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  1. #1
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    Indiana Jones 4: Early Review

    Well, I just got back from a screening for one of the summer's most anticipated films.

    Bottom line-- it was not a disaster. That seems like a strange bottom line but I had been hearing some bad buzz and the trailer just looked horrible so I went in thinking it was possible it would be a disaster on par with the dreadful 2nd Indy film (Temple of Doom).

    So, it was not a disaster...

    But it was not great either. I would rate it close to but not quite as good as Indy 3 (Last Crusade). Compared to action fare like Iron Man, it comes up quite short. I still think it will do huge boxoffice, though probably only around $225 million, not nearly the $300 mill that some have predicted. It is not like people will have a bad time watching it, but, I am betting a lot of you will leave the theater thinking, "well, that could have been better."

    The story is ok. It starts out really well -- we get a pretty decent action sequence right away and they really launch the story well. But then, it starts to fall apart a bit. The problem, to me, was the action sequences. They are really cartoonish. I know Indiana Jones is not supposed to be high on reality, but this stuff goes well over the top in suspension of belief. It is not just that Harrison Ford is like 60+ years old and have toe-to-toe fist fights with tall, strong, Soviet army officers (who look something like Ivan Drago in Rocky 4)...



    ... it is that the "escapes" are just ridiculous. For example, at one point our heroes are riding in a car without a roof and another car flies through the air and lands on top of their car and bounces off... and no one has a scratch on them. At another point soon after, the good guys drive a car over a cliff and land it on a tree that bends over almost to the point of breaking before gently depositing them exactly where they wanted to be. It is all so ridiculous that you never feel any sense of peril or excitement. It is almost like, "what crazy thing will they do next to get us out of this impossible situation. Yawn." The final conclusion of the story is somewhat confusing and not at all satisfying. The ending also feels a lot like something I have seen before... I am not sure where and if I speculate too much it will give away some stuff so I'll stop.

    I am being too harsh probably. There are some nice humorous moments and the chemistry between Ford and Karen Allen is still strong. Shia LaBeouf is alright and has a few good moments. Cate Blanchett's character, the bad guy, is just horrible though -- especially her faux Russian accent and ridiculous looking wig. Blech!



    There are still some good Indiana Jones staples -- including the latest insect/bug/snake mayhem that is especially terrifying and could give little ones a real fright. My 11 and 8-year-olds liked it, though not nearly as much as Iron Man. My wife thought it was alright.

    I would give it a lukewarm thumbs up -- it is worth seeing, but having lowered expectations is probably a good idea and you will not be blown away.

    I will be interested in seeing what others think.

    --Jason "if your kids have not seen the original, I'd let them watch it first as there are a couple small but fun winks to people who have seen the great Raiders of the Lost Arc" Evans

  2. #2
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    So Jason, what I'm hearing is that if I like the original ones (especially the Last Crusade), then I'll like this one too, right?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCGroup View Post
    So Jason, what I'm hearing is that if I like the original ones (especially the Last Crusade), then I'll like this one too, right?
    Yup, for sure.

    As I said, it is not nearly as fresh and fabulous as Raiders and it is not nearly as hokey and horrible as Temple of Doom. It falls in between, fairly close to Last Crusade.

    The more I think about it, the more I think my review reads more negatively than it should have. The film does move along at a nice pace and the action sequences are exceptionally well-directed and show real craftsmanship -- even if they are borderline silly in terms of what actually happens in them.

    --Jason "expectations baby-- I am doing you a favor by lowering expectations " Evans

  4. #4
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    Question River Phoenix?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    --Jason "if your kids have not seen the original, I'd let them watch it first as there are a couple small but fun winks to people who have seen the great Raiders of the Lost Arc" Evans
    Sorry Jason, but you the spelling issue Arc/Ark is a personal peeve.

    Is there any subtle mention/tribute to River Phoenix? Crusade's casting (w/Phoenix and Connery) is still probably the best in the series.

    Thanks,
    Lavabe

  5. #5
    I'm a huge Raiders fan, I have been dreading this movie ever since I heard they were making it. It's the same feeling I had after seeing Star Wars Episode I.

    I just don't want to be hurt again.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lavabe View Post
    Sorry Jason, but you the spelling issue Arc/Ark is a personal peeve.

    Is there any subtle mention/tribute to River Phoenix? Crusade's casting (w/Phoenix and Connery) is still probably the best in the series.
    Sorry.

    There is a mention of what is up with Sean Connery but he is not in the film. No River Phoenix mention/tribute at all as far as I noticed.

    --Jason "it is better than Star Wars: Ep 1... but that is a really low threshold" Evans

  7. #7
    I'm looking forward to this movie. Am hoping I won't be as disappointed as I was with National Treasure 2. Watta ya say Jason, do think I will be or have I set my bar sufficiently low enough?


    I am a Blue Devil worshiper!

  8. #8
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    Unhappy If the Miley Cyrus movie is $18/seat, how much is Indy?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    Sorry.

    There is a mention of what is up with Sean Connery but he is not in the film. No River Phoenix mention/tribute at all as far as I noticed.

    --Jason "it is better than Star Wars: Ep 1... but that is a really low threshold" Evans
    Guess I'll JUST have to see it. Hopefully it won't be $20 a seat (this is what I am expecting for the American Girl movie my daughter has told me about). Thanks for the review, Jason.

    As is my usual custom, on opening day each semester, I always ask my students for the name of their favorite anthropologist they know. Indy wins EVERY semester.

    Too bad I'm not that kind of anthropologist.

    Cheers,
    Lavabe

  9. #9
    My kids never ask to go see a particular movie. I mean NEVER. Our family just doesn't go to movies, for whatever reason.

    And yet my kids all want to go see the new Indiana Jones movie. Something about their marketing just clicked.

    I definitely need to get the DVD of Raiders first. My boys haven't seen it.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by gvtucker View Post
    My kids never ask to go see a particular movie. I mean NEVER. Our family just doesn't go to movies, for whatever reason.

    And yet my kids all want to go see the new Indiana Jones movie. Something about their marketing just clicked.

    I definitely need to get the DVD of Raiders first. My boys haven't seen it.
    My boys are 14 and 9. Neither of them had seen the originals, but the TV commercials caught their attention. Over the last two weeks we have watched the first three. They loved all of them. I'm looking forward to seeing the new one as a family.

    In many ways I feel similar to this one as I did about the two National Treasure movies. They were not great movies, and I don't expect this one to be either. But there are not a whole lot of movies being made that can be enjoyed by two parents (ages 48 and 50), a 9 year old boy, and a 14 year old boy. Most movies that appeal to the 14 year old are inappropriate for the 9 year old. Most that appeal to the 9 year old the 14 year old feels are "babyish". And usually the choices of either the 9 or 14 year old have no appeal to the parents. It is really nice when there is one we are all looking forward to.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvtucker View Post
    My kids never ask to go see a particular movie. I mean NEVER. Our family just doesn't go to movies, for whatever reason.

    And yet my kids all want to go see the new Indiana Jones movie. Something about their marketing just clicked.

    I definitely need to get the DVD of Raiders first. My boys haven't seen it.
    FWIW, they've been advertising the release of all three IJ movies as a package - "special editions". $34.99 on Amazon.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by allenmurray View Post
    My boys are 14 and 9. Neither of them had seen the originals, but the TV commercials caught their attention. Over the last two weeks we have watched the first three. They loved all of them. I'm looking forward to seeing the new one as a family.

    In many ways I feel similar to this one as I did about the two National Treasure movies. They were not great movies, and I don't expect this one to be either. But there are not a whole lot of movies being made that can be enjoyed by two parents (ages 48 and 50), a 9 year old boy, and a 14 year old boy. Most movies that appeal to the 14 year old are inappropriate for the 9 year old. Most that appeal to the 9 year old the 14 year old feels are "babyish". And usually the choices of either the 9 or 14 year old have no appeal to the parents. It is really nice when there is one we are all looking forward to.
    My boys are 13, 11, and 9.

    I think I've got a pretty good idea of a primary target market for this film.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by gvtucker View Post
    My boys are 13, 11, and 9.

    I think I've got a pretty good idea of a primary target market for this film.
    Yep - your boys fall right into the primary market, as do mine. My point was that many of the movies that fall into "their market niche", I really don't enjoy at all. This one, while not rising to great movie standards, I will probably enjoy.

  14. #14
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    Thumbs up After reading gvtucker and allenmurray ...

    I'd like to thank my parents for taking me with my two older brothers to see THUNDERBALL in a drive-in (remember those?) way back when. I was only 5 or so at the time. At the time we were 5, 11, and 15.

    Will take my appx. 12-yr old daughter to see Indy.

    The primary target market is everyone.
    Cheers,
    Lavabe

  15. #15

    Wink um...

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    The story is ok. It starts out really well -- we get a pretty decent action sequence right away and they really launch the story well. But then, it starts to fall apart a bit. The problem, to me, was the action sequences. They are really cartoonish. I know Indiana Jones is not supposed to be high on reality, but this stuff goes well over the top in suspension of belief. It is not just that Harrison Ford is like 60+ years old and have toe-to-toe fist fights with tall, strong, Soviet army officers (who look something like Ivan Drago in Rocky 4)...

    ... it is that the "escapes" are just ridiculous. For example, at one point our heroes are riding in a car without a roof and another car flies through the air and lands on top of their car and bounces off... and no one has a scratch on them. At another point soon after, the good guys drive a car over a cliff and land it on a tree that bends over almost to the point of breaking before gently depositing them exactly where they wanted to be. It is all so ridiculous that you never feel any sense of peril or excitement. It is almost like, "what crazy thing will they do next to get us out of this impossible situation. Yawn." The final conclusion of the story is somewhat confusing and not at all satisfying. The ending also feels a lot like something I have seen before... I am not sure where and if I speculate too much it will give away some stuff so I'll stop.
    Dude. I really respect your opinion Jason, but I went back and watched some of the originals just to make sure I wasn't wrong. The movies have had ridiculous cartoonish escapes since the very first one. I haven't seen this one yet, so I'll reserve my final verdict 'til I see it, but I suggest you go back and watch the others.

    You mentioned the fight scene(s). In the first movie, you have the whole fight scene against the GIGANTIC Nazi around the plane and then the gasoline and they run away right as it blows up. Not to mention him running from the Hovitos and magically outrunning them on their turf, then swinging into the river and swimming to grab a moving plane. Or the chase scene in the market. I guess that was more Benny Hill than strictly cartoon, but still.

    What about the entire coal cart chase scene in the second one, ending with the stopping with the boots/smoking shoes/crying for water only to have the giant wave of water that makes them run away. Tell me that's not straight out of the funny pages. Not to mention the scene where they're hanging off the broken bridge fighting. The way they managed to catch the bridge and hang on was pretty darn cartoonish in my book.

    Follow that up with the third movie. basically the entire scene from when Indy's dad shoots off the tail of the plane until the scene with the seagulls is pretty cartoonish. Start with the plane hitting the ground and almost immediately hitting a building at speed, yet no one is injured. Then the plane going the entire length of the tunnel, them staring at the pilot as he goes by, only to have it blow up right in front of his car where he magically avoids it. Then Henry Sr. saying that was close, only to have the bomb blow up RIGHT in front of the car so the car falls in, but they are again uninjured despite the lack of airbags back in the 40s and the fact that I don't think they belted up. The whole chase scene in the market where Marcus gets kidnapped. Most of the motorcycle chase scene is pretty out there too. Or how about when he's hanging from the tank and his dad manages to accidentally shoot the driver and his dying movement somehow saves Indy's life. Or the way he escapes the tank before it falls off the cliff. Heck, the screaming Nazi on the way down is pretty darn cartoonish. Reminded me of Wile E. Coyote.

    Not to mention the series's obsession with deadly propellers.

    I was chasing the kids while watching the movies, so I'm sure I missed a few.

    Hey, I love the movies. Those things are part of what I like. I'm just saying that before you condemn it for the cartoonish escapes, you might want to look at the other movies. Maybe this one goes beyond the others, but hey, it's the fourth one, so I'll hold my opinion.

    Indy is the American James Bond. Good with the ladies. Different love interest in every movie. Lots of action and wild escapes. Signature weapon/dress. Get their butts handed to them in fights yet somehow come out on top. But Indy's rakish/unpolished/unshaven/dirty/openly sarcastic as opposed to refined/smooth/perfectly-couffed/passive-aggressive. He's whiskey swiller vs. shaken martini. So blatantly, perfectly American as opposed to the blatantly, perfectly british Bond. Oh, and he has a "real" get-your-hands-dirty job (archeologist/professor), as opposed to the pretty, romantic, aristocratic, amorphous, somewhat lordly/noble "agent".

    Even if you disagree that some of those are "cartoonish", there are a few you can't deny (the coal cart...the airplane in the tunnel/bomb...the chases in the markets for example)

    Just my $0.02. Again, I'll hold my final verdict til I see it. Just pointing out that the fourth one doesn't corner the market on cartoonish escapes.
    Last edited by bjornolf; 05-22-2008 at 05:08 AM. Reason: grammar
    LET'S GO DUKE!

  16. #16
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    I was actually thinking of the absurd coal cart scenes in the 2nd movie while I was rolling my eyes at some of the escapes in this movie. The coal cart and the wave of water that pushes them to safety is exactly the kind of ridiculous mess that made the 2nd movie far and away the worst film in the series. That and Kate Capshaw screaming.

    As I said, this movie is good -- in a league with the 3rd film. It is just not nearly up to the standards of the original. In the end, I would give it a thumbs up, but a somewhat lukewarm thumbs up. It is worth seeing, though not worth seeing twice, IMO.

    I think I said it a couple times, but let me say it again, my inital review read overly harsh. I think part of that was an effort to lower expectations a bit which will help you enjoy this movie.

    -Jason "Indy's fear of snakes has a role in this movie... and it is a really fun scene" Evans

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lavabe View Post

    As is my usual custom, on opening day each semester, I always ask my students for the name of their favorite anthropologist they know. Indy wins EVERY semester.
    I vote for Dr. Temperance Brennen.
    Ozzie, your paradigm of optimism!

    Go To Hell carolina, Go To Hell!
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    http://www.EGLEW.com


  18. #18

    Have to disagree Jason

    I know your review was trying to lower expectations and I was not it expecting to match Raiders and Last Crusade. I was expecting a better movie than Temple of Doom and I did not get it. I went with a group of about 20 and we all had the same opinion it was a disaster. I am not going to give anything away. I just felt that the movie dragged on and did not have the flow of the first three. It will be huge this weekend but I anticipate a huge drop-off in the 2nd week.

    Will be curious to see what other people think as they see it this weekend.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by NashvilleDevil View Post
    I know your review was trying to lower expectations and I was not it expecting to match Raiders and Last Crusade. I was expecting a better movie than Temple of Doom and I did not get it. I went with a group of about 20 and we all had the same opinion it was a disaster. I am not going to give anything away. I just felt that the movie dragged on and did not have the flow of the first three. It will be huge this weekend but I anticipate a huge drop-off in the 2nd week.

    Will be curious to see what other people think as they see it this weekend.
    After this weekend we can talk about the faults and the such. I'd be interested to know if you were bothered by the same stuff that bothered me.

    As an aside, it seems to be getting pretty good reviews. Rotten Tomatoes has it at a very healthy 79% right now. Then again, my review, which was lukewarm, probably would have resulted in a fresh not rotten rating on the tomatometer so who am I to complain

    --Jason "others who have seen it-- chime in!" Evans

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    As an aside, it seems to be getting pretty good reviews. Rotten Tomatoes has it at a very healthy 79% right now. Then again, my review, which was lukewarm, probably would have resulted in a fresh not rotten rating on the tomatometer so who am I to complain

    --Jason "others who have seen it-- chime in!" Evans
    That's one of my problems with their fresh ratings. First, they're subjective as to whether they call a rating fresh or not. Second, although there is an average score, no one references that. They only reference the fresh rating. So, as long as everyone thinks the movie is slightly above average you'll have a high fresh rating.

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