Eighteen Things I Hate About Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
- The overlong Opening Shot of escapees from American Graffiti attempting to drag racing a military transport for no reason except to establish it’s 1957 which the clever title: Nevada 1957 pretty much does.
- Area 51, safehouse for America’s greatest secrets being guarded by four soldiers.
- George “Mac” MacHale. Indiana Jones’ British partner and WWII buddy who turns on him in the first five minutes. We don’t even know who this guy is so the fact that he betrays Indy is irrelevant. He has no character and won’t for next one hundred and twenty four minutes.
- Indiana Jones misfiring a gun. Somewhere Lucas and Spielberg forgot that when necessary, Indy kills people. Pulls a gun on swordsmen. Kicks people out of moving trucks and throws them through windshields. Lets Nazis get chopped apart in airplane propellers and has a giant Indian grinded in rock crushers. This Indiana Jones fires his gun by accident when he drops it. This is as bad as being told for decades what a great pilot Anakin Skywalker is only to watch him blow up the Droid Command Ship in Phantom Menace by accident.
- The Lost Ark Of The Covenant. I hate when I get spoon-fed a joke. It’s why I hate Jay Leno who, if you didn’t get it, is quick to explain it to me like I’m Lennie Small. The establishing shot of the warehouse is enough to make the Indiana Jones nerds geek out because we know what that is. Spielberg can’t be subtle and have someone walk past a crate with the burned Swastika on it. No, he has to crack the box open and show it to you. It’s a joke the fans already knew and anyone who didn’t is left scratching their heads as to why they focused on that.
- Bomb Testing Range. There is something about seeing Indiana Jones in a 1950s-era home that sucks me out of the movie. It would be like watching Batman use a porta-potty. The scene is played for laughs and they start establishing a very dangerous precedent that Indy isn’t going to be in any serious danger because we’re laughing. The refrigerator bit isn’t mentally challenged… it’s straight up retarded. Had he escaped the nuclear blast and the Communists using the rocket sled, I may have found that cool. Instead I am treated to more Prairie Dog comedy.
- I have to get reminded again that this is the 1950s with Indiana Jones being accused of being a Communist. Indiana Jones escapes Area 51, is on an restricted Nuclear Test Site and his partner is a confirmed Soviet Spy… what time do you have to be back to work, Dr Jones? It’s a pointless scene because it introduces a plot point that’s never brought up again.
- Indiana Jones reminiscing. Denholm Elliott is dead. Sean Connery is playing golf somewhere and won’t take your calls. This scene is so sappy it makes me cringe.
- Enter Mutt Williams. Seriously… Mutt? I like that Indiana Jones’ son would reject his name and choose another… but Mutt. Let me tell you why Lucas is so deluded about the prospect of continuing this series because he doesn’t know that nobody is going to pay money for Mutt Williams And The Spear Of Destiny. I laugh just saying it (and inside I cry a little). And the fact that he’s sent to find Dr Henry Jones and his name is Henry Jones III and he doesn’t know this is father pretty much makes him a moron.
- Marshall College Motorcycle Chase Sequence. Because I am counting, there are two countries featured in this movie and one of them are in the United States which is one too many. I realize how amazingly uninteresting Indiana Jones is in a modern city. It would be like making an Alien movie on a pastel orange planet or a Friday The 13th movie take place during the day. Again, the whole scene is played for laughs culminating with Marcus Brody’s head getting knocked off a statue.
- Indiana Jones and Mutt go to El Dorado where the natives try to attack them with their parkour skills. Indiana Jones fires his gun in the air and scares them off. Pay attention because this is the only time he will fire his gun on purpose in the entire film. He crosses a platform that tilts and reveals a secret room where he finds the missing Crystal Skull… seriously. There it is. Right there. Just crawl across the platform, your weight will shift it, and it’s waiting for you. I would have put a bow on it but I didn’t know what color you liked. No trapdoors. No giant boulders. No snakes, bugs or rats. No light-triggered shooting darts. No puzzles with swirling blades or disappearing bridges. Just come on in. Shit, Nicolas Cage could have done that.
- Marion Ravenwood. The last time we saw this chick she was winning drinking contests against Mongolians twice her size in a bar she owned in Nepal. The same chick who pulled a knife on a Nazi collaborator because she wasn’t waiting for anyone to rescue her. Here, she’s Shia LeBouf’s mom. It’s nice to see Karen Allen back, still cute as ever, too bad she didn’t bring Marion Ravenwood with her.
- Dr Harold Oxley. I’ll bet a paycheck this was written for Sean Connery as Henry Jones Sr (which casting James Bond to be the father of Indiana Jones is one of the cleverest things ever) but he retired… and if Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, an Indiana Jones movie and a fat-ass paycheck from Paramount don’t bring you out of retirement… I say enjoy your golf, Sir Sean. The problem is the part was probably written to give Connery something to do and when he refused, they didn’t have the good sense to remove the useless character. John Hurt is a babbling idiot when the script needs him to be. Completely lucid when it doesn’t. Having him around just brings me to…
- Team Indiana Jones. Generally Indiana Jones is the brains of the outfit and he’s toting two other people with him. Marion Ravenwood & Sallah. Willie Scott & Short Round. You can argue there are four of them in Last Crusade but really it’s him and his father. Sallah doesn’t show up until the third act and Marcus Brody appears for the climax. There are five of them here. Five of them and Mutt and Marion don’t do anything (like I said, glad to see you Karen). Oxley is a babbling idiot with his, “it drops three times” talk… because I wouldn’t have figured that out twenty seconds from now. I like how he sees the obvious traps and nothing else. And then Mac is there. Why the hell is Mac there? I’ll say it again, Indiana Jones has killed numerous people and this guy has betrayed him, America and set him up to be killed. Why hasn’t Indy put a bullet in this dude?
- Knowing when to say when. The problem with modern action movies is they can do anything. They design these sequences so elaborate that at some point the danger is gone and we’re just waiting for it to end. Watch any Pirates Of The Caribbean movie (which are three fantastic two hour films hidden somewhere in a three hour zombie pirate movie) and you’ll see what I mean. There is a chase sequence through the jungle which is so computer generated all the danger is sucked out of it. What’s worse is it climaxes with the absolute worse scene in any Indiana Jones movie where Mutt Williams is caught in overhanging vines crawling from monkeys and escapes by swinging, Tarzan style, to catch up with two speeding trucks. Re-tard-ed. My friend Jon Plant (and now that he told me) desperately wanted Mutt to come running from the jungle, covered in squealing monkeys, Indy fires his gun and the monkeys scatter leaving Mutt whispering, “monkeys… my God, I hate monkeys.” This ties into the phobias of Senior with rats and Junior with snakes. See how easy that is, George. What you did makes as much sense as sticking Yoda on a planet of Wookies, with Chewbacca no less, (in Star Wars III: Revenge Of The Sith) instead of Obi Wan, making it even a more stupid coincidence (in Star Wars IV: A New Hope) that Chewbacca would be the one to get them off of Tattooine. Had Obi-Wan been on Kashyyyk, choosing Chewbacca would have been on purpose. Christ, have any of you ever seen these movies?
- Aztec Warriors. I suppose these guys climb into little cubby holes, somebody closes the entrance and they just sit there hoping someone comes into their forbidden temple for them to kill until their shift is done. Mostly their purpose is to pop out of walls and scare the audience. Remember that guy who steps out of the painting in Temple Of Doom?… imagine that but ten times less cool. Again, nothing a few trap doors and shooting spikes couldn’t fix.
- The Crystal Skull. They could have gone after Atlantis, The Spear Of Destiny, the hammer of Thor, Excalibur but no, George is obsessed with Crystal Skulls. Let me tell you what the Crystal Skull does. It makes people batshit crazy who stare into it’s eyes and moves ants, albeit, very large ants. One of the tenants of an Indiana Jones movie that people miss here they always center on a religious artifact and people see the end of this movie, and here is comes for those of you who haven’t seen it, the Crystal Skulls belong to aliens the Mayan’s worshipped as Gods and this is key… that makes it religion. It was their religion. My problems isn’t the aliens. My problem is there is a supernatural element that Indiana Jones, as a scientist has to accept and contend with. The second you make it alien, which is actually more believable than any religious relic since I can prove I exist on this planet and I know there are other planets so there may be something like me elsewhere. Consequently, I have no proof of God (hence, the definition of faith). Another key factor is you have to show what the relic does and why people want, or would think they want it. The Ark Of The Covenant obliterates evil. The Holy Grail grants eternal life inside its temple. One of the main problems with Temple Of Doom is the village has magic rocks that protect them and the most impressive thing they do is burn a hole through a canvas bag. Nobody’s ripping my heart out and lowering me into a lava pit for a rock that burns holes in bags. They do the same thing here and put all the Crystal Skulls together, Cate Blanchett wants all the knowledge and they give it her and her head kinda breaks apart like a dandelion (maybe because it’s not made of Crystal). It reminded me of the end of Ang Lee’s Hulk (2003) where the Hulk is fighting a metaphor and homeless Nick Nolte wants all the power and he can’t handle it and explodes. Let me tell you when someone says something in your movie reminds you of Ang Lee’s Hulk… you did something wrong.
- Lawrence Kasdan. This one isn’t fair but somebody’s got to do it. Where the fuck is Larry Kasdan? Larry Kasdan was a film student Lucas liked and asked him to take a run on Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981). Without reading it, he let him write Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and later Return Of The Jedi (1983). He later went on to write and direct his own films Body Heat (1981), (The Big Chill (1983), Silverado (1985), , The Accidental Tourist (1988), I Love You To Death (1990), Grand Canyon (1991), The Bodyguard (1992) and somewhere around 1994 wrote and directed the much underrated film that killed two careers, Wyatt Earp. Since then I’ve gotten crap like French Kiss (1995), Mumford (1999) and the ultra-shitty Stephen King adaptation Dreamcatcher (2003) where Morgan Freeman has to track down aliens that infected people shit out their asses in a bloody mess which is horrible even among Stephen King movies. In the past nine years I have endured three piss-poor Star Wars prequels and now this lame-ass Indiana Jones movie, so I say again, where the fuck is Larry Kasdan?
Eight Things I Like About Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
- The Paramount logo segueing into a Prairie Dog hill. I chuckle at that. Nobody I talked to liked the Prairie Dogs but surprisingly they didn’t bother me. They could have had the Prairie Dog performing The Three Stooges acts and I would have given it a pass. Anything is better than droid slapstick.
- Area 51. This is funny the second they show what it is. They’ll get away with it if they don’t actually show me the Ark… oh wait.
- Spielberg knows how to introduce a character. The silhouette of Indy snatching his hat off the ground is priceless.
- Neil Flynn as the FBI Agent who accuses Indy of un-American activities. For most people, Neil Flynn is Janitor on NBC’s Scrubs. To me, he’s the Chicago cop Harrison Ford’s Dr Richard Kimble is accused of killing in The Fugitive (1993).
- Jim Broadbent. If you have to replace Delholm Elliott, you can do a lot worse than Jim Broadbent.
- Shia LeBouf. I like this kid. I am fifteen years out of his demographic but I like him. His introduction which is a direct nod to Marlon Brando in The Wild One is fantastic.
- The Army Ants. At this point in the movie they had already misses so many of the things that make Indiana Jones, Indiana Jones, I thought they’d leave this out to. I don’t like all the CGI but seriously, it ain’t like you can train ants. Grown men getting dragged into anthills the size of cars is great.
- The Wedding. At this point I am not happy with the movie and the door blows open and Indy’s hat crosses the floor stopping at Mutt’s feet and I am thinking “don’t they even fucking dare,” and Mutt goes to put the hat on and Indy never lets it touch his head as he takes it back. There are a million different endings but it would have been so easy to give into the temptation of passing the torch and clearly, the end the film with you knowing Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones… not just any kid wearing the hat.