So, on sunday we went to see the new Indiana Jones film. (spoilers may follow). It had all the right elements, little one-line quips, set pieces, chases. Everything. So, why was it so disappointing?
I think it was simply too much, too big - it lost all credibility. Previous films have had a conceit or two - obviously there is the big ancient booby trap, but they've tended to always be feasible (if unlikely) - each film has had some mysticism, be it the arc of the covenant or the holy grail - and we'll let that slide. However, this film had unlikelihood compounded.
Area 51 is taken over by a squad of Russians. Iron filings are thrown into the air and pulled by a magnetic field so strong that it'll pull them across a warehouse.... at a slow drift, weapons are only affected when convenient for the amusement.
There's surviving a nuclear blast in a fridge, that may have been reasonable had the fridge not been the only item in the house to have been thrown half a mile only for Indy to roll out a little battered. (This whole sequence would have been fine if the mock town were a little further from the blast, the fridge had been in a cellar, and become nice and crispy instead of a projectile - or even they'd given a few more seconds to allow Indy to grab some cushions for padding - the flying fridge was a step too far for Indy to emerge unscathed. The could have even had Indy break some bones at this point, and had the story about Indy losing his job take place over a few months allowing him to recover for the action to start again).
Natives just love to hide in decorative artwork on the off-chance that someone might wander past and aparently you can survive two hundred foot drops over multiple waterfalls without problems.
There are not only aliens but there are interdimensional aliens whose spaceship was hidden under a never-before-discovered temple which was not at all hidden by a forest canopy but open to the sky and to any passing plane - yet the temple was only accessible by a tunnel behind a waterfall.
There was the 'raiders' style ending to dispatch of our Russian femme fatale, which was predictable in the extreme and there was also the gullibility of Indy, not just being fooled once, but twice, by the same bloke.
The whole thing just tried too hard.
Ford, Lucas and Spielberg are supposed to have periodically looked at Indy IV over the years, and sometimes one or two of them have liked a script - and this is the first that all three liked... I shudder to think about the others.
From a review written back in May (which I didn't see until after I wrote the above)
"In most cases, you were so many steps ahead of the characters that it was really just an arduous wait for them to get through it."
"It sounds like I hated it. I really didn't. But I have to admit it made me sad. It felt like going to a family reunion where everyone was forced to watch a slideshow or old home movies instead of getting a chance to catch up with each other."
Yep, that sums it up nicely.
In short, save your money - go and see something else.