Thursday, July 24, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Missed Opportunities

Missed Opportunities in an Indy Movie?

Yeah, yeah, I can hear you all yelling, "What are you talking about... no way, it was a great movie." Hold on there, I enjoyed it, it took me on a ride, but all the time I was aboard, I felt something wasn’t quite right.

And please Mr. Lucas and Mr. Spielberg, don’t be mad...ha, like they even know I’m in the universe...but really, I worship these guys and would love to be a team member of theirs, basically their screenwriter, some day. Hope I’m not spoiling my chances with this blog.

Onward. I bet you’re thinking it was the aging Indy that was the first of many missed opportunities. While I did gasp the first time I saw my beloved Harrison Ford, wrinkles and all on the big screen, the fact that he was 19 years older didn’t really bother me. Hey I’M 19 years older, too and I’m sure I have a few wrinkles, somewhere ;) Harrison Ford still is Indy and never did I doubt that through the entire film.

Real Missed Opportunities. First Off, Cate Blanchett’s character, Soviet Agent Irina Spalko. Ms. Blanchett is an amazing actor with infinite range. She wasn’t given the opportunity in this film to be a really worthy adversary (and we all know a strong adversary makes for a stronger hero.) Sure she could wield a sword, but she needed more than strong moves and be clad in black leather to be someone I wasn’t sure Indy could beat. Believe me, Ms. Blanchett could’ve handled whatever they gave her. I wanted a lot more from her character.

Second, Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood, Indy's first love in Raiders of the Lost Ark nearly stole the scenes with Indy in this film. (As an aside, none of Indy's love interests in the sequels had nearly the same chemistry.) Naturally I was excited to see what happened when they were paired again. No spoilers ahead, you gotta know that she’s still Indy’s love interest, but I wanted more screen time with her being in jeopardy and getting out of it, or at least fighting side by side with Indy.

Granted, that was Shia LeBeouf’s role this time around, but STILL, give me strong heroines. I loved Ms. Allen in this movie and wanted more, a lot more.

The chemistry between LeBeouf and Ford started rocky and became stronger as the movie progressed which I expected. There were some great scenes where I was being led one way, then a twist happened that left me delighted. Again if I tell you, they’d be spoilers, so we can talk about them in the comments if you want. I liked them together, and frankly I didn’t expect to, so I guess this isn’t a missed opportunity, but one that came together.

Mac, Indy’s compatriot turned...nope, I’m not telling. But his role was cliche. Sorry, but it was. Darn.

The ending of in the Kingdom was the biggest missed opportunity all around.

What happened? It went too fast and there wasn’t any thing I could pin down as a major culmination. All this angst and action and adventure for....Irina Spalko to fire spit out of her eyes? Ooops, that was a hint.

I wanted it all to mean something, I wanted to care that they’d found the crystal skulls and stopped the Soviets, and I didn’t. The Ark of the Covenant in Raiders was a deadly tool that could have been used against humanity, the Stones returned in The Temple of Doom saved a village and the children. And The Holy Grail’s power to give or take life was dramatic. This was...not dramatic. And worse, gulp, I didn’t like the CG effects.

I guess I wanted a ride that went flat out, characters who were fully played out and the plot satisfying and twisty. By all means, see the movie. There are wonderful parts, and I didn’t realize WHAT was missing until I left the theater, I just knew something was.

Go ahead, comment pro or con. I love them all.


MaryF said...

I am with you on all of it, only I didn't even enjoy the ride. I was very very very disappointed.

Donnell said...

LA, you don't have wrinkles, and I defy anyone to find one ;)

I enjoyed the movie for pure entertainment value. But then I'm not a screenwriter. As a romance writer, I loved the first Indiana Jones, and then when they brought in all his other love interests, that's when the movies started falling flat to me. So when they introduce Marian in this last film and try to convince me that Indy and Marian are still in love, I couldn't wrap my romantic heart around the idea. There was no longer that same on screen chemistry between them in my opinion.

I loved the trip down memory lane, Indy's fear of snakes, his academic position vs. his adventurous side, he's still the ultimate hero, but I too thought the movie fell short.

I hope, LA, Mr. Spielberg and Mr. Lucas will include you in future films. You will indeed bring depth to the project and get it just right.

Leslie Ann said...

Hi Marfy,
Glad you read the blog. Yup, our expectations were high. Kinda like the prequel of Star Wars, ohhh, don't get me started.

Leslie Ann said...

You are so sweet!
Interesting that you didn't find the screen chemistry with Marion and Indy as hot. I loved it b/c they took off and though all the memories weren't on the screen which would have been bad, I felt them.

And from your words to Spielberg's ear, pretty please.

Audra Harders said...

Great observations, Leslie. I haven't seen the movie yet, waiting for DVD, but you always make me think past the entertainment factor. Actually, I appreciated your comments on the missed opportunities of the movie, when I watch it, I'll keep these in mind and heavens, think about broadening my horizons : ) Hmm, thinking about it, I'll probably put your comments in my frontal lobe AFTER I watch it a time or two. Thank goodness for Netflix, LOL!!!