Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Friday, February 29, 2008

Now Here’s The Ultimate Indy Film!

When I saw the following trailer at Galleria, I felt like a kid again—in a good way.

When Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) was first shown, I saw it a total of 5 or 6 times on the big screen. Yes, I loved it that much. I was in high school and by that time my parents allowed me to watch movies on my own. I especially got a kick out of the scene when they opened the Ark of the Covenant and the angels of death came out. The face-melting scene alone was worth the price of admission.

The second movie in the trilogy was also the weakest for me. Sure, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) featured a great opening song number and an opening sequence (stealing the diamond while drugged) that’s a tour-de-force example of Spielberg’s directorial skills.

(Unfortunately the only clip I can find on YouTube has several guys annotating, so you don’t see the whole opening number. But you’ll get the drift.)

But what made the movie weak for me was the general morbid darkness permeating the whole movie (in the DVD documentary, George Lucas confesses that he was going through his divorce at that time, which may have influenced the script; in an ironic counterpoint, Doom was where Spielberg met his future wife Kate Capshaw). That, and the presence of that irritating kid.

The third movie had an additional character that helped deepen Indy’s character. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) had Sean Connery playing Henry Jones, Sr.

It was a fine return to form for Spielberg, Lucas and company, combining whip-smart action sequences with snappy dialogue and a welcome sense of humor throughout the film. However, the third movie did not have the element of surprise and wonder that the first movie had, so it remains my second best of the trilogy.

Wait, what trilogy? There’s the fourth one, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and the cast alone is making my nose bleed. Aside from Harrison Ford (who was hilarious in the Jimmy Kimmel’s “I’m Fucking Ben Affleck” video), Karen Allen reprises her role from Raiders, Marion Ravenwood (for me, still the best and strongest female role in the trilogy). Then there’s the new Hollywood IT Boy, Shia LaBeouf (who’s my vote for Actor Most In Need Of A New Screen Name). And—gasp! gasp! gasp!—the inimitable Cate Blanchett plays the bad guy, er, girl (heck, she could be playing a guy here; after all, she’s already played Bob Dylan and Jon Stewart!), Russian agent Irina Spalko. Yes, she’s the girl with the black wig in the trailer.

Can’t wait for May 2008.

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