Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Eight Ways Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull Could Have Been Better

So I saw Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull movie this week. I place it 4th in the overall Indiana Jones filmography, well behind Temple of Doom. It's not to say that the movie is unwatchable, but Indy IV has a major flaw in going "over the top". Granted, all the previous films had a touch of that but Indy IV sometimes has too much disbelief to suspend. Thus, I offer my eight ways in which Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull could have been improved, making a fun movie into a great movie. There nay be some minor spoilers below so if you have yet to see the movie, STOP READING NOW.

1) Like BOC needed more cowbell, this movie needed more bullwhip.

Indy's trademark is the bullwhip. We have seen it used with great skill and precision in all three previous movies. Here we get only one real use of the bullwhip and the obligatory "rescue a dumbass who doesn't deserve it" use (like the hot Nazi chick in Last Crusade).

2) Let Indy shoot his gun.

Again, Indy is not above shooting the occasional douchebag who deserves it. The now legendary ad-lib of him shooting the swordsman in Raiders really helped to define his character. Not having Indiana shoot his gun at least once in a film is akin to having a Superman movie where Superman never throws a punch. Oh wait...we did see that in Superman Returns.

3) Drop the Nuclear Blast.

I can live with the idea of Indiana Jones stumbling into a nuclear test site. I can buy him realizing what this place is and his panic at thinking he is going to be incinerated. I can even buy his quick thinking in stuffing himself into a lead lined refrigerator to protect himself from the blast. But, when the town is annihilated and he skips away clean as the fridge is launched some 10 miles or so from the ground zero is too much to buy into. Not only should he have been incinerated, at the very least he should have been killed by the radiation or made into a pulpy goo in the aftermath of the blast. I think it would have been much funnier if the bomb test had been a DUD. His luck holds and Indy lives to fight another day.

4) Let Marian Ravenwood drink.

Now I know she's older and maternal and all in this film, but part of Marian's charm was her hard drinking. She and Jones should have shared at least one drink as an homage to her from Raiders.

5) Kill off Mack.

Mack is this annoying Aussie/Brit or whatever who betrays Jones three times in the film. Indiana Jones tries to find a redeeming quality in him to the bitter end much like the hot Nazi chick in Crusade. But it seems all this guy had as far as dialog was a variety of "JONES!!" or JONESIE!!!" lines delivered in a variety of sub-accents and growls. Like Wu Han who died right off the bat in Doom, they should have kept Mack as a Patriot and had the KGB murder him at the start of the film.

6) Dump the Natives.

Two places in this film Indiana runs afoul of some kung-fu Mayans or something. He dispatches the first group of three who were living at an excavation site. Yes....living secretly at an excavation site. How were they not already dead? The second group lives inside the hidden temple. Now I can buy into the lost tribe of the Amazon angle but they were only a distraction. I think it would have been far cooler to run across them in the jungle like the natives he came across in Raiders. That's more plausible than lunatics living in sealed chambers in the temple.

7) Ditch the Tarzan Reference.

Later in the film, Shia's character standing on top of a movie vehicle in the jungle when he runs into some jungle vines and is carried into the trees. There he goes all Buster Crabbe and starts swinging from vine to vine like Pitfall Harry and is able to catch up to the vehicles that left him behind. Should have been cut altogether.

8) Scaling the Bottomless Pit.

As is the case in all Indy films, the filmmaker does a great job building old tombs full of cool traps and stuff, like the giant rock in Raiders or the wall of spikes in Doom. This one sees the stairs leading down what looks to be at least 100 yards or more into a spiked well vanish into the walls. Indy and his team barely make it down when they completely engage into the walls. Some time later the KGB shows up and somehow makes it down the hole in record time with no ropes in sight.

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