I like good films … and I cannot lie. Subjectivity is the next up line.
PLEASE NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for the INDIANA JONES films. If you haven’t seen any or all of them, please beware!
I. Like. Films. Plain and simple.
What brings up this particular post is because I’m rewatching INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL at the moment (I’m vetting for my five year old son, who has a big interest in watching Indiana Jones films). When I first watched it (last year on dvd), I enjoyed it. Did I get the thrill of when I first watched RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK when it came out in theatres those nearly 30 years ago? No. Would I if I’d seen it in a movie theatre? No. But then I didn’t get that same thrill when TEMPLE OF DOOM or THE LAST CRUSADE came out. Where they fun? Well yeah. But I was also older each time the next films came out. I was 13 when RAIDERS came out (1981). I was 16 when TEMPLE came out (1984). Three years doesn’t seem like much time to change, but when you’re a teenager, it’s a forever length of time. And by the time CRUSADE came out in 1989? Not only was I twenty-one, but was in the military. I was very much a different person. Exposed to a lot more films and television than I had been in 1981.
Steven Spielberg and George Lucas brought something with RAIDERS that hadn’t really been seen before by my generation. And it set a bar for other films to follow, and follow they did … in a lot of forms. You can’t tell me that the energy, the zest of RAIDERS didn’t influence the action films of the 80’s, which in turn set the bar/tone for the 90’s. They showed a certain something could be done, done well and done successfully financially speaking.
So what it is about CRYSTAL SKULL that made people rethink how they felt about Indiana Jones? I honestly can’t tell because it *is* an Indiana Jones movie through and through. Don’t like that it had an Alien in it at the end? Well what do you expect about a “fantasy-based” film set in the 1950’s. That’s what the 50’s were about in fantasyland … science-fiction. Aliens. Does CRYSTAL SKULL deal with Russians, Communist Paranoia, etc? You betcha. It’s the 1950’s after all. And science fiction at the time dealt a lot with the themes of Paranoia, Russians invading and/or taking over (communisim), and the atom bomb. And CRYSTAL SKULL has all of those. Don’t like that the end of it had an Alien and a spaceship because it foiled believability? Well I’m pretty sure the first three INDIANA JONES films already set that precedent – Ark of the Covenant, Spiritual shankara stones, and the Holy Grail. Set pieces out of the realm of “it can happen”? They covered that, too.
So what is it about CRYSTAL SKULL that made fanbois (and fangurls) go so hardcore “I don’t like it, it was dumb”? I have a theory. And it’s just that. I haven’t done any research into it. Just pieced together my own thoughts.
I think it’s because INDIANA JONES AND THE RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK did its job *too* well. It’s why none of the three sequals have done well in retrospect in terms of captivating an audience so profoundly. The same way that any of the STAR WARS sequals couldn’t capture that magic of EPISODE IV … even if THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is the best film of the series.
It did its job too well. It did it so well that, as I mentioned before, it set the bar for everything that came after it. Successful films, unsuccessful films (thank you Richard Chamberlain & Sharon Stone (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089421/). In the 19 years since LAST CRUSADE came out, how many action/adventure movies with a fantasy bent did we have? Quite a few, and some very successful.
So did people just get jaded by the fact that the men who set that bar didn’t set a new one? That they were delivering something that was meant to be fun & entertaining like they did with RAIDERS & CRUSADE? (I can’t bring myself to call TEMPLE fun & entertaining. Entertaining? Yes. Fun? Not as much, and that was more due to its darker tone.)
For me, they delivered something fun & entertaining. Not groundbreaking, but simply fun and entertaining.
So why all the hate? What did life do to them that made them dislike something that’s meant to be entertainment?
And this, in turn, will probably bring about a post about the STARGATE franchise and its newest child, STARGATE UNIVERSE.
Posted on February 13, 2010, in Commentaries, Film Commentaries, Humour, Just Plain 'Ol Personal, T.V. Commentaries and tagged Fanboys, Fangirls, Film Commentary, Indiana Jones, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Last Crusade, The Temple of Doom. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.