Indiana Jones and the what the heck?

So. When I last talked about a certain just-released movie on here a few months back, I said this:

I’m not any kind of a visual effects purist. Personally I’m all for CGI, it’s just another tool in the toolbox, only newer, and its limitations and problems are the same as the ones in more traditional veins — which itself, at one time, were new and required people to get used to them. But since the idea was to do the new film in the vein of the older ones, great, I thought, something that matched those films in their general look, logically followed on from them.

I think I perhaps forgot that Lucas was involved.

This is not the only thing to be said about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. But it can serve as emblematic.

This is a movie I am feeling massively ambivalent about. It ain’t a disaster, but a success?

A friend online noted my initial ‘UH’ thoughts and asked for more details, so let me quote what I sent him:

I can’t outright hate it but it was hella deflating. There were always promising moments and sequences and then there weren’t, strangest goddamn thing. The original movie is still the only one that gets the pace exactly right. WAY too much CGI action for a series that prided itself on avoiding visual effects for the most part.

Acting was a mix. Karen Allen, Cate Blanchett, even Shia LaBeouf all did good to great jobs, everyone else was kinda lumping along, and as for Harrison, it both was and wasn’t the character.

The story was the story and I don’t mind that but the last truly excitingly tense sequence was about half an hour before the ending. I’m all, “Dude, way to draw everything out!”

The opening is kinda promising because it takes a way darker/more fucked up edge to things but I don’t think it maintains.

And I could explain all this in more detail but I almost don’t want to.

Reading over some reactions on ILE, I found myself agreeing with both the positive and negative takes on the film simultaneously, a strange position to be in. Complaints about youth being betrayed I don’t get — it’s not like anyone owes me on that front — and the original films themselves aren’t a holy trinity of perfection. Really, the thing with Indiana Jones movies is that only those movies that don’t have his name in the title are the real successes — and there’s only been one of those so far. Friend Dan averred that this film was about on the same level as Last Crusade and I’m fine with that, as that’s the least of the original three to my mind, and suffered many of the same problems as in this one.

Still, you know, you kinda hope for better. So I suppose I’m glad I saw it I guess…but there’s lots more to look forward to more honestly and openly now. Just roll on with The Dark Knight already!

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