I know I am late to the Indiana Jones/Crystal Skull party and a review almost a MONTH later is pretty irrelevant but it’s my party and I’ll blog if I want to.
So why did I put off seeing this movie? For starters, I knew…I just KNEW that it was going to be a profound disappointment. So I waited. And waited. And when I could wait no longer, I saw it.
And it was…“National Treasure”. Think about it. Replace Harrison Ford with Nicolas Cage, Shia LaBeouf with that snarky side-kick who also played the mentally challenged boy in “Gigli”. Swap Karen Allen with that kind of dull blonde lady whose name escapes me and then pretend El Dorado is hidden somewhere in the midwest. It’s “National effing Treasure”. IT IS!
Of course, I LOVED the “National Treasure” movies. But let’s be honest. They aren’t…shall we say…GOOD. They are profoundly silly. Interestingly, critics were calling them the “Indiana Jones” revival. In this case, the student has become the master and the master has regressed. They took their 25 year old franchise and turned it into a “National Treasure” fan film. The biggest problem with this is that Harrison Ford is no Nicolas Cage.
Don’t get me wrong. Harrison Ford…or at least Indiana Jones (and Space Indy, Han Solo) were my first childhood crush(es). I’m fairly certain that his characters affected, at least physically, the type of man I am attracted to as an adult: Scruffy looking (who’s scruffy lookin’?!) fellows with a perpetual 5:00 shadow, glistening with sweat and a bit of chest hair poking out the top of an unkempt dress shirt. A dry wit and a bit of an ego don’t hurt either. Especially if they can save your ass from Nazis or voodoo and sweep you off your feet. Ah…Venice.
In contrast, while I adore the acting of Nicolas Cage, I don’t find him or any of his characters the least bit attractive. Sure, “Wild at Heart’s”, Sailor Ripley is romantic as hell, but he’s already losing quite a bit of hair at such a young tender age. And his snake skin jacket may be a symbol of his individuality and belief in person freedom but…it’s a jacket made of SNAKE SKIN. Tell me…was it a CORN snake?
So the problem with Indy 4 is that Indy/Ford (at this point they are interchangeable) is just TOO DAMN SERIOUS to pull off the cartoonish feat of surviving a nuclear blast at ground zero by hiding inside a fridge while the gophers from Caddy Shack snicker in the distance. The monkey and giant ant shenanigans and even reluctantly gripping a CG snake to get pulled out of quicksand by the Fonz…those things are for a different sort of actor and a different sort of movie. NOT for Henry Jones Jr. He is supposed to be the STRAIGHT MAN. The only jokes he make should either occur during or result in a fist fight.
I suppose I’m not surprised though. My heart was already broken by the Films That Shall Not Be Named. I knew that George Lucas had lost all his marbles. I hoped that Spielberg would reign him in. But he’s not so great anymore either. It makes sense. As you age, your perspective shifts. You become detached and you can no longer relate to the young. You can’t understand what they want and you don’t really CARE what they want either. You have earned the right to do what you feel because you have been around the block, damnit! What this scene needs is a few more hilarious animals. CAN WE GET SOME MORE MONKEYS IN HERE PLEASE?!
Their treasure wasn’t gold. It was gophers. Gophers were their treasure.