29 May 2008

Indiana Jones review

Up until a couple weeks ago, I'd never watched the original Indiana Jones trilogy movies. I'd seen parts, but never sat down and watched them all the way through. USA ran all three of them a weekend or three ago, so I DVR'd them and watched the first two with the wife.

Honestly, I don't like them that much. Sure, there's lots of great action, and who doesn't like seeing Nazis get punched out? And I'm sure they're iconic for the 1980's.

But I'm a big fan of character development and intelligent plot design. These are not things the original Indiana Jones movies were good at. Heck, all we knew about Indy after the first two movies is that he hates Nazis, likes finding ancient artifacts for museums, teaches at a university and hates snakes.

So when Indy 4 turned out to be pretty much the same thing, my reaction was, "meh."


Everyone seems to hate the aliens. But with Spielberg's Close Encounters background and Lucas' whole Star Wars thing, it was almost inevitable.

What bothered me more were the following:

Shia the Beef befriending a bunch of monkeys and then Tarzaning it to catch up to vehicles that are cruising along at 40+ mph. Oh, and the monkeys are apparently capitalists, as they attack the Commie Dominatrix Lady instantly upon seeing her.

Falling down three hundred-foot waterfalls in rapid succession and no one so much as suffers a scratch. That last fall was especially ridiculous, as our plucky adventurers fell over 100 feet onto what almost certainly were very sharp rocks. The fall was enough to completely destroy their vehicle (see Marion holding the steering wheel), but no one is even remotely injured?

I didn't like Marion in the first one, and I didn't like her here. Maybe other people find entertainment in watching Indy flirt/fight with her almost constantly, but it just annoys me.

What the heck was with Mack? He betrays Indy, then reminds him they were together in Berlin, so Indy trusts him again. At which point Mack betrays Indy. And then it's fine again. Or something.

I also think Indy needs to use his whip more. As much as the whip is a hugely important part of the character, he uses it like twice a movie. And where was it when he was trapped in the quicksand? Oh, that's right, it's more funny to force him to grab a snake to escape.

That said, the action was entertaining for the most part, and Indy is undeniably cool, even at age 83. And while I wish they'd write more character development into the movie, maybe that would ruin what makes an Indy movie and Indy movie.

Three out of five stars.

I can't wait for The Dark Knight.


Becky said...

Harsh and harsher. Were you not at all entertained?

Alternate ending: When the Russian Dominatrix Lady puts the crystal skull back on the missing crystal skeleton, the whole structure falls apart and they all die. Or even if they (the skeletons and Russians) would have disappeared into the "other" dimension that would have worked better than the space ship spinning off.

Graham & Heather said...

Brandon I am sorry you missed out on that part of your childhood. Really I loved growing up on those movies, if you had then you might not be so critical. I quite enjoyed the 4th one.

Amy said...

Ha ha ha ha...there were a couple of "They really just shot that scene and kept it in the movie?" times for me. One was the monkey scene, another was the waterfall scene (I love that after the first waterfall, they all just hop back in the car, getting ready for the next dip) and the final one was the hat blowing down the aisle in the church and Shia almost picking it up and putting it on. Although, I thought they did okay with Indie snatching it away. We can only pray they meant it and we won't have any Indie Shia movies in the future...

Brandon said...

Becky: I was entertained by most of the action. But this is where you and I diverge in our movie opinions. I need more than good action to be happy with a film. You're happy with 90 minutes of fight scenes and stuff blowing up. :) Also, the skeletons/aliens DID disppear into the other dimension, I thought. That's where the ship went.

Amy: Ooh, I forgot about the "Shia the Beef almost putting the hat on" scene. That was awesome because I was all "oh nooooo" and then Harrison came and showed the punk kid what's what.


Though I fear we will see the Beef do an Indy movie or two in the future. Bad times.

Becky said...

Dear Brandon: I apologize for not being clearer about my alternate ending. Right after the skull is put back on the skeleton, they just go up and disappear into the other dimension. Nothing alien to it.

Yes, I am easy to movie please. What would have made the movie better for you? Less fighting and more talking?


Filbert Karo said...

I never saw the first ones but now I want to...

Seth said...

Amen to it all.
It was a typical popcorn movie.
And wait a minute, when the Mayan people come out and attempt to attack Indie and co, weren't they dead for at least 1,000 years? And then the Commies had no problem gunning them down.

Brandon said...


I think those guys were the descendants of the original natives.

And yeah, the Commies had no problem gunning them down because A.) They had machine guns and B.) they don't care about killing natives.

I was more wondering how Commie Lady got down to the treasure room without impaling herself on those spikes.

Oh, and why is Indy suddenly an associate dean or whatever?


Yes, I think more talking could have helped. Do you think Batman Begins was too boring and slow? Because it had enough talking that the characters were interesting, but not so much that it's not an exciting movie.

I think it's the quality, not the quantity of the writing, that matters.