Thursday, July 31, 2008

Nuke The Fridge

While I've only hinted at it before, I have to admit that I was sorely disappointed with the newest Indiana Jones movie. I wanted so badly to like it but, it just felt wrong. It totally lost the feel of the first 3 movies. It was shot differently; too much Gaussian blur, too much CGI. Worse, not only were the special effects less-than-spectacular, but they were often the entire focus of a scene. Awful. The whole movie seemed forced.

It was like, instead of trying to create something spectacular and original (they only had, what? 11 YEARS??), George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg just made a giant homage to all of their favorite films. And, I don't mean other peoples' films. I mean their favorite films.

"Let's just take some 'Close Encounters', throw in some 'Star Wars', add a dash of 'Always', maybe a little 'Howard the Duck' and BAM! You've got yourself a movie!"

The only films of theirs' that they didn't pay tribute to were the Indiana Jones ones.

And look, I'm an actor and movie geek which means that I've spent way too much time reading old scripts and watching all of those DVD extras that normal people ignore so you can't fool me. I know that some parts of Indy 4 were nothing more than scenes they'd been smart enough to edit out of their earlier work. One scene in particular occurred near the beginning of "Crystal Skull":

After a few minutes of "American Graffiti" (hey, a car race and "Hound Dog". I get it... it's the 50's), there's an unbelievable (and, not in the "awe-inspiring" sense of the word) scene of (Spoiler Alert!) Indiana Jones surviving a nuclear blast... hiding in a refrigerator.

Now, in the original "Back to the Future" script (which, I'm sorry to say, was rather painful), the climactic scene did not revolve around Marty using lightning to power a DeLorean time machine back to 1985.

Actually, it had Marty leaving the "Enchantment Under the Sea" dance to take a road trip with Doc to Nevada where they snuck onto a restricted military base so Marty could hide out in an empty test house (with a TV playing "Howdy Doody", see a pattern here, folks?) before using a nuclear explosion (and a bottle of "Coke", in an act of really blatant product placement) to power his trip back to 1985... in a refrigerator.

Come on! When I first read that, I thought "Thank God they were smart enough to change that".

Cut to 30 years later, George and Steve are brainstorming. George says, "You know what I'd like to see? A low-angle shot of Indy's iconic silhouette in front of a massive, growing mushroom cloud. If only there was a way we could justify that." And Stephen says, "Well, you know... I've got this great scene we cut from a little time travel movie I produced back in the 80's. It involves... a refrigerator."

And yes, OK... visually, that scene was cool. But the setup just made it impossible for me to suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy it. Instead, my brain kept shouting "But, he'd be dead! What about radiation? Why are they having a nuclear test now? I mean, didn't they find all of those dead guards? How much did I pay for popcorn?"

The whole movie just got worse from there. The low point, of course, being Shia LeBeouf (which I think is French for "stealing the beef") swinging on vines with monkeys.

So, it is with great pleasure I present to you Nuke The Fridge:

(via Video Jug)

I love that #4 touches on my biggest problem with the very first Superman movie, too. (I was literally talking to somebody about this 2 days ago.) Seriously, they had the entire, rich history of Superman comics as their source material and they had to go and end the very first Superman movie with a cop-out, deus ex machina like Superhero TiVo?? Why even try anymore when you can just keep doing things over?

"You say Lex Luthor shot the president? Why, this looks like a job for... spinning the planet backwards!"
"Oops, I missed 'Friends'. Rewind."
"What that, Lois? You're pregnant? I'll be right back..."

(THIS Is How To End a Movie) UPDATE:

1 comment:

Zak S said...

That video needed nipples on the Batsuit instead of Look Who's Talking Now... the ultimate fridge nuke.