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May 26, 2008

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freeman

I think we all collectively accept your apology.

Joshua James

Many of my internet friends are warning me away from it, telling me it's pretty dang awful . . . there is this: http://mysterymanonfilm.blogspot.com/2008/05/50-flaws-of-indy-iv.html

I don't get out much, and I don't want to waste a movie on something not worth the time . . .

Brian S

It is by no means whatsoever "dang awful." Personally, I loved it and I am one of the biggest indy fans you'll ever meet.

...and not all of the word is bad. The reviews were still at 79 % positive...not that that matters at all, but whatever.

Go and make your own decision.

Hope

yeah, computer-animated prairie dogs aside, I was disappointed.

Abe Goldfarb

I'm just going to say this. I am a gargantuan Indian Jones fan. I have seen every single one in the theater, including the first when I was 3 or 4. They are in my bloodstream, in my dreams and some of the happiest memories I have. I was incredibly cautious about getting excited for this newest adventure, largely because Lucas hasn't exactly been atop his game recently, Ford hasn't looked AWAKE in about a decade, and the Spiel, while obviously brilliant, is often wildly inconsistent.

I was ready for let-down. I knew that as a die-hard Jonesian, this might be a dangerous mix of wild hopes and crushing disappointment.

Except that it rocked. From the opening on, Ford was back, majorly. And kicking ass. The stunts were killer. The moviemaking was old-fashioned gold. Every moment had me either giggling delightedly or sighing happily. It's every bit as preposterous, funny and exciting as I might have wanted. Is it a summing up of any kind? A grand statement of the kind we now expect from our summer franchises as the numbers tick upward? No. It's a 50's sci-fi pulp adventure starring my favorite hero, a dorky/awesome professor with a fedora who has a habit of getting the shit kicked out of him.

And what's more, it FELT like old times while mixing up the formula. It switches the setting up, but keeps the first 3 films' focus on an object of faith as the MacGuffin. Indy can't get back up as quickly these days, which is oddly gratifying. It just solidifies his position as the most HUMAN of all action heroes. He accomplishes the impossible, but not without taking a stupid amount of punishment and feeling it. FEELING it. When was the last time I really felt an "ouch" in an American action film? A sense of peril? A sense of a sequence starting simple and snowballing with ruthless logic into real excitement? A sense that a director really understood the hyper-American images he was playing with and subverting? This movie is almost like watching Spielberg forgive himself for making Amistad. And it's probably the first summer movie in a while that I'll be going back to for 2nds, 3rds, and probably 4ths.

I. Fucking. Loved it. Can't defend myself, can't say who's right and who's wrong. Just that it made me feel once more like a kid who wanted to believe.

isaac

hey abe,

i think you're assuming that I expected a big summing up or whatever, which at least in my case is incorrect. My expectations were actually very very low (i tried to keep them deliberately that way) I wanted to be (a) charmed and (b) entertained, and except for the thirty minutes mentioned in the blog post was neither. And i love the Indiana Jones movies, I didn't mind the structure or any of that stuff. I just thought it was capital-b Bad.

freeman

Well...Josh, you should see it and make up your own mind. I totally agree with Abe. I friggin' went down for it like it was prom night.

Oh dear. Delete that.

There are plenty of good reviews out there. I think the buzz that it's got "mixed reviews" is a bit untrue. I've read more good reviews than bad.

Anyway, go check it out. It's cultural literacy. It's not going to kill you.

kelly

Agreed on all points, Isaac. But as a friend of mine said, "Even bad Indiana Jones is better than no Indiana Jones." Maybe that LaBeef kid will really bring it in the upcoming films. But for me Harrison Ford was a bumbling dork. So sad. Oh wellz.

Joshua James

Well, to be honest, the folks who have told me they liked it have all said things similar to "I'm a huge Indy fan, and it doesn't have to make sense once he puts his hat on and brings out the whip," or something like that.

the people that don't like it all seem to want to like it but have too many unanswered questions (like, fridge, nuclear explosion, etc) and the like that take them away from the experience too much to really enjoy it (I think my response will be probably closer to Emily's, here http://bambookillers.blogspot.com/2008/05/thoughts-on-film-indiana-jones.html)

I get that some folks don't care about the same kind of story things I do, sure . . . but I think, based on a lot of what I've read, I wouldn't enjoy it and I'll probably save my dollars for DARK KNIGHT, which I've been anticipating for a year or so.

Joshua James

Oh, I really enjoyed what BALLOON JUICE had to say - http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=10469

About the same thing.

Jennifer Gordon Thomas

i'm going to have to agree w/you on this one, isaac (sorry, abe). helpful monkeys? REALLY? don't get me started on cate's dialect, or the wedding (lame out, lucas, lame). the only redeeming factor to me was seeing that karen allen hasn't succumbed to plastic surgery.
oof.

freeman

To be fair, I think it's really hilarious that Lucas is blamed for whatever fails to amuse or work. There were something like four or five different versions of the screenplay including one by Frank Darabont, and the David Koepp script is, as far as I've read, a sort of mish-mash of all of them. Lucas came up with the basic McGuffin (the Skull) which is very 1950s and totally worked for me.

There were and ton of creative minds that went into the movie, including the screenwriters. I'd guess not everything that didn't work for you is George Lucas's fault.

Personally, I'd watch Crystal Skull over Temple of Doom any day. There's less screaming and no one whips any kids.

How much more plausible, would you say, is the removal of a flaming heart or Voodoo or blood that turns you into a zombie than anything that happens in Crystal Skull?

Either way...opinion is what it is. I had a great time with it. Twas fun and entertaining and I got a kick out of seeing that character back on screen.

isaac

Matt,

All I can say re: Lucas is... you reap what you sow... you screw with people's childhood for profit for a decade and a half, and you're gonna become a scapegoat...

freeman

So it's his fault people inaccurately scapegoat him? Because he...is terribly successful and made some movies people didn't like?

Because we all know, deep down, all he wanted to do was steal our money and disappoint us. It's was his plan from the start.

freeman

And yes, I do know how quickly I need to be put out of my misery.

Joshua James

freeman, according to much of what was written and testimony of folks in the know, George doesn't have much patience or respect for writing and / or acting . . . for him, it's all about the visual goofs he can do on a computer - that's it.

He's infamous for not giving a shit about story, this is what I've heard, and certainly he's gone on record as to saying he doesn't give a shit what people thought of the last Star Wars films, he doesn't care what people think of this, he only cares what he wants.

Word is, there were several scripts Ford and Spielberg liked, but Lucas said no. That's the rumor I got from my internet buddies, true or not.

Even Ford, in an interview leading up to the opening, said "George can be pretty stubborn when it comes to his ideas".

Hey, George is a rebel, he's done some great work in the past (and I say this as someone who paid to see HOWARD THE DUCK in the theater and got a perverse pleasure out of it) and I and many of my close friends felt acutely let down by the last three Star Wars films, in fact, it often felt like they weren't even by the same guy, and Lucas has gone on record as not giving a shit about what me or anyone who dislikes what he's done, thinks.

And he stated the same BEFORE Indy IV opened. He said people are gonna dump on it and he didn't care what they thought.

That's his for damned certain right, no argument there.

It's also a right of mine, and folks like me, to begin to have disrespect for someone so uncaring about our cinematic experience and / or satisfaction with his product.

That's my long-winded way of saying, that's what I think Isaac meant by karma biting him on the ass.

freeman

Well Josh, as I don't want to completely overtake the Indy Thread, we'll have to e-mail about it somewhere's else. But what I've heard is a far cry from what you're describing. Simple as that.

Karma never bit Lucas anywhere. The man is a multi-billionaire that shaped the popular consciousness.

My point was that the things that didn't work for people in Crystal Skull shouldn't be automatically attributed to Lucas simply because the code word for "too CGI" or "dumb moment" or "didn't live up to my expectations" is now "George Lucas."

Joshua James

Look at us, throwing Bolos over George Lucas!

Abe Goldfarb

Josh, this is getting so old...how on earth can you accuse fans of the new film of not caring about the same story things as you without having seen it? Are you that convinced about how it plays in your head that you just KNOW we're somehow less demanding, and thus pleased with this latest meager slice of entertainment Duke George has contemptuously tossed his public?

For me, it DOES have to make sense when he puts on the hat and whip. It has to conform to the film's internal logic, and it can't just be arbitrary and "cool". This newest film is neither. It's proudly old-fashioned and builds all of its action on an inexorable set of rules just THAT far from a cartoon. Just like the others. Boy, does Lucas hate people.

Whoops! There I go!

Fact is, unlike the Star Wars prequels (which I am on record as disliking), this newest Jones adventure plays like a valentine to the fans, but with welcome variations on the formula. For me, anyway. In any case, it seems foolish to argue its storytelling virtues with someone whose arguments are formed by reading other peoples' blogs.

And I am DYING to see The Dark Knight.

Joshua James

Hey Abe,

I am not trying to trash a film I haven't seen, I'm simply explaining why I don't want to see it and what I've heard and read and discussed amongst my many film-geeky friends who have seen it and why they don't like it - and note, if you will, that I provided links to some of those.

I didn't start out on this thread telling anyone NOT TO GO SEE THIS BECAUSE I HEARD IT'S BAD - rather, I started out saying I've heard similiar sentiments to Isaac's from many folks and I'll probably save my money and avoid a repeat of the Spidey 3 experience.

Hey, go to see whatever movie you want - I don't see everything, and neither to you, so much of this discussion has been about why we make certain choices . . . I have certain things I look for in a film so that the experience is worth it - I didn't go see IRON MAN for the first few weeks, but I heard so many positive things about it that I found the time and was really glad that I did, as that I admired much of the work - it was really worth the time.

I may those choices, and in discussing George's "karma" with freeman, I merely speculated on it based on the many articles and interviews on him I've read . . .

so hell man, anyone who wants to go see Indy IV, more power to you . . . I don't care if you wanna go see it, that's fine with me.

And many of the other blogs I read and INTERACT with are blogs who's primary reason for existence is STORY and SCREENWRITING (much like this one is dedicated to theatre) and so, why can't I use some of the discussions I've had with those folks as part of my formed opinion? YOu me to say your opinions on theatre hasn't been influenced by all the time you've spent here and on other theatre blogs?

That last dig about storytellling virtues via other people's blogs seems a bit outa line . . .

Abe Goldfarb

Josh, this will likely be the last time that I ever post in response to you, because I always find myself getting unreasonably ticked off. It's how I usually get when the person I'm arguing with is evasive of the argument. (And it's something I should have heeded after you accused me of being simply incapable of appreciating State and Main because its satire was just too cutting)

I am aware, my good man, that you aren't warning people off of seeing it. And if you were warning people off, I could really care less. There are people like that all over the internet, folks who trash-talk what they haven't seen because they don't feel they need to. It is what it is. What I am expressing frustration with is your condescending notion that somehow people who are happy with Indy 4 are so happy because they just don't have the same standards for storytelling as you. I am expressing frustration with your willingness to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of a film you have not seen. Is it out of line to say that it's a pointless argument when your primary source of opinion on a film is other peoples' writing? No. No, it is not.

Blah blah blah, I know, I'm just throwing paper airplanes at a fire. I'm delighted we can all say what we wish in this miracle of an internet. But as a mea culpa: how stupid do I have to be to argue all this with someone who still can't claim any actual first-hand knowledge of the matter discussed?

Pretty damn stupid. And with that, sir, I retire our tete-a-tete.

Joshua James

Um, okay Abe. Sure thing. I think you set up a bunch of straw men there and shot them down, but whatever, dude.

You're cheesed off because I'm here in the discussion, but at NO point do I talk about the movie I haven't seen . . . rather, the first statement I made was . . .

"Many of my internet friends are warning me away from it, telling me it's pretty dang awful . . . there is this: http://mysterymanonfilm.blogspot.com/2008/05/50-flaws-of-indy-iv.html

I don't get out much, and I don't want to waste a movie on something not worth the time . . ."

I should note, that Isaac was one of those internet friends who posted a less than positive review of the movie.

The rest of the time, I share what I've heard about it and read about the movie during it's preproduction and following . . .

the subject wasn't just the movie, but the early scripts, the process, and George Lucas . . . of which, I am lucky to know and talk with people who actually know the man.

So I can't even talk about George Lucas until I've seen Indy IV? That's ridiculous - I'm not sitting here telling you that you cannot talk about George unless you've seen Howard the Duck, am I?

Until you mentioned the STATE AND MAIN discussion, and I didn't even remember who you were, other than that you act in James's plays . . . but I'll tell you one thing, my good man . . . I've been described as a lot of things on the internets, but EVASIVE has never been one of them. Never. So I don't think your tag holds water.

I also think the condescending tag was wrong, it seems like you're pulling the classic neo-con move and making it a character debate . . . that's evasive.

But again, whatever, dude. I'm fine with retiring our tete-a-tete . . . the internets, as you mentioned, are a vast space where you can find all types of folks for many differing tastes and amusements.

Hey Isaac, if I came off wrong here on your blog, I apologize.

James

Couple spoilers in my comment, just FYI…

I know I’m showing up to this late, but I loved it. Although it wasn’t my favorite of the Indy movies (I have a personal soft spot for “The Last Crusade”), it was exactly what I was looking for. I’m getting so sick of the Michael Bay-style action movies where the camera jumps around so quickly you can’t see what the hell is going on, so the action sequences in this were so damn refreshing.

Plus, I loved how this movie deliberately tackled age and time. Seeing Harrison Ford in the leather jacket and fedora, but considerably older, had a really interesting effect on me. On one hand, my inner child was bouncing up and down going, “It’s Indy! It’s INDY! He’s back! HE’S BACK!” But at the same time, I couldn’t help but think, “Damn, grampa. You’re getting to old for this.” I think the idea of the Aging Icon (in Title Case) was handled quite deftly here.

Not to mention I got a bit misty-eyed at seeing the old photos of Sean Connery and Denholm Elliott.

The movie acknowledges not just that Indy’s older, but we as its collective audience is older. That whole, “you can’t go back home again” concept.

Also, I loved how the movie moved from the serials of the 30s and 40s to the pulp stories of the late-50s. As a friend pointed out to me, that shot of Indiana Jones seeing the mushroom cloud “could damn well be a trading card.” We’ve moved from the Nazis as villains to fear of Soviets and atomic destruction as villains. Also, the use of aliens is straight up 50s’style pulp.

And finally, I just found it straight-up fun. Fun as all hell. And funny.

There are flaws, sure. But screw it. Like I said, for me it definitely scratched an itch.

James

Also, apologies for my typos.

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