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My two word review of the new Indiana Jones movie struck some as being a little too terse (“Don’t. DON’T.”), but luckily I’m happy to rant.

Here’s what’s wrong with the movie.

Warning, I pretty much give it all away, so don’t read if you’re planning to waste 2.05 hours of your life.

First of all, every single criticism of the movie that I’ve read, I think is valid.  Normally, some criticism is off-base, unfounded or not in agreement with my taste, but the feedback I’ve read is diverse, but rarely in conflict.  So let me sum up what I’ve heard others say:

1. Steven Spielberg’s obsession with aliens is repetitive and unvarying.  The aliens at the end of this movie are basically the ones who left E.T. behind all over again, they’re the ones who visited in Close Encounters, they’re the ones who looked after the kid in A.I., etc. etc.  They’re boring despite being all-powerful.

2. Magnetism, or whatever the heck that magnetic-like effect was, shouldn’t turn on and off according to plot whims.  Either dog tags are attracted to something, or they aren’t—dog tags don’t “remember” to be attracted to a magnet when the scene demands a dramatic motion. Also: gunpowder (which is not magnetic) even if it does get attracted to a source, doesn’t “waft” and turn corners.

3. Ants that are are unstoppable and smart enough to stand on each other’s head to reach potential food, will not give up when a single ant is crushed between someone’s thighs.  Also, didn’t we see that scene in GoldenEye already?

4. In fact, didn’t we see dozens and dozens of shots in previous movies? The Wild One, Citizen Kane, Tarzan, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.  It would be a fun drinking game to have to do a shot every time a derivative scene or line of dialog was said in the movie—especially because you’d pass out before having to watch the end, thank goodness.

5. When the crystal skull is found, and is obviously an alien, one that matches the alien you’ve seen earlier in the movie, and it’s magnetic, and glows, you shouldn’t spend the next 30 minutes of the movie going “hey, I wonder why this tribe had such elongated skulls.” You should go, “hey, this is a frickin’ alien skull!”

6. When said alien skull communicates with someone telepathically, and such telepathic communication is enough to make your best friend go mad (that is, until you decide for NO REASON that his mental state was temporary and totally reversible)—and Indy is exposed to the same skull, Indy should at least a little bit seem like the skull may have spoken to him, and is a bit shook up.  He should make more than one mention in the entire rest of the movie about how the skull spoke to him, otherwise, it seems like you just couldn’t come up with a reason to get from the bottom of a waterfall into a hidden city.

7. Speaking of which, Indy is tough. Indy is not immortal.  Indy cannot survive a nuclear blast in a refrigerator.  In fact, Indy cannot survive being catapulted 100s of meters in a small metal box, regardless of the presence of intense heat and radiation, enough to shred a vehicle that is a kilometer further away.

8. A movie is not improved by the presence of CGI gophers. CGI gophers are not necessary to make the point that Indy has survived a harrowing experience.  Gophers, CGI or otherwise, do not tunnel out of a heap of dirt in the ground that looks like a termite pyramid, like they did in the first scene of the movie.  In a nutshell: CGI gophers are padding and dreck, and should have no place in an Indy movie.

9. If Shia LaBoeuf’s character Mutt had put on Indy’s hat, I would have thrown up in my popcorn bucket.  As it was, it was still too cutesy and obvious.  And Indy’s immediate transition from “guy who thinks this punk kid is a jerk” to “guy who is really happy to have a son, and isn’t really that upset that he missed the first 20 formative years of that kid’s life” is unimaginable.  Indy’s reaction at one point, of being all “that’s my boy” when Mutt’s being shot at, is completely wrong—the reaction, when your son is being shot at by Commies, is to be concerned, and perhaps mad.

10. In fact, throughout the movie, Indy expresses more resignation than anything else at the incredible perils he’s in.  Like when they’re going over three waterfalls in a metal car, and they basically sigh and shrug between each landing.  Uh, really?

11. Swinging monkeys cannot outpace two cars racing.  It’s not going to happen.  Even less so for a guy named “Mutt.”  And by the way, Indiana Jones is a cool name.  Mutt Williams, is the name of the guy who delivers portapotties to construction sites.

12. I quote from another online blog for this one: “After about 2/3 of the movie, there must have been a mix-up in the projection booth. For some reason instead of playing the final 1/3 of the movie, inexplicably what appeared to be some sort of Scientology video appeared on screen. There were glass space aliens sitting in chairs, hidden spaceships, and suggestions that human development was guided by aliens (thetans?). It was all quite bizarre with lots needless special effects and a complete lack of a comprehensive story line.”

13. When someone double-crosses your enemy and joins your side again after stabbing you in the back, keep an eye on them.  Really.  Don’t let them wander around on their own. Also, it’s sad that being even slightly interested in preserving a bit of the alien’s booty means you are greedy and must die.

14. The aliens aren’t aliens, they are “inter dimensional creatures from the spaces between the spaces” (hello? rewrite please?) who are very concerned about obliterating every trace of themselves except, you know, their original temple for the thousands of years unti the skull is returned, and their crash site in Roswell, and the other bodies that Natasha, sorry, I mean Cate, says she’s found.

15. If a professor of yours rides a bike through the library and crashes under the table you’re studying at, you’re not going to ask them about a homework assignment.  It might seem funny when you write it, but it’s not.  It’s dumb, and a bad way to end an excellent chase.

16. When a guy (i.e. Mutt) is swashbuckling between two off-roading cars, even if you accept that standing on both cars at once is a possibility… how many times does he need to be hit in the crotch by passing plants? The answer is once.  Once is funny.  Twice is less funny.  Three times is only funny because things come in threes.  Five times is an editing error.  It’s insulting. It’s not cool.

17. Indy hates snakes, but he’s not an idiot.  “Tell me it’s a rope”—that was just dumb.  Here’s a guy who smashed into a wall of snakes in the original movie, went down into a well full of them, here’s a guy who can get the job done with just a little bit of whining.  He doesn’t need to be coddled.

Anyhow, every time someone talks to me about the movie, I remember another stupidity about it, and my rating of it goes down.  It’s currently at about 11 out of 37, and it could get worse as time passes.



 
 

 

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