I really like Spielberg and Lucas’s Indiana Jones franchise. The first three films were childhood favourites and are still up there in my fave films of all time. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade have never really had to battle for adoration from members of the public. Everyone seems to love them. Yet when it comes to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull there’s a lot of hatred out there and I just don’t understand why.
You should probably stop reading now if you don’t want any spoilers.
I’ve watched the fourth film a couple of times now, since seeing it in the cinema back in 2008. And in the past twenty-four hours I have rewatched all four films, so I’m feeling like I might be able to discuss the apparent hate from fans and critics. What perhaps, more than anything, has sparked off this blog post is the amount of “oh don’t watch Crystal Skull” when I mentioned yesterday that I was rewatching the franchise.
So, why do people dislike the fourth part of the franchise? The excuses I’ve seen or heard upon the film’s release and since range from people not understanding how it is that both Marcus and Jones senior could be dead, to people missing the Nazis being the bad guys, to Shia LaBeouf playing a main character, to Indy ending up in a refrigerator, to people not liking the inter-dimensional beings and people complaining about Indy doing similar things to what he’s done in the previous three films. Now let’s have a look at all of these.
Marcus and Jones senior are dead
All right guys, it was made pretty clear near the end of Last Crusade that while you could drink from the Holy Grail, its ability to make you immortal only lasted when you did not go beyond the “great seal”. Y’know, that big thing on the floor that Elsa tries to take the Grail past that causes the whole complex to collapse?
Considering that Marcus and Jones senior were pretty old as characters and that film was set in 1938 and the fourth is set in 1957… come on, it’s not hard to understand. That and Sean Connery has made it clear that he’s retired from acting.
People missing Nazis being the bad guys
Yeah, so they featured heavily in the first three films, but considering those were set during the Nazi party’s rise to power and worked off the rumours about Hitler being obsessed with the occult – that made sense. But come on, the fourth film is set in 1957. Nazis aren’t the “bad guys” for the West anymore, it’s all those Communists in Soviet Russia.
I don’t think Spielberg and Lucas could have pulled off Indy and the team stumbling across a sun tanned Hitler in a wheelchair in some plantation in the middle of South America and I’m glad they didn’t go for this angle. Really glad.
Shia LaBeouf playing a main character
Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s just a whole bunch of cinema goers out there who happen to seriously dislike Shia LaBeouf as an actor and as a person. Personally, I think he’s been great in everything he’s ever been in and did his best to try and act with what he had to work with in the last two Transformers films.
The character of Mutt is a fine inclusion and gives some much needed youth to a cast that couldn’t have been jumping between Jeeps that well without breaking limbs. In all, the worst thing this character does in the entire film is act impossibly like Tarzan at one point.
Indy ending up in a refrigerator
Probably not something you should do in real life, but it was lead lined so would probably keep Indy’s bollocks from being fried too easily. It’s a plot device that made perfect sense and people who bring it up are truly nitpicking considering the issues with reality the rest of the film has.
People not liking the inter-dimensional beings
What’s less likable about this than the paranormal elements of the previous three films? Oh, it’s beings from another dimension as opposed to a bunch of supernatural beings that are responsible for life, the universe and everything? See one of the badges at the bottom of this blog, this is why I find this complaint pathetic.
Indy doing similar things to what he’s done in the previous three films
Basically people not being able to handle the mixture of quips, impossible action and leaps of faith. All things present in the first three films, which still rate higher.
While George Lucas wasn’t directly responsible for the script of this film, at least the plot makes far more sense than all the prequel Star Wars films put together.
Now, here’s this for a theory: The two films that dealt far more with Judo-Christian beliefs – Raiders of the Lost Ark and Last Crusade – are both far more popular than Temple of Doom and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, two films that don’t touch on Judo-Christian beliefs. Could it be that all the disliking is because people don’t like being in unfamiliar supernatural ground? Along with the reasons I’ve listed above, this could be one of the biggies. After all, audiences tend to prefer genre films where they can predict things just that bit more.
You know what, people can continue to hate Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but to me it seems no worse or better than any of the previous three films… well maybe a tad better than Temple of Doom.
And yes, I do know about that episode of South Park.