Friday, May 30, 2008

Indiana Jones and The We Should Have Used Our Skulls To Write This Kingdom

SPOILER ALERT: I will be giving away all kinds of plot points in this post.

The key to watching INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL is this: Do not think.

I gave this advice to a friend who said, “Okay, I won’t think much.”

He missed the point entirely.

Don’t think AT ALL.

It may ruin the movie for you.

There is a lot of fun to be had in this flick, but an occasional thought will reveal that not much makes sense. So enjoy the pretty pictures and remember the good ol’ days when the lore established in the beginning paid off at the end.

Here is my short list of “A Few Ways Indy 4 Could Have Gone from “Hey, Look, There’s Harrison With a Fedora, I Like Him!” to “Wow, That Was A Good Movie””:

1- In the opening sequence, it is revealed what the mystery is about. I thought: “Cool, they are going to have an interesting, archeological explanation to Area 51, aliens, etc.” Clearly, it wasn’t just, well, aliens – or else they wouldn’t have given away the act three reveal in the opening sequence.

So suggestion #1: Come up with an interesting explanation to Area 51, aliens, etc.

2- When you got two menacing FBI guys with the power to destroy careers, and they promise that they will be watching every step that Indy makes from now on… maybe they shouldn’t disappear completely from the movie. They made a promise to Indy and to the audience…

3- Vine Swinging – If this were the first film, and it were Indy in the tree, rather than watching a monkey for three seconds and that translating that to instant Johnny Weissmuller level skill, Indy would’ve fallen into it. He would have fumbled, grabbed a vine, swung accidentally, run into another vine, grabbed it for safety, fell forward, run into another vine…

Then he would have realized that he was traveling forward, he would have smiled, grabbed a vine, and-

Run into a tree. Before grabbing another vine. The sequence would have been fun, funny, and disbelief would have been more willingly suspended.

4-The villains getting what they deserved: Should’ve been cooler than, “Oh, that guy shouldn’t have waited that extra three seconds before leaving,” and “Oh, that girl is, well, I have no idea what is happening. But I bet her head explodes.”

5- Let Indy have a moment with the aliens. Another cool setup (with absolutely no payoff) is when Indy realizes that the visitors are archaeologists – just like him.

They have common ground! They speak a common language! They understand each other!

They never interact!

Ah well.

6- If you got a cool visual, at least attempt to have it make sense. One of many examples: The guys’ skulls are hyper magnetic? Cool, sure, especially when following a trail of gunpowder through a warehouse.

But when these interdimensional dudes were alive, how did they manage to walk through the treasure room to get to their thrones without their heads being bashed in by flying tiaras and doubloons?

Wait, that’s thinking too much.

Just my (darn it, thinking again!) thoughts,



Nathan said...

7 - When everyone in the audience knows that Karen Allen's going to be in your movie, there's absolutely no reason to try to hide it. You only remove the emotional reason why Indiana Jones would go along with a mysterious kid in the first place. If, for example, Shia had showed up and said, "I'm the son of Marion Ravenwood, she told me to find you because some bad guys are after this crystal skull thing..." I would have bought Indy going on this adventure. But because the stakes for Indy were purely intellectual -- because he didn't really care about what he was going after -- neither did I.

But it's gonna clear $300M domestic, so clearly what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks do we know?

Gaffney said...

Good catch. Man, they've got to start running these scripts by us before they go into production...