Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Questionable Jones No. 15

Could Crystal Skull really be that bad? Yes... yes, it could. Still, it had some good things, right?

Question: "Say three good things about The Crystal Skull."

Scott's Answer: 1. My standard cop out answer again - the music. John Williams on autopilot is still better than most composers on their best day. The new themes he wrote for Agent Spalko and the Skulls aren't nearly as exciting or memorable as his various Nazi marches for the previous films (or the mine car chase!) but you can't help but smile when you hear the Indy theme kick in for the first time.

2. Harrison Ford - yes, he's a senior citizen but he can still kick ass!

3. Spielberg still knows how to orchestrate action. He may have lost something when it comes to picking good scripts but when it comes to blocking action, planning shots, etc., he can still do it.


Andrew's Answer: 1. This feels so wrong, but I’m warming up to Shia Lebouf as Mutt.

2. I like the intro a good deal... until they set off the atomic bomb.

3. I like the 1950s feel of the college sequence with the motorcycle chase and everything. Yes, there are stupid points, but the look and the feel is pretty good.

49 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

tell me which one this was again? :)

AndrewPrice said...

This is the one that was never made, though people keep talking about it for some reason. :P

K said...

1.They made 1950s Soviets look like the thugs they were. This is very unusual for any movie made after 1958. So unusual that Lucas and Spielberg had to put in McCarthyism to balance it out.

2.Controversial choice: I liked nuking the fridge. The Indy films are fantasies based on serials like Commando Cody. Why is surviving a nuke blast in a fridge any more fantastic than being smashed by a perfectly spherical giant rock in an Incan temple?

3.Cool giant ants. I don't know about you but when I was a pre-teen being attacked by giant ants was a kind of morbid fascination. See the Zanti Misfits Outer Limits episode.

shawn said...

1. Indy Nostalgia- It was nice to see Ford don the hat again.

2. Shia was decent as Mutt. I bought him as a greaser.

3. Cate Blanchett made a decent, if under-used villian.

AndrewPrice said...

Ants. LOL! So K, you're saying that everything you enjoyed about the film was in the intro. LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Shaw, Strangely, I'm ok with Shia as Mutt as well. I normally have an aversion to him, but in this case, it worked.

Speaking of Ford, I just read that he will be in the next Star Wars. Arg.

goldvermilion87 said...

I really liked Shia Leboeuf in this movie.

Overall I was entertained by, but not in love with it.

I mostly like Kingdom of the Crystal Skull because I watched it at a table in the balcony of an old fashioned theatre on the first vacation I took with a bunch of my girl friends, rather than with my family. :-P

I have to disagree with Scott about John Williams, though. I think Williams is a serviceable composer, and I have no particular complaint about any movie of his. But he is so repetitive. And sometimes when I'm listening to Holst's Planets, I get a little miffed at Williams. :-P

ScottDS said...

Jed -

Touché. :-)

ScottDS said...

K -

I didn't mind the ants but knowing they were CGI took some of the danger away, considering all the insects/rodents in the previous films were real.

ScottDS said...

shawn -

Nostalgia is a powerful thing. And it's nice to see someone who didn't mind Shia. I don't necessarily like that they made him Indy's son but aside from that, he was okay.

ScottDS said...

gold -

Ditto my comments above re: Shia.

My favorite film composer is actually the late Jerry Goldsmith, who unfortunately: a.) was never a household name like Williams, and b.) never had a frequent director collaborator as powerful as Lucas/Spielberg.

But all film composers, consciously or not, are influenced by the classics. (Especially James Horner, but that's another story.)

tryanmax said...

1. The dialogue was okay. While not as good overall as previous films, it still featured more witty banter than 90% of what's out there.

2. The villains are probably the most memorable part of the film, and fitting for an Indy film, at that. This in spite of the title MacGuffin.

3. I also must reluctantly nod to Shia as Mutt. Provided they don't start a spin-off franchise with Zooey Deschanel as the love interest. (Happy, Andrew?)

KRS said...

Scott, I'm totally behind you on John Williams and I don't think promoting him is a cop out. Music is key to setting the dramatic mood and that man is always worth more than half the price of the ticket.

However, I cannot accept a thread where Shia LeBouf is discussed and not dumped on. The boy should never have left the Disney kennel. His best delivery of a line in all the Transformers movies was, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!" and he knew it, so he delivered it over and over and over... He is the speedbump of drama. If ever there was an actor ready made to play the life of Dustin Diamond ("Skreech," Saved by the Bell), it is Shia.

I will be kind and not burn up this space with Shia insults, but I have more.

KRS said...

I feel better, now.

Anonymous said...

K: I'm only posting because you had the courage that I didn't. I was going to sit this one out,but I liked nuking the fridge too. The point of the Indiana Jones films was to put him in seemingly impossible situations and see how he could get himself out. That scene was also used to set up the followup scene where Indy gets scrubbed down.That scene was put in to get Ford's shirt off so we could see he was still in shape.
The only other thing I liked about that mess was seeing Karen Allen again.
GypsyTyger

ScottDS said...

KRS -

Thanks, re Williams.

If ever there was an actor ready made to play the life of Dustin Diamond ("Skreech," Saved by the Bell), it is Shia.

Damn, now I want to see this movie, and I say that as someone who loathes Saved by the Bell!

ScottDS said...

tryanmax -

Agreed on all counts, though I wish Spielberg had hired a different writer. I'm not saying Frank Darabont's draft was genius but I'm not sure David Koepp (whom Spielberg calls his "closer") was right for it either.

ScottDS said...

Anon -

I thought Karen Allen was wasted in this movie. I think Mr. Plinkett or one of the other online critics pointed out that reuniting with Marion wasn't really necessary for the character of Indiana Jones - it reeked more of fan service for people who fell in love with the character in 1981 and wanted to see her again.

Anonymous said...

Scott - You're right,Karen Allen was wasted,Harrison Ford was wasted, the whole thing was awful and I don't remember most of it. As far as I'm concerned it never happened. The only Indiana Jones films I acknowledge are Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Temple Of Doom. The only reason I saw Crystal Skull was that it was summertime and my family wanted to go to the drivein. Today's challenge was to find 3 good things about it and I wanted to back up K because he had the guts to say he liked the refrigerator scene. While I was at it I remembered that I liked seeing Karen Allen. That's two. I couldn't get three.
GypsyTyger

ScottDS said...

Anon/Gypsy -

Fair enough. And it's nice to see someone acknowledge Doom. :-)

And I've never been to a drive-in - nice to know they still exist somewhere.

goldvermilion87 said...

Scott --

Definitely all film composers are influenced by the classics, but my problem with Williams is that if you don't know the Star Wars soundtrack (for example) _REALLY_ well, it is easy to walk in to the middle of Holst's "Mars -- Bringer of War" and actually think you're listening to Star Wars.

(Though I appreciated John Williams a lot more when I first watched _The Voyage Home_ and actually had to check that it wasn't _The Lord of the Rings_. I can't say that I've ever confused one Williams main theme with another.)

ScottDS said...

gold -

Star Trek IV and the animated Lord of the Rings were both scored by the late Leonard Rosenman - and many film score geeks have pointed out the similarities. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

goldvermilion, I kind of like Shia too in this. I find that disturbing because normally I really don't like him, but he fits in this somehow.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I don't mind him being Indy's son either. It gave us the only good chemistry in the film and it kind of worked. It definitely opens the door if they want to continue the series without Ford.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I actually think they could spin Mutt off into his own adventure film... although, this film kind of proved that they were out of ideas.

Besides, at this point, it would make more money to reboot Raiders.

Zoowhat?

KRS said...

Gold - My vote for musicians who play the same tune over and over again goes to U2. For fun, print off the lyrics to a bunch of U2 songs, play an album and sing the wrong lyrics to each song. You'll be amazed - they're as interchangeable as Legos.

AndrewPrice said...

KRS, Don't get me wrong, I am as confused as the next guy as to how Shia comes across well in this film. I don't get it. Beyond this film though, he stinks and I'm totally on board with dumping him on the Island of Incompetent Actors.

The Disney Kennel is right. Wow, they've turned out some turds as human beings, haven't they?

Agreed on Williams. I think he's fantastic.

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, There's no crime in liking the fridge nuking... though we will look at you with great suspicion. LOL! Just kidding. Different people enjoy different things. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Darabont is a turd in my book.

ScottDS said...

Scott, Darabont is a turd in my book.

Even with Shawshank on his resume?

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, LOL! Couldn't find a third. Bravo!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Shawshank is a complete and total rip off of Escape from Alcatraz. I'm surprised no one ever sued.

AndrewPrice said...

goldvermilion, What I like about Williams is that his stuff always sounds different and there's always a hook. My problem with many of the others is that they have their one style and they keep repeating it. With Williams, it's usually easy to tell his films apart. Plus, much of his work is iconic... Star Wars, Raiders, Jaws, Harry Potter.

AndrewPrice said...

KRS, "interchangeable as Legos." Nice! I need to use that line! :D

goldvermilion87 said...

Scott -- That's my point. Rosenmann's blatant reusing of material for the theme music for two movies makes me feel much more well disposed toward Williams. Williams may be ripping stuff off from Host, but at least, as Andrew says, his music varies from movie to movie.

(At least the main themes vary. He is not one of the best for keeping the sound unique throughout a film. Right now Giacchino blows him out of the water in that respect.)

goldvermilion87 said...

KRS - I can't stand U2. For the reason you just described. :-P

ScottDS said...

gold -

Ah, I misunderstood your comment then. :-)

goldvermilion87 said...

Yeah, that was my bad. I need to stop going all stream of consciousness in blog comments. :-P

K said...

Anon/Gypsy - Spielberg/Lucas really hit the 50s well in the film and nuke tests were just part of the scene. I was bothered more by the raft/parachute scene in Temple of Doom. Yes it was good seeing Karen Allen again.

Scott:- Willing suspension of belief, baby. I suspect it wasn't the giant ants being CGI that bothered you, but what a giant mess of a disappointment the picture was at that point. Once that was clear it was difficult to give it a break.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott and Goldvermilion, Rosenmann strikes me as very generic. I can't tell his film scores apart.

AndrewPrice said...

goldvermilion, Stream of consciousness is the best kind of consciousness. :P

AndrewPrice said...

K, I think the bigger problem by that point was just the ridiculousness of the whole high-speed chase through the jungle (which flies in the face of all jungle films... jungles are supposed to be laborious to get through), plus the fact you knew that no good guy would be hurt in that scene.

K said...

Yep. I praise the giant ant scene in isolation from the rest of the horrible jungle stuff.

AndrewPrice said...

K, I can see that.

goldvermilion87 said...

This:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ct5-__9VTAY&feature=player_detailpage#t=63

and this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tq7e7Pg3UY&feature=player_detailpage&list=PL82FC2C4BCF155941#t=191

(though the latter still makes me happy because this was my introduction to The Lord of the Rings. :) )

Anonymous said...

I can happily say that I haven't seen The Crystal Skull.

I usually hate that even in this day and age we in Australia get a movie released a month or sometimes more after it is released in America. When the movie sucks though I get plenty of notice so I know to avoid it and while I don't always listen to critics, but I didn't want to be disappointed by Indy so I ignored it.

Scott.

AndrewPrice said...

Goldvermilion, Thanks for the links!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Good for you! If you love the first three, then don't see this one. It will disappoint you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Andrew, I have no intention of ruining my memories of the three Indy movies...

Scott.

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