The Reel World’s Indiana Jones “Content”
Make sure to listen to our site’s podcast episode on Raiders of the Lost Ark.
8 Thoughts on the Harrison Ford Episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
The 7 Worst Parts of Indiana Jones & the Crystal Skull
Ranking the Indiana Jones Films
Now, I am not an Indiana Jones nut or anything. I am a fan of Harrison Ford though, and that makes any Indiana Jones film intriguing to me. I write all of that to say that I do not really care all that much about Indiana Jones and my initial reaction to Crystal Skull was mild disappointment.
All these years later, I have finally watched it again. It is disappointing. Beyond that though, it was much more remarkably bad than I had remembered. In fact, some of the things that made it bad, have been infecting big franchise films ever since.
1. The Opening Shot
Listen, on one hand, you should not let one little thing at the start of the film really affect your opinion of the whole film all that much. BUT this shot of an awful-looking CGI groundhog coming out of the ground while Elvis plays in the background was frankly just nauseating. It just set this awful tone for the whole film.
2. Awful Look
Crystal Skull really seems like a crucial film for understanding how fake and bad looking so many big budget movies are now. It has that fake MCU background looking shit going on The actors look superimposed into every shot. It takes you completely out of the movie in so many crucial moments and feels jarringly different from what Indiana Jones generally looked like. It is a similar feeling to how fake the Star Wars prequels look in so many crucial scenes compared to the original trilogy.
3. Ray Winstone’s Insane Arc
The immediate Ray Winstone heel turn and then later babyface turn? What?? This was wild. Winstone gets introduced at the beginning as an old friend and semi-partner of Indiana in the time since The Last Crusade. Five minutes later Winstone turns on Indiana and joins the bad guys. Towards the end of the film, he essentially rejoins Team Indiana at the end as if HE HAD NOT BETRAYED HIM LIKE DAYS EARLIER IN THE FILM? BUT THEN HE BETRAYS INDIANA YET AGAIN A FEW MINUTES LATER. Then right before he dies at the end, Indiana Jones still tries to save him, and I guess we are supposed to have some feelings about Winstone essentially making peace with his own death, as he says, “Jonesy, I’m gonna be alright”??? I don’t know. Tremendously bizarre stuff. Impossible to get emotionally invested in him despite him having essentially the fourth most screen time at a minimum.
4. Indiana Jones Uses a Refrigerator to Survive a Nuclear Bomb
After escaping the bad guys and overcoming the betrayal of his beloved Ray Winstone, Indiana Jones stumbles into a test site for nuclear bombs. And this test site was about to test one of these said nuclear bombs at that exact moment. What is one to do? With no classroom in sight and thus no desk to hide under, Indiana Jones simply jumped into a refrigerator. And the fridge kept him safe. He survived a nuclear bomb by hiding in a refrigerator. I don’t care that refrigerators were made of lead at the time! JUST A BIT TOO FUCKING MUCH.
5. Everything Was Just Too Much
That nuclear bomb sequence really set the tone for the whole movie where every sequence takes it to 11 on stakes to the point that you get so numb to everything that all the tension and drama is cut from the movie. It is not to say that the older Indiana Jones films did not have their fair share of ridiculousness, but this one just went too far too often, and it was not working at all.
6. Shia The Beouf
I am not sure how the powers that be with this film convinced themselves that Shia La Boof was capable of tackling this role and being a conceivable replacement for Harrison Ford. His characterization was almost entirely irritating. The stuff where it turned out he was the secret unknown son of Indiana Jones and his former lover, Karen Allen, felt completely trite. The use of phony nostalgia as a shortcut for emotional investment is something that is just boring at best and incredibly poisonous at worst. Just a total failure of casting and writing.
7. Tarzan Sequence
Speaking of Shia The Beouf not being good and everything being just so goddamn much in this move, the goddamn Tarzan sequence. Holy fucking shit. I will simply never forget the feeling of being in the theater and turning to my friend while this sequence happened to us. I still cannot possibly believe that someone came up with this idea, wrote this into the script, approved it, shot it, and left it in the film. It is just remarkable. Shia La Boof swinging on trees with monkeys in the middle of the climatic chase sequence.