{ thinking out loud about the things i care about }

Indiana Jones and the Anvils of Unusual Size

I realized yesterday during one of many epic conference calls at work that I’ve started to adopt corporate culture phrases, like “level set” and “hill climb”.  I’ve started speaking the language, and while there are some benefits to be had of the fitting-in variety, the word I really want to use to describe this development is “ugh”.

It seems most of y’all think my handwriting is nifty-looking.  o_O  It is a bit unique, I’ll give it that.

I’m still eye-rolling through Twilight — mockery is a fun way to spend my breaks, and offers some relief from the never-ending nightmare that is my life on speaker-phone this week; the gratuitous narration and love-angst practically oozes off my screen.

I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate how much I hate speaker-phones.  Really, really hate.  The sort of hate that tightens in on itself and pressurizes until it implodes and creates a black-hole of loathing that sucks in other unsuspecting things as they innocently wander by.  I hold a similarly compounded spite for celery.  

In other news, I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull this weekend, and my non-spoilery opinion of it is that it scores 4 stars for being completely consumable and entertaining action, which I feel is 96% the point of an Indiana Jones movie.

As for my spoilery opinion, I feel this movie suffers from some of the same sort of anvilicious problems that Twilight does, meaning simply that there are points (plot related or otherwise) that are so over-pounded into the headsof the audience that they become extremely irritating.  If you hadn’t already deduced this the newest Dr. Jones episode was all about aliens by the time they found the skull, then you’re the sort of dumb usually reserved for inanimate objects.  To top off the anvil-metre, they’re even cliche-looking aliens in a stereotypically spinning, round space ship.  I think the art-design budget got missed in all that action-design and stunt coordinating, and the only art direction they had was old B-roll from the Twilight Zone.

The action is pretty much all completely unbelievable, but it’s supposed to be so it’s perfectly acceptable; high on the list of contenders for Most Ridiculous Thing In An Action Movie goes that bit where Indy tucks himself into a lead-lined refrigerator to survive an atomic bomb.  As for the rest of it, I give it all the big thumbs up except for that section with the killer ants.  *shivers*  I have no idea what actually happened in that section, because as soon as they started spilling out of the ant hill I closed my eyes and plugged my ears until someone elbowed me, indicating it was all over and safe to come out from behind my hands.  I suspect, however, that several people were eaten by bloodthirsty ants, which is a too-horrible way for anyone to kick it in my opinion.  I heard Cate Blanchett squished one with her knees, which was apparently squelchy.

Cate Blanchett was in tip-top awesome form insofar as I’m concerned, even despite the train-wreck Russian accent (which may or may not have been on purpose).  She commited to the outrageousness of the role she’d been given full-throttle, which is the only choice when faced with such ridiculousness as a Russian KGB paranormal specialist in an Indiana Jones/alien movie.  She got her action on just as well (in some places better) than the boys did while never fogetting to punctuate with the funny.

I liked Shia LeBeouf in Transformers, and my opinion of him didn’t really change.  This particular role didn’t give him as much comedic material to sink his teeth into, but heck, he got to sword-fight on the trunk of a jeep driving at breakneck speed through the jungle, so what’s to complain about?  The Villiage People hat upstaged him more than perhaps the wardrobe department thought it would, and after Transformers something about the idea of Shia as a rough’n’tumble ’50s greaser never quite connected as believable, but overall I’d say Hollywood’s probably found another action star.  I’m not sure we need a Mutt Williams franchise (though the hints that we might get one if this latest in the Jones series is successful was another heaping spoonful of anvil) but probably Shia’s gonna find himself shortlisted on up and coming action-packed adventures.  

It had waterfalls, car chases, quicksand, horrible man-eating insects, terrible accents, sword fights, (nuclear) explosions, Harrison Ford wincing, double-crosses, triple-crosses, Indy’s man-purse, a crazy old man wearing a poncho clutching a cheap-looking prop, plenty of tombs and secret chambers and wacky underground tunnels, villianous villians, and stereotypical natives**.  What more do you want from an Indiana Jones movie, really?

** Some people have expressed concern that once again Hollywood has embraced the cliche characterisation of tribal “savage” people, and they probably have a broader point that’s fair, but I would just like to point out that the natives aren’t by a longshot the only people made fun of in this movie.  Consider the ways professors, greasers, Soviets, FBI agents, and aliens (to name a few) are portrayed in this film, and I think it’s fair to say that the way the tribal people are represented fits with the general parody-rich theme of the overall movie.

I think we’re seeing Prince Caspian tonight and Sex in the City on Friday.  At some point I might ramble a bit about Ironman, which I saw a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed, when I’m in the mood.  In the meantime, this post is quite long enough already…


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