The big Monty Hall book has finally been sent off to OUP, so it’s time to get back to blogging. We begin with lighter fare.
I caught the midnight screening of the new Indiana Jones movie last night. Did it live up to its billing?
No. It was terrible. A true disaster. Cringe-worthy. Hard to see how it could have been worse. At least there’s still Get Smart and The Incredible Hulk to look forward to.
I see that P.Z. Myers has a post up describing the process by which Indiana Jones movies get written. Methinks P.Z. is giving them too much credit. There was not one single, solitary second wasted on doing anything that made the slightest bit of sense. The dialogue is excruciating and cliched, the action scenes mostly uninteresting, the story is incoherent, and the acting is perfunctory at best.
Wondering whether Harrison Ford is too old for the part? Well, he is. Way too old. And it doesn’t help that he sleepwalks through his miserable lines, as do Cate Blanchett and Karen Allen. Shia LaBeouf seemed to be the only one happy to be in this movie.
All of this might have been forgiven were it not for the worst sin of all. They made it silly. Not cartoonish or comic bookish mind you, both of which would have been fine by me. But silly. The movie is constantly winking at you, constantly reminding you that since the characters don’t seem the slightest bit worried about how things are going to turn out there is little reason for you to worry either. I hate that.
The earlier Indiana Jones films all had some exceptional something you could point to. Remember that scene in the first one where Indy is hanging on for dear life to a car grill, about to be smashed into the car in front of him by a sadistic Nazi driver, prompting him to work his way under the car, wrap his bullwhip around the rear axle, pull himself up, and retake the vehicle? That was cool. And, of course, there was that one transcendant moment where Indy just shoots the guy who was showing off his swordsmanship. You know the scene I’m talking about.
The second one? Not very good, and actually went too far in the opposite direction by making things too grim and serious. But that final climactic scene on the rope bridge was pretty cool. (Unlike the final scene in this one, where I didn’t realize until it was over that it was the big climax.)
The third one had some good scenes between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery. There was also the memorable line near the end of the film where the monk charged with guarding the Holy Grail, after watching the bad guy choose one of the cups, drink from it, and almost immediately turn into a desiccated skeleton that smashes into dust upon being thrust into a wall, deadpans, with a completely emotionless face, “He chose … poorly.” That was good.
Indy just flat doesn’t do anything in this movie. Lots of stuff happens to him, but unlike in the previous films he is believable neither as a brilliant archaeologist nor as an action star. He doesn’t figure anything out, or outsmart anyone, or give you any reason to believe that he would be successful where so many others had failed. All in all, a dreadful piece of work.
Siafu, by the way, are found in Africa and Asia. Not South America. I’m just saying.
So if they make a fifth one will I go see it? Of course I will. On opening night.