Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Lucas, leave us alone

(warning: here there be spoilers)

In my continuing effort to avoid doing the piles of work I plan to hit over the summer, I went this afternoon to see the new Indiana Jones movie. I did not have high hopes. Most people I know claimed it was dreadful (in language too obscene to print here), and the one person I know who liked it, well, he also liked the Star Wars prequels...and even he said it was more like Temple of Doom than the others, which made me both question his judgment and whimper a little inside.

Bottom line? If my review here scares one person away from watching this travesty of a movie, I will have done my job.

Don't get me wrong. The movie did have a few entertaining parts and was, I suppose, technically well-constructed. And if this were not an Indiana Jones movie, I might be more apt to forgive its flaws. Also, I fully admit that I went into this with heightened expectations to which the movie could never live up. However, it was, all things considered, dreadful and repulsive. What's interesting to me, though, was that the dread is mostly philosophical on my part.

George Lucas has a habit of killing his creations: The Star Wars prequels prove that, and when someone described the sequel to American Graffiti (called, creatively enough, More American Graffiti), that one apparently fits the bill as well. At first, I thought this was because Lucas hates his fans and wants to crush them whenever possible.

After seeing Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, however I have a better answer: Lucas has lost all faith in God.

We go from Hindi gods in Temple (the first movie chronologically) to the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders to the Holy Grail in Last Crusade to...space aliens? Really? That's just silly...but it leads to all kinds of silly stuff like psychic KGB agents, crystal alien skeletons, said aliens as archaeologists, the alien mothership destroying the Inca temple at the end before going into another dimension, and so forth. Furthermore, what would seeing alien technology do to Indy's faith? After all, he also has definitive proof that God exists via the ark and grail.

Star Wars fans, though, saw this one coming...they had the Force changed from a spiritual entity that surrounds and connects all living beings in the original movie to nanite-esque symboitic organisms in the prequels.

And in this movie, you need some faith, because a Lucas world is clearly not one where logic operates all that much.

There's lotsa scientific stupidity in this film. Giant two inch man-eating ants? That carry you back to their hive? Anyone living after one of the waterfall jumps, let alone all three? Indy surviving a nuclear blast by hiding in a refrigerator...even if it were lead-lined (and why would that be in a blasting range?)?

Plot holes: Why did Jones get not only reinstated at his University but promoted to Assistant Dean? If he was being watched by the FBI, why did they let him fly to South America? Why did the government suddenly quit caring about him? It's not like they saw him defeat the evil commies...or, more accurately, the resurrected alien's spacecraft drown them.

Just plain puzzling moments: Why did they bring up the anti-red scare stuff, then bring in actual KGB agents, and then drop the theme? Is this anti-red scare or not? Also, is he a teacher or secret agent? Why did he trust Mac a second time after the Area 51 betrayal?

There were some good moments in the film...the reunion with Miriam Ravenwood was cool, and the obligatory chase scene through the jungle was well done. And, as a first for a Lucas film, I didn't want to strangle the young/cute cast addition. But these just highlighted how awful the rest of this film was.

Overall, though, this film didn't just suck...it make me horrifically angry. It did, however, make me question my own faith...in whether I will ever see another George Lucas film again.

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