Is Indy 4 that bad?

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by skywalker_san, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. HanSolo29 Manager Emeritus + Official Star Wars Artist

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2001
    star 6
    I think that's the biggest problem I have with it.

    First, let me say that I loved the film. I saw it several times in theaters and I still continue to watch it on DVD/blu-ray. It's an Indiana Jones film plain and simple. I'm not quite sure what the people who hated it were looking to get out of it in the end, but anyway, the reunion aspect - I feel that if there was a huge flaw in the film it was the ensemble cast. In the first two films, Indy was only accompanied by one or two other people and most of the action was handled by Indy himself (which you would expect, considering that he is the title character). Things started to change with Last Crusade with a larger cast, but it still worked. And then we get to Crystal Skull and all the sudden, we have all these characters following Indy around and they are all vying for attention and trying to take away their own piece of the action. This is really obvious during the big jungle chase in the second half of the film, where Indy is reduced to driving a truck and shouting random comments while the main action focuses on the other characters. It would have been nice to see him do something more meaningful during that sequence. It was a wasted opportunity in favor of the antics of Mutt and his Soviet-hating monkeys.

    I guess it's a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things, but something that bothers me nevertheless.
    Last edited by HanSolo29, Feb 14, 2013
  2. BoromirsFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2010
    star 4
    It isn't bad. It works as a sort of epilogue to the series. I like it because of this. It doesn't call for any sequels, its done. Not many films do this. If they bring a license back up, they usually cash it out for as many sequels.
    oierem and DarthRelaxus like this.
  3. Chainmail_Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 26, 2013
    star 2
    Yes, it really is that bad.
  4. oierem Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2009
    star 3
    I partly agree; that's why the first half of the film feels more like an Indiana Jones movie (both the prologue and the peruvian sequence). I liked Mutt very much, and I felt that his relationship with Indy really worked well. The "problem" (I wouldn't call it a problem, I really enjoy the movie) comes when Marion, Oxley and Marc all join the action: the whole father-son dynamic is somewhat lost because there are so many characters, none of them as interesting as Mutt or Indy. Marion is OK, I guess, but Oxley's relatioship with Indy is never properly handled, and Marc is just too complicated to even care about.
    The Jungle Chase is still fun, but the last quarter of the movie really suffers from the "ensemble cast".
    HanSolo29 likes this.
  5. Iefan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2013
    star 1

    I have to partly agree with this. I think the first third of the film is where the gold is at. Once they get to Peru I kind of get lost. I didn't like any of the jungle scenes really. I mean, they were fine, but they were more eyecandy to me than thrilling and they didn't have me "on the edge of my seat".
    Last edited by Iefan, Feb 16, 2013
  6. BigAl6ft6 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2012
    star 5
    That's one of my fav. things about the movie, it really doesn't lead into "Mutt Jones" series younger generation spin off (which is reportedly why they're trying to make Ghostbusters 3). There is that shot of the hat where Mutt *almost* picks it up, and if this was a standard studio spin-off he totally would. But it's an Indy movie, there is only Indy, and it's his darn hat.

    It's a fun, last hurrah for the characters and the main point is that Indy's family will continue and he's found one, compared to the isolated, only-caring-about-artifacts adventurer that kicked off in "Raiders". While I always had a feeling Indy 4 was going to happen, I really can't ever see Indy 5 happening, which would dilute the rather nice place the series ended at.
  7. oierem Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2009
    star 3
    Although I totally agree, you could say the same think about the ending of Crusade: it's a perfect ending,with Indy refusing the treasure, reaching "enlightment", and riding off to the sunset with his father and friends. And it is the last of the adventures set in the 30s, so it may seem that having just one new movie set in the 50s might be superfluous.

    But KOTCS also has a nice ending, that's true, and nicely closes of the saga... again.

    In any case, Indiana Jones is not an unified Saga that requires and ending point, it's a series of independent movies, so there's always the possibility of making sequels, and it's find if we don't want to consider them as part of "our" series. That's the nice thing about it (as opposed to SW, where each episode is part of the bigger story).

    However, I can't see Indy 5 happening, mainly because neither Spielber nor Lucas seems to have any real interest right now, and Harrison is reaching the age where it's just impossible to make one more. Although he seems to be willing to make more films (as his return to SW shows, and Han was a character that Ford was done with by the 80s.)
    BigAl6ft6 likes this.
  8. AndyLGR Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 1, 2014
    star 3
    I think it starts off well. I enjoyed most of the first half of the film until they leave for South America, I must admit I was sceptical when we see an alien at the start, but to be fair it held my interest for most of that time, but once they get to Ox's cell its a disaster from there on in IMO and it ended up being my most disappointing film experience ever and I hate to say that as I love the first 3.

    The mcguffin for the film is very poor. The exposition scene with Mutt doesn't explain it well enough. Why do they need to return it? Whats it for?

    They find the skull very easily and theres no danger in that tomb. But why was the skull taken?

    The re-introduction of Marion should have been a great scene, instead its played for laughs that aren't funny. The humour following this is terrible. The pointless quick sand scene, the comedy bickering again. Indys told he has a son, that should be poigant instead cue more attempted comedy lines. The jungle cutter scene should have been an equivalent to the Raiders desert chase. There was no peril in it though. The fencing scene was embarassing with Marion coaching him whilst Indy is mugging to the camera in a 'chip off the old block kind of way'. In fact Marion in Raiders comes across as strong willed and independant, in this shes just spouting poor comic quips and one liners and is overall pointless to the story. Speaking of which, what was Ox's purpose? The same can be said of Mac too in the last half.

    So they get to the temple after the unncessary waterfall drops. Chased by natives, yet again theres a feeling of no peril.

    I also think there are too many 'heroes' on the end quest, they could have easily cut 3 of them (Mac, Ox and Marion), instead they all vie for screen time and none are given much of a role or a point and I didn't care about the majority of them.

    We get the end and again theres no reasoning for returning the skull and when they do why does an alien appear at the end? The ending is probably the worst aspect of the whole film. It makes no sense to me at all. I can accept all the religious things that have gone on in previous films, but call me stupid because I think they over stepped the line by showing aliens and a spaceship, I really do. I don't buy this 'oh its a 50's sci fi b-movie' explanation. To me they don't belong in an Indiana Jones movie at all or maybe the makers didn't pull off the mish mash of pulp adventure and sci fi?

    So the ship flies off an then Ox is miraculously ok and throws in the interdimensional beings and the space between spaces lines!! WTF is that about?

    Honestly I can't believe that not one person involved making that film didn't question the overall story and characters whilst they were making it. It really is poor from such top quality film makers and actors. Don't get me wrong I think Harrison isn't bad in the film, but as one of the 'keepers of the keys' of the character how much input did he have?

    In addition the film seems to have no scope or sweep to it. They only go from America to South America, its unimaginative.

    I wonder if they thought that they need to get the film made no matter what the story was, because it had gone through a few re-writes and time was ticking.

    However I hope they make 5 to make sure the Indy series gets a better send off with Harrison.
    Last edited by AndyLGR, Aug 6, 2014
  9. The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2011
    star 4
    Neither Mutt nor Indy nor anybody else knows yet. It's the very first scene where the crystal skull is brought up. You're not supposed to know everything there is to know about the artifact right from the outset. That's what the rest of the movie's about. It's a mystery.

    Why does there have to be danger in the tomb? We just went through an extended (and very well-done) fight sequence at the entrance to the tomb, with the native crypt guardians. It's called pacing.

    Indy speculates that the conquistadors found the skull in Akator along with all the other loot, and stole it. Later on, in the background of one of the temples at Akator, there's actually a mural that depicts what really happened, showing the conquistadors violently decapitating one of the aliens and taking the skull. This isn't very prominent, and is mostly an easter egg for sharp-eyed viewers, but there's nothing wrong with that. We know for sure that Orellana and his men forcibly took the skull from Akator against the wishes of the aliens and of the natives, and that the skull itself wants to be returned to where it came from. That's all we need to know, and I'm not really sure what you were confused about.

    No reasoning for returning the skull? I honestly don't understand what you don't get about this. The skull is giving Indy psychic orders to bring it back to its spaceship. At the end, we see why: it wanted to be reattached to its skeleton and reunited with its comrades, who were all still alive, in a sort of suspended animation. This was all very clear, I thought.

    Ox was acting crazy because the crystal skull took over his mind in an attempt to influence him to return the skull to Akator. It's the same thing that happened to Indy, except Indy didn't go crazy because, as Spalko said, Indy's mind was somehow more resilient. That's why Ox was obsessed with the word "return" and scrawled it in different languages all over the walls of his cell in Peru.

    When the skull was finally returned to its skeleton, it relinquished its hold on Ox's mind, because it had achieved its goal. That's why he's suddenly "miraculously" okay in the spaceship. The bit about "interdimensional beings" was thrown in there because Spielberg was still uncomfortable with the idea of aliens in an Indy movie and wanted to differentiate them somehow. It was a bit awkward, but at the same time slightly interesting--and it kind of explains how all the aliens were able to occupy the same space and combine into one being at the end. But if you want to blame someone for it, blame Spielberg for his squeamishness about including aliens in an Indiana Jones movie. I know you can sympathize.


    The story was fine, and made perfect sense. I think the problem was that you decided aliens didn't belong in an Indiana Jones movie and couldn't possibly make sense within it, and as such you intentionally checked out without making an effort to comprehend the plot. Because the plot wasn't that complicated. I was a junior in high school and understood it more or less perfectly on first viewing (though I obviously didn't catch the bit in the background explaining exactly how the Spaniards came into possession of the skull--like I said, it's an easter egg).

    As for the scope of the film--I don't think it was that different from the other movies. There were a lot of interesting locations in the film: a top-secret military base where they store paranormal artifacts and test nuclear bombs, a 1950s college town filled with all kinds of charming throwbacks, a creepy graveyard in Peru overlooking the Nazca lines, an Amazonian jungle infested with killer ants, an exotic hidden kingdom in the middle of a giant crater surrounded by massive waterfalls and centered on a buried flying saucer filled with ancient artifacts from all parts of the globe. There's just as much variety there as any other Indy movie, regardless of the exact number of continents they cover.
  10. AndyLGR Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 1, 2014
    star 3

    No not really. I explained my well reasoned issues (I thought they were anyway). I've watched it quite a few times since to try and give it a chance.


    The story is far from fine and I think is poor, the plot is non existent with a terrible macguffin that seems totally pointless. Add to that some characters that add nothing to the story and I really think it turned in to a mess for the second half.


    Not clear at all to my mind, so you’re saying Indy knew why he had to return the skull? I don’t buy that. If so, I don't think that comes across as why are they desperate to take it back there. Suspended animation? I need to read the book and see if it explains it all any better because it all sounds like different interpretations to different people to me.


    I like that explanation. However I do think Ox is a poor character in the overall story.


    This of all the scenes in the film is the one I struggle to reconcile in my mind, it would be interesting if it made you think in a good way, instead it made me think WTF and that took me out of the film. Again I'm not 100% on your interpretation of it.


    Congratulations on such a condescending sentence, maybe my older years (or the mileage) meant I struggled :) and genuinely you are the first person I've heard say that, even amongst the Indy forums I've never read that. But I respect the fact that you like it.

    To summarise yes I think Indy 4 is that bad. Which is a real shame because I hold the first 3 Indy films in the same regard as the SW films. I think KOTCS was a missed opportunity.
    Last edited by AndyLGR, Aug 27, 2014
    Sarge likes this.
  11. solo77 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2002
    star 5
    Some of the CGI is the worst I've seen period
  12. Seagoat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2013
    star 4
    Andy Wylde likes this.
  13. The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2011
    star 4
    First off, I'm sorry, that one bit was a tad condescending. I really wasn't trying to insult your intelligence, though--like I said, I think you just checked out because the alien aspect turned you off. Doesn't mean you're dumb or anything. But I shouldn't have speculated about your subjective experience like that anyway, after all it's not really necessary in a discussion like this. So again, I apologize.

    No, I don't think Indy really knew why he had to return it. When his companions ask him why, all he says is, "Because it [the skull] told me to." He's being compelled by the skull to an extent. At first it seems kind of lame to think of independent Indy becoming a thrall to an alien skull, but remember that we find out later that the aliens were archaeologists just like Indy. Indy isn't really being ordered around by the skull; he actually made a connection with it, even if he doesn't quite know it. His innate desire for knowledge is combining with the alien's desire to return home, and it's driving him toward Akator. This is kind of subtextual, admittedly. But it's definitely there. We see how protective Ox is of the skull, like it's something unspeakably precious--almost like it's a child, even. Clearly, it isn't a malevolent force except to those who seek to abuse it.

    It makes sense to me. I don't think it was a coincidence that they were described as inter-dimensional beings in a scene immediately before they flamboyantly violate the laws of three-dimensional space.

    But I'm agreeing with you that the inter-dimensional aspect wasn't necessary. It really was mostly just thrown in there to appease Spielberg. If he'd been willing to just let them be plain old space aliens, that stuff wouldn't be in there. But like I said, in the end it doesn't actually bother me that much.



    Yes. CGI is generally the worst ever in movies one is inclined to dislike, and at the same time unbelievably realistic in movies one is inclined to like, even if the quality of the CGI is identical. This explains why the CGI in Jurassic Park is praised while the CGI in The Phantom Menace is bashed, even though it was done by the same company in both cases and was objectively better on a technical level in the latter film.


    That's great to hear! Crystal Skull is actually fairly deep for an Indy film. Which means it's still pretty superficial, but there's more going on underneath the surface than in any other Indy movie. Lucas has always said that the Indy movies were his only real commercial films, but I think he and Spielberg still had an ever-increasing desire to make them about something as the series progressed.

    And though this is a bit of a non-sequitur, I'll take this opportunity to point out a small detail I always loved. Notice how the only animals, other than humans, that the crystal skull seems to have a profound effect on is ants? Well, that's probably because ants operate as a sort of hive-mind, just like the aliens! And notice how both the secondary and primary villain is taken out by a hive-mind. Dovchenko by those red (heh) ants, and Spalko by the recombined alien. Ironic, given that they're both collectivist-minded communists.
    Last edited by The_Phantom_Calamari, Aug 27, 2014
    Andy Wylde and Seagoat like this.
  14. AndyLGR Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 1, 2014
    star 3
    @The_Phantom_Calamari You know more than any post I've ever read about KOTCS, you articulated very well why you liked it. I didn't like it, but I respect your views on it.
  15. Vthuil Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2013
    star 4
    Amen to this. I'm so sick of hearing people judge the quality of a film's special effects by whether they liked the film. I guess it's a slight improvement on the inverse, but it gets old really fast.
    Andy Wylde likes this.
  16. solo77 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2002
    star 5
    Woah woah, thanks to you both for randomly jumping to that conclusion for me. That was not what I implied or said at all. I said the CGI in this movie was bad I didn't say the movie was bad and both your statements are sweeping generalisations to put it mildly.

    I LOVE the 3 LOTR Movies but some of the CGI in ROTK is terrible, does it mean I like the film less, no.
  17. The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2011
    star 4

    I'm sorry about my assumption. I was actually thinking of the LotR movies when I made that post, because so many people gush about the realistic CGI in them when by and large it's pretty terrible even by the standards of the time. And I like the movies themselves well enough.
    Andy Wylde likes this.
  18. solo77 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2002
    star 5
    Thanks Calamari. There's obviously many combinations of films:

    Bad CGI & bad movie
    Bad CGI & good movie
    Good CGI & bad movie
    Good CGI & good movie

    For me it's all down to plot, characterisation, cinematography etc etc....
    AndyLGR likes this.
  19. thejeditraitor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 4
    i like it. it's the least of the the four but it's still good.
  20. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 4
    It's not that bad, but it's not that good either.
  21. solo77 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2002
    star 5
    It just happened to be on TV last night as I was channel hopping, so I watched it with my wife (her first time).

    I tell you it was quite an experience and she kept repeating "this is from the same guys who did the others, right?".

    "Yes honey Spielberg & Lucas."

    "The same writers?"

    "Ah, yes & no"

    It was quite a funny night and she was so horrified at what she was seeing
  22. Rabs Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2014
    star 4
  23. The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2011
    star 4

    That's weird, because it had completely the same feel as the old ones, for me. I could understand if she was puzzled by some of the visual aesthetics as compared to the old ones, but otherwise I'm at a loss.
    Andy Wylde likes this.
  24. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4
    The opening scene and most of the film definitely had a more old-fashioned style to it, and not just because of the 1950s setting - Spielberg's simply different to the younger directors today, who've had other strong influences apart from classic cinema, including modern cinema, music videos, video games and so on. The dodgy CGI stuck out like a sore thumb even worse as a result.
    CaptainHamYoyo and MOC Yak Face like this.
  25. The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2011
    star 4
    How did Spielberg's admittedly retro style clash with the CGI, specifically?
    Andy Wylde likes this.