Indiana Jones: Grizzled but still Grand

We are huge fans of Indiana Jones here in Beemsville. I have very vivid memories of watching the first two movies as an impressionable young lad, and the idea of globe-trotting archaeologist contributed mightily to my eventual decision to study history. I am known to wear the fedora about town. The wife has dressed up as female Indy (complete with whip–yowza…) for Halloween. I’ve played the video games, read the comics and some of the tie-in novels, & never missed and episode of Young Indiana Jones on TV. The kids know the theme music well. (Yes, that’s me in the semi-authentic archaeologist garb from our night out.)

So as long as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull wasn’t a complete disaster, we were always going to like it. And we did. Harrison Ford can still pull it off. Spielberg still has the deft action touch. Lucas has some good ideas left. This new Indy movie is action-packed popcorn cinema at its finest, with a tip of the hat to those original old serial flicks, and the kind of cool historic and mythological subtext we’ve come to expect. This is what it is and what is was meant to be.

I loved the initial 50’s jumppoint and Indy backstory. Loved the whole setting, quest element, and uber-story-line. I really liked Shia LaBeouf as Mutt (and thought they could’ve done a little more with him). The action set-pieces were excellent as well, if a little overdone. I had some concerns about Indy’s creaking joints and ability to take a punch, but 30 minutes into it and this was no longer an issue. So if you like the Indy movies but were worried about the proverbial one more trip to the well, relax. You shouldn’t miss Crystal Skull. It’s an Indiana Jones movie and well worth your entertainment dollar.

Specific critiques and more in-depth discussion after the bump. SPOILER ALERT Continue reading

Fedora Day

With today’s opening of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, we are now in active spoiler-and-snarky-review-avoidance mode since we won’t actually be attending the movie until Saturday.  So don’t even try it.  I kind of wanted to go opening night, but it’s turned into an actual family outing, which should be cool.

Celebrated Fedora Day by wearing mine and taking the afternoon off from work.  No work tomorrow either.  Will watch The Temple of Doom tonight and The Last Crusade tomorrow, and also the History Channel’s special on the historical inspiration for the Indy movies I recorded earlier in the week.

Also looking forward to just sitting down and reading.  I picked up the comics trade paperback, Mage: The Hero Definedsomething I’ve been wanting to read for some time.  Yes, it’s all about the heroes this weekend…

Indy Build-up

Yes, the Indy fans are all gearing up, and as card carrying members (I used to have a card, I swear…), we are also making preparations.  Around Beemsville, this may well include:

  • Playing the Indy Lego Adventures game
  • Dusting off the old bullwhip–for various recreational activities
  • Watching the first three movies during the week leading up to the Crystal Skull release
  • Avoiding spoilers (seriously, so don’t send or post any)
  • Re-enacting various favorite scenes with the kids

Meanwhile, George Lucas, a little wiser and probably still smarting over various reactions to the Star Wars prequels, has begun the bet-hedging campaign in true election-year-spin-a-rific fashion:  “It’s just a movie“.  But, he also adds, “It was a blast to make…” and  “I like to watch it.”

Well, okay.  Don’t go overboard, there, George.  But it’s kind of more than just a movie as you well know, so we all hope you were on your A-game.

Indy and the Hobbit

In a land of rising ticket prices and diminishing entertainment returns…

In a time devoid of cool news about movies…

One man, bearded, and Hobbit-like, brings hope to the masses, while another, grizzled and hoary, tries to recapture the archaeological glory of days gone by…

Yes, Peter Jackson has finally ended his feud with New Line and agreed to produce The Hobbit movie. Or movies. Apparently Pete wants to do two films to cover the story, the second of which may provide a bridge between Tolkien’s first book and the LoTR trilogy. Hmm. Does that mean new original story material in Middle Earth? It’s interesting because Jackson and Co. did such a fine job abridging, editing, and translating the trilogy into film, mostly a task of scaling down the story. Now two movies from a shorter book, which could mean some narrative expansion.

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