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INDY IV review: it doesn't make me homicidal.

I think I’m done with long-form movie reviews. My reactions are a strange, skewed, subjective mess and unless I’m taking things apart from a hard theory critique standpoint and making the effort to support my thoughts (which sure as hell ain’t gonna happen at this hour), it’s essentially the same wank seen anywhere else online. So I’ll briefly stick to my reactions here at 3AM…

Indy IV doesn’t incite teh blood rage. Certainly a good thing! I was nearly prepared to go all Starkweather and scourge the knowledge from human existance if it turned out to be an atrocity. It wasn’t. But make no mistake, this is not your stock Indy flick. There has been some heavy chop-shop action done to structure whereby introductions and building momentum are done away with in favor of a ‘such and such, skip to the end…’ approach. I’m okay with it, but it almost creates a sort of vacuum that leaves things thin or unnecessary in places and insincere in others.  Feels almost like all 3rd act which is somewhat better than none. Plenty of good stuff though and no major weak character issues for me except a few beats and one character who no doubt would have immensely benefited from a nice well-crafted first act. Go into it with the first three movies as your intro & building momentum and you’re good to go. (Plus a little AG… and also consider CEot3rdK an epilogue.) 

Indy & KotCS

If you missed it, and I wouldn’t blame you if you did, Shia LaBeouf announced the name of the new Indy film last night at some MTV event or another. Officially dubbed: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull which isn’t horrible, but does push the edge of wordy without being exceptionally exciting. What gives about the KotCS, anyway?

 

Can we get a Daniel Carter namedrop, at least?

Well, if you didn’t catch the episode of In Search Of… OR the rather entertaining Stargate SG:1 episode that exploited the crystal skull concept, the gist is there are about a dozen of these ancient crystal skulls that may be linked to the Aztecs and/or aliens that have some sort of magic power and/or supernatural communication abilities. It would suggest that maybe the maguffin is the magical crystal skulls of South & Latin Americas, belonging to some mysterious Kingdom which may be a City of Gods, who may/may not be aliens. You’ve got to admit that’s a heck of a lot for five words to suggest.

Tone-wise there’s a slight Temple of Doom-ness to it, even Infernal Machine with the possibility of multiple artifacts being keys to something larger and possibly sinister since the Aztecs invoke more Pagan than Christian themes. (Neither a pro or a con IMO, since I like Temple of Doom just fine, thankyewveddymuch.) The alien vibe– something that’s been around since the ‘Saucer Men’ script– is an angle that always appealed to me and comes hand-in-hand with the mysterious skulls. Throw in all the Area 51 buzz and I feel justified at making the connection. Look to type of previous Indy adventures and you can even pull Nazis out of the title, since South America post-WWII is pretty much equivalent with escaped Nazis, so lets get one more dig in on those bastards while we’re at it.

So KotCS definitely sounds interesting and bursting with potential, but for all that’s there, it doesn’t quite feel like the penultimate Indiana Jones adventure to me. This may be because I liked the SG1 episode and so there’s a hint of been-there-done-that tarnish, but it sure won’t keep me out of the theater. What does tickle me about it– aside from the awesomeness that is Karen Allen being back– is that Spielberg/Lucas may go all out and our hero, the erstwhile Indiana Jones- student of the entire course of human events, boy scout, and smart mouth- may end up in space or talking to aliens and completely out of his depth. And that sounds like a helluva lot of fun.

But that name. It’s just not quite right… Not the wordiness and I like the acronymity of it- KotCS… But that ‘Kingdom’ bit needs a qualifier… something to invoke the peril, the danger, the momentum. How about:

Indiana Jones and the Lost Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Ahhh, well. It not much, sure, but Raiders, Doom, Last, Fate, Infernal… there’s a certain precedent, and I’d say give the Kingdom it’s due.