This is the classic image of Indy I recognize from my youth — dapper, swinging from an endless vine, whipping a disciple of Khali in the ballsack, or knocking out a spineless Nazi with a single uppercut…perhaps even laying a wet one on one of the gaggle of women he’d smitten over the length of my adolescence. But then I realized I had to keep it real. That was the Indy of my youth, not the Indy of today. At least, not the Indy of 2008’s wildly over-titled, over-hooplahed, over-sanitized mashup known as Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Now let me start off by saying the movie raked in over $300,000,000 worldwide this past weekend, so I’m thinking maybe 5 of you out there haven’t seen it yet. And to those 5, I’d still say go check it out — I mean, how could you not go see the last (hopefully, anyway) installment of the epic Indian Jones franchise. You’d have to be a sackless eunuch to not wanna see Indy throw on his fedora one last time. But the reality is, the latest movie just kinda blows.
I have to say I really, really, really wanted to like it. I was even humming the theme song all weekend long — while folding clothes, flipping through CDs, doing dishes. My (imaginary) girlfriend was (justifiably) looking at me like a retard all week. “Dun de-run dun, dun de-run! Dun de-RUN DUN, dun de-run DUN DUN!” I couldn’t wait to see it. And then it starts, and you see Indy’s silhouette, and I got chills. Oh yeah childhood, here’s lookin’ at you…
The movie starts off fairly strong, and has some long quintessential Lucasian action sequences. Some were truly bad ass, but then even they got a bit too out there — even for the pulp-comic unbelievability of the previous trilogy. But fine, I’ll accept that they want to jump a car off a cliff, have it land on a tree, gently dropping said car and inhabitants into the water, which then slings the tree back up and knocks off a bunch of evil Russians in the process. OK, fine. But sometimes these scenes just went on too long, which means that either A) I’m getting too old to handle all that stimulation, or B) they’re just too fucking long. I actually almost fell asleep during one 40-minute sequence.
[By the way, this isn’t even addressing the unbelievably convoluted storyline (“the space between spaces”?...ha-wah?), or the truth behind the “crystal skulls” (ridiculous), or the After School Special explanation for what the Golden City implied. I can deal with all those gigantic potholes, cos it’s Indiana Jones, not Babel. I understand that.]
Fine, ok, I can enjoy that for all the Sunday Matinee Cliffhanger Glory that Indiana Jones represents. But what I can’t justify, or accept, is what the crap Lucas and Spielberg did to my boy Indiana. I mean, what the hell guys! What’s the deal with the de-ballification of one of the ultimate Adventurers in film history? What’s up with all the mom-n-pop stuff, and worst of all making him lust after a senior citizen? Look, sure Indy’s older than Hefner at this point, but either take the love story completely out of the plotline, or at least integrate someone who isn’t slurping Metamucil between takes. I mean really.
Maybe it’s cos both Lucas and Spielberg are getting ancient themselves. Maybe their crusty balls are getting turned on by the human equivalent of a somewhat rummaged potato sack, but I don’t need Indiana Jones running around trying to lock lips with the old lady that takes my dry cleaning. There’s a reason why they don’t make romantic comedies for old people — cos they make the rest of us wince in queasiness. Yes, old people need love too — I just don’t need to see it in a movie. Save it for the senior pot luck, George.
[Is this what we want to see from an Indian Jones movie???]
But really, what could I expect? Spielberg hasn’t really done anything truly great since Jurassic Park (I will accept a cogent Minority Report argument), and Lucas…well…he seems to have the talent to dazzle you so deeply with the first 2 films in a series that the flashing lights blind you to all the faults in the third, and consecutive, episodes (ooooh, how I loathe thee, Jar Jar…and Watto…and Hayden, to be honest…)
But all that taken into account, the whole “family” thing really just rubbed me the wrong way. This is Indiana Jones, dammit — his chosen moniker says it all: INDY. AS IN, not dependent, but INDYpendent. When was Dr. Jones ever looking to settle down and pop out babies? He was too busy saving the damn free world from Nazis and Pagan-worshiping, heart-extracting madmen to be concerned with forming a nice nuclear family. I dunno, the thing is this is not Walt Disney — this is Indiana Jones. Spielberg and Lucas have seemed to forgotten that. And although I can understand the filmmakers wanting to let their hero mature like a normal human being, Indy is no normal human being. A normal human being does not engage in a half-hour swordfight while driving a jeep through jungle roads and getting shot at by Mayans. And live. So if you’re gonna make me accept that Indy can dodge 1,000 rounds of Russian firearms in an open field, then you better believe that I can accept he’d avoid the ultimate bullet: domestication.
About to pull some typical non-human greatness:
Indian Jones, how I prefer to remember him: