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Old 07-03-2011, 10:45 PM   #1
Raiders112390
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What's so wrong with aliens?

There are quite a few flaws with this movie, no doubt, but I've never understood why aliens is so taboo in an Indy movie. Can we discuss why it's not kosher? Indy shouldn't just be limited to religious artifacts, IMO. He's not a religious relic hunter, he's a pulp hero. In the more wild pulp stories, the protagonist encounters all sorts of wild things.

That said, I wish the "aliens" were handled in a more HP Lovecraft fashion. Not exactly "aliens" from outer space, but Old Beings, like the Great Old Ones. More sinister, darker, like Temple of Doom. Hopefully this could be worked into an Indy V if it ever comes out.
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:58 PM   #2
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I think the big problem was how it was handled, from the early reveal to heavy handed exposition.

It's a film which has to lean on the explainations of who, what, when, where, how and why as opposed to showing you/building a plot that unfolds and illustrates these things.

Like if Peter Falk sat down and read you the story...entertaining in some ways. Maybe it was like My Dinner with Indy, two hours of talking about things they've done.

Even Kasdans Raiders script was pared down because Ford could communicate the written word with actions and expressions.
Ultimately it boils down to execution, (one of those flaws you refer to no doubt), and while it had some technical beauty, as filmed, it held no suspense.

Aliens can be done well, they just didn't deliver.
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Old 07-04-2011, 12:40 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Raiders112390
Hopefully this could be worked into an Indy V if it ever comes out.


Please, god, no.

The aliens just didn't flow well with the rest of the films. I pretty much agree with Rocket Surgeon as to why. They could have done it in a different way and perhaps it would have worked.
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Old 07-04-2011, 01:53 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
I think the big problem was how it was handled, from the early reveal to heavy handed exposition...Aliens can be done well, they just didn't deliver.

Yes, this is where I see a loss of 'craft' in KOTCS. Nothing to do with cinematogaphy, but the craft of plotting and dialogue. The movie was the product of confusion and it shows itself all too obviously through some of the acting.

They could also have been the wrong kind of aliens. Too much Close Encounters-with-a-bad-attitude. Not enough...

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Originally Posted by Raiders112390
Old Beings, like the Great Old Ones. More sinister, darker

More in-keeping with Indy's world, I would have preferred something more 'ancient' in tone, rather than 1960s pseudo-mythology planted into George's 1950s.
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Old 07-04-2011, 06:33 AM   #5
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I dont think aliens sit right in the world of Indy that we've come to know. Taking Indy to sci fi didnt work for me.

I've said many times in the past that I can suspend belief for powerful religious artifacts, but not aliens in the Indy series I'm afraid. Some may mock me for saying that, but thats how I feel.

I know that some ancient religions have this alien mythology about them, but I found the way it they were revealed at the end in particular was too heavy handed, especially to show one appearing as it did. Granted the image of the ship and the effects at the end were stunning, but not in an Indy film for me. Big dissapointment.
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Old 07-04-2011, 06:53 AM   #6
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I know that some ancient religions have this alien mythology about them, but I found the way it they were revealed at the end in particular was too heavy handed, especially to show one appearing as it did.

I would lay the blame for that at the door of the '60s Däniken overtones: a mixture of little green man conspiracies; Area 51 type concealed technology; and the idea of 'ancient' aliens, which is really a modern invention combined with the re-interpretation of archaeological finds and the re-translation of ancient words.

To fit better into Indy's universe, such 'alien' beings would have been better introduced through some cult, just as the Hindu gods were introduced via Mola Ram and Marhan. And if the aliens were to be revealed, make them less distinctive, less recognizable as little 'green' men. Indy is the true heir, in mass market terms, to H.P. Lovecraft, so I'd have preferrred to have seen the creators go further in that direction (where alien beings cross into the realm of the supernatural).

Instead, KOTCS followed the route originally destined for ROTLA. It may make for a more homogenous concept, completing the circle as it were, but it seemed very forced.
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
More in-keeping with Indy's world, I would have preferred something more 'ancient' in tone, rather than 1960s pseudo-mythology planted into George's 1950s.
In keeping with why aliens are just plain wong, I agree, the pop culture revisionist history regarding ancient aliens is too contemporary to hold any real allure. All Crystal Skull did was take a hokey reimagining and cheapen Indy by having him simply explain it away/endorse it.

It holds no appreciable link to anything remotely historical or romantically "lost in the sands of time."
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Old 07-04-2011, 08:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
In keeping with why aliens are just plain wong, I agree, the pop culture revisionist history regarding ancient aliens is too contemporary to hold any real allure. All Crystal Skull did was take a hokey reimagining and cheapen Indy by having him simply explain it away/endorse it.

It holds no appreciable link to anything remotely historical or romantically "lost in the sands of time."

What was so palatable about the first three adventures, was that they were universally acceptable, in that they didn't show the entities behind the power on display.

ROTLA didn't prove the existence of of the Old Testament God. TOD didn't prove the existence of the Hindu deities. TLC didn't prove the existence of Christ. What they did prove was a hidden power, accessible to those who knew how to command it, and deadly to those who didn't.

KOTCS was different in that we finally see the first entities behind an instance of hidden power. Being of the "hokey" variety, they diminish in effectiveness and mystery. Their basis is in super-technology (and the agenda of conspiracy), rather than the arcane arts.
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Old 07-04-2011, 08:56 AM   #9
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The only part of your post I disagree with:

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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
...accessible to those who knew how to command it, and deadly to those who didn't.

The power was surely accessible, though I don't believe the ark (a conduit) was ever capable of being commanded. I always felt a discerning power behind all of the relics, even the skull, which of course they had to explain, (not simply illustrate) to the ignorant.
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Old 07-04-2011, 09:37 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
The only part of your post I disagree with:



The power was surely accessible, though I don't believe the ark (a conduit) was ever capable of being commanded. I always felt a discerning power behind all of the relics, even the skull, which of course they had to explain, (not simply illustrate) to the ignorant.

We'll never know the answer to that. The Ark does sit passively in storage. Whatever was behind it was content to leave it the warehouse, and maybe even left there as temptation, or for a time when someone really did know how to channel it's power safely.

The term 'God' or 'deity' is emotive because of the baggage of religion. The term 'alien' is emotive in a different way. The first two evoke ideas of powerful beings beyond full human understanding and reasoning, but the last evokes an idea of a knowable entity. An 'alien' can be us, just from another place, and with advanced technology. We may even aspire to be like the aliens, but we will still be human.

If we aspire to being like the gods, then we leave the human part behind.

Before KOTCS there was mystery, but after it we are left with science. Indy no longer needs arcane knowledge to help Military Intelligence, but a degree in quantum physics.
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Old 07-04-2011, 05:12 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
We'll never know the answer to that. The Ark does sit passively in storage. Whatever was behind it was content to leave it the warehouse, and maybe even left there as temptation, or for a time when someone really did know how to channel it's power safely.
We will never know, I agree. Though the movie does take great pains to acknowledge and even promote the Old Testament mythos.

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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
The term 'God' or 'deity' is emotive because of the baggage of religion. The term 'alien' is emotive in a different way. The first two evoke ideas of powerful beings beyond full human understanding and reasoning, but the last evokes an idea of a knowable entity. An 'alien' can be us, just from another place, and with advanced technology. We may even aspire to be like the aliens, but we will still be human.
Funny you should term it so. Original Sin results from our ancestors partaking of the so called "tree of knowledge."

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If we aspire to being like the gods, then we leave the human part behind.
Precisely what Adam and Eve are deceived into believing. Not so different I'd say. But in the context of what is superficially understood in this day and age I'd agree with your position...doesn't mean it's correct though!

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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
Before KOTCS there was mystery, but after it we are left with science. Indy no longer needs arcane knowledge to help Military Intelligence, but a degree in quantum physics.

With the way he sunk his teeth in "nuke-you-ler" I'd say he's sh!t out of luck on that count too!
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Old 07-04-2011, 10:30 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
We will never know, I agree. Though the movie does take great pains to acknowledge and even promote the Old Testament mythos.

It's the myth attached to the artifact, though the entity itself behind it is still not revealed.

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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
Funny you should term it so. Original Sin results from our ancestors partaking of the so called "tree of knowledge."

There's that Promethean myth crossing over again: He stole fire from the gods, and was punished for it. When similar stories with similar messages pop up over the world, they're either from a real source, or from garbled translation or re-invention via travellers. This story is also interpreted in KOTCS, with the aliens as gods and Spalko as the Eve or Prometheus character.

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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
Precisely what Adam and Eve are deceived into believing. Not so different I'd say. But in the context of what is superficially understood in this day and age I'd agree with your position...doesn't mean it's correct though!

We may become the equals of the 'aliens' in time, through advances in technology and a full understanding of the workings of the human mind. That would be human evolution. Though if we were to become 'gods' then that is where the emotive terminology of evolution begins.

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With the way he sunk his teeth in "nuke-you-ler" I'd say he's sh!t out of luck on that count too!




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Old 07-05-2011, 12:34 PM   #13
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If Aliens are good enough for Cowboy's there good enough for Indy
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Old 07-05-2011, 11:44 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
It's the myth attached to the artifact, though the entity itself behind it is still not revealed.
A myth they fully embraced I'd say!

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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
There's that Promethean myth crossing over again: He stole fire from the gods, and was punished for it. When similar stories with similar messages pop up over the world, they're either from a real source, or from garbled translation or re-invention via travellers. This story is also interpreted in KOTCS, with the aliens as gods and Spalko as the Eve or Prometheus character.
To the uninitiated it would be like calling all the german soldiers in Raiders Nazis. However, the promise was power and knowledge...but they were deceived, the Devil had no such power to impart and fooled them. He promised them fire, but didn't, (because he coudn't) deliver.

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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
We may become the equals of the 'aliens' in time, through advances in technology and a full understanding of the workings of the human mind. That would be human evolution. Though if we were to become 'gods' then that is where the emotive terminology of evolution begins.
We may, we may not... its all still apropos! The promise is just that, a promise. The Aliens in the film seem quite fickle about the gifts they give.

Which begs the question: did Indy pull an Elsa on Spalko? Was it indeed a gift they promised?


...or a sacrifice to be offered?
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Old 07-06-2011, 02:15 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
A myth they fully embraced I'd say!

Apart from Sallah and his cryptic interpretation: "It is not of this earth."

Literally or symbolically?

The object itself was built on earth, but what it contains "was not of this earth." Where is God or that unknown power, but on another plane or another dimension...

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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
To the uninitiated it would be like calling all the german soldiers in Raiders Nazis. However, the promise was power and knowledge...but they were deceived, the Devil had no such power to impart and fooled them. He promised them fire, but didn't, (because he coudn't) deliver.

The concept behind the stories are the same, but the details differ depending on the audience.

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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
We may, we may not... its all still apropos! The promise is just that, a promise. The Aliens in the film seem quite fickle about the gifts they give.

Which begs the question: did Indy pull an Elsa on Spalko? Was it indeed a gift they promised?


...or a sacrifice to be offered?

I think he knew what was was coming. It's the reason he's wary of dabbling in the supernatural, and why he sometimes mocks it in the company of others. As I wrote, the inter-dimensionals were like Close Encounters-with-a-bad-attitude. They're dangerous to know. Spalko was also too far down her road to knowledge to be stopped. Just like Elsa she was consumed by her obsession, and the punishment for that in Indy's world is death.

The aliens were delivering the same punishment we saw in ROTLA and in TLC. In TOD that punishment was initiated by Indy's invocation of Shiva.

So, to address the original question, "What's so wrong with aliens?", my answer would be that the problem was making the source of the power visible.
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Old 07-06-2011, 04:41 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
We may, we may not... its all still apropos! The promise is just that, a promise. The Aliens in the film seem quite fickle about the gifts they give.

Which begs the question: did Indy pull an Elsa on Spalko? Was it indeed a gift they promised?


...or a sacrifice to be offered?

Very interesting Rocket... never thought of it in those terms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Smith


The concept behind the stories are the same, but the details differ depending on the audience.


So, to address the original question, "What's so wrong with aliens?", my answer would be that the problem was making the source of the power visible.

Spot on...
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:31 AM   #17
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Apart from Sallah and his cryptic interpretation: "It is not of this earth."
We've been through this, there were MANY throw away lines, like Belloq's radio. Ultimately the Old Testament myth is the center strand. The effects crew had to create what? In their words:The Wrath of God.

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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
Literally or symbolically?
As things developed during production, you can bet both.

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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
The object itself was built on earth, but what it contains "was not of this earth." Where is God or that unknown power, but on another plane or another dimension...
Here's where we get into semantics. Dimension is a catch all, a utility word which is a blanket for what we cannot explain, (since there is no proof I guess you could call it your very own article of faith ), so in that respect I would agree. I'm not against striving to understand, explain, categorize, but ultimately we're reliant on the documentation of (and I'll use this word thinking you'll enjoy it) it's fabricators. As such it's God.

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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
The concept behind the stories are the same, but the details differ depending on the audience.
Evidence of superior writing! ...of the first outing that is.

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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
The aliens were delivering the same punishment we saw in ROTLA and in TLC. In TOD that punishment was initiated by Indy's invocation of Shiva.
Well my new pet project is the distinction...was it the same as Raiders? They did it to themselves. The Ark didn't exert any pressure until they opened it.

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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
So, to address the original question, "What's so wrong with aliens?", my answer would be that the problem was making the source of the power visible.
The biggest problem with Aliens!
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Very interesting Rocket... never thought of it in those terms.
Lets see how far we can go with it!
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Old 07-07-2011, 08:42 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
Evidence of superior writing! ...of the first outing that is.

But which came first? The chicken or the egg?

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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
Well my new pet project is the distinction...was it the same as Raiders? They did it to themselves. The Ark didn't exert any pressure until they opened it.

I would say that there are similarities, in that Belloq etc, Elsa and Spalko all inflicted their punishment on themselves. They paid for their obsessions. With the Ark the power also chose to punish the soldiers, even though they were technically lackeys. They were guilty by association. Indy and Marion were spared, as they were again in KOTCS.
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:28 AM   #19
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But which came first? The chicken or the egg?
Why the chicken of course!

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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
I would say that there are similarities, in that Belloq etc, Elsa and Spalko all inflicted their punishment on themselves. They paid for their obsessions. With the Ark the power also chose to punish the soldiers, even though they were technically lackeys. They were guilty by association. Indy and Marion were spared, as they were again in KOTCS.
It's all very Old Testament, no doubt. The shame is, Mac could have been redeemed/the redeemer if there were a rhyme or reason for his "sacrifice." Ultimately there went another wasted opportunity which could easily have been more powerful/emotional. He ended up going out like the film, weakly.

The other problem with aliens, not so much themselves but the execution of the idea...
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:55 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
Why the chicken of course!

I'm sure it was the egg! (Though according to Stoo it was edited out of at least one Indy film...)

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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
It's all very Old Testament, no doubt. The shame is, Mac could have been redeemed/the redeemer if there were a rhyme or reason for his "sacrifice." Ultimately there went another wasted opportunity which could easily have been more powerful/emotional. He ended up going out like the film, weakly.

Mac was weak from beginning to end. I don't think Ray Winstone was really on board with this project. Mac didn't convince at all, and it's hard to believe that Indy had any successful missions with him during the war. He was an addicted gambler short of money, and easy prey for the Soviets. He was a gambler to the end, stopping for the treasure.

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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
The other problem with aliens, not so much themselves but the execution of the idea...

Yes, they came over as a bit dull. They're sitting helpless all those years, waiting for a skull to be returned. That makes them look a little pathetic. When they get it back, they give Spalko a lame gift and put their foot on the gas pedal and go home, without bothering who gets caught up in their exhaust. It's as though they left something in the oven all those years ago.
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:02 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
I'm sure it was the egg! (Though according to Stoo it was edited out of at least one Indy film...)
Well the evidence points to the chicken, after all I'm pretty positive they weren't edited out!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Smith
Mac was weak from beginning to end. I don't think Ray Winstone was really on board with this project. Mac didn't convince at all, and it's hard to believe that Indy had any successful missions with him during the war. He was an addicted gambler short of money, and easy prey for the Soviets. He was a gambler to the end, stopping for the treasure.
Like Wilie before him, I keep going back to Karen Allen and Paul Freeman. They contributed...

As far as Winstone and Capshaw: if it's not on the page it's not on the stage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Smith
Yes, they came over as a bit dull. They're sitting helpless all those years, waiting for a skull to be returned. That makes them look a little pathetic. When they get it back, they give Spalko a lame gift and put their foot on the gas pedal and go home, without bothering who gets caught up in their exhaust. It's as though they left something in the oven all those years ago.
Makes you wonder about the mentality of kindergarden "teachers!"
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:16 AM   #22
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If Aliens are good enough for Cowboy's there good enough for Indy
I'd say they weren't good enough...

...maybe Conan would have been better with aliens.
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Old 08-25-2011, 04:25 AM   #23
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Aliens=bad, human-made artifacts imbued with mystical powers=good.
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Old 08-25-2011, 05:13 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
I'd say they weren't good enough...

The feedback coming from some who've seen C&A indicates that they weren't good enough. KOTCS didn't utilize them well enough, leaving me with the feeling that they'd been poorly tacked onto the Indy universe, rather than being an intrinsic part of it - which they could so easily have been.

The nature of the films, in that each artifact is isolated from the general public and therefore doesn't affect the major course of history, necessarily leaves the aliens as an enigma, likely never to return. Though they may be referenced in the same wry manner that the Ark resurfaces in TLC & KOTCS.

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...maybe Conan would have been better with aliens.

By the sounds of it, aliens couldn't have hurt Conan:

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We saw it on opening night - on a Friday - at 7:30...and there were nine people in the theater. Nine.

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Old 08-25-2011, 06:06 AM   #25
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There was nothing wrong with the Aliens.

I loved it.
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