The night before I saw “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” I perused the high def movie trailers section of my Apple TV. I picked up three interesting new movie trailers there that I was excited to see.
Guess which trailers were shown before “Indy” the next night? Yup, all the same ones.
It made for an interesting comparison, though. The high def screen at home was bright and highly detailed. The projected image in the theater was dark and almost muddy. I can cut them some slack because I’m sure that reel’s been played an awful lot late, and blowing it up to full movie screen size is bound to cut down on some resolution. However, there’s no excuse for how dark things looked. It’s a classic case of a theater not lighting up their movie as brightly as they could have, and should have.
The good news is, the theater was more than half empty, even being in the smallest theater upstairs back in the corner. (After only two weeks, “Indiana Jones” had been pushed aside. Sad.) I didn’t have any crowd problems. People were able to sit far enough apart to not block each other’s views, and the crowd was generally slightly older. It wasn’t all teenagers on a Friday night. That was nice. There were a lot less phones going off that night. Less texts going out. Less giggles from the back row.
Then, there’s the movie. I liked it a lot. It isn’t without its faults. Some of them are the sadly typical action movie faults in logic and physics. But keeping in mind that this is a movie series inspired by those classic pulpy Saturday afternoon serials, you can forgive it the excesses. Almost.
I think it was Andy Ihnatko who said that the movie looked like the writers threw all their ideas up on a white board and then forgot to edit any out before shooting the movie. That’s my biggest problem with the movie. Some of the silliest parts come at points where the movie would have been better off just coming to a stop.
Spoilers after the break.
There was no need for the “Nuke the Fridge” sequence. Indy should have gotten off of that rocket train, stumbled away and then cut to the next scene. Putting him through the nuke test and having him survive inside a lead-lined refrigerator was the first stretch of credulity. (Though the CGI prairie dog right at the very beginning was distracting, too.)
Likewise, there was no need for Shia to go swinging with the monkeys. There was no need for the cheap trees-in-the-crotch section of that action scene, either. Heck, even the ants part was a little too much. I don’t mind the gruesome death. I just think that particular action piece had gone on long enough and it was time for a rest. Extending it out just tired me out.
And the aliens? I liked it. To me, it fit in with the 1950s feel of the movie. Didn’t bother me a bit. But, then, I’m an avid comic book reader, where anything goes because the budget is never an issue. A pulp crossover with science fiction aliens didn’t bother me.
My favorite line of the movie might have been the David Mamet/Sean Connery dialogue lift. Right after Indy stares longingly at a pic of his father, we cut ahead to a restaurant scene with Indy’s son, where Indy paraphrases “The Untouchables.” “Never bring a knife to a gun fight.”
Speaking of Indy’s son — why stretch that plot point out? Didn’t we know that was Indy’s son from the start? I was shocked when that conversation didn’t happen in their first scene together. So when it’s supposed to come as a big surprise, I was non-plussed.
But the rest of it was a lot of fun. That’s all I wanted: some cool action sequences. Some snappy one-liners. Indiana Jones running around with his whip. And that’s what I got.
Most of my problems with the movie would probably be ignored by 10 year old me. I’m sure the kids loved the swinging vines and the ants sequence and the silly waterfall drops. I’m too literal, I suppose.