Filed under: Uncategorized
Had a chance to look at most of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull a second time, and got to wondering what exactly made it miss the mark. When I wrote about it before my main complaint was the CGI, and that criticism does hold up. But if I can forgive CGI in fully green-screen film like Sky Captain, I can deal with it in Indy.
I’ve decided the real problem is just Shia LaBeouf. Everything else, on paper, is fine:
The most iffy part is the ‘ancient aliens’ storyline. But this basically worked fine and is pretty consistent with the other Indy movies, all of which featured the cheesy supernatural.
Having the bad guys be the Soviets? Refreshingly fine.
It’s totally fine and, in fact, makes total sense to set the story far later than the others and give Indy a grown kid. Harrison Ford is pushing 70 after all.
The story (therefore) takes place in the late ’50s, so the kid is kind of a rebel, with a leather jacket and switchblade, etc. Ok sure. Totally makes sense.
It’s totally cool that the kid is with Marion Ravenwood, but adventuring Indy didn’t know about him, and I’m totally on board with bringing Karen
Black Allen (heh – thanks George!) back.
Even some of the details about the kid: dropped/kicked out of several schools, but highly intelligent, hangs around with the academic set, and also trained in stuff like fencing, but with a disrespect for authority. Yes, yes. That’s Indy’s kid.
And the general notion of grooming Indy’s kid to be the next Indy is totally fine. Indy’s got to pass the torch at some point.
All of that is fine. If you had described all of that, and nothing more, to me I’d have said you had the ingredients of a perfectly workable Indiana Jones movie. Some of the set pieces are pretty good, while others are irritating (and the movie at times is just a string of set pieces), but even that is well within the Indy tradition.
The only real problem I can see is that as Indy’s kid Mutt, the next Indy, the rebel misunderstood greaser to which Indy needs to pass that torch, they cast Shia LaBeouf. Indiana Jones is a swashbuckling adventurer played by the man’s-man actor of our time. Harrison Ford may be a shorty (and, I think, a bit of a weirdo) but he is almost universally beloved as a strong, rugged ugly-handsome hero type, a cowboy with a bit of Bogart in him. And whatever else you may think of him, you just don’t look at Shia LaBeouf and think, “chip off the Indy block” or “the next Harrison Ford”. You think, “Disney Channel superstar”. And that’s a problem.
Why exactly did they do this?
I’m not even anti-Shia, as such. I think he’s fine for the role he plays in those Transformer movies, for example, because he’s supposed to be a dweeby, overlooked everykid. But for Indy, Jr.? Seriously, what were they thinking?
Does Steven Spielberg like Shia LaBeouf because he sees in him a younger, cooler version of himself, or something? Because that’s the only explanation I can think of.
4 Comments so far
Leave a comment