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Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull - Sally's Journal
May 27th, 2008
08:05 am

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Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull
I can't remember ever seeing an Indiana Jones movie, and I have them firmly in my head as 'like James Bond - don't bother', but my husband dragged me along last night, and I was amazed to find that I really enjoyed it!



Things I really liked:

Old people having adventures and generally being Cool. I think this just sells things to me, although I'm not sure why. It's one of the things I like about The Incredables, and it's just occured to me it might be part of why I like Shards of Honor too. I wonder if this has always been the case, or whether I've just started to identify as an old married person :-/ But really, the hero and heroine are old and clever and sexy and hot. The film really camps up Ford's oldness, instead of trying to pretend it isn't there, and that really worked for me.

The characters. They may be one dimensional, but they're vibrantly alive in that dimension.

The bit with the snake was really funny. Actually, lots of it was funny and clever. I mean, not in a subtle or intellectual way. But in a well designed, cool, way.

The waterfalls. OMG. There are some of the most beautiful scenery bits in this film ever. I want to go to Peru.

The mushroom cloud. I used to be really scared of nuclear war when I was about 10, and that scene brought back exactly why. It was petrifying and wonderfully done.

Things I really didn't like:

Eurgh, squick, ants! I hate ants. I'm not sure why drowning in a river of ants is my personal 101 and drowing in a river of water is just this thing that happens in films, but arrgh. Matthew held my hand through this bit

The portrayal of the 50's. This is a bit stupid of my brain, because if you want a cartoon-like, funny action adventure you probably need to characature stuff a bit. But it reminded me of Lords and Ladies, and the idea that if you reduce things to trite stories that aren't true then you'll forget what things were really like.

The wedding. This was just as bad as the Harry Potter epilogue. I wish they'd ended the film with them sitting on a rock in the jungle snogging. I mean, it was nice to know he got his job back, but this really didn't add much to the film. Well, I guess it was making the point that Jones was no longer running away from his responsibilities and they were all living happilly ever after. But for some reason I can't put my finger on it annoyed me.

The savages getting killed. The film was swarming with black mooks whose sole purpose was to attack Indy and get killed (or get massecred by communists). They never got lines. No-one ever managed to communicate with them. No-one knows why or how they'd managed to find and protect the ancient lost city. No-one asked them if they minded before they destroyed it (to be fair, they'd all been shot by commies at this point). I mean, I don't want to be overly PC here, but it actually annoyed me, rather than me thinking 'oh, that's a bad thing' intellectually.

The big bad - this was the usual 'I want to know everything from superior beings, oops, my head has exploded, I'm dead' storyline. I don't like the way 'wanting to know everything' is often used as a hook for evil and crazy and is portrayed as likely to kill you. I mean, in one way the movie's very much in favour of learning things and being a professor and not dropping out of school and discovering stuff, but on the other hand spending too much time in the library is mocked, things are randomly destroyed and shot, and wanting to know everything is Evil and leaves you dead.

Things I'm not sure if I liked or not:

The idea that everything crumbles to dust - they have the great adventure and then nothing is left. Yes, I know that's how these sort of films work. It's just so tragic that they find all this incredable stuff and, err, destroy it.

Aliens - the big plot point was that the lost city is the work of superior aliens, who gave everyone knowledge and encouraged them to squash their children's heads so they looked kind of similar. It was quite a nice story, if not exactly original, and done quite well. Still, I was looking forward to archeological / ghostly mumbo-jumbo, and suddenly finding myself in inter-dimensional sci-fi mumbo jumbo was a shock.

But a fabulously good fun and feel good film, which I recommend people go and see.

(27 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:juggzy
Date:May 27th, 2008 08:02 am (UTC)
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You should see the other three - I'm really looking forward to this and Real People as opposed to Critics like this, much as you did - but the other three, the first especially, set up the genre of action adventure historical pisstakes, and the first contains the greatest visual joke known to mankind, which was so unexpected in the context of the first film (and actually arose out of Harrison Ford becoming very, very bored during rehearsals when a swordsman just couldn't get his act together) that it is the most genuine LOL moment I have ever experienced - and that was before we even knew what Lolling was!

Mind you, The Joke probably isn't as funny now, because it has been imitated so many times.

Edited at 2008-05-27 08:05 am (UTC)
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From:gayalondiel
Date:May 27th, 2008 08:48 am (UTC)
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I am going to come over there and make you watch Raiders and Crusade - don't bother with Temple of Doom, it's rubbish.

Ref. the savages - that's always the case in Indy, and it is probably the least comfortable bit. Normally they are under the influence of the Bad Guys and therefore unnegotiatable with - and frequently they are too intent on killing Indy to be in any position to open negotiations. But yes, it is a bit uncomfortable. I think you could be prevailed upon to enjoy the others, though.

(NB I don't watch James Bond. It bores me. But I love Indy.)
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From:kaberett
Date:May 27th, 2008 09:26 am (UTC)
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But but but Temple of Doom is necessary because it introduces characters!

Also, crocodiles.
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From:gayalondiel
Date:May 27th, 2008 09:44 am (UTC)
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Does it? Who's in Temple who isn't in Raiders? I'll admit if I'm wrong, it's been a while since I'd seen it, but I thought only Short Round *shudder* and Willie, who aren't recurring?

*confused*
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From:kaberett
Date:May 27th, 2008 10:13 am (UTC)
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The woman is relevant to the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Whatsherface. Maryanne? Miriam? Thing.
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From:beckyc
Date:May 27th, 2008 10:19 am (UTC)
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Marion? She's in Raiders.
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From:kaberett
Date:May 27th, 2008 10:27 am (UTC)
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Is it? Okay, in that case I'm talking complete rubbish and can safely be ignored. Sorry, Chemistry is eating my brain :)
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From:beckyc
Date:May 27th, 2008 10:29 am (UTC)
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Oh noes, not the chemistry! :-)
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From:gayalondiel
Date:May 27th, 2008 10:27 am (UTC)
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Marion. She's from Raiders, not Temple.
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From:gerald_duck
Date:May 27th, 2008 09:56 am (UTC)
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From memory, almost all the people who got slaughtered in the first film were Nazis rather than darkies (And it was God who killed them, so that's all right by definition, anyway. Um.), with at least as many non-white characters helping Indy as hindering him.

Temple of Doom was deeply one-dimensional in that respect, but then Temple of Doom was a disappointing sequel in most respects. I do have it on laserdisc at home, but only because the boxed set was cheaper than the other two movies bought separately — so far as I can recall it may still be in the clingfilm.

Crusade, again, had Nazis as the main baddies. I remember a bunch of mysterious and enfezzed Turkic guys who looked like they were going to end up in a fight with Indy but then wished him well and sent him on his way; I remember Alexei Sayle playing a greasy Arab being no more materialistic than the average Londoner. I don't think I remember lots of darkies getting slaughtered there, either.

In the latest film the hordes of blowpipe pygmies did, to be fair, shoot first and ask questions later and this did limit Indy's options somewhat. Whether it's ethical to return crystal skulls to one thirteenth of a hyper-intelligent extraterrestrial who's in interdimensional polyphase stasis if this means a bunch of priceless antiquities getting shredded and a holy site going foom is… fortunately a question that doesn't arise in real life.
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From:kaberett
Date:May 27th, 2008 10:14 am (UTC)
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You might want to be slightly more obviously sarcastic about some of what you're saying here. :p
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From:gayalondiel
Date:May 27th, 2008 10:33 am (UTC)
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Quite right, they are normally Nazi. I was thinking that the intro to Raiders had natives being shot, but Indy was more running away from them, wasn't he.

Yes, Temple was ghastly - I read an interesting article positing that if we had had web communication and blogging to the scale we do now then the fan reaction would have been such that we'd never have got to Crusade. (I doubt it, because Lucas' ability to plough on in the face of overwhelming fan disappointment is well documented, but it was an interesting article and I wish to goodness I could find the link.)
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From:atreic
Date:May 27th, 2008 11:34 am (UTC)
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Yes, do! Dinner! DDR! Indiana Jones! What's not to like?
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From:gayalondiel
Date:May 27th, 2008 11:37 am (UTC)
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Lego Indy? I'd have to bring the XBox, but that's do-able. I thinhk you should see the films first though.
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From:half_of_monty
Date:May 27th, 2008 10:25 am (UTC)
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Agree with you about the natives, that upset me. But I think, in the case of the second lot anyway, that it was meant to be upsetting, in a "these villains are so evil they slaughtered hoards of natives" kind of a way. Maybe.

The other thing that rather pissed me off about it, was that the clues were whisked by so fast that you couldn't join in in trying to work them out, or even properly understand the explanation once it had been worked out by Indy. Like, the tomb of the Spanish guy - we find the plan of the tomb complex on the floor of the cell, but that doesn't say where the tomb is, which was unknown... and then in the next shot we're there! Did I miss something?
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From:atreic
Date:May 27th, 2008 10:29 am (UTC)
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Yes, I agree with you about the second incident. And I guess he was in a life or death situation in the first incident. But the natives were _interesting_ - it was hundreds of miles from the tomb to the lost city, but they could just pop up wherever they wanted and kill people, and they were the guardians of alien civilisation and had kick ass blowpipes, but they got killed by 20 soldiers and never got a line? Sucky.

Also agree on the clues - if you were missing something so was I. Although I _think_ it was that Indy is such a good archeologist and the tomb is a well known graveyard that he recognised it from the picture of it. The tomb is known, just not that $spanish-dude is there.

Edited at 2008-05-27 10:30 am (UTC)
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From:beckyc
Date:May 27th, 2008 10:27 am (UTC)
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The waterfalls. OMG. There are some of the most beautiful scenery bits in this film ever. I want to go to Peru.

Bits* of Indy 4 did look sufficiently plausibly enough like Peru that I went to double check where they were filmed. Apparently, it's all the US. So I now really want to go to Hawaii :-).

*Not the Nazca bits :-(.
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From:rochvelleth
Date:May 27th, 2008 11:35 am (UTC)
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Not reading the review because I haven't seen it yet, but...

Really really the first three films are very good, and don't at all (IMO) suffer from James Bond Syndrome. Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom are entertaining and exciting and sometimes scary - but if you're just going to choose one then I'd recommend The Last Crusade because it has everything the others have *plus* a very fantastic script.
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From:toothycat
Date:May 27th, 2008 12:08 pm (UTC)
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And it has Sean Connery too. My mum's two pinups ;)

I enjoyed the Crystal Skull as well - but then, I am a big fan of the Indiana Jones films in general. They're entertaining action films, and Ford does his part well.

I must rewatch the others, actually. The only one I remember with any clarity is The Last Crusade ^^;;

Edited at 2008-05-27 12:08 pm (UTC)
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From:rochvelleth
Date:May 30th, 2008 12:01 pm (UTC)
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Yes, indeed :) It's a shame Sean Connery didn't come back for the new one.
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From:stephenpthomas
Date:May 27th, 2008 12:29 pm (UTC)
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I've not seen IJCS yet, so I can't comment on that. But I just want to say it's nice to see another LM Bujold fan. Assuming "Shards of Honor" means the same to you as it does to me :)


Edited at 2008-05-27 12:29 pm (UTC)
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From:atreic
Date:May 27th, 2008 12:33 pm (UTC)
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Yes, that's the one. I only discovered Bujold this year, and became a huge fan instantly.
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From:ashfae
Date:May 27th, 2008 12:54 pm (UTC)
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They may be one dimensional, but they're vibrantly alive in that dimension.

So true!!

The portrayal of the 50's. This is a bit stupid of my brain, because if you want a cartoon-like, funny action adventure you probably need to characature stuff a bit. But it reminded me of Lords and Ladies, and the idea that if you reduce things to trite stories that aren't true then you'll forget what things were really like.

But it was like that in America in the 50s! Also 'twas a reference to another classic Spielberg film, American Graffiti. I'll admit that my American friend and I were cracking up during those scenes and no one else in the theater was laughing, though, so maybe it's an American thing.

Even so, watch Last Crusade. Far and away the best Indy film. Actually just a damn fun film generally. Rah!!
[User Picture]
From:stephenpthomas
Date:May 27th, 2008 01:20 pm (UTC)
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American Graffiti is George Lucas :)
[User Picture]
From:ashfae
Date:May 27th, 2008 01:30 pm (UTC)
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Bah, that's what I meant, I just typed the wrong name. Doh!
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From:kerrypolka
Date:May 29th, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)
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Same thing! ;)
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From:kerrypolka
Date:June 7th, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)
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(I've just seen the film tonight, so pardon my late comment!) I think Irina's flaw was hubris, not desire for knowledge -- she was so certain she could handle knowledge of the universe without building up to or earning it. It seemed to me that the quest for knowledge by discovering/reading things and the quest for knowledge by saying "hey you, do this magic braindump for me" were separated quite clearly, and that the latter is the one that will get you in trouble, because who are you to say "give me all this knowledge right now, I'm certain I can handle it"?
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