I wasn't going to even write this blog entry but mulling over it for the weekend I decided to scrawl it down as it were.
In case you haven't figured it out from the title this post is about Indian Jones 4 which I got to see over the weekend. I left the theater almost speechless and couldn't form a coherent impression of the movie for about an hour after seeing it. Sometimes these indicate a movie was astounding, in this case it just indicates that George Lucas should no longer be allowed to produce movies.
Somewhere along the way Lucas seems to have forgotten that the Indian Jones series and E.T. were in fact independent pieces of intellectual property, to the detriment of Dr. Jones and his errant son. For those that haven't had the pleasure of seeing this movie, award yourself with a cookie. For the rest of you, I'm sorry you get to ride in the boat with me over the waterfall.
The main problem with IJ4 is that there was no good reason to involve aliens. None, the series has a well founded past in the realms of judeo-christian mythology. They built upon that allowing other myths in the Temple of Doom (not a great movie but better than 4). While I grant that they may have already exhausted the cool things that cold be done with the Christian faith, unless they decided to go looking for something like Jacobs Ladder (for which I may have forgiven them alien references), the idea of using aliens in a fiction that has up till that point revolved around honest adventure stories that dabbled in a directed subset of mysticism is maddening. They could have even stuck with the crystal skull motif (there actually are such things in the world: Crystal Skull) but the skull = aliens thing was done already, Stargate SG-1 did it a while ago. It could even have been kept an alien device or object, but an aliens head is more than a 'bit' of a stretch. A power source that opens up a gateway to the unknown would have been perfect for someone who's previous claims to fame are recovering the arc of the covenant and drinking from the holy grail.
The use of aliens of course isn't the only thing that made IJ4 a bad movie. I think we can all agree that while Shia LaBeouf is an entertaining individual and even pulled off the greaser look and feel pretty well, even he can't befriend a pack of wild monkeys by simply making eye contact. On the other hand, I don't think a bunch of monkeys can teach a human to swing through the trees in just as short an amount of time (Come on was this scene really necessary?) Other than that he fills the role of Indian Jones son pretty well, helping contribute to the few things that actually made this feel like and Indian Jones movie. Unfortunately this ruined the whole thing, making it feel like an Indian Jones movie in some areas and feel like another IP entirely at other times.
Sadly this isn't the first crap movie Lucas has ever produced, this is the forth in a decade. The last three being star wars episodes 1-3 (you know, the three people pretend don't exsist?) This one on the other hand lands more in the category of 'swan song', where Lucas has reached the point that he's run out of ideas and started trying to mix IP's in 'novel' ways to create new (but sadly terrible) stories. So please Mr. Lucas, stop making movies and leave the stories we know and love untainted by your interference (if you do, some people may just forgive you for the special edition star wars and replacing Darth Vaders ghost in episode 6 with that little whelp).