Studio 28 Theatre #7, 11:25am, $5.00
Ah, Memorial Day weekend and the start of the summer blockbusters. So, can a geriatric Indy work for Spielberg? For our prelab, Mrs. Dr. Phil and I watched the first Indiana Jones movie on DVD the other day, by far the best of the three, especially under Dr. Phil's Rules of Sequels, and it still holds up well today. But of course, when I first saw it in the movie theatre, the fast-paced cliffhanger jumping homage to the 1930s serials style was brand new -- and after I sat through it once, exhausted, I stayed sitting in my seat and watched it again.
Can it really be nineteen years since Harrison Ford hung up the fedora and bullwhip after wrapping Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? Can we believe an old man in this part? Well... yeah, up to a point. If they'd tried to shoehorn Ford into Jones in the 1930s or even WWII, it wouldn't work. But 1957 Cold War America? It works, even if it isn't as fun as beating up on Nazis or globetrotting during the Great Depression. Reminds me of Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven, where there is no attempt to just do another Man With No Name gunslinger movie, but making it work with old men trying to get the job done, and even make fun of getting old.
Just as in the serials, you're only as good as your last cliffhanger and each episode tries to top the last. You can only do that for so long and not every time works. And while it is somewhat pointless to complain about Physics in a movie series where the supernatural is a regular occurrence, in my opinion you flaunt the laws of Physics too many times and people aren't going to follow your chase scenes with rapt attention. I won't bore you with a recitation -- you won't need a Physics Ph.D. to question the Physics in some of the non-supernatural scenes. Still, they give it a bit of a major go and mostly pull off things.
Like Star Trek movies, Kingdom is clearly written for the fans. If you've not seen an Indiana Jones movie before, or vehemently hate them, then don't bother seeing this one. You won't get the Indy mystique, you won't get the numerous inside jokes, and you won't have the internal fog filter which lets you enjoy Indy being Indy even if he is an old man now. I mean, fans know enough to wonder what the Paramount mountain will fade into in the opening scene, one more time.
This is a popcorn movie, for people who like action/fun/blockbuster movies. And to his credit, Spielberg hasn't let things get so stale after nineteen years, as his buddy George Lucas did with his less than wonderful Star Wars prequel trilogy. But like those movies, we do have a big budget and a master of special effects at the helm, and so Indy 4 treats us with a good looking movie, with big scenes and serial-like chases and adventures which keep adding in one, two, three more complications. It works well enough and we had fun. We're ready for Summer 2008 now.
Will there be an Indiana Jones 5? Probably not. But you never really know, do you? (grin)
Trailers: Two animated movies, PIXAR's WALL-E looks to rake it in with fun robot misadventures, and that Panda Kung-Fu movie has Jack Black in the title role so I expect a good box office for it, too. An odd looking movie about a man who is born old and youthens over the years -- could be intriguing. And another movie about some sort of young immortal with superpowers who falls in love with a regular mortal girl. Both these last were I believe set to open at the end of the year. That's all I can remember right now. No trailers for any of the other big blockbuster type summer movies: Hancock, X-Files, Batman, The Incredible Hulk, Hellboy, etc. Guess Paramount didn't want to suggest that there was competition for their franchise baby.