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Old 01-30-2012, 04:50 PM   #1
HJTHX1138
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Regarding The Use of Aliens

Firstly, I feel that this is going to be too big of a change/problem to feature in another related thread, so hear me out on this.

A lot of people had problems with Indy IV's plot having anything to do with aliens. The idea of "Aliens in an Indiana Jones Movie" made them cringe. I can understand this, but I get the feeling that, at least from a creative standpoint, there really wasn't anywhere else to go for them to "up the ante".

He's found The Ark and the literal Holy Grail, where do you go from there?

Some would probably have a few other beloved religious artifacts they could think of, but when you're trying to close a franchise, you're going to go big.

When I heard it was going to be called Cystal Skull I knew instantly aliens were going to be involved, I didn't think we'd actually see any. The actual crystal skulls are shrouded in mystery, there are thousands of different kinds of stories you could tell.

My problem with Aliens in KotCS is this: They didn't need to be featured directly.

What makes the artifact interesting is the mystery behind it, we weren't explicity told in Raiders that god was real, but it was heavily implied.

We see an alien kill Spalko, yet we didn't need to see a giant foot squash Belloq, did we?

So what was stopping them from handling the aliens plot in the same way?

To make this more clear, here are some examples of "Changes":

* From what we do know about the Crystal Skulls, scientists believe they would have to be manufactured some way through incredible tools. Have the movie be about a race to find the Crystal Skull machine. Maybe the machine is some kind of primitive human builder, but they only could get it to work well enough to make skulls and nothing else. This leaves us with a subtle hint that this incredible technology is not of this earth.

* Pull a Fate of Atlantis. Commies could be searching for a power source to beat us to the punch with nuclear weapons, whatever this power source is could be alien in origin.

Etc.

Thoughts?

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Old 01-30-2012, 06:23 PM   #2
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You make good points, and I do think that when it comes to their problem with the alien angle, a lot of fans struggle to parse their issues.

My position on the alien factor has always been that it's been very overstated as a detriment to the picture. There's plenty of stuff wrong with the film, but on a broad conceptual level I think it's solid enough. I think all those years the movie was in development hell were way too much about concept specifically, when the actual execution, aka the script, is where the effort should have spent when it is brutally clear that it wasn't. So much time was spent arguing over what compass direction to set sail in that it left five minutes to put the boat together. My grand theory is that Indiana Jones 4 was a victim of poor prioritizing.

You read all the interviews and stories about what kept the film in gestation for so long, and the heartbreaking realization you come to is that all the false starts and the "waiting for the right story" really did come down to a consensus being reached between the three principles about how far to go with aliens/50s stuff. George ultimately won out I think (though maybe not as much as he would have preferred), but the question everyone should be asking is why the hell did that have to matter so much? Why was something so relatively superficial the big breakthrough? If even a fraction of that time and effort had been spent on drafting a good screenplay (or using the good screenplay they had instead of resetting again for egotistical reasons) no matter what the story, we would have wound up with a better movie. I truly believe that.

I think your point about it not being necessary to embrace the alien stuff quite as bluntly as the movie ultimately did is valid. It could have been handled with more ambiguity. As is now common knowledge, the Darabont draft approached the material that way, and I think the well-crafted Fate of Atlantis would have indeed been a worthy influence in that (and other) regards. Still, I don't think any approach would have been wrong, and the final movie's story, with E.T. in the casket marked Roswell appearing plainly in the movie's fifteen minutes, could have and should have worked just fine. Ultimately, it's a not a close-up of a grimacing alien or the image of a rising UFO that keeps the movie from being something really memorable. I just think that those were the easiest things to hogpile on for fans who left the theater disappointed but not entirely sure why.
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:55 PM   #3
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At some point, i should see whether this thread should be merged with another one or not. But for now, I just want everyone to read this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
You make good points, and I do think that when it comes to their problem with the alien angle, a lot of fans struggle to parse their issues.

My position on the alien factor has always been that it's been very overstated as a detriment to the picture. There's plenty of stuff wrong with the film, but on a broad conceptual level I think it's solid enough. I think all those years the movie was in development hell were way too much about concept specifically, when the actual execution, aka the script, is where the effort should have spent when it is brutally clear that it wasn't. So much time was spent arguing over what compass direction to set sail in that it left five minutes to put the boat together. My grand theory is that Indiana Jones 4 was a victim of poor prioritizing.

You read all the interviews and stories about what kept the film in gestation for so long, and the heartbreaking realization you come to is that all the false starts and the "waiting for the right story" really did come down to a consensus being reached between the three principles about how far to go with aliens/50s stuff. George ultimately won out I think (though maybe not as much as he would have preferred), but the question everyone should be asking is why the hell did that have to matter so much? Why was something so relatively superficial the big breakthrough? If even a fraction of that time and effort had been spent on drafting a good screenplay (or using the good screenplay they had instead of resetting again for egotistical reasons) no matter what the story, we would have wound up with a better movie. I truly believe that.

I think your point about it not being necessary to embrace the alien stuff quite as bluntly as the movie ultimately did is valid. It could have been handled with more ambiguity. As is now common knowledge, the Darabont draft approached the material that way, and I think the well-crafted Fate of Atlantis would have indeed been a worthy influence in that (and other) regards. Still, I don't think any approach would have been wrong, and the final movie's story, with E.T. in the casket marked Roswell appearing plainly in the movie's fifteen minutes, could have and should have worked just fine. Ultimately, it's a not a close-up of a grimacing alien or the image of a rising UFO that keeps the movie from being something really memorable. I just think that those were the easiest things to hogpile on for fans who left the theater disappointed but not entirely sure why.

I couldn't agree any more with this. I thought the aliens were just fine, apart from an execution issue here and there, but the real trouble is how much effort was spent on making the aliens work for everyone.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:29 PM   #4
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Now I hate getting into KOTCS discussions, but I can see myself getting in on this one. I agree with most of what I've read so far. I think Indy and aliens could have mixed very well actually. I agree that we just didn't need to see the aliens directly. I really love that Raiders comparison. God wasn't shown directly. If anything cutting out the alien scene would help the movie out. And the space craft. Cut that out and I'd say you have a pretty damn good Indy movie, though I was disappointed with Indys lack of whip/gun use.
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
I couldn't agree any more with this. I thought the aliens were just fine, apart from an execution issue here and there, but the real trouble is how much effort was spent on making the aliens work for everyone.

Execution was the key.

KOTCS failed to create a sense of awe, wonder or mystery. ROTLA had the build-up to the power of the Ark through various character reactions to it throughout the film. TOD had Indy walking into Pankot palace, which was a potentially dangerous trap in itself, with a hidden subterranean cult.

KOTCS is more in line with TLC, in which the wonder about the object isn't shared very strongly by Indy himself. And if Indy isn't that bothered, why should the audience? TLC, however, was focusing more on obsession and family ties. KOTCS was a retread of those themes.

The wonder about aliens was dissipated early on with the reveal that the US government, and Indy, were already aware of the existence of intelligent alien life. Therefore, the alien and his big cousins become mere plot devices to get Indy into Peru so he can meet Mutt and wed Marion. The aliens also neatly tie up the loose ends: they erradicate Indy's main rival; their departure kills Mac; and because their job was complete, Oxley could have his mind back.

It would have been much more interesting to reveal the aliens first in Peru, maybe just the smaller versions, stalking Spalko and Indy through Peru as they attempt to take back the skull.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:35 AM   #6
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I have one reason for Aliens and one reason against aliens.

For
Aliens is a good Idea because in the 50s people kept talking about aliens and UFOs.

Against
Secret of the Incas heavely influenced Indiana Jones and I think that was set in the 50s. Were there any aliens? Nope.
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Smith
Execution was the key.

KOTCS failed to create a sense of awe, wonder or mystery. ROTLA had the build-up to the power of the Ark through various character reactions to it throughout the film. TOD had Indy walking into Pankot palace, which was a potentially dangerous trap in itself, with a hidden subterranean cult.

KOTCS is more in line with TLC, in which the wonder about the object isn't shared very strongly by Indy himself. And if Indy isn't that bothered, why should the audience? TLC, however, was focusing more on obsession and family ties. KOTCS was a retread of those themes.

The wonder about aliens was dissipated early on with the reveal that the US government, and Indy, were already aware of the existence of intelligent alien life. Therefore, the alien and his big cousins become mere plot devices to get Indy into Peru so he can meet Mutt and wed Marion. The aliens also neatly tie up the loose ends: they erradicate Indy's main rival; their departure kills Mac; and because their job was complete, Oxley could have his mind back.

It would have been much more interesting to reveal the aliens first in Peru, maybe just the smaller versions, stalking Spalko and Indy through Peru as they attempt to take back the skull.

I don't necessarily agree with your conclusions... but I do agree with your general points. Whatever is going on in the story, the audience have to care about the outcome. The audience have to be made to want to care by the script/direction. I didn't particularly care about the existence of aliens or wether Indy forged a successful relationship with his son because those elements really didn't take focus in the movie. When those story elements become secondary (such as they did in TOD too), the action sequences have to be sh*t hot to make up for it.
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:53 AM   #8
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Alien thing was sh*t. No need to discuss it.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by replican't
Alien thing was sh*t. No need to discuss it.
Not "sh!te" anymore?
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:19 AM   #10
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Not "sh!te" anymore?

Sh*t and sh!te are adjectives from the same swearworld between swearworlds. Or some bollox like that.
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by replican't
Alien thing was sh*t. No need to discuss it.

Then why would you comment on a thread that's discussing it?

There are a million other threads.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:11 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by HJTHX1138
Then why would you comment on a thread that's discussing it?

There are a million other threads.

Are there threads between threads?
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:03 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by replican't
Are there threads between threads?

No, but there appears to be a great way to dodge a question and be a complete troll.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:41 AM   #14
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Sharkey and replican't. I reckon you two have much in common.

If you were any closer the union could provide something more terrifying than a bunch of malicious aliens:



Do androids dream of electric sharks?
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:01 AM   #15
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Who is Sharkey? Never met the man, woman, thing.

Look - why prod the smelly corpse of KOCS any longer? The aliens idea was rubbish, from conception to execution.

Here's a formula:

Raiders + Close Encounters = KOCS
All that is good about both
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:44 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by replican't
No need to discuss it.
If you truly feel like this, I can certainly relieve you of the nasty temptation to do so. Or any mod to that extent.
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Old 02-02-2012, 01:01 PM   #17
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It was the ending that did it. Having them face to face with the "aliens" ruined it for me. I'd rather that nothing happened when they returned the skull. I never liked that returning the skull would reanimate the alien.

Maybe they should've remained skeletons... Then in a brilliant flash of light, vanished! Leaving everyone dumbfounded, without an explanation and nothing to fight over.

Then they would realize the "power" that was supposed to be given was not real... The legend had been just that, a legend. A legend passed on from generation to generation by the Ugha tribe because they never fully understood their "gods".

In Raiders, we witnessed the power of God... But we never saw God himself. That should've been the treatment of the aliens in KOTCS... They didn't need to show us a live alien and that ship!
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Old 02-02-2012, 01:33 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fenris
It was the ending that did it. Having them face to face with the "aliens" ruined it for me. I'd rather that nothing happened when they returned the skull. I never liked that returning the skull would reanimate the alien.

Maybe they should've remained skeletons... Then in a brilliant flash of light, vanished! Leaving everyone dumbfounded, without an explanation and nothing to fight over.

Then they would realize the "power" that was supposed to be given was not real... The legend had been just that, a legend. A legend passed on from generation to generation by the Ugha tribe because they never fully understood their "gods".

In Raiders, we witnessed the power of God... But we never saw God himself. That should've been the treatment of the aliens in KOTCS... They didn't need to show us a live alien and that ship!

I agree. Maybe a flash of light, and have Spalko and her goons die some kind of gruesome, unexplained death. It was just too much, and too revealing.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:13 PM   #19
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I've always liked the idea of saucers rather than seeing the actual aliens.

Although, I didn't mind the dead alien body.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:00 PM   #20
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I think one of the major problems with the aliens was actually seeing them in the film...

...we never saw God in Raiders or Crusade -- or Kali or Shiva in Doom (yes we saw pictographs and statues but not the entity incarnate.)

I sometimes wonder if it would have worked better without seeing them. But how the hell would that have been done?
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:19 PM   #21
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I didn't mind the alien body much either. I think the whole movie is pretty good up until you see that aliens. And all the skeletons merge together. Then it just loses everything that it had going.
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:36 PM   #22
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Yep. I wasn't bothered by the alien corpses... but was definitely bothered by seeing the live alien. Also, seeing that "portal" they were generating was just too much sci-fi for an Indy film. A flash of light would've sufficed.
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:57 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fenris
It was the ending that did it. Having them face to face with the "aliens" ruined it for me. I'd rather that nothing happened when they returned the skull. I never liked that returning the skull would reanimate the alien.

Maybe they should've remained skeletons... Then in a brilliant flash of light, vanished! Leaving everyone dumbfounded, without an explanation and nothing to fight over.

Pretty much where I stand. I love the idea of aliens, the crystal skull made the idea tolerable, and it was something I'd never seen in a movie before(or anyone else really), and I love the bit of exchange Indy tells Mutt, "Depends on who your God is." But once the skeletons formed into one living alien, it really was too much(and having all the CGI didn't exactly help).

It really is a shame. It started out fine, where the execution was just mysterious enough, and they had to lazily end it on a silly note.
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:09 PM   #24
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What do you all want to know?

Aliens?

It was a great leap of faith for Indiana Jones, one that Spielberg wasn't on board for.

Judging by the execution of the premise neither were we.

The idea might have been plausible, unfortunately what we got was crap.

Here's hoping they don't leave us to stew over Crystal Skull.
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:27 PM   #25
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Here's hoping they don't leave us to stew over Crystal Skull.

Either they will. Or they'll drop in a few more dumplings and call it Indy 5.

Both roads lead to destruction.
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