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Indiana Jones and low expectations

Isn’t it funny what low expectations can do for a book or movie?

I kept hearing that the new Indiana Jones movie was … well, whatever. Not great, but also, not bad.

With that frame of mind, I entered the theater with low expectations, and guess what? I had a wonderful time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Harrison Ford so relaxed and engaging. Sure, the storyline was unbelievable – but weren’t they all? It simply didn’t bother me the way it might have if rave reviews had abounded.

So here’s my review: if you loved the other Indiana movies, and you’re a Harrison Ford fan (which I’m not, by the way, but he’s worming his way into my heart) I think you’ll get a huge kick out of this film. Not for the plot – I mean, seriously, plot? In an Indiana Jones movie?

No, this is all about the characters and special effects. And the characterization is fantastic. The special effects? Well they were pretty good. Typical of this series, combined with The Mummy and National Treasure. Does that sound bad? Keep in mind that I want characterization and dialogue – the rest is gravy. So this movie does what I wanted it to do.

Its greatest claim to fame, other than good characters? They kept the obligatory chase scenes very, very short. God bless ‘em, because I’ve grown to despise movie chase scenes.

So I think you should go see it. I found it utterly engaging, even if the paranormal element was dumb, dumb, dumb.

Let’s face it, the first in the series was superb because it was innovative. The second was derivative. The third had Sean Connery, so it was my favorite. But this one? I’d say it’s tied for second place, and that’s not bad considering that this series is an amazing piece of work when considered as a whole.




( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 14th, 2008 09:19 am (UTC)
The third's my favorite, too (although, having watched Temple for the first time within the last six weeks, I have to say, out of all of them, I think it's the best *pulp* film), but really my only problem with #4 was I didn't think it was quite pulpy enough. I thought the effects were *too* slick. But it's an Indiana Jones movie, a silly romp through absurd adventures and impossible stakes, and I liked it.

I, however, am also someone who didn't see the original Star Wars movies until I was an adult, and apparently unlike most of the people I know, am fully aware that the first one, particularly, is *terrible* (Empire's better, of course, and I don't really remember much about Return)...and that the newer movies are not actually appreciably worse than the originals. George Lucas has wonderful epic ideas, but he can't write and he's not a good director. These things were true in 1977, too. The major difference is that we were all *six* in 1977, and there's almost no way a new movie of any quality can recapture the nostalgia and awe of being *six* and watching those films. Thirty-year-olds are just not going to have the same experience. It's not possible. I think a lot of people are having essentially the same trouble with the new Indiana Jones movie. I think there's a lot of comparison to the *idea* of those movies rather than their reality.

Although, really, Nazis are better bad guys than the Soviets. They're just inherently More Evil. I'll give 'em that. :)
Jun. 14th, 2008 08:26 pm (UTC)
Star Wars was terrible?
Holy Death Star!

But hmmmm, I wonder if you’re right about that.

To me, the original Star Wars was absolutely visionary, and that’s one of the reasons viewers connected with it. But like all things visionary, it’s tough to appreciate that aspect of it if your first experience with it is after it has been copied to death, and perhaps even improved upon.

But another reason we connected with it was the simplicity of the underlying story – a very primal one – yes, in a different galaxy with huge stakes – told in a new and different way, but still, very universal.

Plus, it sent science fiction into mainstream orbit where it belonged!

I guess that’s why it seems so much greater than PHANTOM MENACE, which I actually thought was something of a mess, not to mention too commercial and exploitative. But I’ve watched it a lot because quite frankly, Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor in the same movie, in the same scenes, on my TV? It doesn’t get much better than that.

Thanks for the provocative comment, Catie – I almost jumped on a plane to come and discuss this one face to face!

Oh, and as for the Indiana movie, you’re right, it was a little slick. But since I re-watched the first three recently, I was dreading the idea that it would be completely true to the formula, because it was wearing thin for me. I think I liked the human quality to this one a little – but you’re right, as a stand alone, it cannot match the fabulous pulpitude of the others. (and yep, Nazis make better bad guys, although if they had mentioned Lenin less, and Stalin more, that dominatrix would have seemed almost as evil in her own way).

Oh, and of course, if I hadn't had low expectations, I probably would have actually DISliked this fourth installment -- isn't that odd? But true.

And don’t get me started on George Lucas – I’m not the type who puts energy into envying other people, but he’s on the short list of humans who have elicited that reaction from me. He really lived the dream, sequel-wise, and was able to tell his story his way in his own time. Wow. ( I had a beloved six-book saga truncated at two books when the publisher discontinued their paranormal line, so I have reason to drool over his great and well-deserved luck.)

If we ever meet in person, we must have this conversation.


Jun. 14th, 2008 08:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Star Wars was terrible?
But like all things visionary, it’s tough to appreciate that aspect of it if your first experience with it is after it has been copied to death, and perhaps even improved upon.

Exactly. Seeing it first on the small screen, fifteen or more years after the fact, was completely "meh". Been there, done that, in terms of special effects (though I knew that this was where much of it had stemmed from, it still didn't help), and so all that was really visible to me was that, God, this was *really bad*.

I did, though, see the theatrical re-releases in the mid-90s, and I must say: on the big screen, the flaws of the films are much reduced. Those movies are *meant* to be seen big. They are, indeed, epic, and the small screen doesn't do them justice. It's much easier to forgive the terrible aspects and get caught up in the scope and majesty on a 40 foot screen.

Thanks for the provocative comment, Catie – I almost jumped on a plane to come and discuss this one face to face!

*laughs out loud* Believe me, voicing that opinion's gotten me into near-death-matches in the past. It's really pretty weird, being of this generation and not having that love affair with those films through the common shared theatrical experience (I'm one up on a friend, though, who not only hadn't seen them until the theatrical re-releases, she didn't know Darth Vader was Luke's father, and was infuriated with all her friends for not telling her. How she grew up in America with, y'know, like, English as her first language, and didn't know this, I cannot *imagine*.). Of course, it does give me the position to make provocative comments... :)

I gotta agree with you: I might not like him as a director or writer, but as a *creator*, damn, Lucas has got the winning hand. Wouldn't we *all* love to be in his place. O.O

If we ever meet in person, we must have this conversation.

If the stars align, I'll be at RWA in San Francisco...
Jun. 15th, 2008 12:05 am (UTC)
Re: Star Wars was terrible?
Given all the troubles, I decided against registering for RWA – just wasn’t sure I’d be up to it yet by July, and so far, it seems like I predicted correctly. If I’m going to spend money on a nice hotel room in the near future, it will be to escape and write while being pampered by room service.

However, I’m in San Francisco all the time for work-related meetings and to visit family, so I might be in the area that week. It would be fun to meet you, and of course we need to hash this out, hopefully in a cantina that’s not on the Empire’s radar.

SF's perfect for that!

Jun. 15th, 2008 06:43 am (UTC)
Re: Star Wars was terrible?
I'll let you know if the stars align! :)
Jun. 18th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Star Wars was terrible?
Yikes, what wonderful comments.

I LOVED the first three Star Wars pix. I loved them, way back when, and enjoyed the reshowing.

However, I DETESTED the last three, er, supposed to be the first three....*sigh*.....

The plots were ridiculous. I was about ready to kill Anakin, long before they reached the second movie. And, the so called chemistry betwixt Anakin and and Natalie Portman(sorry can't call her character's name at this second) was enough to put me to sleep.

I have NO earthly idea what the underwater rabits were all about...*rolls eyes*....

George Lucas was a visionary, in his time, but he should have left well enough alone.

As for Indiana Jones, I loved the first two and was bored to tears with the third but think Sean Connery is gorgeous so suffered through it. Am certainly glad to see some positive responses to the new one as I had no intentions of seeing an ancient Harrison Ford hobbling around to save the world or crypt or ark or whatever he is saving this week.

Pllllllllllleassssssee tell me there are no snake scenes in this one.


I sure hate to get off topic, but did anybody see the US Open this past weekend??! Wow. And, to find out today that Tiger won with TWO stress fractures and torn ACL. Talk about an Indiana Jones!!...:)
Jun. 18th, 2008 11:38 pm (UTC)
chase scenes in movies vs books....
I thought I was the only one who has grown weary of the obligatory chase scene in movies. Yikes, but they are so wearisome. With, the exception of the chase scenes in Bourne Supremacy! My sis and I went to see it and about jumped over a row of seats!! Exciting.

For the most part, tho, they are not believable. I got to wondering why I enjoy said chase/action scenes in books. I was hollering during all the action scenes in Charades and boy, you sure can look ridiculous yelling at a book, lemme tell you.

Speaking of books, I have quite the delimma: Exit Strategy has arrived BEFORE Identity Crisis and I am trying to be a good gal and not read it first. What is a girl to do??.......

Jun. 18th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC)
Re: chase scenes in movies vs books....
I liked the Bourne Identity too -- they handled the chase scenes really well, didn't they?

And hmmm.... I think you should hold out for ID Crisis, but what do I know? I tried to write the stories so that Exit Strategy could stand alone, and a bunch of readers who had never heard of ID Crisis wrote to tell me they love EXIT, so maybe you would too. On the other hand... I think you should wait. You'll be glad you did, I think.

Sheesh, I can't be objective!

Jun. 19th, 2008 12:54 pm (UTC)
holding out.....snack dilemma...

Thanks sooooo much for your objective opinion. LOL...

I was all set and ready to be a good girl, and wait. So, I reeally appreciate your giving me the excuse I need to read it...hehe...can always blame you, and thus can enjoy the book and the Guardian of the Sacred Code of Book Reading can get you 'steada me....hehe....

By the by, one way you can get yourself out of this jam is to help me make a CRUCIAL reading decision. I like to snack whilst reading and am in quite the dilemma(sp) as to whether to choose BBQ chips, plain Lays or Crunchy Cheetoes. Also, I have a fine red drink, up against a wonderfully refreshing Orange Soda.

What, pray tell, is a girl to do? I'm in the action reading mode, so don't want to have to waste time wiping off my fingers with the Cheetoes as I DETEST marks on my books. However, plain ones just don't seem exciting enough to go with the action. Extremely important to get this right as you ruin a great book with lousy snack habits. I ruined a perfectly good book, a while back, because I was forced to eat popcorn(nothing else available).....*shiver*.....was in the middle of a wonderfully scrumptious love scene and hearing the crunch of the popcorn just didn't do it for me.

So, save yourself from The Guardian and help me solve my dilemma and you shall be wonderful, once again, in my eyes......;-)

Jun. 21st, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
Re: holding out.....snack dilemma...
Hi Jeanette,

Hmmm... I never snack while I'm reading. Too busy turning pages and having my heart in my throat. I used to drink Diet Pepsi, but now I just drink water while reading, so I'm sort of a spartan reader.

Definitely not Cheetoes though! I love Fritos myself, which means I can't keep them in the house (and I wish the stores would stop putting them right in front of my eyes!0

Jun. 25th, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC)
Re: holding out.....snack dilemma...
Wouldja believe after all that I ended up buying, and scarfing, some cheezums Pringles and a Sprite!?....lol...

AS for the Fritos, I have me some bbq ones if you want 'em....*J tries to cram a bag of fritos through the puter screen to Kate...didja get 'em?....I can't see now to tell.....:)

Your other two books came and they look delectable. Will have all three read before the weekend gets started.

You really should be writing full length novels. The ONLY complaint I have with your books are that they are too short! I have had to slow down so I can save 'em an extra day.

Sasha and Kristie would get along FAB, dontcha think??

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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