You can’t accuse me of not wanting to like this one. Yes, when I heard that they had finally gotten started on Indiana Jones 4, I wondered if they could still find any ancient artifacts that actually predated Harrison Ford. But cranky old Gramps Jones actually sounded like fun the more I thought of it, and it’s not like Indy was ever not grumpy to begin with. Yes, I wondered why the heck they could have let George Lucas reject a script by Frank Darabont; it was like hearing that Dennis Kucinich had given Bill Clinton some political pointers. But then I saw The Mist, and all of a sudden, I was willing to give George the benefit of the doubt that they were going to cobble together a better script. By the time I sat down in the theater, I was aware that the movie had scored fairly well with the critics and public, and I was thrilled to be sitting down to watch the first new Indiana Jones adventure since Last Crusade, released when I was just a kid. And I was also pulling for this movie to be a smashing success that would finally prove that as good as Star Wars had once been, Indiana Jones was, and always had been, the great adventure series of the last half of the 20th century.
These days, this is Harrison Ford's "good angle."
Way to suck in that gut, Indy.
Steven Spielberg once brought dinosaurs to life. Now he's going to do the same for prairie dogs. In theaters, this summer.
The Russians pull Indy out of a trunk, along with his pudgy, British cockney-accented sidekick Mac (Ray Winstone, not looking so much like Beowulf anymore). Spalko takes Indy and Mac (Indy Mac? Oh God.) to the warehouse full of boxes--Look a bit familiar?--and demands that Indy help them find whatever landed in Roswell in 1947. Hmmm, the movies have gone from Judaism (Raiders) to Hinduism (Temple of Doom) to Christianity (Last Crusade), and now… Scientology?!?! Yes, aliens are going to be behind all the wacky ancient stuff in this movie. Indy finds the alien pod thingy by tossing gunpowder into the air and following it as it gravitates toward a powerful magnetic force--so powerful that you kind of wonder who manufactures all the plastic nails they must have used to fasten all the other boxes in the warehouse. Inside the Roswell box is a well-preserved dead alien, because apparently the Army’s completely done with experimenting on it, and just decided on the Army equivalent of stuffing it in the crawlspace behind a stack of National Geographics. The Ruskies are about to steal the alien, but Indy of course manages to overpower one of them during the five-second timeframe between when a bad guy recognizes a threat and when his reflexes kick in and he fires the gun he has held at the ready. He threatens Spalko with a machine gun, but it turns out that Mac is a double-agent. Gee, a traitor in an Indiana Jones movie? At least they gave us a whole four minutes with which to get to know him before the devastating betrayal. Apparently, having one more machine gun-wielding villain directly in front of him suddenly makes Indy’s Mexican stand-off futile, so he flees instead, racing past bullets that somehow miss the slow-moving old guy who barely avoids throwing his back out. He climbs up boxes and swings across rafters with his whip, which the Russians apparently didn’t consider a weapon they should confiscate when they took him prisoner. In the chaos, they smash open the box containing the Ark of the Covenant from the first movie, one of several references to past entries in the series.
"Damn you, Short Round!"
Mooning: you're doing it wrong.
"Is it an ancient artifact containing power we cannot even comprehend, Indy?" "No, kid. I think it's the $150 Special Limited Edition Blu-Ray disc packaging they're going to sell this movie in within a couple of months."
Source of Mystic Power: The Beatles
Villains: Richard Nixon’s thugs
Source of Mystic Power: Reggie Jackson
Villains: The Golden Girls
Source of Mystic Power: Apple stock
Villains: Teenagers who turn murderous after playing Mortal Kombat
Source of Mystic Power: Lycos
Villains: Oh, I think you know who
Source of Mystic Power: Fuel-efficient cars and public transportation
"I've got to know one thing, Mom. And I need you to tell me the truth. Are my eyes really going to look like that when I'm your age?"
Indy initially refuses to help, even when the Russians threaten to kill Mutt. But he has to rethink it when the aliens bring out… a green-skinned, bug-eyed alien! Holy crap! Wait a minute… is that… oh dear Lord. I’m sorry, it’s Marion (Karen Allen), Indy’s love interest from Raiders. I really don’t mean to make juvenile insults about people’s looks on this website; I’m far more into insults that really strike at the inner lack of qualities people have, insults that can’t be easily forgiven. But when I look at Karen Allen, dredged up from semi-retirement for this movie, I can kind of realize why she hasn’t been in many movies lately. There haven’t been too many movies about fortune teller ladies who live in Louisiana bayous. So I guess the sex appeal for this movie has to be carried by Cate Blanchett made up like a matryoshka doll and Karen Allen made up to look like that Nazi after he chose the wrong Holy Grail. With Ford and Allen as the leads and source of the film’s only romance, I can imagine Spielberg screaming at his director of photography, “More Vaseline on the camera lens, dammit! And zoom out! Out, out, out! Hey, is there any way we can add rain to this scene? Or a massive solar flare? If this image looks any sharper than the Zapruder film, we’re doomed! IMAX will be my undoing! Any chance we can just slap a wig on LaBeouf and make him the love interest instead?"
Children of the Cranberries
My Mother, the Car
"Hey, Hurt. LaBeouf's getting on my case for looking so old. Tell me, what's your secret?"
Archaeologists have long sought out the great ancient Aztec Applebees of Central America.
Remember the end of Raiders where the bad guys got exactly what they wanted, completing the ceremony and tapping the awesome power of the artifact they had strived for, but it turned out that the ceremony unleashed power beyond their reckoning and it annihilated them in a special effects-filled sequence while Indy and Marion survived simply by not participating in that ceremony? And the similar ending to Last Crusade? Yeah, it’s exactly like that. The pyramid explodes after Spalko reaffixes the Crystal Skull to an alien’s Crystal Skeleton, resurrecting the alien (So how did the damn thing die in the first place?), and the good guys run away while Mac, Spalko, and the Russians get sucked into another dimension, along with the flying saucer buried underneath the pyramid. The whole scene looks very expensive, although none of it really involves Indy or Marion or their friends, who basically just jog away while things explode all around them. I guess that the great stuntwork Harrison Ford and Karen Allen were originally asked to do would have violated the terms of their AARP life insurance.
This is what you get when you don't change your oil every 3,000 miles.
Worried that Heather Ledger was going to upstage his famous role, Jack Nicholson made an uncredited cameo as the Joker in a competing summer film.
But this is supposed to be Indiana Jones. And there’s a whole generation of kids who think The Mummy's Rick O’Connell’s the greatest action movie archaeologist of all time. And if this is the only Indiana Jones movie those kids have seen, I might not be able to blame them.