her journey into that person through loss and hardship. She also meets Dovchenko for the first time which is interesting.

2. A Crack in the Immutable

Indiana Jones finds himself imprisoned after being implicated in a Soviet conspiracy. Struggling to prove his innocence, he enters into a reluctant alliance with fellow detainee Irina Spalko. KOTCS AU. Eventual Indy/ Irina.

I know that the Indy/Irina part may have people running for the hills but trust me, this is not a romantic fic in any traditional sense at all, it's actually brilliant and is the only fic in this fandom I've ever read that has managed to make any sort of 'relationship' between Indy and Spalko other than an entirely antagonistic one actually seem plausible. Due to circumstance they have no other choice but to work together to survive. Seriously recommended, the author has managed to capture both Indy (the Indy of KOTCS anyway) and Spalko so well. I nearly cried at the end and I'm completely unashamed of that fact.

3. Irina Spalko: Enemy of the State

In the aftermath of the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Agent Spalko finds herself not only alive, but also facing a new set of circumstances that challenge her ideology as she continues to search for the great unknown mystery... the truth, whatever it may be.

Spalko is such a badass in this fic, I love it! Also, Spalko and the Ark of the Covenant.

4. Welcome Home

"Sleep don't visit, so I choke on sun/And the days blur into one/And the backs of my eyes hum with things I've never done." Indy receives an unexpected visit. Tie-in with A Crack in the Immutable.

You need to read 'A Crack in the Immutable' before you read this or it won't make a zip of sense.

5. Drifting

"Again, she stands before an unfamiliar road, longing to leave behind the restraints of ignorance, prepared to travel an unfathomable distance." Buried beneath the rubble of Akator, the dying Dr. Spalko draws parallels between past and present. Slightly AU.

Short but very good and very sad and it really humanises Spalko and her quest.

6. The Sounds of Silence

After falling from the Bifrost, Loki finds himself trapped in the Void, a dark and silent place where the channels of time converge. Trying to escape, Loki stumbles upon one of these channels and is sent to a battlefield in Midgard, during World War II.

This is a cross-over fic. What exactly would Spalko and Loki (of the Marvel universe) think of each other if they met? Very interesting concept and a well written fic, if a little too brief.

And finally, to end this collection of neurotic ramblings, a few bonus videos for you. The first three are the lovely Cate talking a little about playing Spalko, her inspirations for the character, working with Harrison, her love for the Indy movies and the fact that she's a legend at home because she's now 'a piece of lego'. It's great to see that she's a genuine fan and was so honoured to be a part of the franchise. The last is the haunting 'Irina's Theme' from John Williams' wonderful score for KOTCS. Her leitmotif fits her so well, I love it.









So, any thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Think I need to get a hobby? It's fine if it's the latter, after this I'm inclined to agree...
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Old 09-29-2015, 08:17 PM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana Scully
So, any thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Think I need to get a hobby? It's fine if it's the latter, after this I'm inclined to agree...

Thanks for reviving this thread Dana, I missed it the first time round and it makes great reading.

Although I am not a big KOTCS fan, I agree with you: Spalko is a good villain and her character should have been developed more.

WRT to fan fiction: wow, I had no idea Spalko inspired so many independent stories… perhaps you should also try your hand at it? You certainly seem to have the drive and knack.



P.S.
You must be thrilled about the new X-files episodes!
Since you clearly like strong female characters, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the next "Jones girl" (see the thread I started in the Indy 5 subforum).
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:23 PM   #89
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Thanks for reviving this thread Dana, I missed it the first time round and it makes great reading.
As a humble FYI, it wasn't actually revived by the member in question, but a mod after merging a redundant thread.

But we'll take your praise as an endorsement towards said policy. And as a heads up to our new members, searching the archives ought to be worth it, since the next time said compliments may genuinely fall on you.
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Old 09-30-2015, 07:11 PM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z dweller
Although I am not a big KOTCS fan, I agree with you: Spalko is a good villain and her character should have been developed more.

WRT to fan fiction: wow, I had no idea Spalko inspired so many independent stories… perhaps you should also try your hand at it? You certainly seem to have the drive and knack.

Yeah, I also was surprised at how many independent (and well written to boot!) Spalko fics I've discovered recently. I think the reason may be that a lot of people who like the character wish that she'd been given more of the depth that she deserved, so decided to give it to her through the medium of fanfiction. If you're not averse to multi-chapter fic, I highly recommend the first two in my post. They're both very well written and engrossing pieces of fiction, in my opinion at least.

Trust me, I wish I had the patience to write fanfic. I've tried my hand at it before (mainly within the X-Files fandom) and I'm such a perfectionist that it takes me forever just to write a few lines so I inevitably end up getting bored and giving up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Z dweller
P.S.
You must be thrilled about the new X-files episodes!
Since you clearly like strong female characters, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the next "Jones girl" (see the thread I started in the Indy 5 subforum).

Oh yes, roll on 2016! I just hope Chris Carter doesn't disappoint like he so famously did with IWTB, even though I do like that movie more than some. Thanks for the tip, I'll definitely post some thoughts after I've thought about a little!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finn
And as a heads up to our new members, searching the archives ought to be worth it, since the next time said compliments may genuinely fall on you.

Apologies for that Finn, I wasn't 100% sure of the board etiquette, I've posted at more than one forum in the past where it's frowned upon to 'bump' threads that haven't been posted in for more than a couple of months. Now I know that's not a problem here and is actually encouraged, I'll not make the same mistake again.
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Old 10-02-2015, 06:53 AM   #91
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I very much agree with all your points and I also love those fanfictions. As I have said before, She has been butchered a lot by others and made out to be over-sensitive and guarded. This was viewed as a result of childhood abuse and rape, others say that she is actually very scared and a big sweetheart inside but I really don't like that idea.

I shamefully used to have this point of view, but I have since grown

Not to generalise, but I am not usually one for the strong female characters. Yet, I really like her. She is strong, independent and ruthless.

I find it very appealing that she can fence, it is unusual but that makes her incredibly unique. The way she will stop at nothing to get her prize shows true villain qualities as well as highlighting how she is a true soldier.

The book and comic books together gave a much better insight to her psychic abilities, though. When she is reading Mac's mind, she genuinely strikes fear into his heart and the way she does it so casually only reflects more on how cold hearted she truly is.

I am sorry I could not write more, but you covered so many good points that I could not think of much else. It is very in-depth and you raised points I had never considered before.
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Old 10-08-2015, 02:16 PM   #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XanaduMel
As I have said before, She has been butchered a lot by others and made out to be over-sensitive and guarded. This was viewed as a result of childhood abuse and rape, others say that she is actually very scared and a big sweetheart inside but I really don't like that idea.

Yeah I've come across some of those kind of fics that completely seem to miss the point and portray her as a more 'traditional' kind of female. If there's one thing I truly believe that Irina Spalko never was, it's a 'sweetheart'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by XanaduMel
I find it very appealing that she can fence, it is unusual but that makes her incredibly unique. The way she will stop at nothing to get her prize shows true villain qualities as well as highlighting how she is a true soldier.

Agreed! I know that some have complained that's it's not 'realistic' that Spalko carries a rapier (as if realism is your top priority when watching an Indy movie!), but I love it too. It sets her apart and shows what a warrior she truly is, she'd rather fight up close and personal in hand to hand combat than with guns. The movie hardly made out that it was standard Soviet army issue anyway, none of the other soldiers carried a sword. It was clearly a quirk that was unique to her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by XanaduMel
The book and comic books together gave a much better insight to her psychic abilities, though. When she is reading Mac's mind, she genuinely strikes fear into his heart and the way she does it so casually only reflects more on how cold hearted she truly is.

Yeah, the Spalko of the novelisation and comics is a lot more hardcore in general. If there's one thing I truly want to change about KOTCS it would be to add back in all of the cut Spalko scenes that portray her psychic ability in more depth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by XanaduMel
I am sorry I could not write more, but you covered so many good points that I could not think of much else. It is very in-depth and you raised points I had never considered before.

Thanks!
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Old 10-10-2015, 02:10 PM   #93
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I am glad you could agree with me. How long, out of curiosity have you been a fan on her?
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Old 10-11-2015, 02:45 PM   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XanaduEli
I am glad you could agree with me. How long, out of curiosity have you been a fan on her?

A fan of Spalko, or of Blanchett? In both cases, since I first saw KOTCS in 2008. I enjoyed Cate's performance as Spalko so much that it inspired me to check out her other movies (minus the LOTR trilogy which I'd already seen) and since then I've been a big fan. I can't wait to see 'Carol' which I'm hearing great things about, I wonder if it will get Cate her third oscar?

I may start a Cate appreciation thread in the general forum to avoid this thread going off topic, watch this space.
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Old 10-16-2015, 02:35 PM   #95
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That's really cool. I'm the same I've seen most of her films. I've recently watched The Talented Mr Ripley. Very chilling!

A Cate appreciation thread would be awesome to have.

My friend used to run a can forum back when I was younger which I've been thinking about rebooting. Would you be interested?
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Old 10-21-2015, 11:15 AM   #96
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I have to throw in a vote for "NOT a great villain."

The fact that in her very first scene, she proves she cannot do the one thing (mind-reading) that would make her stand out as a villain is just downright bizarre to me. It would be like Mola Ram saying, "I will now rip this man's heart out of his chest!!!" [pause] "Haha, just kidding. I can't really do that."
It's worse than pointless because it actually makes the character look weak. Don't introduce something like that if you're not going to follow through on it.

Aside from that, even Indy doesn't seem to care much about her one way or another. At worst, he finds her to be a bit of a amusing nuisance. At other times, he seems to almost helping her out.
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Old 05-04-2016, 10:13 AM   #97
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Not to mention that she can kick Mutt's rear end, and has physical abilities in a fight against a male, not to mention her swordsmanship. She could've kicked the crap out of Indy, I think.

I don't know about this, Mutt was Mutt, and she was a trained spy. Look how easy Indy overpowered her here:



Plus he's in his late 50's.

As far as Indy villains go, definitely better than Donovan, but I still think Belloq, Mola Ram, Elsa, and Vogel were all better. Just my opinion though.
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Old 05-04-2016, 09:29 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by Cingatorix

As far as Indy villains go, definitely better than Donovan

I would have to respectfully disagree there. Donovan was no Belloq, but I would still say he is well above Spalko on the list of Indy villlains.
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Old 05-04-2016, 10:14 PM   #99
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I would have to respectfully disagree there. Donovan was no Belloq, but I would still say he is well above Spalko on the list of Indy villlains.

To each their own. I didn't dislike Donovan, he just got so little screen-time I never could quite love and connect with him as villain.
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Old 05-05-2016, 07:04 AM   #100
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I have no qualm with Blanchett's performance - she clearly relished playing such a weirdo - but I think Spalko is one of the litany of elements that Crystal Skull leaves undeveloped. Can't call her a great villain, though I certainly recognize the potential she had to be one, and I love the unbridled pulpiness of her depiction.
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