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Old 12-12-2013, 09:38 PM   #1
00Kevin
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A new found fondness for KotCS as a film student and writer

When the film first came out, I had my reservations because I wanted the film to be Raiders of the Lost Arc part 2; disappointed by many elements, such as the alien-whatevers and the russian villians, I didn't give it too much thought.

But as a student of film history and as a hopeful writer, my perception regarding this film changed and I began to look at it for what it is.

Kingdom is a modern reimagining of a historical film genre; 1950s scifi films. Raiders of the Lost Arc also was a modern reimagining of a historical film genre; 1930's serials. George Lucas loves making films in homage to films from his youth, think about his career and think about films from the 30's-50's. So while the change in genre and setting may seem a bit much, Kingdom does capture one of the most essential ingredients to an Indy film which is sometimes overlooked: capturing the magic of a classic era in film.

the 1950s scifi craze fictionalized fears of communism and invasion. With films like 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers', Hollywood used aliens to feed off the cold war era fears of american consumers. Like Indy 4, this film draws on cold war tension with the conformity of 1950s America. So for me, involving Russians in a scifi fifties era adventure is a fun idea. Mind control was often used in scifi films of this era which played into the fears of the public, and this ties together well with the theme of the mind and Knowledge.

As I have watched this film over the years, This is another thing that sticks more the older I am; The motif of the Knowledge and the mind. I didn't really appreciate it in 2008 and while it isn't perfect it does have some clever elements:
-Skull is a symbol for mind/knowledge
-"Knowledge was their treasure"
-Indy just lost his job as a professor, he goes to save a professor (professor-education-knowledge)
-Irena spalko 'I KNOW things' scene, also established that indy has a strong mind
-Dialogue between Indy and Mutt throughout the film regarding education

Anyways, with a new appreciation I'll say that while the film has its flaws, It can be a rewarding experience for fans of fifties scifi or lovers of film history. To be honest I would be very interested to see if Lucas can craft another indy film out of a new film genre, rather than just writing a new adventure in the same old way. What's left? Noir? Sixties spy craze?
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Old 12-12-2013, 11:29 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 00Kevin
But as a student of film history and as a hopeful writer, my perception regarding this film changed and I began to look at it for what it is.

The things you noticed have been common knowledge on The Raven since 2008.

We know Lucas has been heavily inspired by film genres in their purer form. He made Star Wars largely because he couldn't get the rights to the 1930s Flash Gordon.

But it's one thing being inspired to do a cool thing, and another to actually succeed with it. Hence we have Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and then we have The Phantom Menace and KOTCS. While KOTCS was concerned with the cold war, TPM was concerned with subterfuge under the guise of 'democracy' - what we can see now as building a casus belli in Iraq under false pretences.

We can pull meaning and associations out of films, but I don't think it compensates for an otherwise unsatisfying experience.



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What's left? Noir? Sixties spy craze?

KOTCS is a perfect set-up for an Austin Powers inspired flick. But without the shagging.
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:14 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
The things you noticed have been common knowledge on The Raven since 2008.
While the "discovery" here made me arch an eyebrow as well (not to mention the misspelling of "Ark"), in his defense I have to say that I don't think we've had all that many threads specifically dedicated to the subject.

That being said, this well-known fact doesn't really make KotCS a lot better movie in itself. Sure, it may make some people look foolish, namely those who bash the film because they don't get that the sci-fi elements are actually perfectly in line with the previous installments. But it still doesn't go a long ways to amend the fact that the film is riddled with jarring storytelling and misused setpieces.

Of course, this is nothing the OP himself didn't really state, given how he admitted that the film has its flaws. But yeah, there still are enjoyable bits woven within a person who appreciates this kind of stuff can dig. I know I do.
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:35 AM   #4
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I'm not beating a dead horse, but I can relate to this specific thread with the 'new found fondess' of KOTCS.

When I first saw it in theaters, I didn't really make the genre-homage connection, and I remember when aliens were revealed as one of the main protagonists I almost fell off my seat with dislike thinking, "wow, Indy surely has jumped the shark, they are now using aliens!....aliens!! Is this Indy, or X Files?" I thought.

I got the dvd, and watched, and still liked the adventure, and what not, but I was still like "Aliens! wtf!"

It wasn't later until I saw a Spielberg interview on it, that he said they were recreating the genre of the 1950's-60's, with cold war, and alien invasion, etc. Then in dawned on me, "Oh, they were just homaging (is that a word? ) the genre of different time". From that point on, i really saw it in a totally different light. Yes, good and bad int he movie, but I did really see it differently.

Anyway, I'm probably super dumb for not seeing it in the first place, but I can really related to having a new fondness of it since I saw that interview, and actually started to think of it as a homage to a different genre.
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:45 AM   #5
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What 00Kevin illuminates quite succinctly in his post can be explained thusly: Too many writers working on one script/concept. Undoubtedly Darabont's writing style played into the nuances above, but with too many chefs in the kitchen, you get what we saw on screen.

And while this esoteric knowledge my have been known for some time among some members here, I can say as a fellow writer, it's great to see someone familiar look at this material with new eyes.
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Old 12-13-2013, 11:59 AM   #6
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If you have to watch an interview with the director to "get" what movies they are "paying homage to" in order to appreciate a movie.....then it's a BAD MOVIE that has FAILED at its job.

Movies, like jokes, don't improve with explanation.
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:17 PM   #7
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Interestingly, I think in the beginning, I too heavily disliked the idea of science fiction in Indiana Jones, especially aliens. I may have archived posts on this site saying such, but I'm too lazy to look for them... But anyway, I remember learning KOTCS had aliens, and at first being disgruntled, but as I took the time to contemplate it, I found myself warming to it mostly because I realized that what makes Indy appeal to me isn't really the supernatural artifact bit: it's the character and the overall pulp-homage tone of the series. KOTCS was true to those two elements, and hence why when I did eventually see it, I had no problem with the aliens, because it more-or-less retained what made me fall in love with the Indiana Jones films.

That, and the idea of the Indy films paying tribute to whatever time period it took place in's equivalent of a B-movie is, makes complete sense to me and is a nice way to keep the series fresh as it goes on. Too bad 5 is taking forever, otherwise we could have gotten more of that stuff in the 50's, like a tribute to radioactive monster movies (hey, imagine Indy looking for an artifact that's nuclear in nature that turns whoever touches it into some mutant creature). Now 5 will have to move on to 60's or 70's-style B-movies, whatever those were. I'm one of the few human beings alive that loves the idea of a consistent main character skipping through various pulpy genres while keeping an overall adventurey-tone. That just tickles me in the extreme.
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Quazar
Movies, like jokes, don't improve with explanation.


Werner Heisenberg, Kurt Gödel, and Noam Chomsky walk into a bar. Heisenberg turns to the other two and says, "Clearly this is a joke, but how can we figure out if it's funny or not?" Gödel replies, "We can't know that because we're inside the joke." Chomsky says, "Of course it's funny. You're just telling it wrong."
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:58 PM   #9
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Yea, I suppose most of what I brought up here is common knowledge, but when Indy 4 first came out I didn't think too much of it and never bothered to join in these type of discussions. For me the joy of revisiting this film from a more open minded perspective was such a rewarding experience and I felt compelled to open this discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pale Horse
Too many writers working on one script/concept. Undoubtedly Darabont's writing style played into the nuances above, but with too many chefs in the kitchen, you get what we saw on screen.

as legitimate a claim as can be made about indy 4, sounds about right

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Quazar
If you have to watch an interview with the director to "get" what movies they are "paying homage to" in order to appreciate a movie.....then it's a BAD MOVIE that has FAILED at its job.

Movies, like jokes, don't improve with explanation.

I wouldn't nessecarily agree, while film goers should 'get' most hollywood films, certainly there are some types of films where an audience member is not expected to get it the first time, although I guess I'm referring more to art films, french new wave etc. In the case of Hollywood movies though, I don't think an audience member nessecarily has to get a film the first time, in particular films that aim at exposing film goers to something that they are not too farmiliar.

for Kingdom, I think the problem is that when you do a fourth film in an established franchaise, everybody who goes to see it brings expectations based on the previous films and attempting to do something different doesn't always sit well with people. People didn't really get this film because modern audiences are not familiar with fifties cinema and history.

I personally believe that if the first three indy films never happened and Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls was released as it was, many people would rank it as one of their favorite action/adventure movies.

Yes, there are somethings that bug me about kingdom, examples:
-a few minor hiccups in cinematography, or scenes that seem rushed
-cgi animals
-maybe a few casting selection

but stepping back and looking at it as a homage to fifties scifi, fear of invasion and a, let's say half assed, attempt to explore themes relating to the mind...I'ld say it's a decent film

I would say that this film is the type that requires a little bit more thinking that the average beat em up adventure, and that's not nessecarily a bad thing; I suspect it's just that modern audiences don't want to have to think when they watch this sort of film. Argueably, however, the film, it's casting and it's marketing did exactly what was intended: put butts in seat
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pale Horse
Werner Heisenberg, Kurt Gödel, and Noam Chomsky walk into a bar. Heisenberg turns to the other two and says, "Clearly this is a joke, but how can we figure out if it's funny or not?" Gödel replies, "We can't know that because we're inside the joke." Chomsky says, "Of course it's funny. You're just telling it wrong."

I didn't get it, but I found the way you used it to be quite amusing
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 00Kevin



I wouldn't nessecarily agree, while film goers should 'get' most hollywood films, certainly there are some types of films where an audience member is not expected to get it the first time, although I guess I'm referring more to art films, french new wave etc. In the case of Hollywood movies though, I don't think an audience member nessecarily has to get a film the first time, in particular films that aim at exposing film goers to something that they are not too farmiliar.


Of course there are movies that are complex or thematically rich or whatever that reward multiple viewings and spark deeper thought and conversation.

But even those films shouldn't require cliff notes from the director to illuminate the point. If so, again, you have failed in your job as a filmmaker.

And certainly and Indiana Jones movie is far and away from that kind of film. At best, these kinds of movies can still entertain time and time again (the best ones certainly do.)

But if you're telling me you only really appreciated KOTCS after you heard an interview soundbyte from Spielberg, well, then he fundamentally failed in his primary job, which was to entertain you in the theater. Period.
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:35 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by 00Kevin



I personally believe that if the first three indy films never happened and Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls was released as it was, many people would rank it as one of their favorite action/adventure movies.

That is probably the most laughable comment I've ever heard about KOTCS.

If it wasn't for the deep and abiding affection people had for the Indy character and the previous films, that movie wouldn't have even been a blip. It would have evaporated into the pop cultural mist quicker than you can say "National Treasure 2."

There is absolutely zilch that is novel or memorable or ground-breaking or innovative or interesting in that film at all. Lackluster action sequences, bloodless villains, dreary exposition and storytelling.

If Superman IV had been the first Superman film, there wouldn't have been a second one.

It's day old pizza. If that's your first exposure to it, you're not coming back.
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:49 PM   #13
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I happen to like day old pizza. Drizzle some hot sauce and ranch dressing over that bad boy, and it's a 'slice' of Heaven!
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:01 PM   #14
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To say KOTCS is day old pizza is ... an insult to Pizza.

As to the rest of this conversation (the narrative and script discussion amoung members new and old); It might be day old pizza, but that is a good thing. A very good thing. No sauce needed.
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Old 12-13-2013, 04:30 PM   #15
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I wish I could claim it gets better on repeat viewings, but if anything it's the opposite for me.

Most Raven members probably know by now I like the film and am one of its biggest defenders here. That said I "got" the film being set in the 1950s and making it in the same time period as Roswell/the Cold War/the sci-fi B movies on the first viewing. Maybe that's why I loved the film on the first viewing because I love the 50s and liked the idea of Indy adapting to a changing time-period, be it McCarthyism or, yes, the nuclear bomb(of course, the thrill of seeing "a new Indy film" also helped). Also liked the attention to period-detail like the music(and nods to American Graffiti), so maybe I'm just that much more intellectual than the average movie-goer.

Seriously though, since most people don't tend to be intellectual about film, or anything, it's nice to see posts like yours 00Kevin, that people do at least like parts of the movie and don't ignorantly dismiss it as "aliens don't belong in an Indiana Jones movie" as plenty people do.

But the last few times I've watched it I end up having mixed feelings. There's good stuff in there, but I get angry with it as even I see there's an even better movie inside struggling to get out but ends up being a bit of a missed opportunity.

While it's nice to point out its connection to the original trilogy in regards to tributing B-movies and that aliens could be someone's religion, that doesn't exactly erase all the film's flaws. Not only the obvious ones like the monkey scene but even say the fact that none of the "death-traps" are as fun, exciting or iconic as say the spike-room from Temple of Doom.

Last edited by Forbidden Eye : 12-13-2013 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:01 AM   #16
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I feel like the silliness like swinging with monkeys is what hurts the film most. I like the movie but cringe at most of the jungle chase. It looks fake, feels fake and the vine swing is ridiculous. Otherwise I feel it is entertaining enough. I'd bet people could over look aliens and the fridge if they hadn't had to watch that poorly done jungle chase. I did get the 50s angle and I liked that aspect. The aliens and nuke blast didn't stije me as non Indy.
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:29 AM   #17
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^strike me as non Indy^
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:22 PM   #18
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I have heard many of the complaints about "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" and I have to say that I don't agree. I have seen this movie a number of times since it was released to theaters and it is just as much a favorite for me as all the other movies.
I know people balk at the scenes that stretch the believability factor- Indy surviving a nuclear blast in a lead-lined refridgerator, Mutt swinging on vines like Tarzan, etc. But what's so unbelieveable about swinging on vines? Surely that's possible. And it's not the first time the Indy movies have had scenes that would stretch imagination and force viewers to suspend disbelief. Some of the scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark could be in this category. (The boulder, the closing stone slab, not getting hit with arrows while climbing on the plane, etc.)
Even with the fridge thing, I like that it is based on science fact- namely, that the lead-lining does help prevent radiation- which is why lead-lined suits are worn when dealing with radioactive materials.
There are other scenarios that might be unbelieveable in this movie- but in the end, it's just a movie. It works because it's Indiana Jones- he can do that. And I just enjoy it and don't worry about it.
I know others may have other reasons for disliking this movie and that's okay- obviously not everyone is going to agree on this.
For me, I enjoy all of the Indy movies and can't wait to see a 5th. one!
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:33 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indyfan82
I have heard many of the complaints about "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" and I have to say that I don't agree. I have seen this movie a number of times since it was released to theaters and it is just as much a favorite for me as all the other movies.
I know people balk at the scenes that stretch the believability factor- Indy surviving a nuclear blast in a lead-lined refridgerator, Mutt swinging on vines like Tarzan, etc. But what's so unbelieveable about swinging on vines? Surely that's possible. And it's not the first time the Indy movies have had scenes that would stretch imagination and force viewers to suspend disbelief. Some of the scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark could be in this category. (The boulder, the closing stone slab, not getting hit with arrows while climbing on the plane, etc.)
Even with the fridge thing, I like that it is based on science fact- namely, that the lead-lining does help prevent radiation- which is why lead-lined suits are worn when dealing with radioactive materials.
There are other scenarios that might be unbelieveable in this movie- but in the end, it's just a movie. It works because it's Indiana Jones- he can do that. And I just enjoy it and don't worry about it.
I know others may have other reasons for disliking this movie and that's okay- obviously not everyone is going to agree on this.
For me, I enjoy all of the Indy movies and can't wait to see a 5th. one!

Unfortunately for you, this is a fan-base that for some weird reason now expects 100% realism in their pulp adventure stories. Don't know how the heck it happened, but there ya go...
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Old 12-16-2013, 04:04 PM   #20
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lol- I guess so.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:30 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indyfan82
I have heard many of the complaints about "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" and I have to say that I don't agree. I have seen this movie a number of times since it was released to theaters and it is just as much a favorite for me as all the other movies.
I know people balk at the scenes that stretch the believability factor- Indy surviving a nuclear blast in a lead-lined refridgerator, Mutt swinging on vines like Tarzan, etc. But what's so unbelieveable about swinging on vines? Surely that's possible. And it's not the first time the Indy movies have had scenes that would stretch imagination and force viewers to suspend disbelief. Some of the scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark could be in this category. (The boulder, the closing stone slab, not getting hit with arrows while climbing on the plane, etc.)
Even with the fridge thing, I like that it is based on science fact- namely, that the lead-lining does help prevent radiation- which is why lead-lined suits are worn when dealing with radioactive materials.
There are other scenarios that might be unbelieveable in this movie- but in the end, it's just a movie. It works because it's Indiana Jones- he can do that. And I just enjoy it and don't worry about it.
I know others may have other reasons for disliking this movie and that's okay- obviously not everyone is going to agree on this.
For me, I enjoy all of the Indy movies and can't wait to see a 5th. one!

I like Skull but the jungle chase has a feel to it that bugs me. The reason the vine swing is unbelievable is 1) the monkey with the 50s hair 2) Mutt swings just like the monkeys and it looks ridiculous 3) the rest of the film looks good but the CGI there is so obvious its takes out of the moment. Otherwise I like the film overall. I was expecting another LC and that is essentially what it is.
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Old 12-16-2013, 08:19 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kongisking
Unfortunately for you, this is a fan-base that for some weird reason now expects 100% realism in their pulp adventure stories. Don't know how the heck it happened, but there ya go...

It has little to do with realism* but much more to do with writing and execution.



* Because ROTLA, TOD and TLC were all fantasies.
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:43 PM   #23
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It has little to do with realism* but much more to do with writing and execution.
For the amount of time and effort spent on it, the writing and execution was fine for me. Obviously, it didn't meet everyone's standards- but I guess I'm not as critical on those things.

Quote:
I like Skull but the jungle chase has a feel to it that bugs me. The reason the vine swing is unbelievable is 1) the monkey with the 50s hair 2) Mutt swings just like the monkeys and it looks ridiculous 3) the rest of the film looks good but the CGI there is so obvious its takes out of the moment. Otherwise I like the film overall. I was expecting another LC and that is essentially what it is.

Okay- valid points. I've never really noticed any of the monkeys having a '50s hair style- that was probably just a joke on the part of the CGI animators. And perhaps Mutt swinging looking like the monkeys' swinging was due to limitations of the CGI- or it was just easier to reuse some of the work. (i.e. they didn't make an effort to make it look different.) In any case- it's not a real long thing and I just think it's funny more than anything- it doesn't take me out of anything and doesn't really bother me.
I'm not sure what the comparison is here by calling it another "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"- but I'm gathering from what the general consensus seems to be- Not nearly as good as "Raiders of the Lost Ark", but still not nearly as bad as "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom"- thus, "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"- the in-between compromise.
(Just playing up the stereotypes here- not trying to criticize anyone for their preferences. It's okay if some prefer some movies over others.)
As it happens, I basically just look for movies to generally be clean and be uplifting- hopefully even with a positive (and perhaps even spiritual truth and Christian message) theme- and ultimately to entertain. I think "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" meets those criteria, so I'm satisfied. And I love all the Indiana Jones movies equally.
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Old 12-24-2013, 02:59 PM   #24
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As a huge fan of 40's and 50's B-film sci-fi and horror films, I still think Indy IV was an epic failure. Not only did it fall short of expectations for an Indy film, it didn't even approach a successful homage to the aforementioned film genre. I wanted to find something to like about it, but there it is. Fail.
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Old 12-27-2013, 01:57 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by HovitosKing
As a huge fan of 40's and 50's B-film sci-fi and horror films, I still think Indy IV was an epic failure. Not only did it fall short of expectations for an Indy film, it didn't even approach a successful homage to the aforementioned film genre. I wanted to find something to like about it, but there it is. Fail.
I'd agree, if its supposed to be a 50s b movie it doesn't achieve what it sets out to be. I'm watching it again now as I type this. From the moment they arrive in the jungle I think the film becomes steadily worse, In the end it doesn't feel like an Indy movie. I enjoy the first half much more than the second. The introduction of ox and Marion drag the film down. Inter dimensional beings? Space between spaces? Did anyone think about this before writing it? Personally I think they should of kept it as the others and gave it a religious theme and it ends being neither an Indy feel movie or a 50s alien film.
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