Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Monday, May 26, 2008

My Review Of The New Indiana Jones Movie In One Picture

**Contains plot elements**Yup, that pretty much sums it up. We went to see it at the drive-in this weekend. While I'm always nervous about attempts to revive a franchise, I was very excited by an article I read beforehand. It claimed that the people behind the movie were very aware of Harrison Ford's age, and were taking it into consideration in the plot. They also claimed that the movie would be very much like the originals in it's look. The director used film, and avoided CGI as much as possible to recreate the original feel.

Then I actually saw the thing. By "taking his age into consideration", they apparently meant the fact that he would make one or two remarks to the effect that he is, "not as young as I used to be" right before jumping into a car carrying 4 or 5 Soviet soldiers and single-handedly throwing all of these able-bodied young men out of said car. As for the "look", they threw in plenty of CGI and larger-than-life scenes.

All this would have been tolerable though, if not for one thing. They filled the plot with relentlessly stupid and unrealistic scenes. Granted, realism has always been a relative concept in the Indiana Jones series, but in this one they actually had a scene where random jungle monkeys decided to follow Mutt (as he swings through the jungle on vines like Tarzan) and attack the commies on his behalf. Of course, that was entirely believable compared to Jones himself surviving a nuclear bomb by jumping in a conveniently lead-lined refrigerator that was then thrown half a mile. Indy climbed out, wholly unscathed, and apparently unaffected by the fallout even though he was well within the blast radius. There was also a pointless Hollywood lament about the mindless evil of McCarthyism, as is obligatory in any movie involving the 1950's. The fact that it required 15 minutes of plot time without being related in ANY WAY to what was going on didn't seem to bother the writers.

My favorite scene, and one that deserves special mention for it's sheer ridiculousness involved the villainess, Irina Spalko. Colonel Spalko, in fleeing from pursuing bullet ants, climbs a tree. The ants actually make themselves into a paraponeran pyramid so that the highest ant can climb onto her leg, presumably to attempt to make her fall. Just in case you were wondering, no, bullet ants don't usually act as some well-coordinated group mind, capable of pack hunting and strategy.

Overall, if you like cheesy action and aren't a stickler for realism, it's good clean fun. If you're a fan of the Indiana Jones franchise, you'll probably leave wishing it was still a trilogy.