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May 20, 2008

Huh? Critics Currently Giving "Crystal Skull" 78% Fresh Rating

Without even bothering to survey the reviews, I can tell you:

1) Even though they may be positive on the film, I'm sure they're lukewarm on it, just a bit on the good side of the the better-than-bad border, which means, for fans like me, it's awful.

2) Critics are fucking assclowns, even stupider than reporters, and simply cannot review a movie like this. For God's sake, they gave Eraser positive reviews. They cannot tell the difference between a Die Hard and an Eraser.

3) Some projects are too big to fail. Critics know that. Remember, they praised The Phantom Menace too.

That said, I guess maybe it's not actually a bad movie if three quarters of them are kinda positive on it.

It's being compared a lot to National Treasure -- and not favorably. National Treasure was of course an Indy derivative (and also a secular, patriotic Da Vinci Code derivative), but it was very well-done. It's sad that Indy can't even rise to the level of his imitators now.

I think the CGI and Really Big Stunts and Effects are going to annoy me. If you watch the movies again -- as I did last weekend -- you come away noting how low-tech it all was, especially the glorious Raiders. The best pure action scene in that was the shoot-out in Marion's bar. And what was that? Indy fighting five guys in a bar. With a gun and fists. That's all. (Okay, it was on fire -- but that's low tech.) The action was clever and fun and exciting, but it wasn't capital-B Big.

Same with the punch-fight with the big shirtless Nazi. And the truck stunts. And Indy simply grabbing the reins of that snow-white stallion, which for some reason was a great moment -- Yeah, now he's gonna ride a horse, yo! We've seen people ride horses. So what was the big deal with Indy grabbing one? I dunno. It was just the spirit of the thing. Something that a lot of CGI shots of fake temples shifting and Transformer-ing can't really duplicate.

Another bit that stands out -- Indy getting shot in the shoulder in the truck, and the blood spraying on the window. And then the Nazi Kommandant repeatedly punching him in his wound. Great stuff. Very low tech. They didn't have to capital-B Big to make an impression.

I fear that they don't have the confidence they did when they made Raiders, and that their idea of excitement and adventure is mostly going to involve Stuff You've Never Seen Before That We Made on a Mac.

I like seeing stuff I've seen before -- just done better, or with some small twist. It always bugged the hell out of me that the James Bond series quickly grew bored of, and failed to realize the implicit potential of, a really well-done car chase. So in all the later films (except for the reboot), chases were these self-parodying joke things with ever more improbable vehicles and ever more ridiculous action (like Bond's car being taken apart piece by piece in the Paris chase in A View to a Kill).

The first Bourne movie made a car chase exciting again just by making it realistic, doing it well, and giving it a real sense of danger and speed.

But I guess it's always easier just to throw money at the problem and hope that a duel between a Mack truck and an F-35 will grab audiences. (Die Hard 4, I'm looking at you.)

Correction: F-35, not F-22. Thanks to some geeks (EC and Herr Blucher).

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posted by Ace at 07:34 PM

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