Saturday, May 24, 2008

Don't See Indiana Jones IV

Warning - last night I saw "
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE!!! When the dvd comes out, don't rent it. When it's finally on TV and you can watch it for free, don't even watch it then.

Words fail to express how bad this movie was. The thing is 2 hours and 4 minutes long, and there was only one second of it I enjoyed - it was the part where we saw the Ark of the Covenant again.

Even though words fail, I'll try: banal, boring, bad-cliche-ish, sleep-inducing, embarrassing, horrific, over-cooked, amazingly poor CG stuff, and so on.

About the poor CG stuff - just watch (if you can) the scene at the end of the movie when the giant alien space ship (yes, that's right) rises out of the earth with boulders swirling beneath it and Indy staring at the thing.

There are CG prairie dogs, CG monkeys, CG ants, and the cheesiest CG-i-est nylon aliens you'll ever see (looks like they're right out of the box from K-Mart). And the crystal skull - how can it be described? Even a rubber-suited, zippered Godzilla would find this plastic lego-ish thing beneath him.

I went to Indy IV expecting a nice blast from the past. Instead, I couldn't wait for it to pass. It was far worse then I had thought it would be.

Now I am left in a strange world of incomprehension as I see that Rotten Tomatoes gives Indy IV a 63% rating. What? How could anyone recommend it? Here's some comments from big-time reviewers.

"The character and plot contrivances are dumber than ever, but this is basically vaudeville, not narrative, and the thrills keep coming. (Once Indy has survived a nuclear blast early on, going over three waterfalls in a row without wetting his lighter is par for the course.) Spielberg's extravagant action, much of it staged on what looks like old sets for King Kong, includes pointed steals from The Naked Jungle (1954), Land of the Pharoahs (1955), The Ten Commandments (1956), and his own Close Encounters, E.T., and A.I."

"Almost on the template of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Crystal Skull" ends with an invocation of awesome power even as it connects with another '50s theme of paranoia in one of those grandiose special-effects sequences for which Lucas's Industrial Light & Magic shop is so well-known. Does it pay off? Maybe not quite, but the movie sends you out as it should, exhausted and happy, and you won't begin to think about its flaws for hours." (Not so for me... I'm thinking about it now, and it's the morning after. And I thought about the flaws immediately after and during the thing.)

"Most of the high-tension moments are transparently fake, with actors swaying in front of a green screen. When Indy lowered himself between the wheels of a speeding truck in "Raiders," you knew you were seeing a risky deed accomplished in reality. Here, when cars race along a cliff edge you think, "Nice computer graphics." The genuinely ooky live snakes, rats and insects from the earlier films are replaced with CG ants that simply don't have the same bite. Worse yet, the fuzzy-friendly Lucas inserts colonies of icky-cute prairie dogs, and tribes of monkeys in an inane passage where Mutt swings on jungle vines Tarzan-style."

The Chicago Tribune calls IJ IV a "cockamamie story."

That's right. I'm relieved - some reviewers saw what I saw (or didn't see). If you go and see this disaster don't say I didn't warn you about it.