Monday, 24 May 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Indiana Jones Day

453 - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - 1 star
Time couldn't wait any longer and it was time to revisit a film that made me physically angry upon seeing it and instigated a self-inforced ban on all films by George Lucas that was only lifted in order to complete this challenge.
The annoying thing was that I should have known that it would be a bad film, but I honestly (and naively) thought that with Steven Spielberg directing that it would turn out OK. I was wrong and there was another childhood franchise ruined.
Watching it back now with the benefit of hindsight and a two year break from it I can say something positive about it... it is not as bad as The Phantom Menace!
For my review I could just simply make a long list of all the things I hate about the film; whether it is CGI gophers, 'nuking the fridge', wasting talent like John Hurt and Jim Broadbent, Shia swinging through the trees with monkeys, etc, etc, etc so I thought it might be more interesting to try and find five things I liked about it:

1. I found Cate Blanchett oddly sexy as a Russian
2. Harrison Ford can still sell a punch better than anyone in Hollywood
3. John Williams' score...

That's it I'm afraid. I honestly struggled to think of anything else that was appeaing about the film and failed!
The biggest problem with the film for me, besides the aliens plot, was the Vic Armstrong-shaped hole in the stunt department. We were told when they were making the film that like the original trilogy they would be doing as much practical stunt work as possible... but in the finished film we have Ford and LaBouef's faces digitally added onto to the people driving the motorcycle, largely CGI truck chases and of course the monkey incident!
I have no doubt that if Armstrong had worked on this film he would have found a way to get it done without the use of CGI effects. It becomes all the more apparent when watching the originals straight afterwards!
A quick note on the aliens. You hear the rumours but spend the whole movie hoping that there will be a twist and it isn't actually something as ridiculous as aliens, but nope the rumours were true. It's funny to think that I can buy the fact that in Raiders Of The Lost Ark there is a box with the power of God inside, but in this film I'm affronted by the fact that the Macguffin is aliens!

233 - Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - 3 stars
For a long time it was seen as the worst Indy film but then the new one came along.
It's not really that bad to be honest. Sure Willie Scott might be the Jar Jar Binks of the franchise but there is still a lot to enjoy.
A great mine cart chase, a man who rips people's hearts out with his bare hands and the opening sequence. There is no real reason for the Anything Goes number except it is probably the only chance to see Spielberg direct a musical.

306 - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - 4 stars
The main reason why this film is the second best Indiana Jones film is down to the greatest father-son double act in the history of cinema; Harrison Ford's "Junior" and Sean Connery's Dr Henry Jones Sr.
The way the two spark off each other is tremendous "I should have mailed it to the Marx brothers", and look at the reaction when they realise they've both slept the same woman. Classic.
Another reason for the failure of Crystal Skull was the subject of the quest in this film, the Holy Grail. It's called Last Crusade for a reason. Once you have found the Holy Grail, there is nothing else really that can top it.

Days remaining - 114 Films remaining - 139

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