Now with the latest news that Disney has green-lit the fifth Indiana Jones film comes the wave of groans created by the last film, which has been growing for nearly ten years.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull certainly turned off a lot of fans after it was released.
The main reason for the disappointment was largely put on the choice to cast actor Shia LaBouf, who has become more of a spectacle for what he does off-screen rather than on it, but also because of what most felt was a ridiculous jungle scene.
At the time the movie was released, however, the more prominent film critics who take film criticism seriously — while they felt somewhat the same about those scenes — also felt the film was strong enough to hold up with some of the previous movies in the series, and thus not a complete disaster.
For instance, the late Roger Ebert was quite giddy in his review after seeing the film, because he understood the ingredients to a pulp action character story. Ebert was the one who originally wrote one of the wildest underground cult films ever made, called Beyond the Valley Of The Dolls, with Roger Corman.
“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Say it aloud. The very title causes the pulse to quicken, if you, like me, are a lover of pulp fiction. What I want is goofy action–lots of it. I want man-eating ants, swordfights between two people balanced on the backs of speeding jeeps, subterranean caverns of gold, vicious femme fatales, plunges down three waterfalls in a row, and the explanation for flying saucers. And throw in lots of monkeys.”
The fifth Indiana Jones film announcement should force many to go back and revisit the movie to salvage what they can from it because it’s one of those films which, after repeated viewing, restores itself appropriately.
In any case, the co-creator and director Steven Spielberg has even said that the film is more family-oriented, which might very well be the case. And that would mean we’ve covered both the pulp fiction part that Ebert referred to and the rest that’s left for the kids.
Even less criticism was pointed at adding inter-dimensional beings in the film. Spielberg — who will be involved in the fifth Indiana Jones film — spoke a bit about the problems with using those creatures in an interview with Empire Online.
“I’m very happy with the movie. I always have been… I sympathise with people who didn’t like the MacGuffin because I never liked the MacGuffin. George and I had big arguments about the MacGuffin. I didn’t want these things to be either aliens or inter-dimensional beings. But I am loyal to my best friend.”
Later in the interview, he says very plainly that George Lucas will be involved with writing the fifth film.
But more serious criticism, from perhaps other people who don’t seem to get pulp fiction, is shown in an article on Reuters from 2008, which referred back to when Russian communists directly accused actor Harrison Ford — obviously, since he plays the hero — of “slapping the victorious Soviet soldier in the face,” while belittling Cate Blanchett for her role as the villain.
And while it is the fans who are paying ticket prices to see the movie, some notable actors from the previous films have reflected on the fourth Indiana Jones movie, actors who might even be involved in the fifth one.
For instance, MTV News said back in 2009 that Sean Connery himself had reviewed the film.
Prior to this, it was said that he had been asked to return for Crystal Skull but backed out.
Even the actor John Rhys-Davies, who played Sallah in the first and third movie, in an interview with HeyUGuys, said he had been asked for the fourth one but felt the fans deserved for his character to play a bigger role, rather than just sitting in the background.
Digital Spy elaborated more on this with the actor, in relation to the fifth Indiana Jones film, and also spoke on the matter of depicting Arab characters in films today.
The point here is that there are plenty of reasons people give to hate the last film, thinking that it’s a bad omen from here on to the rest of the franchise. But if you see it under a different light, mostly that of those people who created it, reviewed it, or were even close enough to the business to understand what it is, there’s a good chance you will not see it as a failure, but just as much a part of the series as the others.
Sure, everyone has an opinion about this news, but in most cases today, the opinion is based off of little information and made prematurely.
For instance, in at least one case where reviewers are discussing the fifth Indiana Jones film, they’ve brought up the well-reported production problems with making Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which could be a darker mirror image of what Crystal Skull is.
Now, they might have been young enough to remember seeing the movie, but it’s doubtful that they already had a “critic” inside them fighting to come out when they did.
But the fact that Disney has finally confirmed they will make a fifth Indiana Jones film should be just as exciting as any other big announcement we anticipate, and maybe we can be excited without having to reflect on subjective negativity to try to bring the entire legacy down.