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Jason Bortz

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I love how even the crates have cobwebs. The spiders are EVERYWHERE, man.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Y'know, I'd be curious to know what the rationale was behind the original warehouse shot/sequence in Raiders of the Lost Ark. From a plot POV, I've always kind of assumed it was just a way to explain how the Ark of the Covenant could have been discovered again without anyone ever hearing about it in the 45 years since then (i.e. the gap between 1936, when the story takes place, and 1981, when the film came out) -- the government kept it secret! Plus it was effectively kind of spooky in its own right -- the Ark was buried and hidden before, and now it has been buried and hidden again. And for film-school brats like Spielberg and Lucas (the former of whom actually OWNS the Rosebud sled and has it on display at his production office), there was also the fun of making a visual allusion to Citizen Kane.

But those are pretty cursory reasons for coming up with that ending. So I find myself wondering if the ending of Raiders was just a gag that the filmmakers tossed off -- and tossed off well -- and if they now find themselves thinking, "Man, we never thought we would actually base a STORY on that gag, with actors and subplots and action sequences and everything!"


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Y'know, I'd be curious to know what the rationale was behind the original warehouse shot/sequence in Raiders of the Lost Ark. From a plot POV, I've always kind of assumed it was just a way to explain how the Ark of the Covenant could have been discovered again without anyone ever hearing about it in the 45 years since then (i.e. the gap between 1936, when the story takes place, and 1981, when the film came out) -- the government kept it secret! Plus it was effectively kind of spooky in its own right -- the Ark was buried and hidden before, and now it has been buried and hidden again. And for film-school brats like Spielberg and Lucas (the former of whom actually OWNS the Rosebud sled and has it on display at his production office), there was also the fun of making a visual allusion to Citizen Kane.

I always read the scene to mean that, while Indy and everyone else risked their lives to get the Ark, it was just one of many 'magical' trinkets that the gov't had, to the point that it could just be tossed in with the rest.

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I remember thinking that last shot was so full of wonder. If the Ark is just a number in a huge warehouse full of stuff, what adventures might be waiting in all the OTHER boxes? (It's a visual version of that wonderful closing of the Gospel of John.)

Of course, it's also a wonderful contradiction to Indie's mantra "this belongs in a museum", isn't it? Apparently, he really HAS learned to respect if not God, then at least the "other", and that some things really belong hidden and unrevealed. It's a recognition of human limitation.

I think your first point is pretty much my reaction when I watched this film growing up.

As for your second, I think that is more summed up when Indy tells Marion to close her eyes and the "Angel of Death" kills the Nazis. Because when Marion and Indy are walking down the steps, Indy is visibly annoyed that the government is just locking it up and won't tell him what they're doing with it. He says "They don't know what they've got in there!" to which Marion responds, "I know what I've got right here" or something to that effect. So I wouldn't say Indy is at peace with the Ark locked away, which fits that in the new film he'd be more than happy to get it off the government or what-have-you.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Anders wrote:

: So I wouldn't say Indy is at peace with the Ark locked away, which fits that in the new film he'd be more than happy to get it off the government or what-have-you.

But once he gets it off the government's hands (and it is possible that, in the new film, he has no intention of taking it away from the American government, but rather merely means to protect it from the Russian government), whose hands would KEEP it? The whole "it belongs in a museum" thing was added to the character in Last Crusade, IIRC, and does not come up in either of the previous films -- and I wonder if the Indy of Raiders would really WANT the Ark to be put in a museum. (If memory serves, Marcus Brody talked about STUDYING the Ark and its incredible power, and I personally think that Brody's approach, with its modern scientific analytical bent, would have been just as wrong as anybody else's; I have wondered for some time if Indy agreed with Brody on this point, or if perhaps he had moved to a more sacred or mystical understanding of the Ark.)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Alan Thomas wrote:

: But Indy's deal with Brody was that the museum would get the ark.

Back when he didn't believe in "magic, a lot of superstitious hocus pocus," yes. (Although interestingly, in that scene, Brody DID seem to believe in the "boogie man", yet at that point in the story he was apparently still fine with handing the Ark over to the museum.)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Alan Thomas wrote:

: But Indy's deal with Brody was that the museum would get the ark.

Back when he didn't believe in "magic, a lot of superstitious hocus pocus," yes. (Although interestingly, in that scene, Brody DID seem to believe in the "boogie man", yet at that point in the story he was apparently still fine with handing the Ark over to the museum.)

You both seem to be assuming that Brody was being entirely above board with Indy when Indy asked about the museum and Brody said, "Oh, yes." It's always seemed to me that Brody may have been somewhat bluffing here, telling Indy what he knew Indy wanted to hear, though he wasn't at all sure what the fate of the ark would be, and possibly what it should be.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I'm a bit late to this, but apparently Lego went public with some of its Crystal Skull-themed toys back in December ... and at least one of these sets contains a curious item or two that might be kind of spoiler-ish.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I'm a bit late to this, but apparently Lego went public with some of its Crystal Skull-themed toys back in December ... and at least one of these sets contains a curious item or two that might be kind of spoiler-ish.

Sure looks like little

aliens

in that last shot. I really don't like for the direction this one is going after, the whole sci fi thing just is too un-archaeologist-y for me.

Edited by Buckeye Jones

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Buckeye Jones wrote:

: Sure looks like little

aliens

in that last shot.

Maybe ... but they looked to me more like

skeletons with, uh, blue helmets or something

... so then I started thinking that maybe they were

skeletons from the neck down, but crystal skulls from the neck up

...


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Interesting ... it seems the two sites from which I got the two images of the crystal skull have since been asked by the studio to take their images down (even though one of them was from a toy company's brochure, and would thus presumably be at least semi-public already) ... so far the Lego pictures are still up, at least ...


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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NO NEW SPOILERS

Looking back at an old post of Jeffrey Wells's, I came across two points in the comments that had not occurred to me yet, both of which were made by "Mgmax":

[someone else wrote:]
"Alien" is jumping the gun. The supernatural elements of the Indy series have always been religious in nature.

Yes, when the villains were the neo-pagan Nazis-- rather than the staunchly atheistic Commies.

Plus, is it set after Sputnik?

Re: the first point. I have always figured the switch from Nazi to Commie was just part-and-parcel of accepting the fact that Harrison Ford is now 20+ years older than he used to be, and therefore the character should be 20+ years older too, and therefore the story had to take place in the 1950s and not the 1930s, and therefore the story had to deal with the fact that a very different ideology was now trying to achieve global domination. And I accepted it at face value when Lucas said that he switched from the religious supernatural to the sci-fi supernatural because the cheesy B-movies of the 1930s were different from the cheesy B-movies of the 1950s. But now I wonder... does the connection run deeper than that? Did Lucas go for a sci-fi rather than religious supernatural MacGuffin in this film BECAUSE the villains were atheists this time? Or, alternatively, were the rise of explicitly atheistic Communism and the rise of a more "science" oriented form of B-movie both spurred by some even LARGER trend that was in the air at that time?

Re: the second point. Why yes, word is that this film takes place in 1957, which just happens to be the same year that Sputnik was launched and the Space Age began. I wonder if the film itself will make that connection.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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'Indy' trailer finally on its way

Paramount, Lucasfilm prep Valentine's Day tease

Variety, February 7


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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And now for the "alternate comic cover":

indycomiccover2.jpg


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Y'know, the little fella's beginning to grow on me. We'll see, I guess.

Coming Soon has links to an Italian magazine with new pics (I don't think there's anything particularly spoilery about them, but who knows?):

Classic Indy

Ford and Blanchett

Ford and an Old Friend (I don't mean Marion)

Does anyone else think that all the pics released so far of Blanchett look a little...weird? I don't mean her--I mean the way they're shot; they almost have a hyper-active, plastic quality that I can only compare to the kid's show Lazy Town. It's a bit contrast to the realistic, classic-Indy look of all the other shots released so far.

Hmm.... Now that I think of it, these shots of Blanchett also look like shots from old S.F. movies like War of the Worlds--the pictures at IMDB are in B&W, but the movie's in Technicolor, and it also has a distinctly plastic and/or artificial look. Another link to the movies of the fifties?

Edited by NBooth

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Trailer's up, and it looks good. I love the silhouette shot of Indy picking up his hat, and the bullwhip action looks pretty sweet.

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::w00t:: B) . I'm really excited for this movie now. It doesn't look like a drop-dead classic, but it looks fun. And, having seen actual footage, it definitely looks like it's going to be indebted to the Fifties in more ways than plot--it has a Fifties look.

Edited by NBooth

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Not too shabby, although it certainly looks more like a sequel to Last Crusade than Raiders.

Same self-conscious sense of humor. And wow, Spielberg's really pouring out the love for Shia, letting him copy Indy's slow, anxious turn to look back over his shoulder. That shot is straight outta Raiders.


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You all noticed the "Roswell, New Mexico 1947" reference, right?

Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:

: Not too shabby, although it certainly looks more like a sequel to Last Crusade than Raiders.

Yeah... I particularly didn't care much for the way Indy tosses off a quip of some sort AFTER he lands in the truck with the Commies but BEFORE he does anything to them. It's kind of funny, but it has the same cartoonish lack-of-believability element that afflicted the other Indiana Jones sequels. The original Raiders would have been brisker, would have gone for a humorous LOOK instead of calling a dramatic time-out for the verbal joke, I think. (Opinion subject to revision if I re-watch all three films again and realize that the distinction I'm making isn't true, of course.)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Not too shabby, although it certainly looks more like a sequel to Last Crusade than Raiders.

Same self-conscious sense of humor. And wow, Spielberg's really pouring out the love for Shia, letting him copy Indy's slow, anxious turn to look back over his shoulder. That shot is straight outta Raiders.

That bodes well for the first viewing at least--I really enjoyed Last Crusade in 70mm on opening night. It was only after the second or third time that I really started getting annoyed by its inadequacies.

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