Critiquing of the Crystal Skull - What Went Wrong?

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by Jango10, Jun 17, 2008.

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  1. JFuchs77 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2006
    star 4
    Indy should have been called "Indiana Jones" more than "Henry Jones Junior".
  2. Solo_Watto Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 21, 2008
    I enjoyed the first half of the film just fine, but felt that an over reliance on unbelievable CGI set pieces took me out of the experience for much of the remainder of the film. I have no real problem with Shia LaBeouf and think he is quite a charismatic screen prescence. But I didn?t really like how the film seemed to be very much an ensemble piece, just a lone Indy should suffice. Oh, and there seemed to be an awful lot of exposition. I don?t know if it?s better or worse than Temple of Doom as I haven?t seen that film in years.
  3. Gopher_Tanis Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2006
    I just think the film lacked humour and character interplay. It was too much setting up one sequence after the other. The other films had sequences, which stopped and then charcter interaction happend between them. This film was one sequence leading straight into another sequence.
  4. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2000
    star 5
    Well, this film was relatively unique in that regard, since the character interaction of the second half tended to take place during the action sequences rather than between them. I don't blame the filmmakers for this one iota, given the breathless pace of the movie, which I see as a plus.
  5. JohnWesleyDowney Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2004
    star 5

    This film was one sequence leading straight into another sequence.

    Uh, yes, that's usually called "dramatic flow." [face_laugh]
  6. Koohii Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    I have a few. Maybe even a couple of new ones.

    1: they tried to have a sword fight without getting Bob Anderson to choreograph. All of the "fighting" stuff is pretty weak, actually. I'm not looking for wire-fu (though they did use some), but actual fights that looked good. Ford's fighting was the most realistic and in-character with broad, clumbsy roundhouse swings, but that's about it.
    2: completely wrong flavor. Indianna Jones is PULP SERIAL FICTION, not SciFi. Yes, in the real world, our consciousness did change to the 50's atomic cafe scifi, and if I want to watch that, I will. I watch Indianna Jones movies for Pulp Action, and cheezy humor. I watch StarWars, StarGate, and others for SciFi.
    3: Computer Generated Animals. I don't care what specific formula or program is used to make them: if they look fake (and they did), it damages if not destroys suspension of disbelief.
    4: Pacing--there is no slow time. It's rush rush rush rush rush... Like watching a kid playing a videogame.
    5: Acting. Sorry, there was just no connection to any of the characters for me. And no chemistry either.
    6: Endings. Never mind the horrible flying saucer, the wedding scene with the attempt to pass the torch to Shea LeBouf (or however you say is name) was awful.
    7: No real connection to previous movies. I know they made a big deal about bringing Marion back, but she didn't seem like the same person at all. Others were referenced, and there was the photo of Sean Connery, but all that did was remind me how good the old movies were, and that this wasn't close.
    8: No suspense--kind of an offshoot of the pacing problem. It seemed like an endless series of gimick shots designed to look cool without any real substance behind them.
    9: lighting. Why is everyone's hair glowing. Seriously, look at the outdoor shots, like when they're running down the temple steps from the army of "natives". It's glaring enough that I found it distracting from the plot.
    10: color saturation. Also most problematic in the outdoor jungle scenes, when everything looks faded and yellowed like an old sepia-toned photograph. On the other end you have the bomb-test village, where all the colors are overdone and the scene looks like a cartoon.
    11: pointless psychic powers. The movie introduces them, but doesn't really use them. Seemed rather wasted
    12: how-humm villains. Seriously, why are we worried about these guys?

    All in all, I'd have to say "The Mummy" was a better inherritor of Indianna Jones.
    Spielberg was right: the series ended perfectly with Last Crusade, and it should have stopped there.
  7. HanSolo29 Manager Emeritus + Official Star Wars Artist

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2001
    star 6
    Although I agree with you on some points, I think you're over analyzing and disagree on the others. But you know what? That's all part of the fun. I'm not gonna chastise someone for their opinion and I respect that you didn't like the film. That was the whole point of this thread.

    With that said, welcome to the forum. :)
  8. Palpateen Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2000
    star 4

    the series ended perfectly with Last Crusade, and it should have stopped there.

    No wonder you hated it. You didn't think it should have ever been made. I think your mind was already made up before you saw it.

    Andy Wylde likes this.
  9. Thegoat Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2004
    star 1
    Most of your points are valid. I disagree about the sci-fi plot being out of place. It's refreshing that they were trying something new while keeping it in the same Indiana Jones Style. I bought all of it until the alien appeared. That was just ridiculous, even for Indiana Jones. Jesus Christ didn't pop out of the Holy Grail.

    As far as the characters go, Shia and Ford were both fantastic. I was genuinely surprised at how much I loved Mutt's character. It's clear that Shia took the role very seriously and did a tremendous job. After all, being the guy that ruins Indiana Jones would be a real career killer.

    The ending was pure class. I liked Marion in this movie (with the exception of a few moments), and the wedding was a nice ending for the characters. I was cringing as Shia picked up the hat, praying to God that they weren't going to do what I thought they were doing. Then Indiana's like "Yeah right." They weren't passing the torch, the were pulling a prank, and I admit: they got me.
  10. Koohii Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    Actually, I'd forgotten all about the ending until I saw Spielberg's comments in the extras. I was looking forward to a new Indianna Jones story. Sadly, I got this instead.
  11. TaintedJedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 2, 2004
    star 4
    Being an anthropology major, I noticed tons of errors in the archaeology/geography of KoTCS... Cusco is much farther away from the Nazca Lines then the actual capital, Lima. Additionally, it's on the wrong side of the country to be near the lines... Peru has desert/coast one side and then the Andes on the other, even if they're a very short distance from one another. References in KoTCS to Indigenous Peoples as Mayan/Aztec is completely errorneous. The Inca were the Native Peoples most famously associated with Peru. The Maya are a Mesoamerican culture (Central America) and the Aztec mostly inhabited what is now modern day Mexico. Not to mention the whole "alien culture is responsible for these people's sophisticated math/engineering achievements" is sort of demeaning... not to nit pick mercilessly, but I did find myself going "awwww" a few times through KoTCS when they just didn't do their homework. Oh yeah, and Mutt pulling a Tarzan and having nads of steel. That was over the top. I could live with the fridge schtick, considering we accepted Temple of Doom's free fall drop IN A PARTIALLY INFLATED RAFT down a mountain... not so crazy. Sometimes looking at the previous films with a fresh, critical eye makes all the difference.

    EDIT: Oh, and John Hurt could've just as easily been Abner Ravenwood. More interesting and more what I was hoping for. Too many characters were introduced in KoTCS that we were supposed to be invested in or at least accept we should be invested in when there were plenty of established characters that could've worked...
  12. jedibri Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2000
    star 4
    I'm a big fan of Indy 4. But, what could have been better:


    1. Mutt swinging in the tree's with monkey's. Why does Lucas have to have a kiddy moment in all his films?

    2. The UFO at the end. You expect this huge take-off and it's Spielberg so it's going to rock and then..... Nothing it just goes away.
  13. THRAWNFAN Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 23, 2007
    star 2
    1. Raiders is renown for its mostly accurate historical and biblical research. Crystal Skull is full of geograpgic and anthropological inaccuracies.
    2. The aliens at the end and the mythos in general, utterly pointless

    Otherwise I have no complaints, it is actually second to Raiders in my opinion.
  14. Maphisto86 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 2, 2005
    star 1
    I agree with most of the points made already. Here are some of my two cents...

    Like many others, I felt the fridge scene as too unbelievable, even for a film franchise like Indiana Jones. While I like the thought of Indiana Jones surviving a Atomic bomb blast since this film takes place in the fifties, but the way he survives is too ridiculous. I have even gotten used to replacing "jumped the shark" with "nuked the fridge" in my vernacular.

    The scene with the grave cultists or guards was cool but their presence in the film is never explained. Who where they? Why are they there? It makes the scene seem pointless and takes you out of the film.

    Harold Oxley (John Hurt) was a character who was not used to his full potential. I am sorry but he was a pointless character. Then again we jump into the film where both Indy and Oxley where friends for years. Still it was a clumsy introduction to a character that leaves the audience clueless as to Oxley's motives and his death seemed nonsensical.

    Muut's character was actually not bad but I was not impressed with one thing: his nickname. I mean "Muut"!? While Indy's name was the name of his dog, his son's name might as well be "dog". I think Spielberg and Lucas could have come up with a better nickname.

    That's all for now.
  15. GrandAdmiral_Frank Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 2003
    star 4
  16. HanSolo29 Manager Emeritus + Official Star Wars Artist

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2001
    star 6
    What Frank said. Oxley survived the film, you were probably thinking of Mac.


    I always assumed it was a take on Indy's line in the diner, "...guarded by the living dead." Of course, he was referencing the Ugha warriors at Akator, but the cemetery warriors match that description too. They're guys running around with skull masks on, protecting the secrets the graveyard holds, hence, the living dead.
  17. Jedi knight Pozzi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2000
    star 6
    I disliked the lighting, but the big problem for me is that alot of locations feel like props made up to make a setting. They aren't organic enough for me.
  18. nobeazer Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2007
    star 1
    isn't it obvious? the cg gophers and the cheesey swinging with the monkeys scene. if those weren't in it the movie would of been perfect. i really liked the aliens. i don't know why people hate the aliens so much.
  19. rpeugh Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2002
    star 4
    You know, Indy 4 was a fairly decent film, but not anywhere near up to the standards of the first 3. Therefore I will always think of it as seperate from the first 3. I will buy it, but it wont be in the same collectors set as the first 3 (I will just keep the 2003 set.)

    There were things I liked about the movie, which made the things I disliked that much more frustruating.

    The cgi bothered me quite a bit. I didnt mind it in the Star Wars prequels, because there you are talking about fantasy/science fiction, and I just accept that as the style of the prequel trilogy the way it is the style for 300. But it just seems completely out of place in an Indiana Jones film.

    I didnt like the cgi monkey sequence, nor the cgi gophers.

    Indy was solving clues and puzzles way too quickly, and you really couldnt follow along.

    They should have approached this more the way that Stallone approached Rocky 6, and they should have dealt with Indy's old age in a more realistic/tragic way. Everything was just too neat at the end with Indy being reunited with his son and Marion. They should have established that Marion's character had died, and as a result Indy's son would resent him for abandoning him and Marion. Then they would somehow have a classic reconcilation of the father and son at the end. People might have considered that a rip-off of THE LAST CRUSADE in a way, but I think it could have worked. Indy should not have been able to deal with enemies in such a physical way. He should have struggled against them, and he should have won in the end only with luck, determination, and intelligence.

    I think the movie would have worked better if Mack had been not such a goof ball, but had actually been the main villain much like Belloq from RAIDERS. In fact, thats what I expected when I heard who would be playing Mack. The Russian woman could have been one of the main henchmen.

    I liked the aliens. In fact, Im wondering if it would have been better if they had tried to go further with the Alien idea somewhat like Lucas had wanted. It seemed like it might have been a mistake to compromise between the alien idea and the traditional historical realm of the previous movies.
  20. Internets Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2008
    Maybe the magnetism of the alien pulled the bullets away ; )
  21. StarWarrior77 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2008
    star 3
    I enjoyed KOTCS alot, but the only gripe I have about it is the way Spalco died. I was expecting something more scpectacular and maybe more grusome (like Toht's face melting in Raiders) but instead she kinda lit up and burned up like Grievous in Revenge of the Sith. Other than that, the film was great!
  22. Grand_Moff_Jawa Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2001
    star 5
    I made it a point to remain as spoiler-free as humanly possible for this movie. I didn't even get to see it in the theater, I waited for the DVD release. (I hate theaters, that's why.)

    Anyway, I've only watched the DVD once. I usually watch a movie for the first time, then mull it over in my head for a while before I try watching it again. I'm sure I will watch Indy 4 again, but not sure when.

    The biggest issues I had is the lack of real danger for the heroes, as well as focus of the plot. I wasn't sure if they were trying to find this lost City of Gold ($$$) or returning the skull. But WHY did they need to return the skull? So Ox would stop babbling?

    The skull had some sort of psychic powers, apparently. Again, we're never really led to believe the Nazi's getting their hands on it is a huge danger to be avoided at all costs. If the Nazi's got the Ark, it would've been a bad day for all. We saw what that thing could do. The Holy Grail extended life, sort of. It had a price attached to it, but it was still way powerful. The stones from TOD could leave a nasty bruise if you got hit with one. (Just kidding!)

    Spalko had no depth. She used a Jedi mind trick of some kind to read your thoughts, but did nothing with it, really. She was good with a sword, but just wasn't as villainous as previous characters like Belloq and the Nazi's from Raiders, Crusade. The cult in TOD was WAY scary. Even Donovan had more menace. Mack was truly a thrown-in character with no real point. What was he, a triple agent? Silly.

    Finally, the CGI (monkeys especially) was total crap most of the time. The other three movies didn't have any (of course) and the overuse of it in Skull made the movie stick out visually from the others. Sort of like another set of movies with George's name attached to them... But I digress.

    Mutt didn't bother me, other than the previously mentioned CGI monkey goodness he was involved in. Poor Karen Allen had no point in this movie either. Just another face to bring us back to when Raiders came out. A cheap tie-in. I loved Marion in Raiders. She was spunky and could take care of herself. She did nothing but complain in Skull.

    These are some of the high points that bothered me most. I could go into more minute detail, but I'll save that for later. I still need to sort it all out in my own head. All this after just seeing the movie once!
  23. DRush76 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4
    I never understood this hostility toward CGI. It's like reliving the hostility toward sound in the late 20s all over again.

    As for my problem with CRYSTAL SKULLS, it had an anti-climatic ending like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and LAST CRUSADE. Only TEMPLE OF DOOM managed to avoid this flaw.
  24. Beirut Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 8, 2005
    I think people over-reacted to the cgi use in Indy 4.

    As the documentary on the dvd reveals, the film was approached in a traditional manner that you rarely see from summer blockbusters today. The hitch is that "old-school" in 2008 isn't going to be exactly the same as it was 20 or 30 years ago. Even the recent (and low budget) Rambo film had to rely heavily on cgi for its death scenes.

    I also think the main problem a lot of people had with it, is that Indiana Jones just doesn't fit today's audiences very well. Or rather, it doesn't fit today's online audiences very well- which is the main demographic that it failed to satisfy. Ironically, they did end up waiting to long to make it- but not because of Ford's age as everyone had feared.

    We've simply experienced a shift away from cinematic escapism- which has always been Indy's forte- and towards an increasing demand for realism. Fanboys and kids now devote so much time online to their hobbies (ie. film, comics, videogames, etc.), that they want the material to be taken as seriously as possible. And truthfully, this isn't such a great fit for a series that has always been more pulp than anything else.

    Spielberg sought to make an Indy sequel that was created in the same spirit as the last two, and I believe he succeeded. But that is also what ultimately doomed it for the online crowd. Batman Forever was a huge hit in 1995, but you couldn't make that film today. The new Bond movie has little time for gadgets, humor, or- gasp- sex. Even Stallone realized that what worked for him in the 1980's (ie. Rocky 4; Rambo 2) would be a much tougher sell today.

    The film we ended up with featured comedy that was just as broad as it was in Temple or Crusade. Villains that were just as stereotypical as a Mola Ram or Colonel Vogel. Action sequences that were just as silly as the raft escape in Temple or as tongue-in-cheek as the bi-plane chase in Crusade. In other words, it featured the same things that had been criticized online about the previous sequels for years.

    For some reason, few are willing to admit this fundamental design flaw, so we end up with dozens of reasons why the film wasn't better.

    "It was the story. No, it was the brief moments of playful elements. No, those elements were fine, it was the fact that they were cgi. No, the cgi wasn't the problem- it was the lighting. Dude, the lighting didn't bother me, it was the over-the-top moments. I actually liked the over-the-top moments, it was just the way they were executed. I disagree, I thought everything worked okay, I just couldn't get past the aliens." And on and on.

    At the end of the day, the only way this film was ever going to please the online crowd was through its choice of tone. If it had ignored the previous entries and been treated like a completely serious-minded affair, it would've won major cool points with the fanboys. For them, it's a cardinal sin to take a family-friendy route over one that is gritty, violent, or "badass".

    But at his core, Indiana Jones just isn't a badass. He's a scrappy guy who constantly gets in over his head, and somehow survives through luck far more often than through raw skill or brute force. This is the way Lucas, Spielberg, and even Ford have always thought of him, which is why it's the dominant image we find on display in Indy 4.
  25. ObiWanCon Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 15, 2004
    star 4
    =D==D==D==D= Beirut I agree completely with you.
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