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Is Indy 4 that bad?

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

  1. christophero30

    christophero30 Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    May 18, 2017
    Indy 4 was pretty good imo but lacked the magic of the first 3. TOD got silly at times but had some of the best action set pieces ever.
     
  2. Darth_Articulate

    Darth_Articulate Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Nov 1, 2012
    For me, it just lacked the tension of the others. I liked the concept and the story, just not the storytelling
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2020
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  3. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 7

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    Nov 12, 2012
    One of my favourite Indy bits in the movie is when he's over-explaining what quicksand is which gave him every Indy dad vibes, he even straight up said like Jones Sr. "This is intolerable!"
     
  4. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

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    Mar 18, 2009
    That part is not that bad, but the moment when he won't grab the snake until Mutt and Marion call it "rope" is just terrible. Way too silly. And the staging of the scene is quite awful too. It's probably my lest favourite scene of the movie (which I like a lot, by the way!).
     
  5. Billy_Dee_Binks

    Billy_Dee_Binks Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Mar 29, 2002
    I've loved that whole nuclear testing site scene since I first saw the film in theaters. During it a friend turned to me and whispered, "hey, this is just like the original Back to the Future concept", and it totally is. Nuclear testing site (how Marty was supposed to return to 1985) inside a fridge (the original time machine). Even Howdy Doody is playing on TV. I'm still surprised the BTTF connection never really caught on with most people, even movie buffs.

    The 50's are a great setting and they use it to its fullest potential. I only feel like the movie starts to drag once they're in Peru, especially when they become too large of a group. Great action set pieces throughout, though, and the flying saucer taking off with the valley flooding is just a brilliant shot.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2020
  6. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 7

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    Nov 12, 2012
    the rope/snake bit is a bittt much I will admit but at most it's a weak punchline on a scene that I overall really quite like because it's the most Dad Indy/Henry Jones Sr. we see him acting.
     
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  7. Django Fett

    Django Fett Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Nov 7, 2012
    I believe Shia LeBeouf was miscast as Mutt/Henry Jones III, obviously they couldn't cast a 20 year old John Travolta, but that was a major problem that the film doesn't recover from. Had John Hurt's character have been Abner Ravenwood instead of Harold Oxley would it have not only tied things up nicely but also have made the story more acceptable to the audience?
     
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  8. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 7

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    Nov 12, 2012
    Doesn't RotLA establish that Abner is dead or just missing?
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2020
  9. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

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    Mar 18, 2009
    I agree. The movie is great overall. I do like the Peru segment (Indy and Mutt together work really well); it becomes a bit too much of a drag once they reach the jungle (although the action pieces are really good, and I do like the journey to the "lost world" of Akator), mainly because there are too many people.

    Each Indy movie has added more companions to Indy.
    Raiders had just Indy and Marion (nobody else travells with them from place to place, Sallah is only there for a section of the film).
    Temple had Indy, Willie and Short-Round.
    Crusade had Indy, Henry, Marcus and Sallah together in the end, even though for the most part it's just Indy and Henry.
    Crystall Skull is great while it's just Indy and Mutt, but then you have Marion, Oxley and Mac, and suddenly you have a group of five people, without much time to develop any of the relationships. I always think that Marion and Oxley should've been combined. As great as Oxley is as an IDEA, he is the only character whom we haven't met before the Russian camp, and he literally doesn't get any development.
     
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  10. Billy_Dee_Binks

    Billy_Dee_Binks Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Mar 29, 2002
    Your sentiments match mine really closely, but I couldn't articulate it in as much detail because I haven't seen IV in a while, so I don't quite recall the scene by scene rundown of the film.
     
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  11. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

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    Mar 18, 2009
    I always liked the progression, from North America to South America; from the Academy (modern civilized world), to Nazca, to the Jungle (wilderness), down the waterfalls and into the lost civilization of Akator. It's a neat progression.
     
  12. Django Fett

    Django Fett Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Nov 7, 2012
    I can't remember it being specifically explained, I think it's a case of missing and believed dead. All the rumours before were of Hurt playing Abner, but that was more assumption because Marion was returning I believe.
     
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  13. ThePhilistineCritic

    ThePhilistineCritic Jedi Padawan star 1

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    Apr 1, 2020
    19 years is a long time to wait, a long time in which expectations can be fertilized and grow. The biggest challenges faced by Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull have less to do with entertaining an audience than competing with the ghosts of movies past and expanding the mythology of a character who has been out of the limelight for two decades. Perhaps it was too much to hope that this new movie, coming so long after its predecessors, might recapture the magic that infused Raiders of the Lost Ark and sporadically sputtered to the surface in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The latest effort is the most lifeless of the series, and feels more like an overplotted, confused reunion than a legitimate action/adventure outing. It would be a failure even without the impressive pedigree- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull simply isn’t a very good motion picture.

    Still, good or bad, everyone saw it, but the film doesn’t work on the most basic level where even The Temple of Doom succeeded: getting viewers on the edges of their seats. That’s not to say the film is without action; it features a number of such sequences, but a key element is missing: excitement. There’s no suspense and not alot of energy. We never believe that Indy or a member of his entourage is in danger. There’s never any sense of “How’s he going to get out of this?” The cliffhangers are easily shrugged off. The reason to see The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is not to rediscover the joy and thrills of the Indiana Jones of old but to reconnect with familiar friends. This movie is comfortable, and that’s the problem. It’s too comfortable. For George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Harrison Ford, it’s a matter of putting on well-worn slippers and bathrobes. The result is a sloppily made opportunity to spend a few more hours with a character who has put on alot more years and miles since the last time we encountered him in a darkened theater.

    In bringing back Marion Ravenwood, at least The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull does one thing right. She and Ford exhibit a little of the same chemistry, although the sexual element is toned down significantly now that they’re old enough to be grandparents. The screenplay also makes frequent and pointed references to Indy’s age. There’s never any pretense that this guy isn’t ready to start collecting Social Security, and the character of Mutt is added as a way by which the series can continue. Although numerous “old friends” are missing, each has an analog of sorts. Marcus Brody, portrayed by the late Denholm Elliott, is no longer around, so Jim Broadbent’s Dean Stanforth fills his place. Sallah, who helped Indy in Chapters One and Three, is left off the screen (reportedly due to “unreasonable” salary demands by John Rhys-Davies), so enter Ray Winstone’s Mac. Finally, with Sean Connery electing not to come out of retirement, there’s no way to bring back Henry Jones, Sr., but John Hurt’s Oxley functions in a similar capacity. Everything old is new again, or something like that.

    Every Indiana Jones adventure has a central action sequence, a “tent pole” around which everything else is constructed. In Raiders, it was the segment where Indy hijacks the vehicle in the convoy containing the Ark. In Temple, it was the mine cart ride. In Crusade, it was the tank encounter. There’s one in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, as well - a multi-vehicle chase through the jungle that ends with alot of red ants and an amphibious landing. Unfortunately, not only is the level of tension at an all-time low but the choreography is dubious. The film can’t keep track of all the characters so one car disappears halfway through the chase only to reappear at a critical juncture near the end. The movie contains its share of other action scenes that, while less lavish or extensive, are no more thrilling.

    As was true of the previous films, this one attempts to balance light comedy with action. The jokiness that occasionally damaged The Last Crusade is more pronounced here with one-liners punctuating the dialogue. There are some clever ones, to be sure, but most are perfunctory. And there are times when things get silly, even for the comic book-inspired calisthenics of Dr. Jones. For an example of this, consider the scene in which Mutt makes like Tarzan and swings from vine to vine on the way to a monkey-accompanied rescue. The movie’s decision to add aliens to the mix isn’t a problem, especially considering the supernatural underpinnings of the previous installments, but the resultant anticlimax is. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull shoots its feeble wad early and stumbles to the finish line with alot of effects, none of them special.

    Still, even considering the poor focus of the screenplay and the lackluster nature of Spielberg’s normally sure-handed direction, it’s as tough to dislike this movie as it is to champion it. That’s because, while nearly everything around him has changed, Ford has no trouble sliding back into the costume and character. His performance sells this as an Indiana Jones movie no matter how much nearly every other aspect of the production cries out “imitation”. The pleasures to be had from the film, meager though they are at times, are almost all delivered by Ford, and his scenes with Karen Allen bring a long-desired closure to the relationship they initiated nearly 30 years earlier. Shia LaBeouf doesn’t show that he has what it takes to fill Ford’s shoes but, as a sidekick, he’s effective. Mutt could easily have been annoying but he stays in his place.

    In the end, however, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull can’t be seen as anything other than a very minor chapter in the adventures of one of cinema’s most beloved action heroes and a disappointment for those who have waited patiently for his return. George Lucas knows a thing or two about disappointing fans she resurrecting long-dormant franchises, but what he does here is a far worse crime than he perpetrated with Star Wars. In that saga, there was still a story to tell. The episodic nature of this trilogy meant no follow-up was needed, and, if this is the best the filmmakers could come up with, the wisest course would have been to leave moviegoers with their memories.

    Grade: F
     
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  14. Bob Effette

    Bob Effette Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 20, 2015
    I watched it again recently and I think it has some good elements, and some awful elements.

    Things I like

    1. The 1950's setting. I like things that follow neatly, and I think that the 1950's setting, in line with the gap since TLC and Ford's age, make for a neat and tidy episodic sequel. I have no issue with the 1930's religious / supernatural angles being replaced with a 1950's cold war / B-movie story in principle. Despite the character of Indiana Jones being a product of 1930's romantic adventure republic serials, it still works for me.

    2. I like that Indy is self-referential to his age, and that isn't buried in an attempt to pretend that this is TOD or TLC Indy. He's an older guy, and he plays to the strengths of that. Ford's voice too has got gruffer as he has gotten older, which adds to the character. I am hopeful that should there be an Indiana Jones 5 with Ford, that it might be a more cerebral quest for him. Ford still looked good with the stubble, even with his advanced years, but it would be pushing it to think he is going to be running around pushing 80 years old. A complex, intelligent script with an exciting McGuffin could make up for an Indy whose best years are behind him. Star Trek: Picard is showing that there is still a place for older leading men.

    3. The Peru Market / Sanitarium scene with Mutt. I like this scene, I think that it is a nice two-hander with Le Boeuf.

    4. The cemetery / Cradle of Orellana scene. Classic Indiana Jones. I just wished that they had used the recorded dialogue from the trailer, because I think the lines "Don't touch anything" and "Part time" were delivered better. I also like the "Good thing we're not grave robbers" joke...er, yeah you are!!! lol

    5. The diner / exposition scene. I like this scene, even though the plot feels all too convenient / somewhat contrived.

    Things I didn't like

    1. The over-abundance of CGI. From the opening scenes at Area 51, we are subject to that artificial lighting and fake background all the way through. Some of the external shots made up with CGI look bad. The beauty of Indiana Jones is that they are a throwback to a pre-CGI era, and its inclusion is a mistake in my opinion.

    2. Spalko. I think that she is an awful villain.

    3. The goofy comedy. A lot of it didn't work for me. The snake / rope joke, the forced relationship with Marion, the "not my dad" stuff. I would have liked some of that to have had a bit more weight. This is the guy's son, and as such the "Scooch over will ya....son" type stuff feels a bit dismissive and out of character. He is very fatherly towards Short Round for example, but rather aloof towards Mutt at times.

    4. Some of the dialogue is very forced. I'm thinking about the speeches like the Dean gives Indy in the corridor "Not in this charged climate" etc, it's all very eye-rollingly obvious.
     
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  15. christophero30

    christophero30 Chosen One star 8

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    May 18, 2017
    I enjoyed it until about the time the giant ants showed up. The first 2/3 were good. The first 3 were much better. TOD is silly, but is balanced by some of the best action set pieces ever.
     
  16. Bob Effette

    Bob Effette Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Dec 20, 2015
    The other thing that baffles me is Indy's apparent willingness to use the map and help solve the clues leading to Akator for Spalko and the Russians at the jungle camp
     
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  17. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2009
    This is exactly the biggest problem with the movie: it had to meet impossible expectations.

    If you think about it, it's even more baffling that Indy is helping them at the beginning of the movie. In the jungle, they were threatening Marion at least, so Indy have no other choice (although I agree that he seems too happy to help them, and he's even angry at Mutt when he creates a diversion to escape!). But in the operning sequence, there is no reason for Indy to willingly help them without even trying to fight back or escape.

    I agree with you about what does work on the film: the 50s setting, Indy's old age and his one-to-one scenes with Mutt are all great. And all that contributes to the point the movie is trying to make:
    The main theme of the film is that, at the beginning, Indy is feeling out of place: the world is not what it used to be, he is getting old, he is losing people he loves (his dad, Marcus), he is being accused of being a traitor, he is fired... But at the end of the movie he gets a new family, he is married, he has a son, he has lived an extraordinary adventure... he is happy again.

    The biggest problems, for me, are the excessive humor (the snake/rope scene for example), and the fact that the group gets so big in the last act, that there is literally no time to develop any of the characters: Mutt and Indy's don't get to talk about their new relationship until the penunltimate scene, Marion and Indy's relationship depends entirely on their previous chemistry, and Mac and Oxley are along for the ride without much purpose.

    However, overall I do love the movie. I rewatched it a couple of days ago and I really enjoyed it.
     
  18. ThePhilistineCritic

    ThePhilistineCritic Jedi Padawan star 1

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    Apr 1, 2020
    I’m just speculating and I have no evidence of this whatsoever, but I’m willing to bet that somewhere out there there’s an earlier draft of the script where Mac is Sallah and Oxley is Henry Jones, Sr. Do you have any thoughts on that?
     
  19. Vorax

    Vorax Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 10, 2014
    Seems like Sallah would only be used within the confines of geography. For Indiana Jones IV they wanted to blue screen him in for the wedding,lol.


    The A.V. Club: Given the success of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, was there ever any talk of having Sallah turn up in Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom?


    JRD:
    No, there was never any mention of Temple Of Doom. I guess the character is confined by geography, though, isn’t he? I mean, you could put him into Temple Of Doom, because writers can do anything. [Laughs.] But they obviously wanted to go with… you don’t want to get too locked into certain characters, because then they’ll demand more money, and you’ve got to drag them on from picture to picture. So, no, nothing like that was ever mentioned. But I was delighted to get the summons to do [Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade], although it was a slightly different character, really. All the background that you’d assumed in the first one… I suppose you carry it with you in the third one, but he’s more comic relief in his own way, because the focus of the film is now on father and son engaging in the ultimate quest, for the Holy Grail. And you accept that, because that’s part of your job.


    AVC: Yet you passed on the opportunity to make a brief appearance at Indy and Marian’s wedding in
    Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull.

    JRD: Yes, I did. I guess it would’ve been rather sweet to be in that last little thing, and they did offer to bring a camera crew to me in order to film a bit of blue screen where you would’ve seen me clapping for the happy couple. But that’s all it would’ve been. I don’t know, I suppose I felt as though it would’ve cheated the audience just a little bit. I like to think the audience has some fondness for Sallah, and just to give him an appearance as brief as all that, a quick cutaway… well, that’s sort of short-selling him, isn’t it, really?

    https://film.avclub.com/john-rhys-davies-on-indiana-jones-and-almost-passing-on-1798233606
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
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  20. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

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    Mar 18, 2009
    From what is known about the evolution of the script, no, I don't think that's true.

    Sean Connery was offered a small part in the movie, in what would be a cameo role (he would just appear at the beginning and ending of the film, but would NOT be part of the adventure - keep in mind Connery was already retired!).So he WAS part of the script and coexisted with the character of Oxley.

    Mac was a character that was created to fill the role of the comic sidekick/double agent/spy of the 50's B-movies. It's a role that, clearly, Sallah couldn't have filled.

    I see what you mean about the movie being clearly nostalgic and full of call-backs, but these two characters are not literal substitutes of previous characters (aren't filling a role originally designed for Sallah or Henry).
     
  21. Bob Effette

    Bob Effette Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Dec 20, 2015
    The other thing that I think was a bit overdone was Indy’s “bumbling” clumsiness. It was as if somebody really liked the scene from The Last Crusade when he tumbles backwards down the secret stairway in Castle Grunwald, then thought “Let’s make Indy fall over everything!”

    When he tumbles into the bicycle at the beginning, then falls backwards off the jet sled, then sort of does that goofy bumbling idiot thing when the Ugha appear and the gang make a run for it inside the temple. He’s like a clown in some scenes and it doesn’t work all that well for me.
     
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  22. ThePhilistineCritic

    ThePhilistineCritic Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 1, 2020
    You’re probably right. I just always assumed this was a Frank Pentangeli situation (in early drafts of The Godfather: Part II, Pentangeli was Clemenza).

    I also have always suspected that Lucas preemptively created Lando Calrissian in case Ford refused to return for a third Star Wars.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
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  23. Darthman92

    Darthman92 Force Ghost star 5

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    Feb 24, 2016
    I dig it. Lol
     
  24. Ackbar's Fishsticks

    Ackbar's Fishsticks Jedi Master star 4

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    Aug 25, 2013
    I actually can't decide how I feel about this. On the one hand, Sallah is more than just a local contact, it's clear in both movies that Indy considers him a valued friend. Other side of the world or not, it feels weird that he wouldn't be invited to the wedding (especially since thanks to Raiders, he knew Marion as well). On the other hand, JRD is completely correct that it would've felt a bit like a cheat to have Sallah return for nothing more than a cameo.

    Clearly, there's only one solution to this: make a fifth movie and bring back Sallah. (Kidding! Mostly. Although JRD himself has joked about this).
     
  25. Ackbar's Fishsticks

    Ackbar's Fishsticks Jedi Master star 4

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    Aug 25, 2013
    He feels like a combo of Sallah (old partner/sidekick of Indy's) and Donovan (greed-driven capitalist who sells out to the other side).

    Neither as good as the one (Sallah never had that kind of greed and never in a million years would have betrayed a friend), nor as bad as the other (Donovan would never have had that moment at the end where Mac "lets go" so that Indy and the rest can stop trying to save him and save themselves instead).

    I'm also not sure he's supposed to be a spy movie character (despite all the obvious 50's homages), so much as a character from the earlier treasure hunter serials and movies (the ones that inspired Indy in the first place), whose obsession with treasure ultimately kills him as a sort of "remember, kids, this is what greed will get you!" message from the Moral Guardians. It's pretty clear from the movie that Mac doesn't really care about espionage nearly as much as he does about treasure.
     
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