Friday, May 23, 2008

Indy Fever

Here is Nate, all dressed up at the theater. He was so excited, which was very cool to be a part of!

For the past six months or so, what can only be describe as Indy Fever has descended on our household. It started when Nathan, possibly the world's biggest Indiana Jones fan, introduced our son Gabriel to the first and third movies (the second is WAAAY to graphic and disgusting). As he fast-forwarded the scary parts, it soon became clear that Gabe would be as big a fan, if not bigger, than his dad.
Thus followed several months of my sons playing Indiana Jones nonstop. Gabriel would come home from school and tell me that the boys had played "IJ" at recess. (Yeah, you guessed it, more Indiana!) Then quickly followed individual fedora hats for the boys, Asher's curtain swinging adventures, and action figures with real whip-cracking sounds and wise-cracking remarks, recorded straight for Harrison's own mouth! Oh, and don't get me started on all the Jones Lego sets we now own.

Last night, Nathan and I went to see the newest installment -- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Nate even dressed up for the occasion, in his Indy gear, including his fedora and whip. People at the theater seemed to appreciate the efforts, and as we stood in line for the the super screen doors to open, I began to think to myself ... after nearly 20 years of waiting (The Last Crusade came out in 1989, if you can believe that!), how can this movie POSSIBLY live up to the lore, legend and pure hype that has been building around the series? The answer? It can't. Not really.

It was a good movie, don't get me wrong. But it wasn't superior. Nate and I left feeling like we'd enjoyed ourselves, but that maybe, if we had put our heads together, we could have come up with a better screenplay. Don't get me wrong -- there was plenty of action. Lots of tombs and tomb raiding and all that jazz -- I had been nervous about the whole alien plot line that I had heard rumors about -- I didn't think I could buy into that within an Indy storyline. The strange thing is ... they ALMOST sold me on it. Almost ... Up until about the last half hour, when it got kinda bizarre. (I would almost have preferred it to be more ambiguous and mysterious than it already was).

But the movie was -- all in all -- mostly fun .... a little campy ... a little cheesey ... a little fake at parts ... almost too many visual/special effects ... the first half was the best, and I agree with the critics that Harrison didn't seem all that old. I mean sure, he seemed OLDER, that's a given, but he didn't seem ancient. (as Shia LaBeouf remarks in one scene, "What are you, 80?") No, he didn't seem 80, but my issues with Indy in this movie had nothing to do with his age really .... he wasn't quite the earthy, nitty-gritty Indy with the eternal swagger and snappy one-liners that put people in their place.... like the Indy he used to be. He was more ... tired ... slow on the swagger and delivery of lines .... okay, so maybe that IS his age. It was also interesting to see him more reserved ... like his own dad was in Indy 3. A kind of cool turning of the tables.
Karen Allen, returning as Indy's love interest, seems to have lost her ability to act somewhat. Her line delivery seemed a bit off, a tad overdone, as if she hadn't been in front of a camera in a good long while. The last scene of the movie, which I won't divulge, is something I could have done without. I would have prefered less romance (I can't believe I'm saying that) and more pizzaz from Indy, who, dare I say, may have been exiting the scene for good????
All in all, a good film. Much more archaeology than I was expecting, but a story line that I didn't QUITE end up buying in the end. Not as gruesome as Indy 2, but not as fun as Indy 3 and all in all -- it seemed like all the parts were there to make the familiar old machine run ... but things were just a bit rusty from disuse.

Nate is ready to go see Indy!

The boys were super jealous, and wanted to come too. Too bad!!

Me and my Indy!!


Janet O. said...

I agree completely! That last scene seemed a little too neat and tidy, sort of a letdown. And that alien plot, well, I sat there in the theater thinking "Yeahhhhhhh, right." Just too weird. It's no Holy Grail, that's for sure! But it was great to see Indy cracking the whip again after so much time.

Katrina said...

Yeah, I think that was the whole fun of it ... just seeing Indy again. Like some reviewers said ... not many are giving it a TERRIBLE review because everyone is just THAT happy to see Indy on screen again. And I agree with you, the grail was the ultimate artifact. After that, I would rate the ark second ... (didn't you love the little "shoutout" they gave to the ark during the wharehouse battle? NICE!!

+gmjameson said...

We just returned from our Indy experience. First, I was laughing through the alien bit ~ not laughing, more like chuckling, because it was obvious George Lucas got his way. I read an article that said he really, really wanted aliens in this film. And apparently, he wanted MORE than we saw! ... For us, the movie was like seeing a favorite old uncle, who you love dearly and enjoy so very, very much that he really can do no wrong. I liked the older Indy, cause - well, i guess we got older, too and it all felt "right". ... I love your comment about Karen Allen - wow, can we say big grin. It was really evident that they were all having a whole load of fun making the film, and for me that was enough. I could have done without the space ship (seriously. i mean, seriously ... reread that "I could have done without the SPACE SHIP in the INDY movie ..."!), but I loved the fact that Harrison was still smirking, whip cracking, kickin' butt and taking names (even at HIS age) - not too shabby for a sextagenarian!

Katrina said...

Yes, that spaceship comment is very true. That's what I mean about it being "subtle." I would have appreciated MORE of the subtle factor. I hear the movie was originally going to be called "Indiana Jones and the Saucer men from Mars." And I'm NOT kidding. What did you think of the bit where he hides in the fridge to escape the A-bomb? HAAA! Yeah, he's still got it, I must say. Even at 65.

t.leaf + k said...

I went to go see this with my brother in law (John) while Kelly was at a bachelorette party ... I totally agree all of this. The last half hour really lost me. When that spaceship came, I think I actually spat, "What?!" out loud in my seat. Oh well. It WAS fun to see Indiana on the screen again ... actually it was my first time seeing him on the big screen. I was four when the first one came out!! Ha!

Also, I know Indy is famous for being in lots of bizarre, life-threatening situations, but there were almost TOO many in this one. After the movie, I told John that it was almost as if the writers brainstormed for ideas, and they just decided to put all of them in the script (i.e. the ants).