Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Questionable Jones No. 5

Perhaps we are a bit Lucasian here, but we like to change things.

Question: "How would you change The Last Crusade?"

Andrew's Answer: I have some problems with this film. For one thing, I don't really care for the intro. I paid to see Harrison Ford, not some kid pretending to be Harrison Ford. I also don't like the cutesy moments, like when he meets Hitler or when the fighter plane slides through the tunnel. I hate that they made Marcus Brody into a fool. And honestly, let him keep the cup.

Scott's Answer: I love this movie - it's perfect summer entertainment. However, I think turning Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliot) into a bumbling fool was a mistake. Granted, we had only seen him in Raiders for ten minutes but he came across as a knowledgeable professional, not a stumblebum. The interplay between Ford and Connery was funny and entertaining enough that the filmmakers didn't need an "extra" source of comic relief on top of that.

55 comments:

Dave Olson said...

In addition to un-bumbling Marcus Brody, I would have inserted a satisfactory explanation for Marion's absence.

AndrewPrice said...

Dave, What's to know? Marion got busted by the feds for smuggling endangered Tibetan yak skins into the country. She was doing time while Indi was out on his Crusade adventure.

Anonymous said...

I'd digitally replace all the guns with walkie talkies.

Oh yeah and skip the Hitler scene, it stretches the very thin line of credibility.

Scott.

Koshcat said...

But we learn so much from the intro: his inspiration, the hat, the whip, the fear of snakes

I liked this movie because it was fun but I agree with everything above. The cutesy stuff was a distraction. Take out the first 15-30 min of the second and you have a better movie than this one. After punching a military officer you escape in a blimp? Great plan. And why doesn't his father put a note on his journal when he mails it. Son, Nazis are trying to steal this. Please keep it safe. The more I think about it the more holes there are.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, If I ever get to direct a parody, that would be the first thing I would do -- make something like war film but have all the characters pointing walkie talkies at each other! LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, The note thing always bothered me. If he had the time to mail it, then he had the time to scribble instructions on it somewhere. Films do that a lot -- not-credible miscommunication -- and I think they need to learn to at least explain it in some manner.

shawn said...

Once again, I agree with both of you. The big annoyance was turning Marcus into a bumbling fool, but the bit with Hitler was also a bit much. That would lead to Indy running into tons of famous people during "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles".

Dave Olson said...

Andrew:

Marion's story must have been told during the fourth movie. Was her reprobate son born in prison, or what?

On second thought, I don't care. The fourth movie was so bad I don't remember much of it, and I wouldn't want to make anyone watch (or remember) it for me.

ScottDS said...

Dave -

Marion was at the Faber College reunion with the other Deltas. :-)

ScottDS said...

Anon/Scott -

This will sound so nitpicky but the only thing that really annoys me about the Hitler scene is that they didn't even bother to match the bastard's real signature and it's obviously just an actor doing his best to sign the name.

Again, nitpicky. :-)

ScottDS said...

Kosh -

I like the intro, and in a movie like this that's already "heightened reality," I'll buy that he gets all his traits in the span of five minutes.

I can't disagree about the diary, though, but we do get Connery's great line about "the Marx Brothers." :-)

ScottDS said...

shawn -

I own all the Young Indy DVD sets but I still haven't watched them yet. They actually spent years producing new DVD extras discussing every single person he met on the show.

Jason said...

The beginning with young Indy does introduce us to daddy Jones, so in that way it’s useful.

Conceptually, I see how that sequence works. Gives us a beginning to the Indy character and some of his key traits. I did like the idea of Indy getting the idea of using a whip when he had to whip the lion back. Him getting scared of snakes after falling in that bin of snakes, I dunno. He seemed okay with handling just one snake in that cave. It seemed pretty abrupt. But overall, I wasn’t all that invested in that sequence. It ran for too long and I thought River Phoenix was dull in the part. If we lost it or it got modified, I think it would make the movie better.

The Hitler scene actually spooked me the first time I saw it, because I wondered if Hitler would recognize Indy. I suppose Hitler never saw any photographs of him. I just figured that Indiana figured so prominently in thwarting Hitler’s quest for the ark, someone would have shown him a picture of the fellow who caused him so much trouble. Maybe not.

I never understood the whole “you can’t take the grail beyond the seal” bit. Didn’t they have to bring the grail to that spot from somewhere else? Is there some mysterious power that binds the grail there?

tryanmax said...

I always thought Crusade needed more dewbacks and vaporators. j/k In all seriousness, I'm happy with the film as is, I can't think of anything I'd change.

rlaWTX said...

I like the intro. If Pop put a note in the journal, we'd just have to skip to the (nonexistent) 4th movie, so, although it is logical, I'm OK without it!

rlaWTX said...

Jason - yeah, you'd think that ole Adolph would have an idea of what the man who thwarted his search for the Ark and got his best guys melted looked like... :)

AndrewPrice said...

Shawn, Yeah, I don't have any tolerance for stories that involve accidentally running into famous people.

AndrewPrice said...

Dave, He looks like a prison baby to me!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, LOL! 0.0 ... I love that line!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, The diary could have been explained with a simple "didn't you read my note?"

AndrewPrice said...

Jason, I think my problem with the intro is that it's too long and it explains too many things. If they'd just made it the story of how he got the hat, then it would have been a cool moment. Instead, it was "here's how everything about his happened."

It doesn't make a lot of sense to me either that he couldn't take the Grail. It ends the story well enough, but a better ending would have been if he could keep it or if it wasn't real or if something unusual happened with it.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, A dewback would have been cool. LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I'm thinking the team responsible for getting the Ark (or those that are left) are going to fudge their reports... "found nothing, bad lead, not our fault, nothing to see here... please don't kill us."

djskit said...

Indy's dad should have taken the place of knight guarding the grail. The whole narrative logic of his dad seemed to point to this end.

The knight was old and tired, and Connery just drank from the dang grail, making him immortal so long as he stayed within the seal.

I would have been nice - as if his whole obsession with the grail was divinely inspired fate. I remember be very dissappointed that this did not happen when I first saw the movie.

Jason said...

I think djskit has a good point. I thought the knight got lost at the end. His final moment is just to wave goodbye to Indy and company. Nothing really happened to him. The ending could have had a bigger punch to it.

Though I think Spielberg was going for a happy father-son reconciliation kind of movie, so I doubt he'd separate Indy and pop at the end.

BIG MO said...

I think I mentioned this on another Questionable Jones, but I'd change the Keystone Cops nature of the Nazis. They're not intimidating, not like in Raiders where they were competent. The Hitler scene was goofy and the secret "war room" in the castle was silly.

Agreed about Brody, but I wonder if Steven & company added extra humor because Temple of Doom was so dark.

Plus, Brody and Professor Jones in the tank was golden. After the senior Jones fires a cannon and blasts a truck of soldiers, Brody scolds: "Look what you did!" to which Jones replies, "It's war!"

Just before that, Jones squirts his fountain pen into a soldier's face, and Brody gleefully quips: "Don't you see? The pen is mightier than the sword!"

(Soonafter comes the best line of the movie: Jones pops his head out of the tank, sees Indy and scolds in his best professor's voice, "You call this archeology?!?")

AndrewPrice said...

djskit, That's an interesting thought and it would have made for a more appropriate ending. Excellent idea!

AndrewPrice said...

Jason, The ending never made a ton of sense to me. I was always left wondering if the cave just restored itself for the next challenger or what?

AndrewPrice said...

Big Mo, I totally agree about the Nazis. I really believe that the best heroes face the toughest challenges, so when you turn the bad guys into Keystone Cops, you just lower the level of achievement for the hero. They should have made the Nazis much more competent.

Anthony said...

The Last Crusade was kind of like oatmeal without fruit, pleasant but unremarkable. I don't have any real objections but now that its been pointed out to me, the intro was a little too pat (here are the five minutes of his childhood that made Indiana Jones the person he is!).

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, That's a good word for the intro -- "too pat." It just gives us too much in one quick package. I understand that Spielberg thought this was the end so he probably wanted to give the audience a lot of explanations, but this was just too much... it felt fake.

tryanmax said...

LOL, following the reasoning behind Last Crusade's intro, Indy should have gone on the have far more circus-themed adventures.

AndrewPrice said...

That's true. He should have gone on to work in a circus. LOL!

tryanmax said...

Indiana Jones and the Big Top o' FUN!

AndrewPrice said...

Indiana Jones and the Big Top of Doom. :P

Jason said...

Mola Ram: For my next act, I shall remove a person's beating heart and then put it back in! Now, may I have a volunteer from the audience? *Accompanied by Mola Ram's characteristic grin*

AndrewPrice said...

You know, I'm really thankful that Lucas doesn't read this site because I could see him running with these ideas... out of spite.

rlaWTX said...

djskit - excellent alternate ending!!!!

Andrew - maybe that's where all that spam was coming from?!?!

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, That could be! It could be Lucas's attempt to shut us down... though usually he uses swarms of lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Lucas spies angrily through his spyglass at this site...

"Ah, Commentarama! What a vile den of scum and villainy!"

Now, let's not dwell on why Lucas would use a spyglass to stare at a computer two feet away.

This is the same guy who wanted the third Indy film to start with the search for Montezuma's mask and then go a haunted castle in Scotland searching for... whatever. He also wanted TWO death stars in the third SW movie and to have the Emperor's throne room miles below the imperial capital and surrounded by rivers of lava.
I say the less we know, the better.

-Rustbelt

Anonymous said...

Oh, and in the spirit of this thread, I have to confess I don't find the opening sequence of 'Crusade' that annoying, except for one minor detail.
In 1912, the Boy Scouts of America was only 2 years old. How on earth is Indy already a Life Scout? First Class, I could understand, but Life? Getting to the second highest rank is a pain in the neck! His buddy being a Tendefoot, however, is slightly more realistic.

-Rustbelt

Anonymous said...

That was supposed to be 'Tenderfoot.' Spelling error.

-Rustbelt

PikeBishop said...

I've heard talk of a 4th film. I for one don't think they should do a fourth film Let "Last Crusade" be the final chapter. If they tried to push the envelope and do anothe one they would probably do something really stupid like have George Lucas involved or some such.

ScottDS said...

djskit and Jason -

Yeah, I think Spielberg's goal was father/son bonding. He's even said in interviews that the "quest" in this particular film wasn't for the grail, it was for his dad, making the grail a MacGuffin in the truest sense of the word.

The downside is that the filmmakers may not have explored all the story possibilities, favoring the father/son material instead.

ScottDS said...

BIG MO -

It's safe to say Lucas and Spielberg overcompensated in the humor department as a result of the second film.

As for Nazis, I believe Spielberg said that, after Schindler's List he could never go back to "comical" Nazis again. I guess if you make them too serious, then it's not as entertaining. It becomes less fun.

And I LOVE Connery's delivery of the "You call this archeology?!" line. :-)

ScottDS said...

Anon/Rustbelt -

Now I have an image of Lucas in my head, looking out his window like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window. And he's looking at everyone's computer monitors!

Lucas' initial idea did involve a haunted castle in Scotland but Spielberg put the kibosh on that, feeling it's be too close to Temple of Doom and Poltergeist.

The one draft I'd love to read one day would be the one by Chris Columbus (who at that point had written Gremlins and The Goonies). His story involved a villain known as "the Monkey King" along with a Katherine Hepburn-type female lead and pygmies!

ScottDS said...

Pike -

I wholeheartedly agree!

Dave Olson said...

There's a reason young Indy got all his traits (whip, hat, jacket, chin scar, and urge to search for fortune & glory) in the first 15 minutes of "Crusade": The man in the leather jacket and fedora was...wait for it...Abner Ravenwood.

So here we have our hero, with a good and decent man like Henry Jones Sr. as a role model, and yet he chooses to model himself after a shady and morally ambiguous man like Ravenwood. It makes one wonder just how young Marion was when she and Indy...well, there had to be a reason she hated him on sight in "Raiders".

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Channeling Christopher Walken... More Elsa

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, Nice! LOL! Thumbs up.

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt and Scott, I can totally see that. LOL! Lucas in his lair watching the entire internet through a spyglass... obsessed with any site that mocks his ideas. It's a good thing he's not into politics.

AndrewPrice said...

PikeBishop, Yeah, good thing they never made a fourth movie!

AndrewPrice said...

Dave, I missed that. Was that really Ravenwood? That's even more twisted them. Maybe they should have made Belloq his neighbor or something.

Jason said...

The info that I got says that the man in the fedora was going to be Abner, but that was changed in later drafts and he's just called "Fedora."

AndrewPrice said...

Jason, I wonder why they changed it? "too cute" perhaps?

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