(Spoilers) Initial Reactions and Discussion for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by HanSolo29, May 17, 2008.

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  1. Princess_Tina Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 6
    Just a minor quibble... the movie has pretty much nothing to do with the Aztecs (who lived in modern-day Mexico) or even with the Mayas (modern-day Yucatan peninsula and Central America) but rather some apparently fictional South American tribe -- hence most of the movie is set in Peru.

    Obviously, the Aztec calendar is used in some of the sets, and the publicity material, but still. ;)
  2. JohnWesleyDowney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2004
    star 5
    The movie, unfortunately, moves away from Judeo-Christian mysticism like the Temple of Doom and instead does 1950s Science Fiction with the theories about the Crystal Skull/The Pyramids/Aztec connection/Aliens/Roswell.

    No, the movie FORTUNATELY moves on to something fresh so that it's not doing the same thing all over again. The Temple of Doom has NOTHING to do with Judeo-Christian mysticism. Have you SEEN that movie recently? It's about the Thuggee cult which really existed and which had NOTHING to do with Christianity or Judaism. If Kali and the Shankara stones are a part of Judeo-Christian mysticism, it's news to a lot of us, and a lot of Hindus.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kali

    The change to 1950s sci-fi makes since, since the characters are IN the 1950s and it makes it more relevant to that period.

    The obvious question of "Is Harrison Ford too old to be Indiana Jones?" The answer is, unfortunately, yes. Harrison shows his age in the movie and it does make several of the fight scenes unconvincing even with the help of Shia Labeouf to carry out some of the legwork.

    Harrison Ford carried his age beautifully. I was surprised at how graceful and skillful his characterization was after all these years. Harrison had a stunt double all the way back to Raiders, so the stunts in this one were probably done by someone younger anyway, of course they could have been done digitally if necessary. His physical age isn't all that relevant to the action sequences considering how much movie magic is at Spielberg's fingertips.
  3. Jinngerbread Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2007
    star 4

    The obvious question of "Is Harrison Ford too old to be Indiana Jones?" The answer is, unfortunately, yes. Harrison shows his age in the movie and it does make several of the fight scenes unconvincing even with the help of Shia Labeouf to carry out some of the legwork.


    I actually disagree with that and I thought Harrison's action sequences were wonderful, part of what made me realize that Indiana Jones was back on the big screen. :D That plus the delivery of some of his one liners, was so spot on, that it just added to the whole experience. :)
  4. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah I have a hard time seeing how anyone has criticisms of Harrison in this. I thought he was amazingly good. And I liked how they made sure to show in the beginning that he was actually doing certain things (climbing swiftly up large stacks of boxes, sliding down chains...).

    In honesty, I really really hope they do more films. I think two more would be good but ONLY if they film them simultaneously, and soon. Otherwise Harrison will be too old. I think he's probably actually in better shape than the average 50 year old American guy, honestly, but I still would feel more comfortable if they went ahead sooner rather than later.

    I thought there might be more things about him emotionally dealing with his age, because I thought it could be really poignant. But it turned out they didn't really need it or deal with it because, well, he may actually be old but he doesn't really seem old :p More mature, a bit slower, but still every inch Indy. I hope they are able to keep on partly because the end just leaves such potential (the very last scene, not the previous sequence ;)). I think we do deserve better closure on the character. Plus, it was just a hell of a lot of fun.

    And now I'm mad because the people I went with last night were kind of lukewarm about it, but when I got to school today all these other friends of mine were raving about how much they loved it. So now I'm desperately seeking someone who liked it to go see it with me again. Because as I've been thinking about it through the day, I've been already warming to it more in my head and would like to see it again on screen.

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  5. tomkat364 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 1
    The major issue I had was that this did not feel like Indiana Jones to me.
    Way back in Raiders, there was a concept drawing in "The Lucasfilm Archives" that shows Lucas's original desire for Pat Roach's bald mechanic character to have a robotic arm. Thankfully, this was discarded as too distracting by Spielberg. Those kind of choices back then, to keep this a gritty REALISTIC film in which the only "sci-fi" aspect was the last scene in which the powerful artifact was revealed worked well. The fight by the flying wing worked so well and is one of the quintessential 80's action scenes with practical effects, stunts, and simple progression.
    Now, there's a psychic supersoldier, a greaser who just happens to be able to fence and swing on jungle vines, refrigerators that withstand atomic blasts, and everyone has a silly nickname like "Mutt" or "Ox" or "Mac".

    No longer does an everyman utilize knowledge and skill to overcome the world's evil, but relies on improbable coincidences to survive. The characters feel contrived and the action feels forced. The first part of the movie (in america) seemed okay, but after that it felt more like the Mummy then Indiana Jones.
  6. Icebreaker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 20, 2001
    star 4
    Thanks. Although in re-reading it I noticed that I probably should have gotten a bit more sleep before I sat down and started writing. It was a little rough on the edges at times. I probably should have re-read it before I actually posted, but it serves its purpose. I am glad to see that there is somebody that shares my views on the film though.

    It was a bit of a cop-out wasn't it? In a lot of ways it's the simple answer huh? They had an opportunity to make it a real mystery, instead they went for the obvious. And on top of that I can think of a few ways you can allude to the fact that the crystal skulls belong to aliens without showing you in the manner that they did. And then on top of that a gigantic flying saucer decimates the landscape and lifts off into space in front of our heroes and they don't seem to even bat an eye at it. I know they have been through a lot but you just saw a flying saucer controlled by aliens that lifted out of the ground. My reaction in the theater to this nonsense was probably more genuine than the characters.

    -matthew
  7. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah, as I mentioned, I was really hoping even if there were aliens that they didn't show them. That one little thing I think would have put my mind almost completely at ease about the movie. As it is, I still enjoyed it a lot and as I said, am itching to see it again.


    -sj loves kevin spacey
  8. Icebreaker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 20, 2001
    star 4
    Exactly. You could have just showed the painting on the temple walls and then have the skeletons. Those would be the references to the aliens and then you could just have everything proceed like it did. Have a supernatural occurance and then have the temple collapse. Just cut out the actual alien and the ship taking off. Without those two things the ending might have worked.

    -matthew
  9. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Exactly. My thoughts on the ending exactly. I mean, I'm a big girl and I can live with it anyway because I did, in fact, really enjoy the rest of the film. I just wish the ending had been tweaked a little to be more mysterious. After all, you don't have God stepping out of the sky in Raiders, Shiva jumping up and grabbing people in ToD, or Christ touching Henry and healing his wound in LC. I just wish they'd similarly kept this ending a little more mysterious.

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  10. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 7
    English, JohnWesley.

    Yes, the movie doesn't have Judeo-Christian mysticism LIKE THE TEMPLE OF DOOM.
  11. JediOverlord Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2000
    star 5
    I just got back from seeing it, and I just have to say...

    I loved it. It felt weird in parts, but a good kind of weird.

    As for the aliens, I figure, if you're going into Chariots of the Gods-like territory, you might as well show them. But that's me.
  12. mykillmyers Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2005
    star 2
    I just thought it was ok. It just didn't have the same feel as the others to me. Indy and Marian have a 1 minute argument and like that they are back cool again after she kept the secret of his son from him all those years. I think they went overboard with the alien thing as well. All in all, on a scale of 1-5, I'd give it a 3. It's most certainly my least favorite of all the films. I also thought Cate Blanchetts character Irina stunk, for the mere fact the she wasn't interesting AT ALL.
  13. Princess_Tina Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 6
    For cryin' out loud, have you seen very many sci-fi B-movies from the 50's? In most cases it was all about building up the anticipation and then showing us the goodies. There really isn't any way that Spielberg & Lucas could have done justice to the spirit of the old 50's B-movies without showing something.

    Furthermore, you are comparing apples and oranges - aliens are totally different from anything that we may take as granted in terms of belonging to this Earth.

  14. C Creepio Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 25, 1999
    star 3
    B/B+ overall

    Complaints:

    Tarzan
    The feel of the second half - It felt like two different movies and the second half really slowed down.
    Aliens...I wanted to hate them but I can't seem to figure why, yet I definitely don't love them.
    Ray Winstone's character was useless. Added nothing to the story.
    Spalko was ok but not scary enough. Mola Ram certainly takes the cake for scariest villain.

    Likes:
    The atomic bomb sequence, especially when Indy found himself in the yard surrounded by laundry
    The motorcycle chase
    The ark
    Marion and Indy
    Loved the snake. Totally cheesy but it worked
    The riddles and all the traps and spider webs and Indy type things

    Overall I have to rank it #4 in the series. Didn't hate it but certainly enjoyed the others more. Maybe my perception will change with repeat viewings.
  15. Grand_Duchess_Olga Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    I guess GL was 13 in 1957. So he wasn't the exact age Mutt was (I'm assuming Mutt was 17), but I think George identifies with Mutt. Cool but a bit rough and dumbish (I'm going by the scene when Mutt and Indy are in his house and Mutt said several things that sounded dumb...but then he was took debate in school).
    anyway, I can imagine GL seeing himself playing chicken. I liked it, and I though that Mutt was the driver but he wasn't, but to me it seemed out of place for the beginning of an Indy movie.

    Again, this is just my first impression, and it's not a critique, but gosh Harrison is old.

    I do like the sight gags, other gags, and bon mots. All of them. From the alien box that says "Roswell 1947" to Marion shoving her bouquet on the priest. Love Mutt's little habit of combing his hair. Like that time he dunks his comb in a soda. And how he combs his hair before Spalko was threatening him with her sword (and Indy didn't care). I love how Indy was getting scrubed down, and his reaction on getting his front scrubed.

    One thing that I really was hoping wouldn't happen
    that Indy doesn't know he had a kid. I was really hoping the hotrodder from the the beginning was his son. And Indy and son were always having adventures. Though considering how many times Indy went in Soviet Russia to spy, and other trips, no doubt any wife of his would be pulling out her hair with worry. and any kid of his would worry he would have a dead, hero father). But really? I freaking hated the unknown son angle. And no one say anything about SW :p


    I love the gags with Indy's hat, like the ants carrying it away. I liked when Mutt ran into Marcus' statue and the head falls off, and Mutt laughs and Indy scowls at him (just like in Last Crusade where Henry scowls at Indy several times.)

    Also, I thought the boy's name was "Mudd". I didn't realize it was "Mutt" until the end where I see his name on his jacket.

    I really don't have a problem with aliens, or interdimensional travelers. Why shouldn't there be aliens? There are people believe in aliens.

    I don't know why Spalko had to be psychic or thinks she was psychic. She could just be a mean *****.

    I like the movie, people cheered throughout the movie. I love Mutt and Marion. And even though I said Harrison was old, I do like how it seems his movements were slower, like when they were in the grave and he crawls on the Mayan round thingy that moves. Indy isn't Superman. I love how when he was on the rocketsled and he finally gets off he's all wobbly. Most action heros would have killed the Soviet and used his arm as a blungeon to kill the other Soviets. Ok, I'm exagerating, hee. Ok, and not likely people would survive a waterfall but meh.

  16. zombie Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 1999
    star 4
    Yeah it could have been more mysterious, they hit the nail a little too squarely on the head I think. It was great when you just saw the portal in the sky sucking things up, because you kind of knew that it was a mechanical craft/device of some kind and that it was an alien technology, but you didn't get that good a look at it or really explain what it ACTUALLY is. Its the wideshot that shows the saucer taking off in full glory and then hovering there that destroys the mystique. X-Files would do that a lot, where at the end of a key episode Mulder would get knocked out and then he'd wake up to just barely glimpse this PART of a ship, it would usually be all abstracted and not getting a full view, and then maybe if they showed any more of it it would be in full view only for a beat and then it would disappear before you could register it. That kept the mystery much better. Just like in Crystal Skull it was far more effective when the aliens were just mummies and skeletons, but the real-life alien that shows up at the end--INEXPLICABLY, I might add, through the combination of all the different skeletons, I mean what the hell is that about anyway--really took away the mystery, it went ahead and SHOWED us the thing in full closeup, instead of just holding back with the skeletons. Would have been a better tie-in to the supernaturalism of the previous films if the power came from the skeletons themselves instead of them combining into a flesh-and-blood alien (somehow!!), because then the source of power is from the artifacts themselves and not space aliens. But I liked that they were actually "inter-dimensional", helped smooth the transition in that they were still paranormal and not literally from Mars.
  17. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    *rubs bridge of nose* Tina, please, I was making a gentle comment about a small thing that seemed inconsistent with the other films that I think could have greatly improved the film. I'm not sure why you always have to pick fights with people and make things personal. Sheesh.

    Yes, I have seen 50s Sci-Fi movies. But bottomline is this isn't a 50s sci-fi movie. The Indy genius has always been in tweaking genres and myths to make them its own, and I felt this one did fine until that last sequence. I just wanted them to pull back, that's all.

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  18. odj_310388 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2002
    star 5
    All the way through the 3 Indiana Jones films (bugger this poor excuse for one) there has always been a big box with a ? on it. There has always been something that has never been really explained.

    [image=http://img387.imageshack.us/img387/2794/il430xn7703647tk4.jpg]

    At the end of the first movie the ark is boxed away and we don't really know what happens to it.
    At the end of the second movie the stones are never really explained as to what they really do.
    At the end of the third movie the grail is lost and its properties are never explained.


    Now anything that cannot be explained...

    "The aliens did it."

    [image=http://img387.imageshack.us/img387/2674/keepsakesquestionmarkblrj8.jpg]

    This is my problem with the movie.
  19. MissPadme Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    I love the Indiana Jones movies. They don't mean quite as much to me as SW does, but they're fun, like a great ride at Disneyland. So I went into KOTCS not with the idea it had to be the greatest film ever or the best of the series. Not even the greatest film of the summer. I just wanted it to be entertaining. I laughed, I clapped, I had a big smile on my face most of the time. As someone who watches a lot of this stuff on History or The Travel Channel or Discovery, I enjoyed the change of scenery so to speak with the crystal skull legend, the Nazca lines, and Chariot of the Gods stuff. And Ford hasn't been this good in years!

    Some of the reax here remind me of a line from The Smiths' "The Queen Is Dead": has the world changed or have I changed? The answer to that is both. ALL of the IJ movies are improbable. There was even a joke about it 20 years ago in the movie Hollywood Shuffle. You either appreciate that over-the-topness or you've come to prefer a bit more realism. Chances are you didn't watch these 20-26 years ago with a nitpicky fanboy mind. And I'm just fine with CGI.

    --MissPadme
  20. Icebreaker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 20, 2001
    star 4
    Bingo.

    This is exactly what I am talking about. The whole mystique is lost when you have things out in the open and obvious. There are so many ways that this could have been approached that retained the mystery of everything. I felt like we, as an audience, were slapped in the face with some things that were unnecessary.

    -matthew
  21. ezekiel22x Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 5
    For me the air of mystery was adequately maintained:

    As it so often goes with the UFO myth, Indy and company glimpse the ship and the subsequent proof of the strange beings for a very brief amount of time before all evidence is lost. I think it was the Ox character who had the great line about foot prints in the sand being brushed away. Like the other artifacts and the powers they represent in the previous films, the only proof Indy carries of the supernatural event at the end of the film is the fact that his life and his memories are intact. And again, given the theme and tone of the film as it relates to the 50s, I would have been pretty disappointed had we not seen a flying craft.

    Also, I loved the "saucer men from Mars" reference.
  22. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 7
    I remind you that the artifacts powers are always displayed.

    * The Grail saves Henry's dad's life.
    * The Stones destroy the Thuggee leader.
    * The Ark annihilates the Nazis.
  23. odj_310388 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2002
    star 5
    You totally missed my point about the mystery box. :rolleyes: Everything in the Indiana Jones world now can be explained with "The Aliens did it." its lost all the mystery. And people like mystery! People don't need to know what's in the box!

    Also the ones you mentioned still cannot be explained. I mean I've got a cup here but it doesn't heal bullet wounds or give me everlasting life. Oh wait. I forgot. "The Aliens did it."
  24. JohnWesleyDowney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2004
    star 5
    I loved the line at the end "spaces between spaces", it reminded me of the famous saying in meditation, that if you quiet your mind enough, (this is a symbolic expression, not intended literally), that you can hear God speaking to you "during the silence between your heartbeats." I thought that was a very cool line of dialogue.

    I thought the movie was visually very dense, full of information, far too much to be processed in a single viewing, I can't wait to see it again.

    The most brilliant visual joke to me was in the warehouse scene at the start, when the magnetization begins and Cate Blanchett's sword rises in a most masculine manner. Especially considering her characterization of the Russian Spalko, who almost comes across as a dominatrix!

    That event got quite a laugh at my showing. And I think I probably laughed the loudest.

    In fact, there was lots of applause and laughter throughout the movie.

    The biggest laugh line was when Shia said, "so what are you, 80?"

    I liked Harrison's seasoned, traveled hero. His wisdom and experience time and again saved the day. Like spending time with a long lost buddy.

    For me, no mystery or mystique was lost, it was just renewed and given new life.

    I've made a decision to enjoy movies and not pick them to death.

    I got EXACTLY what I expected, an exciting movie that retained the tone and spirit of the earlier films, while exploring fresh territory. Perfect combination.

  25. Coruscant Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2004
    star 6
    The bad:

    Mac: Ray Winstone's character was an incomplete character. Okay, so, I figure that the writers (Nathanson, Lucas, Koepp) thought: what if we take Belloq, make him chums with Indy, and then add a new facet, as well... double-agent! Okay, sounds good so far... but there was still something missing. One last piece to make Mac entertaining enough to warrant the screentime he owns in KOTCS. What is that piece? I certainly don't know, and I don't think the writers knew, either, because they either never detected the incompleteness of the character until too late... or they did know early enough on but didn't care to work on Mac a little more. As was, the hole in this character puts a leak in the movie, in general. Mac is the movie's second-most serious flaw.

    General Ross: First... Alan Dale teh Widmore baddie! yay! I liked what I saw of this character. What I didn't like was that he didn't return later in the film, namely in the search for Eldorado. With American soldiers at his back. Not as a deus ex machina, but merely to introduce some more angles and punch into what I felt was a deflated final action sequence (the chase through the jungle). And perhaps the intersection of Mac and Ross could've given the former something more. Just speaking as a writer pondering some missed potential.

    Oxley: The heck? I half expected those giant circular saws to chop his head off and replace it with the Crystal Skull he kept clutching because John Hurt may as well have been the MacGuffin. It was almost self-parodying the way they relied on this lately introduced character so much. IMO, this character should've been Abner Ravenwood. That would've introduced a nice wrench to Indy and Marion's reunion. Abner could've been giving Indy hell throughout the middle and end of the movie for being a jerk to his daughter, and then he could've died in a nice, bittersweet ending to sorta parallel the course of events with Henry, Sr.

    Three Drops: My god, ONCE was enough. The first drop was corny and embarrassing but very ToD-like so I accepted it. But two more drops in exactly the same fashion? C'mon. They could've devoted the seconds (minutes?) here to some downtime for Indy, Marion, Mutt, and the rest.

    The tree-cutter: Indy took these out too early, IMO. They had so much potential for that entire sequence.

    Shia's Monkeys: So Mutt invades the personal space of a bunch of monkeys and they suddenly form a communion with him and he leads them to ambush Spalko? The woman who I will note wasn't invading their space. I loved the prairie dogs, but the monkeys needed to merely show Mutt how to swing the ropes and that's it. The rest of their seconds could've been devoted to the tree-cutter.

    I'm sure I'll have more quibbles later, but IMO, the good vastly outweighs the bad, which I'll list later (I'm going to a second showing soon with some friends who haven't seen it). By then, I'll also have a second opinion. BTW, when Indy and Mutt go to that tomb above those giant field designs, it would've been funny if they came out of the tomb to find the other crazy-skull dude dead at the Soviets' feet. I was waiting the entire tomb sequence for Poison Dart's friend to return.

    BTW, I'm going to have agree that the more 50s' science fiction pulp feel of this film warrants a liberal view of the saucer and the alien. We didn't really get a good look at the saucer, too, because all that Eldorado debris was obscuring it. I will have to agree, however, that the end needed more downtime for character. This lack of quiet time is the movie's most serious flaw. The film could've done with another ten minutes.
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