Friday, May 23, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Temple of "It Isn't Dull"

From the blatantly obvious overdubbing of Harrison Ford's voice in the first ten minutes of the movie, through the total absence of that Spielberg touch in the direction, to the jokeless script that plays like it was cobbled together from six differently-authored drafts and then mixed in a National Treasure blender, this is the first 100% George Lucas Indiana Jones movie, which means (like the last 3 Star Wars episodes) it is by the numbers, joyless, and deadeningly earnest.

Was I bored? No. Was I excited? No. Did I laugh? Not even once. And you know me -- I howl at clever music cues. Is it as good as Iron Man? Not even close. Is it as good as the first three Indiana Jones movies? God no, and anybody who ranks this even above Temple of Doom is on crack, okay? Is it better than the last three Star Wars movies? Hell yes, and maybe that’s why it’s getting all these sigh-of-relief positive reviews. Because it really does feel more Lucas than Spielberg, which means it could have been a dog’s breakfast on a very pretty CGI plate.

A couple of comparisons and a burning question:

You know how in the original Star Trek there’s loud cheesy horn music everywhere because you’re watching a fun melodrama, but in Star Trek: The Next Generation there are all these muted strings under everything because this is DRAMA Goddammit and we’re taking this VERY SERIOUSLY, OKAY? I got the same message here: this isn't fun, folks -- the 40's were fun, okay? But not the 50's.

And not the 60's either, as in a bunch of 60-year-old guys getting together and instead of saying, “Let’s do something based on the serials we saw when we were kids,” they say, “Well, we had fun doing this serial-based kind of movie once, so why don’t we try to make one like that movie again?” In other words, Crystal Skull is a Xerox of a Xerox, which gives it the comfortable but recycled air of later Roger Moore James Bond movies like A View To A Kill.

And isn’t there anybody in LA with the balls to tell George Lucas that the phrase “I have a ba-a-a-ad feeling about this,” is not a fucking laugh line?

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