Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Indiana Jones is very old now

It's difficult to have an opinon on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. You know what to expect, your expectations are met, and then it ends. There's the bit where Indy is cornered by baddies and is surely going to die, the bit where people punch each other on top of fast moving vehicles (probably next to cliff), and the bit where everyone's a bit perplexed by the ancient tomb. I can't complain, because all this stuff is entertaining, but it was entertaining in the last three films that I've seen many times. The old trilogy have become the sort of films that sit above anybody's critical opinion. You don't watch them and wonder about their narrative strength, you watch for the memorable bits, for the favourite lines and the nostalgia. The sort of films that you'd watch near Christmas with a packet of biscuits. Watching Indy getting through the traps to the Holy Grail is good stuff. Can't question it.

Take the exact same formula into a new film and it's lost all the magic. Now that it doesn't smell like nostalgia it can be seen for what it really is - a bit dull. Maybe this is just because I've seen it all before. But if this had been the first Indiana Jones film I'd ever seen, I still don't think I'd be impressed. Loud action set-pieces aren't that interesting anymore because they can be done by anyone that knows how to work a big computer. And the plot now looks tired because it's not twenty years ago. If it's meant to be a tribute to the old films, then it needs a lot more charm than this, and should probably do away with the silly bit at the end. George Lucas-style filmmaking just isn't that interesting anymore, because everyone can do it. And a lot of them do it better.


  1. "It's not the age, it's the mileage"

    But actually it's not even that, it's the script, oh yes.

    Took me a while to find it (but my Google-Fu was strong) here's Bill Martell's analysis of why Indy II and IV lacked what I and III had:


  2. Interesting stuff. Crystal Skull just isn't as clever as it should be. There's a lot of wood. Which is troubling, because at the end of the day, how hard can it be? How hard can it be to write convincing dialogue and interesting villians? These people are professionals after all.