Sunday, May 16, 2010

Indy Cred

This weekend my Mr. Boy chums made their way up north for an impromptu confab/weekend o' fun (caught the new Ridley Scott/Russell Crowe Robin Hood, for which I will hopefully have a review up tomorrow), and we got to talking about some of the biggest cinematic disappointments of our lives. The Phantom Menace is the obvious one, and Planet of the Apes '01 remains a sore spot for me (as anyone who reads this site already knows quite well), but I think Brian Hall said it best when he described Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as his "There is no Santa Claus" moment.

Indeed, it's hard for me to think of another flick in recent memory that tied together more of our collective hopes and fond memories, and for which the results were as disastrously lackluster. I can still remember my experience on opening night two years ago, trying my best to power through the meandering first act and the listless second act. It was the moment when poor Shia LeBeouf started swinging on jungle vines alongside a cadre of CGI monkeys that I finally threw my hands in the air and signaled my surrender.

As it happens, this discussion was perfectly timed, as LeBeouf himself, displaying remarkable humility and self-awareness, has given an interview (on top of an earlier one in which he agreed with me that Transformers 2 wasn't all that it could have been) wherein he essentially falls on his sword for the Jones sequel. In fact, he even cites as his responsibility the failure of the specific scene mentioned above:
"You get to monkey-swinging and things like that and you can blame it on the writer and you can blame it on Steven [Spielberg, who directed]. But the actor's job is to make it come alive and make it work, and I couldn't do it. So that's my fault. Simple."
While I personally feel the blame is misplaced, I do applaud LeBeouf's candor (and he goes on at some length about the movie's flaws). I don't know if there's ever going to be another Indiana Jones (or if I even want there to be another Indiana Jones, for that matter), but if a fourth sequel does end up happening, hopefully this awareness of the last one's weaknesses will translate next time around to a more positive experience for all concerned.

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