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Old 04-17-2016, 10:31 PM   #251
Joe Brody
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Originally Posted by Raiders112390
It's an official, canon Indiana Jones film.


I respect your restraint. Don't take me too seriously -- I'm just trying to mix things up a bit.

I agree KotCS is canon -- if you look back at my submission in the INDY V contest, you'll see that I respectfully started from where KotCS left us and dutifully incorporated Marion and Mutt.

That said,you have to understand I'm a true Indy purist and pretty much reject everything in the films after the opening scene in Temple of Doom. Heck, I have major issues with Last Crusade, the Henry Senior character and Indy's backstory as a professor's son. Simply put, KotCS, with Oxley and the furthering of Indy's family's academic connections, just furthers the perversion of Indiana Jones as he was originally envisioned.
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:41 AM   #252
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It took me a few years to like Last Crusade, eventually I got older and realised it was just a movie series about an adventurer and stopped taking it so seriously.
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Old 04-18-2016, 10:55 AM   #253
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Originally Posted by Joe Brody
I respect your restraint. Don't take me too seriously -- I'm just trying to mix things up a bit.

I agree KotCS is canon -- if you look back at my submission in the INDY V contest, you'll see that I respectfully started from where KotCS left us and dutifully incorporated Marion and Mutt.

That said,you have to understand I'm a true Indy purist and pretty much reject everything in the films after the opening scene in Temple of Doom. Heck, I have major issues with Last Crusade, the Henry Senior character and Indy's backstory as a professor's son. Simply put, KotCS, with Oxley and the furthering of Indy's family's academic connections, just furthers the perversion of Indiana Jones as he was originally envisioned.

But Oxley isn't a furthering of Indy's family's academic connections, though. Oxley's just an old college buddy from Chicago, which ties in nicely with the original film. It makes sense that Indiana's friend from his youth would be a fellow adventurer/explorer.

It's not like how Brody's role was expanded to a fellow adventurer/boss in Raiders, who five years ago could've went after the Ark himself, to being a dodderng old fool who was friends with Henry, Sr, and watched Indy grow up.
When you think about it, that right there, the Marcus-Indy-Henry connnection makes Indy's universe much, much smaller than the inclusion of Harold Oxley ever did. Instead of just being Indy's legitimate front, his fence for the stolen goods, now Marcus is a good guy, a father figure his entire life. Total character rewrite.
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Old 04-18-2016, 12:27 PM   #254
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It's not the very existence of Harold Oxley that irritates me, but the fact that he was a fellow student of Abner Ravenwood who had enough of a sense of responsibility with regard to Marion that he would happen to be Mutt's foster father while also being the world's pre-eminent crystal skull expert. Oh and just for an added eyeroll they make it so that Mutt knows his mom's name as "Mary" rather than "Marion," all to protect a forthcoming surprise that the movie's poster and opening credits give away. It's just lazy and too many contrivances stacked atop each other for me, especially since it didn't add up to much.

I agree that Last Crusade is guilty of a similar antic when it suddenly drops Indy's dad into the saga and consequently turns Brody into comic relief. I
I've got my own issues with Last Crusade, but I think the difference comes down to the fact that it's just a more focused movie. The dynamic between Indy and his dad works so well that you overlook whatever ropey maneuvers were required to get them to share the screen.

In contrast, there's zero pathos between Indy and the various sidekicks - all of them figures from his past - he's assigned in Crystal Skull, and so the retconning doesn't feel nearly as justified despite being even more aggressively employed. Crystal Skull just doesn't have that emotional center Last Crusade does. Temple of Doom didn't either, but then that movie was all muscle and momentum in a way I don't think even Crystal Skull's fans would say is true of that movie.
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:29 AM   #255
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Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
It's not the very existence of Harold Oxley that irritates me, but the fact that he was a fellow student of Abner Ravenwood who had enough of a sense of responsibility with regard to Marion that he would happen to be Mutt's foster father while also being the world's pre-eminent crystal skull expert. Oh and just for an added eyeroll they make it so that Mutt knows his mom's name as "Mary" rather than "Marion," all to protect a forthcoming surprise that the movie's poster and opening credits give away. It's just lazy and too many contrivances stacked atop each other for me, especially since it didn't add up to much.

I agree that Last Crusade is guilty of a similar antic when it suddenly drops Indy's dad into the saga and consequently turns Brody into comic relief. I
I've got my own issues with Last Crusade, but I think the difference comes down to the fact that it's just a more focused movie. The dynamic between Indy and his dad works so well that you overlook whatever ropey maneuvers were required to get them to share the screen.

In contrast, there's zero pathos between Indy and the various sidekicks - all of them figures from his past - he's assigned in Crystal Skull, and so the retconning doesn't feel nearly as justified despite being even more aggressively employed. Crystal Skull just doesn't have that emotional center Last Crusade does. Temple of Doom didn't either, but then that movie was all muscle and momentum in a way I don't think even Crystal Skull's fans would say is true of that movie.

The thing with that for me is, you argue there's no pathos between Indy and his various sidekicks. I would tend to agree, yes. But really you have that same problem with Last Crusade. Sallah and Marcus have their characters almost totally rewritten, and like in KOTCS, they're just stuck in the film. I tend to grade Last Crusade equally. For myself, the only times Last Crusade shines are when Sean Connery is on screen or during the River Phoenix segment. There's a very "by the numbers" feel to Last Crusade; I wrote as far back as 2007 how the action scenes felt very lazy in Last Crusade, and the scenes which proceed Connery's appearance drag and lack the taut feel of the first two films. And unlike in KOTCS, Harrison doesn't pull the weaker moments of Last Crusade together. Go back and rewatch Last Crusade; Harrison, to me, feels a lot different than he did n Raiders and Temple. He doesn't seem as into the part as he was in the first two. And honestly, that stupid necktie makes every error of KOTCS bearable.

The novelty of seeing Indiana Jones' father and and the novelty his dad being Sean Connery (which, let's be honest, is a giant gimmicky thing), for me, is equal to the novelty of seeing Indiana Jones as an older man, in a different decade, with aliens. I've never found the Holy Grail all of that interesting as a "MacGuffin" - I find the Skull/Alien mythology a lot more interesting and realistic as a threat.

Every issue that was found in KOTCS, can, in my opinion be found in Last Crusade. Both films try to hit all the beats of Raiders of the Lost Ark, and each with declining returns. Both of the films, for the sake of comedy, to an extent rewrite Indy's friends; both see Indy really completing someone else's quest - In Raiders, Indy is acting as a government agent; In TOD, he willingly goes to Pankot, motived by fortune and glory, whereas Last Crusade and KOTCS are rescue missions Indy would rather not be on ("You've got the wrong Jones, Mr. Donovan - why don't you try my father?"), as such, he's a more passive figure in both. Last Crusade, overall, has even less of a sense of dread or a threat than Kingdom. At least in Kingdom, the power of the skulls is (in theory) a threat to mankind - Spalko's intended use of them is powerful. The Holy Grail isn't going to change the outcome of World War II. While the Holy Grail is more powerful as a symbolic treasure, that's not what Indiana Jones films were originally about. It was about Indy saving the world in pulpy adventures. Both expand while also deflating the size of Indy's universe. Both have stupid gag moments which are thrown on for yucks (Mutt's hits to the crotch vs. the idiot pilot who doesn't realize he's on fire in Last Crusade). Both film feature Indy in a more well-behaved fashion than he'd usually be due to the circumstance: In Last Crusade, he can't go all out because he's restrained by his father's presence; In KOTCS, he doesn't want to look like a total grave robber in front of this kid (his reputation, being, as it is, in the basement at the moment).

Last Crusade in a sense rebooted the character of Indiana Jones. The dark, edgy, mysterious, devil-may-care guy who took an almost sociopathic glee in disposing the bad guys was gone as soon as Indy uttered "it belongs in a museum!". No longer was Indy this n'er-do-well who worked for gangsters; No, now he was a holy warrior with God on his side, a neo-Knight, who if we're to believe Last Crusade's implications was chosen by God the same way the Knight in the Temple was; He's a guy who is always on the right side, and who'll stop the bad guys from taking over the world not because he's being paid or because they're in his way, but because it's the right thing to do. With Last Crusade and beyond, Indy is now a superhero. A borderline Boy Scout. Indiana Jones including and post Last Crusade is a different character from the mysterious and dangerous guy of the first two films, who exists in a smaller and much more comedic universe.

KOTCS and Last Crusade are cinematic siblings who share a lot more "DNA" if you will than Last Crusade shares with the two original films. If you want to watch Indiana Jones be a mercenary, kick ass and take names, watch Raiders or Temple. If you want to see good guy Indy have every mystery revealed, and be cowed down by his father, or his son, go watch Last Crusade or KOTCS. The pulpy anti-hero that Lucas, Spielberg and Kasdan dreamed up in 1978 died in May 1989. The guy who replaced him wearing a hat and fedora in two movies afterward is just as enjoyable, but nowhere near as interesting.
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Old 04-19-2016, 10:41 AM   #256
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiders112390
The thing with that for me is, you argue there's no pathos between Indy and his various sidekicks. I would tend to agree, yes. But really you have that same problem with Last Crusade.

I'm actually arguing that Crystal Skull has no pathos, period. In contrast, Last Crusade has the Indy/Henry Sr. dynamic, which serves as the heart of the movie. So no, it's not the same problem.

Nobody expects an Indiana Jones movie to be an emotionally transcendent experience, but the other sequels invest you enough that you actually feel something at the end. Last Crusade has the father/son relationship as its emotional linchpin, and pays it off nicely. Temple doesn't exactly tug at the heart strings, but it nevertheless succeeds in being emotionally exhausting. The first time you watch Temple, there's real relief and triumph at the end, because you feel like on some level you've been dragged through the same hell the characters were. Temple of Doom is a movie you don't so much experience as survive.

Crystal Skull doesn't have a cathartic moment because it doesn't really build to one. Yes, on paper the arc is that Indy is old and alone and by the end has a family. But this family comes pre-packaged, and we don't have enough of a connection to these characters for it to mean anything. Ox is more device than a character and doesn't even have his real identity until the movie's last ten minutes. Mutt starts off as a functional sidekick that swiftly becomes backgrounded once he's revealed to be Indy's son. Even Marion is dead weight after her initial appearance, like they were trusting that our excitement to merely see her again would cancel out any requirement that she be given something to do.

Thus, none of the character work feels particularly motivated, a sense that is exacerbated by other weak aspects of the script: abandoned subplots (Indy's federal scrutiny), characters whose actions are unaccountable (Mac), and everybody treating ostensibly dangerous situations with a casual indifference. The movie puts forth various ideas but does not succeed in having them add up in a satisfying way, in my opinion. And that's particularly fatal when the characters themselves are among those undeveloped ideas.

Perhaps if the movie had focused on one relationship as Last Crusade did (and as Darabont's Indy 4 draft did), the results would have been better. As it is, no character is really able to stand out, and when the movie does try for pathos it just feel like a warmed over version of something done better already. Pointing out similarities in template between Crystal Skull and Last Crusade completely misses what makes Last Crusade work.

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Old 04-19-2016, 10:45 AM   #257
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Lucas intended for Indy to be constantly in scenarios where he is in over his head, it's part of the charm of the character.

Indy in KOTCS however, he was never was at a loss for what to do next because he always had THE answers. He was always in charge.
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Old 04-19-2016, 11:09 AM   #258
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Originally Posted by Pale Horse
Lucas intended for Indy to be constantly in scenarios where he is in over his head, it's part of the charm of the character.

Indy in KOTCS however, he was never was at a loss for what to do next because he always had THE answers. He was always in charge.

Save for that time Marion knew that divine providence sometimes manifests itself in a rubber tree.

(Lovely posts, Raiders112390 and Udvarnoky.)
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Old 04-19-2016, 11:32 AM   #259
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiders112390
The pulpy anti-hero that Lucas, Spielberg and Kasdan dreamed up in 1978 died in May 1989.
Just one more reason why I'm rooting for Disney to make prequels set before TOD in the timeline.

Problem solved.
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Old 04-19-2016, 11:45 AM   #260
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Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
Save for that time Marion knew that divine providence sometimes manifests itself in a rubber tree.

A lot of people defend that moment by pointing out that there was a setup shot showing Marion noticing the tree. But to me the issue with that scene is not plausibility, but Marion's attitude. The moment she drives off the cliff is played for laughs, with Marion grinning ear-to-ear in confidence while the others scream. But should she really be all that confident? It's part of that casual indifference I mentioned that makes it come off as the characters being cognizant of their immortality.

I keep imagine a lame version of the rope bridge cutting sequence where Indy is as nonchalant about it as Marion is with her arguably more dangerous stunt. If the characters don't take their danger seriously, we sure as heck aren't.
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Old 04-19-2016, 12:08 PM   #261
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Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
A lot of people defend that moment by pointing out that there was a setup shot showing Marion noticing the tree. But to me the issue with that scene is not plausibility, but Marion's attitude. The moment she drives off the cliff is played for laughs, with Marion grinning ear-to-ear in confidence while the others scream. But should she really be all that confident? It's part of that casual indifference I mentioned that makes it come off as the characters being cognizant of their immortality.

I keep imagine a lame version of the rope bridge cutting sequence where Indy is as nonchalant about it as Marion is with her arguably more dangerous stunt. If the characters don't take their danger seriously, we sure as heck aren't.

It's astounding to me that anyone can miss the setup shot. It's there for one reason.

In my view, the attitude directly affects the plausibility. Your comparison does all the work: the rope bridge scene plays well because it's an extreme last resort, one that may well not work. If Ford played it as confident of his success, as though living were a fait accompli, rather than as an astonishing piece of luck, the scene wouldn't work as it does.
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Old 04-19-2016, 12:14 PM   #262
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One other thing I wanted to get to...

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Originally Posted by Raiders112390
The novelty of seeing Indiana Jones' father and and the novelty his dad being Sean Connery (which, let's be honest, is a giant gimmicky thing), for me, is equal to the novelty of seeing Indiana Jones as an older man, in a different decade, with aliens.

The difference is that Henry Sr. is not treated as a novelty. He's appropriately developed over the course of the movie, which is more than can be said for most (any?) of Crystal Skull's elements. While the Indy/Mutt dynamic is clearly meant to be a riff on Henry Sr./Indy, it doesn't rise above the novelty value of, "Remember when the roles were reversed?" It's just a remix, damned by the fact that the movie doesn't have anything to actually say on the subject. There is nothing akin to the material between Indy and his dad on the zeppelin, for example.

That's why I was hoping, in the years leading up to Indy4, that they wouldn't give Indy offspring. It's one of those clichés that gets busted out simply because it's "The thing to do" rather than there being some compelling story reason. I distinctly remember an interview (probably during the Darabont era) where Ford had to assure everyone that Indy would not have a kid. Ultimately they couldn't help themselves, and to what result? Every Indy 5 wish list I've seen seems to hope Mutt is barely acknowledged.

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Old 04-19-2016, 12:35 PM   #263
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If the characters don't take their danger seriously, we sure as heck aren't.

Bingo. Nominated for 'best post of this thread.'
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Old 04-20-2016, 03:20 AM   #264
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Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
I'm actually arguing that Crystal Skull has no pathos, period. In contrast, Last Crusade has the Indy/Henry Sr. dynamic, which serves as the heart of the movie. So no, it's not the same problem.

I guess I've become cynical with age, but I find Last Crusade overly sentimental and the casting of Sean Connery as bordering on stunt casting; at the very least, it's gimmicky. An Indiana Jones movie for me doesn't NEED "pathos". I mean, the relationship between Indy and Willie wasn't particularly Nolan-esque or emotionally charged.

Quote:
Nobody expects an Indiana Jones movie to be an emotionally transcendent experience, but the other sequels invest you enough that you actually feel something at the end. Last Crusade has the father/son relationship as its emotional linchpin, and pays it off nicely. Temple doesn't exactly tug at the heart strings, but it nevertheless succeeds in being emotionally exhausting.

The first time you watch Temple, there's real relief and triumph at the end, because you feel like on some level you've been dragged through the same hell the characters were. Temple of Doom is a movie you don't so much experience as survive.

The only time I ever felt something emotionally when watching an Indiana Jones film was when Indy has the Leap of Faith moment in Crusade, and the exhilaration of the 1912 segment. I don't watch these movies to feel something, I watch them to escape real life and have a good time. If the movie succeeds at giving me that, then I'm satisfied.

Quote:
Crystal Skull doesn't have a cathartic moment because it doesn't really build to one. Yes, on paper the arc is that Indy is old and alone and by the end has a family. But this family comes pre-packaged, and we don't have enough of a connection to these characters for it to mean anything.

I find it cathartic because, in the context of Indiana Jones' character, everything we've come to know about him (especially if you like the YIJC, as I do), he really has found what he's finally been looking for. He never gets the treasure, he never quite wins, but he has finally won. The fact that the family comes pre-packaged doesn't bother me; I view it similar to the 'family' dynamic that was at play in Temple. We have a connection to Marion due to Raiders of the Lost Ark, so saying we don't have a connection to her, especially when she's one of the more beloved characters in the franchise is little off-base. Mutt, yes, but I mean, how well are we supposed to get to know him?

I'm not fond of the idea of Indy having a child anyway; it is what it is. I'm glad we didn't get to know him further as he took up enough action and screen time. Honestly, my only real qualm with Kingdom comes down to Mutt stealing action scenes that should've belonged to Indy (and I really dislike the nepotism which led to Shia being cast; he's also not that great of an actor and doesn't deserve to be Indy's son)>

Quote:
Ox is more device than a character and doesn't even have his real identity until the movie's last ten minutes. Mutt starts off as a functional sidekick that swiftly becomes backgrounded once he's revealed to be Indy's son. Even Marion is dead weight after her initial appearance, like they were trusting that our excitement to merely see her again would cancel out any requirement that she be given something to do.

So, basically the way every side character besides Connery was treated in Last Crusade. I mean, Crusade's dynamic really only works because Connery and Harrison lifted each other's performances higher - they played off each other nicely. Connery's own little quirks as an actor; his expressions, his comedic and dramatic timing greatly enhanced the film. Put any other actor in there and he'd be just as backgrounded as Mutt.

Quote:
Thus, none of the character work feels particularly motivated, a sense that is exacerbated by other weak aspects of the script: abandoned subplots (Indy's federal scrutiny), characters whose actions are unaccountable (Mac), and everybody treating ostensibly dangerous situations with a casual indifference. The movie puts forth various ideas but does not succeed in having them add up in a satisfying way, in my opinion. And that's particularly fatal when the characters themselves are among those undeveloped ideas.

I'll agree with the underdeveloped part, but I'm also someone who is willing to take a leap of faith so to speak; what I mean is, there is enough there for me to connect the dots. At least with regard to Indiana. We know him well enough to know where his head is at, and frankly, he's the only character that matters to me on-screen in any of the films; the rest are always expendable to me. I do hate that the FBI subplot was just sort of forgotten, and while I like the wedding, the MEGA HAPPY ENDING where Indy is not only somehow pardoned, but even promoted, irks me.

Quote:
Perhaps if the movie had focused on one relationship as Last Crusade did (and as Darabont's Indy 4 draft did), the results would have been better. As it is, no character is really able to stand out, and when the movie does try for pathos it just feel like a warmed over version of something done better already. Pointing out similarities in template between Crystal Skull and Last Crusade completely misses what makes Last Crusade work.

But that's the thing with these kind of sequels: They tend to feel warmed over. The only sequel which really stands on its own is Temple. Last Crusade and Kingdom attempt to be Raider of the Lost Ark Pt. II, and both, while IMO great in their own right, are just B movies where Raiders is a masterpiece of film.

We look at this, though, from two very different viewpoints. One of my favorite series is James Bond, particularly the Connery and Moore movies (really only those). I don't look for depth or pathos or emotional turmoil in these movies; I just look for a great time, a way to shut off my mind for two hours; Indy for me is as interesting as Bond because we don't know everything about him; because he always manages to survive; because he's unpredictable. I don't watch these movies to plum emotional depths...I just watch them to see a badass guy in a fedora fight, discover wondrous treasures, and confront supernatural, unearthly terrors in the early-mid 20th century. Basically, film's version of Alan Quartermain done right; the ultimate Pulp Hero who has aspects of all the best serial characters. A devil-may-care borderline sociopath who beats up bad guys and gets the girl. No deeper than that.

When I am looking for depth with regard to Indiana Jones, I don't watch the movies, I watch the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. It's really only that entry in the franchise that holds any emotional weight for me or inspires any heavy emotions. I just feel that looking for depth in films like the Indy movies is overthinking it, Nolan-izing it. People have forgotten just how to have a good time without requiring pathos. That said, that's why I'm happy the YIJC exists - because when I do want that out of Indy, it's there.

At the end of the day, Indiana Jones is really not that different from James Bond...They're action B-movies, with Indy having a unique period film/adventure component...As such I don't expect a masterpiece. As long as the film isn't as dumb or brutish as The Mummy movies or as shallow as the Tomb Raider series, I'm happy.
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Old 04-20-2016, 03:47 AM   #265
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For the record, I love Kingdom of Crystal Skull. I watch it often and I'm glad with the movie. Though I think is a little "less perfect" than the others if you know what I mean.

I agree with the people who says the film has not real danger. I believe that occurs on the second part of the film mostly. The first half is OK, but in the second half the characters are more distant. I don't know how to explain it... There are less close ups of Indy, there are less individuals phrases, actions or feelings. They are a group which goes from a place to another. It's funny but you can't feel real danger at all, you can connect closely with the character.

In The Last Crusade you could feel the sadness and danger when Donovan shot Henry and you saw Indy crying (a beautiful moment, by the way). In Temple of Doom you can feel your hair stands on end in many scenes. And in Raiders there even was a feeling almost frightening in many moments.

I think the film starts strongly. The scene of Area 51 is superb. I find Spielberg in good shape, I love the camera movements, the cinematography, the action, the music... It's like the spirit of the old movies, but in a new light. But when it comes the second half, it's like Spielberg was in automatic pilot. Everything is OK, but not than great as before, if you get me. There is not tension at all, it's like everything passed too fast and there is not construction of a real suspense. The others movies had many scenes (I can think on the trap with spikes of Temple of Doom, for example) which could you to be nervous and thrilled.

I love the film, but I missed more close ups of Indy, more moments with him doing things and I think the overall group attenuates the individual force of each character.

Anyway, like another chapter on the series it works perfectly, I think. It has many moments I adore.

Last edited by NightWalker81 : 04-20-2016 at 03:55 AM.
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Old 04-20-2016, 08:02 AM   #266
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiders112390
An Indiana Jones movie for me doesn't NEED "pathos". I mean, the relationship between Indy and Willie wasn't particularly Nolan-esque or emotionally charged.

I don't know what "Nolan-esque" even means. With regard to Indy and Willie...I feel like you didn't even read what I wrote, which was this...

Quote:
Last Crusade has the father/son relationship as its emotional linchpin, and pays it off nicely. Temple doesn't exactly tug at the heart strings, but it nevertheless succeeds in being emotionally exhausting.

And you respond by telling me that the Indy/Willie relationship wasn't "emotionally charged?" Isn't that exactly what I was implying? You've written a lot and I'd like to respond to all of it, but if you're not going to argue in good faith, why bother.

As far as an Indiana Jones movie not "needing" pathos - well, by the same token it doesn't "need" cliffhangers, suspense, memorable characters and compelling action sequences either. You can technically make an Indiana Jones movie without any of those things. But why would you?
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Old 04-20-2016, 08:33 AM   #267
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Originally Posted by Raiders112390
So, basically the way every side character besides Connery was treated in Last Crusade.

I love how the "besides Connery" part is tossed in as a casual aside. Yes, if you discard Last Crusade's key relationship, you're left with supporting characters that are about as undeveloped as all of Crystal Skull's. So you're taking my side of the argument, then?
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Old 04-20-2016, 09:32 AM   #268
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It does feel a little curious to me to imply that Raiders and Temple don't have any pathos. Raiders puts in some really good work on the relationship between Indy and Marion; it's no mistake that Marion's theme, is written to be achingly romantic. There's that lovely farewell scene with Sallah, and Belloq is granted a richness that no other villain in the series ever is; look at Freeman's work at the top of the Well of Souls.

Temple isn't built as much on the relationships between the characters, though the bond between Indy and Short Round has some weight; none of the other films have a moment quite like Short Round telling Indy he loves him, then burning him back to himself. The Stones, like the Ark, are treated with considerable grandeur and mystery, though I don't personally find that moving per se. Most critically, the film's plot hinges on a starving village which has been robbed of its children. Those scenes, their despair, their awakening of social concern in Indy, are likewise nowhere else to be seen in the films.

Crystal Skull, by the way, strikes me as unique in placing its strongest moments emotionally - that is, those that play successfully - almost entirely on Ford's shoulders, those being the mushroom cloud and the departure at the train station. They aren't about relationships with people, but rather about relationships with time.
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:05 AM   #269
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Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
I'd like to respond to all of it, but if you're not going to argue in good faith, why bother.

Pigs and Pigeons come to mind.

Your analysis isn't entirely wasted on the board, though. There are other readers who are engaged with you who aren't necessarily responding.
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:19 AM   #270
Udvarnoky
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I suspect when some people hear the terms "pathos" and "emotion" they automatically think of profoundly weighty, eye-watering moments, but poignancy in a movie can come in a lot of forms, and yes, I do believe that the first three Indiana Jones movies pack some in a way the fourth did not.

Despite the disingenuous "It's just a popcorn movie" defense that has plagued my ears since this movie was released, it's really not too much to ask of any movie to engage you on an emotional level. That viewer investment can be as simple as wondering "What will happen next?" and a movie can put you in that place in different ways. Ultimately, what we're talking about here is simply capturing the audience.

A good movie weaves a spell on you, even if just in the moment. If you really don't consider that a necessity, I think your standards are too low, summer movie or not. Indiana Jones isn't Citizen Kane? Well, it's not The Mummy either, or it wasn't until Spielberg delivered something on autopilot. And I'm not going to grade an Indiana Jones movie on autopilot favorably just because it's an action/adventure movie on par. Since when was Indiana Jones considered par, rather than the best, in its genre?

I think Attila makes a good call about there being some gravity in the relationship between Indy and Shorty. I didn't want to muddle my point by going there because by comparison to Last Crusade, relationships are not the crux of Temple. The fact that both Temple and Crusade ultimately work (to me) demonstrates that there's more than one way to skin a cat.

I think one area where Raiders112390 agree is that Crystal Skull is overtly trying to recapture a little of Last Crusade's mojo in some specific ways. I submit that it doesn't earn the emotional payoffs it's shooting for because it doesn't put in the character work. The reuse of the Grail Theme (twice!) really underlines that Crystal Skull's strategy is "remember this?" rather than earning its own keep. And I refuse to absolve weak writing by suggesting that it was inevitable due to diminishing returns. That implies the template is to blame, rather than the execution. Perhaps attempting to rehash Last Crusade's dynamic was risky, but who forced them to do it?

Quote:
Crystal Skull, by the way, strikes me as unique in placing its strongest moments emotionally - that is, those that play successfully - almost entirely on Ford's shoulders, those being the mushroom cloud and the departure at the train station. They aren't about relationships with people, but rather about relationships with time.

I think Ford was perfectly capable of shouldering whatever weight the movie wanted to throw at him. The movie dances up to something in the scene between Indy and Stanforth, but it's retroactively rendered meaningless because it's abandoned wholesale. That's not a performance issue.
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:58 AM   #271
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Something else Attila highlights that I appreciate is you have to consider the whole package when judging something as broad as a movie's pathos. While Raiders and Temple aren't traditionally thought of as packing the emotional wallop or sentimentality that Last Crusade does, there are absolutely human moments in there - like the farewell to Sallah or Shorty's rescue of Indy - and they do matter.
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Old 04-20-2016, 11:35 AM   #272
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Originally Posted by Raiders112390
I just feel that looking for depth in films like the Indy movies is overthinking it, Nolan-izing it. People have forgotten just how to have a good time without requiring pathos.

How dismissive and condescending of you.

Look, I won't assume you and I share the same definition of "depth," nor will I pretend to understand why you pathologically invoke Christopher Nolan without explanation. But I'll say this: If a viewer honestly got some kind of emotional charge out of the first three Indy movies and did not from the fourth, then faulting Crystal Skull for that is not "overthinking it." It is in fact holding the movie up to the fairest standard possible: the other movies.
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Old 04-20-2016, 01:46 PM   #273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
How dismissive and condescending of you.

Look, I won't assume you and I share the same definition of "depth," nor will I pretend to understand why you pathologically invoke Christopher Nolan without explanation. But I'll say this: If a viewer honestly got some kind of emotional charge out of the first three Indy movies and did not from the fourth, then faulting Crystal Skull for that is not "overthinking it." It is in fact holding the movie up to the fairest standard possible: the other movies.

I suppose. We just view what the movies mean in different ways. I view Indiana Jones as akin to James Bond. Where James Bond is more action focused, Indy is more adventure focused and is also a period film. My love for the films has never been because I go an emotional charge out of them - like I said, with the films, that only happens sparingly, I leave that for the YIJC (which, on the whole, despite its flaws, is probably my favorite work in the series overall - blasphemy, I know). Like I said, when I watch these movies, I'm looking for the same thing I want to see when I watch a Connery era Bond. Yes, there's moments of darkness...But for me, that's never been the focal point of either series.

In the case of Indiana Jones, the girl in every movie was always to me of much lesser importance than Indy himself, or the supernatural power of the MacGuffin. At least if you view the series as a whole. Raiders of the Lost Ark is a very open-and-shut movie; Indy gets Marion at the end and it's implied (due to their past) he gets her for more than a little while. Really, it didn't need a sequel (what film does?). But since its first sequel and prequel jettison Marion and don't even bother to mention her, when growing up, she became as important as a Bond girl. Perhaps their relationship was a little more charged, but I never understood why people on these boards so loved her. I found Elsa much more interesting. But, anyway, to my point - as soon as Temple was released, and then Last Crusade, the importance of Indy's relationship with the girl was diminished as a whole. The girl became expendable.

A larger problem we might agree on with the series as a whole is that, after Temple of Doom, Spielberg and Lucas became in a way afraid of their own creation. They created this wonderful, rather original homage to B Movie serials, had created two great films which were very Pulpy in their fashion, and then because of the backlash to Temple, they decided from here on out to play it as safe as possible. And, by the time Last Crusade was being made, you had two guys who were almost at their 50s, and who were becoming increasingly sentimental with age and that sentimentality rubbed off into Last Crusade.

With Kingdom, can you blame the film for turning out as it did? Spielberg didn't want to make another Indiana Jones film; he has said repeatedly he was done after Last Crusade. Ford wanted to do another, and he convinced Lucas, who became obsessed with the alien idea. And in order to get it done, all compromised. The film seems to go between being its own thing, the way Temple was, and playing it safe the way Last Crusade does - and that is the films' biggest downfall to me. It doesn't know what it wants to be, because it was a compromise. You have the return of Marion as nothing more than blatant fanservice (and needless little visual winks and nods to the originals). The problem with Kingdom is that it was trying to be two (or even three) things at once: A risky entry ala Temple, a safe fan pleaser in the vein of Last Crusade; a next chapter and yet also a potential final chapter. The film as such doesn't know which way to go with itself, and suffers for it. The sentimentality introduced in Last Crusade returns and hurts the film, in that Indy has become an even better man than he was in Last Crusade. It throws a lot of great ideas out there, but never ties many of them together because it seems to be cautiously towing a line between having its own identity, and hitting all the right notes.

I've said it before - I think (with the polish of a third draft), Indiana Jones and the Saucermen from Mars would've made a much better film.

It would've been just as polarizing (perhaps even moreso), but it would've been a film that stood on its own two feet, like Temple, for better or for worse, and had a clearcut, unique identity: Indiana Jones meets Aliens. Plain and simple.

Whereas Kingdom is Indiana Jones (and his son) sorta kinda meet Aliens in ancient city that is not Atlantis and not Eldorado but sorta both, kind of.

Kingdom tries to stand on its own two feet, but often instead rests comfortably on Last Crusade and Raiders' shoulders - and thus it comes off half-baked. Because the entire film was a compromise, and because by the time they made it, Spielberg and Lucas were older men who on one hand wanted to make a film they'd enjoy, while on the other wanted to please fanboys like us, made a film which doesn't stand on its own. It's not a horrible film, but it leans heavily on its siblings for support.
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Old 04-20-2016, 02:01 PM   #274
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I kind of don't know what you're arguing anymore. You say Crystal Skull is half-baked, which is the same conclusion I drew. So what's your objection with exploring why we feel this way, here in the most appropriate thread possible for that exchange of ideas, no less?

It's very interesting to me that you and I apparently have the same overall assessment of the movie. The difference seems to be that you blame the audience for not embracing mediocrity, while I blame the movie for delivering it.
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Old 04-20-2016, 03:49 PM   #275
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
I kind of don't know what you're arguing anymore. You say Crystal Skull is half-baked, which is the same conclusion I drew. So what's your objection with exploring why we feel this way, here in the most appropriate thread possible for that exchange of ideas, no less?

It's very interesting to me that you and I apparently have the same overall assessment of the movie. The difference seems to be that you blame the audience for not embracing mediocrity, while I blame the movie for delivering it.

It's more that, over the years, I've seen an intense, visceral hatred of the film, which I've never understood. I recently rewatched the entire series back to back, and honestly, the only two films which struck me as great were the first two. It's subjective, but I don't see Last Crusade or Skull as being very different in quality, and I suppose I'm protective of a franchise I happen to love. I don't blame the audience for 'not embracing mediocrity', I do however blame the audience for totally overreacting to what was a decent film. Not a great film, but not the horrorshow some on this forum or IMDB would make you think it was. Then again, films like these aren't religion to me. When it comes to stuff like Star Wars or Indiana Jones, I'm not looking for greatness, just a good time. The only sequel I was ever truly let down by was The Godfather Part III....And I honestly don't see Kingdom as horrible as that film was. It's more that I am against hatred of the film, rather than singing its praises. I simply don't view it as on par with travesties such as say, Attack of the Clones or Superman IV.
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