votw ii.19: Indiana Jones and the Lazy Blog Title

I can see your mind. Princess Leia was a skank?

Little ‘uns! How is you? You be good? Gravy.

Once again, I’ve not much to scribble on about this week. Blame the long weekend, if you must. For those not in the U.S. of A., we just experienced Memorial Day Weekend, which is kind of a big deal — if you’re a drinker, that is. Otherwise, it’s the beginning of summer — not Gregorian summer, no, but United States summer, at least.

It’s also the weekend that truly kicks off the blockbuster season. Normally, Memorial Day Weekend brings the biggest box-office draw, comparable only the big Fourth of July flick. As mentioned elsewhere on this golb, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull cracked its whip into our lives. So what’s with the bitter taste in my mouth? Oh. Generic-brand chocolate chip cookies.

This freelance writer is remiss to report that IJatKotCS did not overwhelm. It didn’t even whelm. Why, you could even say that it overwhelmed the whelm of underwhelming us. I know, I know, it breaks my heart, too. Our brownish ’80s hero has returned 19 years later…and it’s starting to stink of old people.

*SPOILERISH ALERT* (If you don’t want to read about the movie’s goings-on, then somewhat but not really avoid reading the following, but it’s pretty much the bulk of this thing, and it doesn’t exploit the plot too much — not until I warn you — so just go ahead and read it already) *SPOILERISH ALERT* (But not really) (In fact, just ignore this ominous warning)

In giddy anticipation, I rounded up my ragtag band of moviegoers — like Indy, I must have the entourage of a portly Brit, a whiny Chinese boy, and a revolving door of ever-younger femme fatales. Unfortunately, I don’t know any Brits, Chinese kids, or femmes that could honestly be labeled “fatales,” or at least, any that I could muster up the courage to phone on a Friday night. Instead, I just went to the mall with my brother and three of my friends. -_-

Anyway, the Lucasfilm Ltd fanfare boomed the audience into a hush…and that’s as booming as the screen got. Oh, man here comes Indy — no, wait, that’s just Harrison Ford. I can tell because of the palpable grimace on the lead’s face. It’s like the elderly Hollywood statesman has been sucking on Sour Pops since 1989. Don’t know what I mean? Think of George Clooney. He plays George Clooney in every movie George Clooney is in. You know, the shaky-head ego, the self-effacing swagger that chips away at any who sees the ghost of Batman & Robin leering from beyond his eyes. Like a respectable Pauly Shore, to be sure. That’s what Harrison Ford was in this movie. He was Indiana Jones if Indiana Jones had not had a relevant movie in over a decade.

Suffice it to say, the presence of Doctor Jones was probably the best thing I can recall about the movie. But let’s go over his exploits since his so-called “last crusade,” shall we? He’s a government spy, you see, and he’s even been working with MI6. (A given, right? James Bond is his fricken’ dad, for crying out loud!) Turns out Junior was involved with Roswell — 1947 Roswell. That crystal skull sharing the marquee? It’s E freaking T!

If only Ren could see me now. Sucking.

I have to admit that Shia LeBoeuf was an interesting addition. Well, he would have been had the whole world and their mother not known that he was the bastard son of leery Indiana. Shia (whose name means “Thank God For Beef” in Hebrew — I dare you to look that up) plays a 1950s greaser, which just goes to show that George Lucas has not had an original idea since American Graffiti. Zing! Take that, Director of Star Wars: Episode I!

I liked the diner scene. Also, the nod to Raiders of the Lost Ark made me squeal, audibly. (However, how would a pack of Nazis feel if the Soviets so easily overlooked the Greatest Discovery Of All Time?) Alas, this is where my praise for the movie ends. Yes, all that you have been reading has been praise. Ta-da.

First off, the supporting characters. They make me wish, wish, wish Sean Connery was still alive to attack with umbrellas. He is?! Then who the hell was the aforementioned portly Brit? A superfluous comic relief? When was he comical, and by what stretch of the imagination was he a relief? Like a flaming turd, I suppose. Then there’s the homeless archeology professor. He was funny, I guess, if you’re actually into homeless archeology professors and their unsavory ilk. Indy’s greasy son’s mother was the original starlet of the first movie, but beyond a forced nod (she’s been waiting around for Spielberg to call since Duran Duran’s first tour, yes?), she brings zilch to the table. (Not true. She does manage to fly a jeep off a cliff and survive. This was followed by three exceedingly precarious waterfall plummets. Bravo, Industrial Light & Magic. Bravo.)

Huh? What? My Social Security checks? Late? I HATE SNAKES /drool

Least and last, we have Cate Blanchett, the immensely respected actress who played, among other things, I’m guessing, Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. She is Indy’s new “baddie,” if you can call it that. Alas, the glory of the Nazi buccaneers is over and done with in the 1950s utopia, so instead, it is the insidious Soviets whom we turn our propaganda towards. (Die, Lucille Ball, die!) Unfortunately, these commies do nothing to intimidate. NOTHING. Why, the biggest pit of danger Jones found himself in involved a nuclear blast, which he uncannily escaped by getting inside a refrigerator. Whoda thunk the Enola Gay could have been thwarted by American commercialism?

Anyway, Blanchett had a hard-on for alienware, but because I don’t care for her “evilness” or her faker-than-CGI accent, very little is done to engage me as spectator of spectacles. Speaking of suspension of disbelief, the computer animation in this movie was terrible. TERRIBLE. I could have sworn I saw a Windows XP logo during the jungle sequence. Everything was washed-out and Photoshopped. You would think that the two guys who pretty much invented special effects — Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Howard the Duck — would have, you know, done work. Instead, we get barrage of why-even-bother implausibility. Oh, look, Shia is swinging off vines like chimps. That’s sooo real. Man-eating ants? So long as they don’t attack when Indy’s fetching his fedora, sure! The Janitor from Scrubs? He’s not a special effect, but why would I believe him to be the very inconsequential FBI agent? He should be razzing on J.D.!

(Spoilers about the plot from here till the music video! Although, my composition is quite amusing!)

Finally, we arrive at the plot. Oh, wait, I’m sorry, I meant to say, “Finally, we arrive at the thing George Lucas thought of while having a lumberjack meal at his Chewbacca breakfast table.” Before I delve into the meat of this bad, bad, oh-so-bad boy, let me preface this by saying that both director Steven Spielberg and star Harrison Ford were adamantly against this idea. They had impeded on Lucas’ dream story for many a year, which explains why Indy 4 did not come out until now. (That, as well as the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy and Schindler’s List.) Alas, Harrison and Steven relented — American currency is falling faster than the Hutt that sat down too fast, after all. The MacGuffin, as George calls it, was once mystical in nature: the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, human sacrifices in India or whatever the hell was going on in Temple of Doom. Anyway, it’s pretty easy to figure out. Let’s see: George Lucas created what is arguably the most successful space saga ever, and Spielberg helmed Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and War of the Worlds. Cha-ching! Aliens, homeslice!

And what a fatal decision that was. Indy and Mutt (yeah, the kid is “cleverly” named Mutt) are sent on a whirlwind adventure that ultimately leads them to Peru and the Amazon…somehow. Don’t get too muddled with the details — it’s Indiana Jones! On the big screen! Just trust me when I say this: you and I waited a very long time just to watch a flying saucer shoot out from out of the Earth’s ass, a very long time, and we’re prepared to wait even longer for something better. Why? Because the CG alien looked so incredibly fake! Omigod! 1999’s Jar Jar had better texture! Jabba the Hutt, E.T., even Howard the fraggin’ Duck looked better than that excuse for a generic 1950s comic book alien. Come on, even Tom Cruise thinks you’re full of it.

At least THIS alien got some action!

And thus ends my tirade against the injustices towards a venerated franchise. None of this matters, obviously. This megahyped popcorn-churner has already clocked in the second biggest opening weekend ever, assuring its place in the pantheon of…well, recent memory. To your surprise, this movie has garnished some very adulatory reviews. I think people are being very lenient with the premise of the return of the character alone. They should look beyond the incontinent septuagenarian and focus on the sadness raping all of our collective childhoods. Perhaps some things from the ’80s (Indiana Jones, Back to the Future) should not be resurrected, while some things should. Be. Resurrected. Bad grammers. (OMG! Did you hear those two new a-ha songs from the concert from some days ago? Magick at work, MAGICK!)

Oh, right! a-ha! I’m sorry, sometimes I get so caught up with my rhetoric — it’s like that three-tier waterfall Dr. Henry Jones Jr survived, only my stuff is slightly easier to swallow. This is the curse of Men In Black II and Hannah, I’m telling ya.

As for this week, we do not have space-age mumbo-jumbo to wreck this party (“Minor Earth Major Sky” might just be a jinx if I were to feature it right now), so instead, I’m going to showcase a music video very much grounded in reality. The grimy lavatories of “Did Anyone Approach You?” depict our antiheroes as grizzled forty-somethings disgruntled by the sheen of stardom — haggard and lupine, nearly medicated zombies in their dystopia of stage lights. With a sigh, Morten’s disillusionment with the arias is a filmy headache, Magne’s distaste for the pressure is gut-gushing, and Paul’s rabid follicles ooze the unsavory melancholia only Lauren Savoy can milk out.

There is one instance of computer-generated trickery here, where Morten warps into the crowd, and even that looks more decent than Shia Thank God For Even Stevens LeBouef fighting atop a jeep against the Queen of Elves. And how angry would I have been had Shia picked up that fedora at the end! Lucas, you cheeky billionaire, die! Are you there God? It’s me, a fanboy lost.

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~ by Alfredeus on May 28, 2008.

6 Responses to “votw ii.19: Indiana Jones and the Lazy Blog Title”

  1. awfully glad i wasn’t the only one to gasp at the sight of the hangar, though for a second i thought it was the ark that was somehow magnetized.
    as to surviving the bomb blast, you’re forgetting, it was lead-lined american commercialism. that makes it all the more plausible :D
    you mention nothing of the snake-as-a-rope rescue, but it was cute, admit it.
    lastly, the fedora. i whole-heartedly agree with your reaction.

    anywho.. the next big one would be the dark knight, right?

  2. So maybe this has been my favorite blog [about movies] of yours yet.

    Perhaps partially due to the fact that I actually SAW this movie and was able to follow along nodding, mostly… and I say mostly because naturally, me being me, I never saw any of the original Indy movies besides a part of the boulder-chasing scene, and that could’ve vrey well been just in a commercial… but in any case I got a lot of laughs out of your descriptions of things. And the picture of Shia [Where’s the Beef? Oh, there he is] didn’t hurt. You know who I wish had picked up the fedora.

    [I may never know what those skeleton things in the tombs were.]

    Oh, and Johanna and I were hoping the refrigerator would land upside down, trapping him in it forever.

  3. I was waiting for 2012 references the whole time.

  4. Reply box doesn’t like me -_-

  5. 2o12? The Mayan folklore or the TBA Day After Tomorrow-esque doomsday movie that will cash in on the end of the world? Oh, wait — I’m thinking of Sex and the City. Move along.

  6. and yet, secretly, or not so secretly, you yearn for some of Big’s arrogant yet charming ways with women… or just his bank account. either way.

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