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Topic: The Movie Thread

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Th3solution

@RogerRoger What a great run through of your recent Indiana Jones viewing. I watched them not too long ago as well. I loved some of your break down of the oft maligned Temple of Doom. You really struck on some good observations of both films.
And yes, the dark themes of ToD are presented in a very digestible form, especially considering how gore, violence, shock, and horror have ramped up several notches in the last 30
years since it was made. Ripping out someone’s still beating heart is rather ho-hum nowadays. 😜
But seriously, I had never thought about the movie in that light, with the bookends of levity and lightheartedness that balance out the creepiness of the occult and child slavery.

Edited on by Th3solution

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

RogerRoger

@Jaz007 I'm not sure it's a full reboot, though, as half the cast from the original are returning...? Honestly, it's confused the heck out of me. Although I'm not as attached to the first one as you are, it's confusing to see it come around again so quickly.

@Frigate Demolition Man, thank you!! There was a film I kept thinking "I wanna revisit this someday" but it kept slipping my mind whenever I went shopping. Need to grab a copy!

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

RogerRoger

@LN78 You're keeping a list...?! Give up now. There isn't enough paper in the world.

I'll be getting to Crystal Skull later today, after Last Crusade. Given our recent discussion about Apocalypse Now, it's interesting to note that your objection towards it starts with some behind-the-scenes elements, namely the motivation for Spielberg's involvement and his forthcoming return for a fifth film. I know only the broadest of strokes about the making of these four pictures, and it's a testament to the finished product that I can detect no reluctance anywhere, least of all in the direction. I'll obviously be thinking of this when watching it this evening!

Glad to know I can occasionally get it right, though; thanks for the Temple of Doom praise. I guess that original concept for Indy's character would put him closer to his Bondian origins, which I'm so glad they didn't pursue. By and large, I don't actually like James Bond as an individual; he's fun to watch, but he's kind of a jerk. Indy's possible exploitation of Marion is perhaps the loudest echo of a similar approach but, after toning that down in the subsequent sequels, he's been established as somebody I'd wanna talk history with between explosions.

@Th3solution I was keeping your recent thoughts in mind as well. I didn't wanna replicate too much of what had been said before (we all know about the gorgeous cinematography, the spectacular stunts, the beautiful music, etc.) so I'm glad you enjoyed reading my ramblings.

The close-up shot of the heart being removed, as well as the burning of the sacrifice, is definitely laughable by today's standards but I struggle to think it ever looked anything but "too fake to be taken seriously". As always, it's the sound design that does the heavy lifting; the crescendo of chanting, the man's screams and Mola Ram's maniacal laughter are far more oppressive than watching an action figure get blowtorched.

But it's also quite telling that a lot of that middle section isn't as polished as those lighthearted bookends. Go back and watch those fights on the ritual alter and there are a lot of bad edits and loose ends (Short Round takes out two guards before getting to Indy, which we never see; they're just clutching their stomachs in the background of his first shot. Also, whatever happened to Chattar Lal? He's shown crawling away from his defeat, but then has disappeared before the next wide angle. And when Indy goes to beat Mola Ram, and he slips away under the statue, the sequence is constructed of a bunch of un-used angles from different, earlier scenes... it's all a little bizarre, and points to many pre-release edits which might've softened the tone, although that's just a guess).

All I know is, those were really long brackets. I'm off to watch Last Crusade.

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

LN78

@RogerRoger My problem isn't so much with the behind the scenes elements more than it is with the film existing at all. Spielberg felt (and I agree with this wholeheartedly) that Indy,Henry,Salah and Brody riding off into the sunset at the conclusion of "The Last Crusade" was the best possible ending not only to that story but to the adventures of the character as a whole. It was best left well enough alone and they returned to the well for all the wrong reasons.

Edited on by LN78

LN78

RogerRoger

@LN78 Ah, right. Gotcha.

Well, I've never watched all four films in such quick succession before (and never watched Last Crusade and Crystal Skull almost back-to-back) so I'll keep that point in mind later on.

It'll likely be drowned out by my adoration of the Area 51 sequence but I'll try, at least!

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

LN78

@RogerRoger I guess we can get into a discussion on the myriad and abundant flaws of "Crystal Skull" (as well as why "Last Crusade" is thoroughly splendid) when you post your thoughts on those two films later on. Needless to say I don't like the fourth film. Like,at all. Happy viewing!

Edited on by LN78

LN78

RogerRoger

@LN78 I see no flaws.

Well, that's not strictly true. Whilst wrapping up the Indy saga, I will admit to finding a couple of the "group stands around, figuring stuff out" scenes a little slow towards the end, but I can't be certain whether that's because of poor pacing or because I've watched eight-and-a-half hours of these films over two days. It's perhaps my only fear for a fifth film; as it stands, the four Indiana Jones movies make for a just-long-enough-to-marathon complete package. A fifth might stretch things.

It's why I don't think I wanna rank them anymore. I used to, but re-watching them all in quick succession makes me appreciate them as one big adventure. This isn't like Bond or Star Wars, where new directors and characters have come and gone and provided different perspectives; there's a consistency to watching Harrison Ford through Steven Spielberg's lens, acting out stories by George Lucas. It all forms a cohesive whole. My favourite joke might be from Temple of Doom, but my favourite vehicle set-piece is from The Last Crusade, my favourite fight is from Crystal Skull and my favourite stunt monkey is from Raiders. For me, it might as well be one big film. I just love Indiana Jones.

But back to that pacing. It's something I noticed in both Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and, perhaps to a greater degree, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull which was absent from the first two films. These are "figure it out" adventure trail movies, with riddles leading to puzzles revealing traps which test courage and faith. There were brief moments like this before, but none so integral to the storyline. Before, Indy either had the answers or got them quickly enough, and then most of the runtime was watching him execute his solution or improvise an escape. Starting with the quest for the Holy Grail, and then in unravelling the mystery of Akator, there's more of a connection with Indy's thought process. We watch him get stumped, we hear him ask questions and see him get surprised by the answers. Heck, the finale of Last Crusade isn't some mano-a-mano with Donovan, but rather a series of imaginative mental and spiritual challenges. This I like. This I like a lot.

Even if it does have an impact on the pacing. Last Crusade feels really deliberate and serious after that slam-bang flashback opening. There's a good twenty minutes of exposition, almost joke-free and light on action (even the boat chase in Venice is relatively brief). It's only when we reach Austria that the puns pick up, moments before we're introduced to Henry Jones Sr. and then it's pure cinema magic until the credits roll. Sean Connery's performance here is perfect, simply perfect (in line with most of his post-Bond work). His entrance seems to have a transformative impact on the tone of the picture; not only do he and Indy become banter machines, but suddenly Marcus Brody is the bumbling comic relief, having been quite stoic and foreboding until that point, and Sallah rapidly returns to provide some classic one-liners as well.

The father / son dynamic feels like it's only ever briefly touched upon in dialogue, with Ford and Connery doing a lot of the heavy lifting between their lines to make you care, but the crescendo of their relationship's arc is amazing. With a little help from John Williams, the "let it go" scene still makes me all misty-eyed. It's right when you realise that the simple, heartstring-tugging core of the story has been there all along, gently snuck in behind all those Nazis and explosions... and heck, if Donovan and Vogel and Elsa were just window dressing for the script, what great window dressing they were.

Some of the visual window dressing, however, hasn't held up as well. The entire zeppelin and dogfight sequence doesn't look intrusively bad, but it shows that perhaps older movies should've stuck to what they could actually capture on film. It helps that some of the script's best gags are loaded into this five minutes ("What happens at eleven o'clock?") to paper over the cracks, and the subsequent tank set-piece is stunning enough to forgive all sins.

Other things I like? I like that Elsa isn't a skirt to be chased, but rather used to execute a series of plot twists; Indy's most important relationship is the one with his father, so adding another on top would've been an unwelcome distraction. I also like that it reinforces a more family-friendly tone for the franchise. Aside from Donovan's decomposition, everything is simply splashes of ketchup on people's chins, and I'd argue that it never needs to be more. And I'm not religious, nor do I have faith, but even I blink away a tear when Henry Jones Sr. is shown the grail for the first time. This may sound like I'm belittling or cheapening something I don't understand, but it almost makes me wish I could believe.

I'm rambling now. It's to avoid moving on to Crystal Skull.

Because I've got too much I wanna say... and yet I don't wanna say it, because I've talked about this film to others before and I invariably end up sounding defensive. Frankly, I don't want to have to. I shouldn't have to. Apologies in advance if old habits die hard.

Sometimes it's easy to forget that these "room full of old things" adventure yarns are period pieces, especially when taking a deep dive into ancient cultures and getting lost in crumbling tombs. The first half of Crystal Skull, however, gives you no chance to forget its 1950s setting. It's a pitch-perfect love letter to a specific era in contemporary American history, before it gets anywhere near Peru or Brazil, offering a nice stepping stone for its audience; go back in time a little before going back a lot. Indy's previous exploits hadn't hung around in America for very long, so getting to see more of his world before following him into others is a welcome change. Hot rods, Elvis, nuclear tests, McCarthyism, greasers... and yes, aliens.

Unidentified flying objects and their potential occupants have been speculated about, observed in dozens of cultural records and even, in some cases, worshiped. The idea of extraterrestrial beings visiting Earth is one of our ancient myths, just as valid as any other. Getting to explore them with Indy, appropriately in the alien-obsessed 50s and via several other interesting South American cultures, is both exciting and unique. Even if you disagree, that final shot of the flying saucer emerging from the temple should make it all worthwhile. It's simply breathtaking.

Yeah, I'm sounding defensive again. Sorry. Let's be more positive. It's great having Karen Allen back; Marion is written really well for her. And I love Spalko, too. In an era advanced enough to dream big, but still dumb enough to believe anything people said, I can totally imagine somebody like her rising through the ranks. She's as psychic as Yuri Geller, but also just as nuts, believing her own nonsense and letting it lead her to ruin. Her look is pure comic book, her performance just the right amount of camp, and she's overall a breath of fresh air compared to the previous villains. As a fencer, I'm also a sucker for swordplay and her spectacular duel with Mutt always leaves me grinning.

Speaking of duels, Indy versus Dovchenko amidst a sea of "big damn ants" is that aforementioned favourite fight from all four films. Just two men duking it out, no stunt doubles, no flashy moves... this is what I'm watching Indiana Jones for. Especially since Ford is still doing most of his own physical acting; there are just as many stunt doubles in the previous three adventures as there are here, so hats off to the guy (pun semi-intended). I think Crystal Skull might be his best overall performance. His comic timing in the whole dry sand scene is perfect.

He's given rich material and a well-defined character to work with. Once again, Indy is all about rescuing a friend more than anything else, and the various interconnected relationships he has with the ensemble cast provide a myriad of neat moments (Charles telling Indy that they've reached the age where life stops giving and starts taking away, only for Indy to reunite with Marion and discover his son, is perhaps my favourite). Some of these hero resurrection vehicles in recent years have been quite cynical, or have made too many changes to a classic formula, but everything in Crystal Skull feels authentic and respectful of its legacy. It knows that the stunts would feel hollow without character, just as much as the dialogue would be a little boring without an occasional motorbike chase.

Being the age I am, Crystal Skull is the only Indiana Jones movie I've seen on opening night. No matter its legacy, I can tell you first-hand that everybody in that packed cinema laughed at all the gags, gasped at all the stunts and went "Eew!" as the ants poured down Dovchenko's throat. The energy in that room was fantastic and the snippets of reaction I heard on the way out were uniformly positive. I've never seen any other picture elicit quite the same buzz. That's what I remember most, and that's why I'll try and see the fifth film in the same way.

Because nothing beats a good adventure... and if adventure has a name, it must be Indiana Jones.

Apologies again. Couldn't resist.

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

LN78

@RogerRoger "I see no flaws" is all you had to say. 😂.

Edited on by LN78

LN78

Rudy_Manchego

@RogerRoger I am not a fan of Crystal Skull and My main complaint is not necessarily it is a bad movie but that it has a central emotional core that doesn’t work for me. The father son relationship just doesn’t gel because it feels like what it is, an attempt at a spin off franchise. It feels out of touch with the other movies. I also think there is too much almost winking at the camera nods to the Indy legacy that is out finally. Lastly the previous films were very practical effects heavy and it felt like too much CG.

That said, I recommend everyone to YouTube the Shia Labeouf song. Safe for work btw.

Now I may be an idiot, but there's one thing I am not sir, and that sir, is an idiot

https://jambags.co.uk

PSN: Rudy_Manchego | Twitter:

RogerRoger

@LN78 Yeah, I know. I rambled too much on that one; it was late, I was tired, etc. and therefore wasn't as eloquent as I'd have liked. Still, at least I've pitched my tent and can sit in it now, regardless of how irksome that wall of text might be. I likely won't watch them again for a long time, perhaps after the new film in 2021.

It's clear we're both equally passionate about the films, albeit for slightly different reasons towards the end, so I respect that. Fingers crossed for a universally-welcome fifth adventure.

@Rudy_Manchego That's cool. I could refute but I think I've said enough (although I did delete a paragraph on the genius practical effects in Crystal Skull, but hey) and at the end of the day, one person's smile at seeing the Ark in Area 51 is another person's eye-rolling groan.

You're right, though; that YouTube video is hilarious.

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Rudy_Manchego

@RogerRoger Don’t worry I wasn’t trying to argue! Too many people think discussions are about trying to change minds. I, for one, think Last Crusade is the best Indy though that may be because I had it on VHS as a kid.

Now I may be an idiot, but there's one thing I am not sir, and that sir, is an idiot

https://jambags.co.uk

PSN: Rudy_Manchego | Twitter:

LN78

@Rudy_Manchego Zavvi, bless 'em, delivered my wonderful "Apocalypse Now" steelbook a day early. I thought you might like to know that all three cuts of the film are in 4K HDR. It's a very comprehensive set. Even the "Hearts of Darkness" documentary has a commentary track!

LN78

Th3solution

@RogerRoger I very much enjoyed reading your thoughts on the latter two IJ movies. I had to smile as your review brought back memories of some of the great moments. And you needn’t feel as if you’re coming across defensive, because A) you’re not, and B) we all have opinions and we all respect each other’s preferences, and C) if there’s one thing you do well is explain with supportive points why you feel the way you do. It would be one thing to come here and say “Crystal Skull is the bomb, dewd, and you’re all idiots for not agreeing with me!” But it’s quite another to say you enjoyed something and then taking us through the thought process and emotions that take you to that conclusion. I also feel like you’re honest with yourself when something in the film doesn’t click or when you just enjoy something out of simple personal preference, and you bring up some great insights and it makes me want to watch the films again. Alas, I have a mountain of MCU I’m trying to make it through though 😉 (Speaking of feeling defensive against the popular opinion)

The other thing that reading these reviews of Indiana Jones does for me is that it makes me really want another Uncharted game.

Edited on by Th3solution

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

JohnnyShoulder

@Th3solution You mean another Nathan Drake game?

We are now in a world of people being offended for other people who they think should be offended, who arent offended.

There is no longer a good time to release a game. There are only less s**t times to release a game

PSN: JohnnyShoulder

Th3solution

@JohnnyShoulder Lol, yeah but it will probably be a “Nathan Drake game but without Nathan Drake in it”, or likely “a Nathan Drake game with his daughter in it” in the words of Papa Shoulder. 😂

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Rudy_Manchego

@LN78 Oh man - that is going on my Christmas wishlist now!

Now I may be an idiot, but there's one thing I am not sir, and that sir, is an idiot

https://jambags.co.uk

PSN: Rudy_Manchego | Twitter:

JohnnyShoulder

@Th3solution Ha Ha or the film with young Nathan Drake in it.

We are now in a world of people being offended for other people who they think should be offended, who arent offended.

There is no longer a good time to release a game. There are only less s**t times to release a game

PSN: JohnnyShoulder

RogerRoger

@Rudy_Manchego Having a film on VHS as a kid is a perfectly valid reason for thinking it awesome.

@Th3solution Thanks for saying that, buddy. Speaking of which, how goes the Marvel marathon? You must be nearing the end by now, surely?!

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Th3solution

@RogerRoger Lol, well the marathon is more of a slow trickle, perhaps ‘water torture’ would be an apt description. 😜 But actually it has been enjoyable. I’ve only made it through 3 more since my last report. Still 7 to go. From my last few - Age of Ultron, Ant Man, and Civil War - I have seen a real acceleration of the mega-plot of the stones and where this is going with Thanos’s big plans. Seeing the post credits scene after Ultron really makes a lot more sense after seeing the latter movies. Also that he was behind all the goings-on in that movie was a revelation to me this time around.
I do have to say, as much as I enjoyed Ant Man the first time I watched it, this time I can’t help but be a little put off by the complete disregard for physics that it employs. Yes, yes... I know all these Superhero shows are so far from reality that I shouldn’t be picky, but the idea of Ant Man is that he shrinks due to the Pym particle somehow making his atoms closer together. I can swallow that — it’s just standard fare for super hero traits and I don’t really feel like I need more of an explanation there..., BUT they say he maintains his mass and power so that he is then able to hit and throw full sized enemies. It’s a point they specifically state in the story that the advantage of the shrinking is also in the concentration of mass and power, and he is shown hitting other guys when he’s small and knocking them over even when he’s ant sized. ... and then he jumps on his flying ant and rides off?! If he kept even a fraction of his original mass after shrinking, then he would crush that ant. 😅 It certainly wouldn’t be flying off with him on its back. How can he knock over a full-sized man, but ride on the back of an ant without squishing it? It’s just one example of the inconsistency of the rules and laws of nature in the film.
But, yes... I know if you pick apart 90% of fantasy / superhero movies then the laws of the world that is created ends up being inconsistent. I suspend disbelief usually, but this go around with Ant Man it broke the immersion a little bit to see that. And never mind the scene where he actually grows big during the airport fight in Civil War and lumbers around like he weighs 1000 tons.🙄

Oh, and I also noticed this time around that— Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch accent is awful.

Edited on by Th3solution

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

RogerRoger

@Th3solution You sound like my inner monologue!

All I remember about Age of Ultron is that James Spader has an awesome voice. I really enjoyed both Ant-Man and Civil War when I saw them, despite having similar thoughts to yours; any concern I had for the flying ant in the former was bulldozed by a giant Thomas the Tank Engine (my favourite thing as a pre-gaming kid) whilst in the latter, the airport sequence referenced The Empire Strikes Back (my favourite thing as a post-gaming kid) so I just went along with it. Moments like those are the very definition of Marvel for me. "Don't think, don't question, wait for the next joke or reference and you're guaranteed a smile - that's what you're paying five bucks for on entry."

Best of luck with those final seven, whenever you get to them; as long as you're enjoying the process, that's all that matters. They ain't goin' anywhere!

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

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