Spielberg Talks ‘Jurassic Park 4,’ ‘Indiana Jones 5,’ & ‘Crystal Skull’

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Steven Spielberg Talks Jurassic Park 4 Indiana Jones 5 and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Spielberg Talks Jurassic Park 4, Indiana Jones 5, & Crystal Skull

Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin doesn’t arrive stateside until Christmas, but it’s already out in Europe and enjoying rave reviews. Indeed, many are calling it a return to form for Spielberg after the disappointing (to say the least) Indiana Jones 4.

Recently, while promoting Tintin, Spielberg also discussed the upcoming Jurassic Park 4 and Indiana Jones 5 – as well as the widely-criticized Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

On the status of Jurassic Park the fourth – courtesy of Empire – Spielberg said:

“The screenplay is being written right now by Mark Protosevich. I’m hoping that will come out in the next couple of years. We have a good story. We have a better story for four than we had for three…”

Hey, at least three was better than two.


Sam Neil in Jurassic Park 3 Spielberg Talks Jurassic Park 4, Indiana Jones 5, & Crystal Skull

On the status of Indiana Jones 5:

“You have to ask George Lucas. George is in charge of breaking the stories. He’s done it on all four movies. Whether I like the stories or not, George has broken all the stories. He is working on Indy V. We haven’t gone to screenplay yet, but he’s working on the story. I’ll leave it to George to come up with a good story.”

Wait, what? ‘Whether [he] likes the story or not’? Is Steven Spielberg hinting that maybe he didn’t like a story (or stories) from the previous Indiana Jones films?

Actually, this isn’t the first time that the man has said less than glowing things about Crystal Skull. Previously, he talked about how he originally didn’t want to make the film and wasn’t in love with the idea of Indiana Jones and aliens (or, in Crystal Skull‘s case, extra-dimensional beings) being in the same film.

On his own feelings about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, almost universally considered to be the worst Indiana Jones film:

“I’m very happy with the movie. I always have been… I sympathize 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. When he writes a story he believes in – even if I don’t believe in it – I’m going to shoot the movie the way George envisaged it. I’ll add my own touches, I’ll bring my own cast in, I’ll shoot the way I want to shoot it, but I will always defer to George as the storyteller of the Indy series. I will never fight him on that.”

It’s certainly interesting that Spielberg disliked Lucas’ MacGuffin (much like everyone else on the planet), but the truth is, those little “touches,” the “cast,” and the way Crystal Skull was shot and written (on a micro level) were just as much to blame for its quality – or lack thereof – as Lucas’ basic story was.

The Cast of Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Spielberg Talks Jurassic Park 4, Indiana Jones 5, & Crystal Skull

At times, the cinematography felt like something out of a way-too-glossy soap opera TV show. The CGI, which was already unwelcome, was also very bad. Shia LaBeouf was hired for a role he’d already been cast in far too many times – “smart-mouth teenage sidekick” – Karen Allen was way past her prime, and Cate Blanchett as the psychic villainess was about as intimidating as the computer-generated gophers from the beginning of the film.

Speaking of gophers, Spielberg responded to specific criticisms of the film, saying:

“The gopher was good. I have the stand-in one at home. What people really jumped out was Indy climbing into a refrigerator and getting blown into the sky by an atom-bomb blast. Blame me. Don’t blame George. That was my silly idea. People stopped saying ‘jump the shark.’ They now say, ‘nuked the fridge.’ I’m proud of that. I’m glad I was able to bring that into popular culture.”

CGI Gopher in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Spielberg Talks Jurassic Park 4, Indiana Jones 5, & Crystal Skull

Most people didn’t hate the gophers as an idea so much as they hated the fact that they were computer-generated cartoons in what was supposed to be an old-fashioned adventure film. In fact, many Indiana Jones fans had hoped that CGI would be mostly absent from the fourth film — in spite of it being released in one of the more CGI-drenched film periods – as a means of harkening back to the originals. Alas, the CG gopher in the opening frames of Crystal Skull made it immediately evident that that would not be the case.

Are you looking forward to Jurassic Park 4 and Indiana Jones 5, Screen Ranters? Do you agree with Spielberg about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Let us know in the comments.


Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

The Adventures of Tintin hits theaters December 21, 2011.

Source: Empire

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  1. It wasn’t my FAVORITE Indy film, but it wasn’t HORRIBLE either( I own them all so it can’t be that bad) I wouldn’t mind another one being made, just depends on the storyline I guess, a good plot makes the movie, at least in my opinion.
    Karen Allen: at least they got the same person to play Marion, I hate when they switch people out for the same characters.
    Shia Lebouf: love him to death, grew up with the guy on tv and such, and if he’s in the next one….its for a reason(seeing as he’s now been cast as Indy’s son-maybe to be replacing Harrison Ford one day as THE ‘Indiana Jones’ GOD forbid that ever happens*pleas don’t do that George Lucas/Steven Spielburg!), if Harrison Ford isn’t in it, the movies should end. If its entertaining, it doesn’t really matter.
    Just try cutting down on the CGI……Indiana Jones is famous for the classic stunts, no CGI nessisary.

    • I completely agree with you Red. George and Steven, PLEASE heed our words: Little or NO CGI, and if Harrison Ford is out, the movies should end. And work with each other. Lucas has a lot to offer to the cinematography and Spielburg is a great storyteller. Try out each others’ roles. Your fans expect greatness. Don’t forget that.

  2. This quote killed me:

    “People stopped saying ‘jump the shark.’ They now say, ‘nuked the fridge.’ I’m proud of that. I’m glad I was able to bring that into popular culture.”

    Uh, no they didn’t. He sure is sure of the fact that he’s a genius.

  3. They need to learn when enough is enough. Jurassic Park 1 & 2 were the only ones I enjoyed, even though the second one has that Godzilla-type thing of the T Rex running loose in a city.

    As for Indy 5, NO, just stop while you’re way too far ahead!! They’re ruining the franchise and any attempts now to hearken back to great original films is a waste, because Lucas will continue to butcher everything that made his own creations great by continuously going back to “improve” them.

    Both of these directors at this point (though I think Lucas is worse than Spielberg) have grown too old, big-headed, or mentally incompetent to produce the great classic films they once did. There’s no foresight, no appreciation or respect for what the fans want (as evidenced that you can’t get the original Star Wars unaltered trilogy on DVD in a clean format, it’s just the laserdisc transfer from 1994).

    Also, it’s become more about visual elements than a good script or storyline. The two are equally important, but all the CGI and 3D crap ruins everything these days.

    I’m against them going back to the same tired franchises because one failed sequel is enough. I hate having to pretend that so many films don’t exist, or worse, not being able to get a good copy of the unaltered original just because these directors have such a huge stick up their asses.

    The only directors I trust to pave the way for the future now are Chris Nolan, David Fincher, and J.J. Abrams (even if his use of lens flares drives me insane).

    They all seem to ally themselves with great writers and crews that carry their artistic vision extremely well.

    I have no faith in Spielberg of Lucas anymore.

    • I agree with most of this.

    • Further guys, you have the power to shape the minds of generations to come. This is quite a heavy responsibility. You can literally shape the future of mankind! Even if its not by much, you still have this unique ability more than most/if any -one else. Therefore if you cannot produce something you are completely and forever proud of – a work of art that lives up to the standards you have inherently created – then please refrain from producing such a work at all. You’re capable of inadvertently shaping the minds of millions. Work to please us, not solely yourselves.

  4. make indiana jones 5. its a great series. make it while harrison ford is still able to act. i would hate to see anyone else play indy.

    great series

  5. I liked CRYSTAL SKULL. It wasn’t of the same caliber as RAIDERS or CRUSADE, but I’d say it was easily of the same caliber ass TEMPLE OF DOOM. Interestingly, as I remember when I was a kid that that was the one everybody complained sucked. Basically for the same reason this one was. Both used hybrids of the serial adventure genre with another. SKULL it was pulp sci-fi creating the controversial alien themed Macguffin. I didn’t mind the aliens to be honest. I would’ve minded it if the film was something like INDIANA JONES AND THE WAR OF THE WORLDS with Indy repelling an alien invasion or something of that nature, or if they had brough the Ark back and said that was alien in origin. Then I would’ve had issues with that. But as it stands, I thought it was fun for a film. It was just showing a culture’s gods through a diffent lense. It was still an adventure film about Indy and his enemies warring for an ancient artifact, with the bad guys wanting to use its power to take over the world. In TEMPLE OF DOOM’s case it was the addition of pulp horror which rather than changing the nature of the artifact changed the film’s tone (and honestly in tone feels the most distant from the rest of the franchise). I remember when people would complain about being too dark, gruesome, disghusting, etc. Not to mention that it was the one that used to be “Too goofy and over-the-top”. Something it and SKULL share. Sorry, but nobody’s ever going to be able to convince me that SKULL had a goofier tone than DOOM. My only real issues with both of them is that both seemed a little indulgemtn in some of their visuals with SKULL’s CGI, and some of DOOM’s attempts to gross out the audience (particularly the dinner scene). Still I think both are a lot of fun, and I think it would be a missed opportunity. There’s still plenty of material to explore, and Harrison’s been keeping himself in great shape for his age.

    • And before anyone jokes about a typo in what I wrote I’m going to acknowlege that I accidentally typed in “ass TEMPLE OF DOOM” instgead of “as TEMPLE OF DOOM”.

    • I agree. People talk about the “nonsense” action sequences in SKULL, but seem to forget the impossible Mine Sequence from DOOM, or the jumping from a plane in an inflatable boat from the same movie.
      And what’s with the Alien hate? How is that anymore ridiculous than an Ark with ghosts flying out of it, or an immortal Knight living in a cave, or a wound closing on its own after someone tears the heart out of a guy’s chest?
      These films have always leaned more towards exaggerated story telling. I say (provided everyone will return), bring on the sequels.

      • I think that the giant rubber tree, the three waterfalls they go over, and Indy getting shot several miles through the air in a fridge and surviving are just a few examples in a movie full of examples of moments that I think went a good deal beyond anything even Temple of Doom dished out.

        And as far as how believable the aliens are, I don’t think that’s the real issue here. I don’t think anyone would disagree that aliens are more believable than encounters with the supernatural. It’s the shift in genres that people disliked. Crystal Skull seems out of tune with the other films. Still, the alien issue is one of the most minor problems with the film. The biggest problems arise from the script.

    • “nobody’s ever going to be able to convince me that SKULL had a goofier tone than DOOM”
      Shall we bet?
      Ripping someone’s heart out is not what I call goofy. To sling oneself with vines among apes as if the character suddenly turned into Tarzan, that’s what I call goofy.

      • I was not referring to the heart ripping out. You should know better than that. There are a lot more scenes in TEMPLE OF DOOM than that. Many of Short Round and Willie’s antics are very overtly silly. Think of things like Short Round running around panicking when confronted with the dancing girls and Willie whining about everything, their antics with the elephant, the Thuggee making a secret passage into the TEMPLE having to be opened by pushing on a statue’s breasts (that architect must have had a good snicker after making it), the cartoony opening with Willie’s song and dance number (that ends with her going backstage to perform for who?) as well as the scene where she’s scrambling across the floor after a diamond (that seriously is like something out of a cartoon), the Slave Driver throwing a hammer and it hitting one of his thugs in the head with a cartoon sound effect, etc. And when it comes to over-the-top stunts DOOM matches SKULL beat for beat. Rafting the himalayas is about as believable as nuking the fridge (mythbusters did not disprove it, as they changed around too many of the variables in order to make it safer and thus really beat the point of the experiment), the mine cart jump can be equally as attributed to just as an unbelievable level of luck as the waterfall scene, Indy and company outrunning that torrent of water filling up the mine by only inches is as plausible as the car driving off a cliff and landing on the tree branch, etc. Not saying all those kinds of things are bad or ruin the movie. I like it a lot. But it gets cut slack in that area because it is from the nostalgic set of films and has a darker tone. I do not want to sound like a jerk about this, but I just don’t really see the real difference between SKULL and DOOM in terms of silliness and over-the-top ness.

        • I agree that Temple of Doom had significantly more cartoony, over-the-top elements than either Raiders of Crusade. What bothers me is that George Lucas seems to have taken everything that anyone disliked about the first three films and magnified them by ten times in the 4th film.

        • Short Round was even more entertaining than Mutt, he drove a car at the age of what, 10, and he could even kick butt some. Mutt is mostly concerned about his hair.
          “Willie whining about everything” that’s the point about the character. Marion is in a way also whining, or argueing, about most stuff Indy do.
          “their antics with the elephant”
          Is that suppose to be a complaint? The humour is no more goofy than Indy shooting the swordsman in Raiders or Sean Connery chasing birds to kill a pilot in Crusade. What humour do we get in Crystal Skull? Them dropping down three waterfalls… uuhh… is there any joke at all in Crystal Skull?
          “statue’s breasts”
          Point is you push the statue regardless of where you put the hands. Everything in Skull is about the skull. Oxley pretty much gets them out of trouble in every situation using the skull. Not Indy being clever.
          “the cartoony opening with Willie’s song and dance number”
          A classic. The character is suppose to be a singer. What, do you want to compare it with the stupid prairie dogs watching some girls and soldiers going down a road that is completely irrelevant to the plot?
          “scrambling across the floor after a diamond”
          What about the skull being thrown around between the cars in the jungle in a disrespectful way, dissolving all tension and mystery around it?
          “throwing a hammer and it hitting one of his thugs”
          Once again it entertains people. It’s what makes us like the movie. Indy movies aren’t about getting too complicated or too serious.
          The raft in the himalayas is not as unbelivable as the big fall they make. I guess that’s a point, when the raft goes off the cliff.
          The mine cart jump works fine, it has tension and it’s about a cart switching track through a jump. Speaking of jumps, why is it that Marion knew the branch was gonna help the car down to the water and what makes her believe a car can float?
          “a darker tone” Well it’s safe to say a movie like Doom having a darker tone makes it more thrilling than the flat drained CGI crap that is Doom. Some computer animated fake ants pulling a guy down the ground, meh not scary. Seeing those real huge insects crawling around in Doom, that is scary. What’s the point trying to gross people out when the animals are not gross animals but just blurry animated stuff?

          • I of course meant to say the flat drained CGI crap that is Crystal Skull

            • You seem to have misinterpretd my pointing out of the film’s cartooniness as being cricism. And that’s not what I meant for. I was making a comparison to put my opinion into perspective. I don’t mind the goofiness in either film, but I know it when I see it.

              • Jack there is “goofiness” in every Indy film but Crystal Skull lacks proper jokes. It also lacks proper action as Indy hardly kill any guy in the film.

  6. As a fellow filmmaker I can say this: A filmmaker’s vision is their own. It’s not their responsibility to cater to their grumpy-ass fans who have aged just as much since the last films came out. I loved Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Why? Because it IS an Indiana Jones flick. It has everything it needs. The girl, the kid, the artifact, the action, the top notch acting, and beautiful cinematography. How did it jump the shark with aliens? All the previous films were based off books / Lucas’ story and so was this one. There is no difference, you guys are just ***-hurt over Star Wars and the fact that this Indy film wasn’t on another tedious Bible artifact or some stupid ****. Did you really want to see another boring-*** film on Atlantis or journeying to the center of the Earth? So long as Indy and the core story are there, that’s all that matters. Go **** *** to the 80s where you left your developmental and reasoning skills.

    • Gosh, did it hurt your feelings so much to learn that people don’t like a (terrible) film that you did?

      “As a fellow filmmaker I can say this: A filmmaker’s vision is their own.”

      And sometimes that vision is really, really stupid.

      FYI, in my opinion, Crystal Skull is a horribly bad film for reasons that have nothing to do with aliens.

      • Agreed. I might have preferred something different than aliens, but they weren’t what ruined the movie. Oddly, Shia LaBeouf wasn’t even what ruined the movie either (though he still felt out of place in the film). There are numerous other problems that did far more to damage the film, with the script being the absolute worst offender. The first three were obviously intended to be fun, popcorn films, but the quality of the writing (along with the impressive direction and acting) elevated those films (particularly the first one) to a higher level. Like Predator, the first three Indy films were B-movies given A-movie treatment. Indy 4 doesn’t even function as a B-movie. The script makes just about every mistake in the book, completely destroying suspense, characterization, dialog, suspension of disbelief, and satisfying plotting.

        That said, I really don’t mind people liking the 4th film. But I do mind when someone has to denigrate the original films in order to defend the 4th film. Yes, the original films did have their flaws as well, with Temple of Doom probably leading the way in that regard. But even Temple of Doom, despite having a rather annoying heroine, had competent plotting, satisfying action, spectacular set pieces, generally strong character development, and a motivated protagonist. By itself, Temple of Doom is a flawed, but entertaining entry in the series. But compared to compared to the tragically awful mess that is Crystal Skull, it’s an outright classic. Defend Indy 4 all you like, but simply know that I tire of the argument that nostalgia is to blame when someone expresses the opinion that the 4th film was utter crap compared to the first three. One could just as easily make the opposite argument: that nostalgia is largely the reason why so many people enjoyed Indy 4.

    • To Ryan: I applaud and bow to you as you’ve put to words what my mind has been trying to express on different occasions.

      I too am an indie film maker and totally agree with what you are saying here. It’s impossible to make a film appealing to everyone. And, we live in a different time, and most people don’t like this time, and always complain that it was better in the past.

      Well, then go to where you want to go so freaking much, and stop whining on things that are made in this timeperiod.

      • Who’s whining? Criticizing a film for being terrible is not whining. I mean, Spielberg, the director, basically lambasted the film himself! Is he whining?

        • Where I take issue with the hate that’s going around for this film is that people are making it sound like this was the first Indiana Jones (that was at least at first) regarded as a disappointment, and it really was not. All of the same criticisms were applied to TEMPLE OF DOOM twenty four years prior. Annoying sidekicks, unpopular artifact, changing up the genre a bit that made people think it was too different to what came before it (In DOOM they added pulp horror which created the controversial dark tone and gruesome scenes, like how SKULL added pulp science-fiction that added the controversial subject matter for the artifact), people calling all the technical stuff terrible. Heck, just check out almost any online board up ’til even the early 2000′s and it was still getting lambasted by even a large group of the fans. Even just like how Spielberg and Labeouf have had some pretty unkind words towards the film, Spielberg and Capshaw had similar sentiments towards DOOM. Not to say it’s bad, even if they aren’t as good as RAIDERS or CRUSADE I think both are fun for what they are, but it’s hard for me to not look at it as just a case of history repeating itself. Both being criticized for being different more than anything else, and that hate germinating into the rest of the areas of the films for those who really couldn’t get into them.

    • You have got to be joking. I am a film maker as well and I remember an interview with Spielberg and Lucas in the scripting stages of this film in which Spielberg stated that this film would be made for the Indy Fans. Fan’s that remember the first film as ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ before it was changed to ‘Indiana Jones and the Raiders of The Lost Ark’. These were films that inspired me to get into movie making. ‘Crystal Skull’ and the hallmarks of an Indy film but none of the essence. The things that made Indy films Great were the lack of CGI the clever scripting and the one liners that were very well placed. Things were over the top but not so over the top they were un-believable (Fridge moment). I too am on the side that says it wasn’t the Aliens that bothered me, it was simply the fact that this film delivered extremely embarrassing moments such as monkey boy swinging on vines peppered with one liners that were i”ll timed and seemed to be placed just to fill a void. Combine that with some pretty bad casting decisions and it just wasn’t a terrific end result. You developmental and reasoning skills were left in the 80′s and I say Spielberg and Zemeckis should send Marty Mcfly back to pick them up because George needs to be re-acquainted with them. Your point about Star Wars is a valid one but more so because it concerns people about Georges ability to produce a good story for Indy 5. The only saving grace or redeeming point about ‘Crystal Skull’ was that Shia LaBeouf didn’t get to wear that hat at the end. NOOOOBODY wears that Hat but Indy.

  7. I can’t watch Indy 4 because the aliens make me so angry. The reason they suck so bad is that they can explain absolutely anything — & therefore nothing. It’s a giant cop-out by the writers as bad as Indy waking up & the whole thing was just a dream.

    • and god’s ark that you never see inside of or learn what power it has to convey to true religious believers is any different? no. it isn’t. legends that mayan culture had help from a far more technologically advanced power, to me, are no different than saying that an ark contains the 10 commandments and a way of speaking to god or that jesus’ holy grail could offer everlasting life. they are fun stories that we can enjoy, but most ppl are butt hurt b/c “everything taught in sunday school is absolutely real and theories presented about the past are false if they aren’t in the bible”

      • I don’t think that’s it at all. I’m an atheist, and think that stories in the Bible are just as ridiculous, if not more so, than any ancient aliens theories. The problem is not with believability. It’s about the jarring shift in genres from fantasy to science-fiction.

        Still, even if I didn’t like the shift to aliens and sci-fi, I consider it to be one of the least significant problems with Indy 4.

  8. I the Indy IV story was just plain archaeology, like the other films, it would’ve been wonderful. But to include the aliens at the end just didn’t make any sense. It wasn’t bad, but once it reaced the alien story line, that was pushing it a bit.

  9. I didn’t think it was that bad, actually and I’ve watched it more often than any of the Star Wars prequels. At least no one’s acting in Crystal Skull was as bad as Anakin’s. My main gripes: Kate Winslet = forgettable. CG = way too much. Karen Allen = not the actress she once was. Aliens = meh-and-a-half.

  10. Look kingdom was like temple….bad I as a fan would love to see an Indy v and a Jurassic park iv as well as a star wars vii viii and ix lol seriously people should welcome them as if they were the originals (not meaning that they would be as good as raiders or JP) my point is they are great and I hope they get made soon because today’s films are beginning to suck (since when does rockem sockem robots deserve to be a movie what next chutes and ladders!)

  11. I think if there is a fifth indiana jones, greek mythology or roman mythology would tie in well with all of the stories and tales from greek mythology. He could search for the golden fleece so the USSR would have vegetation in case of a nuclear attack from America. Make something more adventurous than any other Indiana Jones movie. The only problem with the movie would be the requirement for CGI. So Speilberg may be forced to make another avatar just so it looks real.
    And of all the problems with the movie, it will still gross a few hundred million, so its a win-win.

    • really golden fleece to help revive the USSR after a nuclear war? youre comment seems to be like a knockoff of the Fallout video game series plot. In a completely unrelated topic the fourth India Jones was just as good as Temple of Doom which was a pretty decent movie when you compare it to the crap that comes out nowadays and is only considered “bad” because everyone compares it to the other Indiana Jones movies

  12. I thought Indy 4 was brilliant. I sat through and enjoyed everything. The refrigerator scene was no worse than the raft scene in the 2nd movie. In fact, I’d say that the mining carts in the 2nd movie that were on the rails were more unrealistic than the refrigerator scene. I hated the 2nd movie and the 3rd one. The first one was ok, but I think the characters were undeveloped and I never enjoyed the action sequences at all. Indy 4 is probably one of the best ones in the series. This is just my opinion.

    As for Jurassic Park, I think they get better with time. Third one is better than the other ones by far. It’s smarter and the effects are more believable. When the airplane clipped the dinosaur and went crashing into the trees my kids were holding the seats like we were all going to die. I have to admit, the scene had my sweating. Additionally, the raptor scenes are tense. I always recommend to anybody I meet to watch the 3rd film first to get a good review of the series before watching 1 and 2. If I had started with 1 and 2 I don’t think I ever would have seen the 3rd.

    • While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I think most would agree that the first Jurassic Park is by far the greatest of the series, and the 3rd one was truly awful. The first film still has effects that can’t be bested today, memorable quotes, and memorable action sequences.

      Having that out of the way, I have faith that Jurassic Park 4 will be a god one. Why? The 3rd one wasn’t directed by Spielberg himself–always flirting with disaster when replacing the original director–thus it having poor direction, and an even worse story. What made the first one so unique was the perfect balance of science and action. Jurassic Park 2 had some science tied in it, but the 3rd was the stereotypical American, mindless 90-minute action scene with the occasional conversation. The story for JP4 supposedly has a brand new cast, so there won’t be anymore butchering of Jeff Goldblum’s or Sam Neill’s talents.

  13. And btw I loved that Gopher. It was a cute start to the movie. Kids loved it. He loves animals and says “Look a mole, daddy!” LOL.

    All of you need to get out more and not sweat about the small things.

  14. I still say the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was the SECOND worst Indy film. Temple of Doom is the worst. Why? Several reasons:

    1) The contrast between Raiders and Temple is too jarring, especially once the third and fourth films were made. I know it’s supposed to be a prequel, but it’s the only Indy film without references to the school, museum, or Marcus Brody… or anything else of Indy’s life outside of adventuring. A

    2) It lacks identity. It can’t seem to decide if it’s darker and more gruesome than Raiders, or lighter and sillier, and it sways too far in both directions.

    3) It features a completely uninteresting MacGuffin. They’re rocks. They hold a special significance to some primitive tribe in India, or wherever-the-heck they are, but not to the audience, or any of the principle characters. All other Indy MacGuffins had the potential to effect the entire world.

    4) The villain is mostly absent. He doesn’t appear until almost the third act of the film, and he has next-to-zero screen time once he does appear, meaning the audience has no time to form an emotional response to him, or care if he dies. In every other Indy film, the villain is present before the second act gets under way, and is revealed just in time for the race to the MacGuffin.

    5) Cate Capshaw.

    Kingdom may take a few missteps along the way, but at least it maintains the basic formula of a good Indy movie. Having not seen Shia LaBouf in anything else that I can recall before Indy, I had no issue with him being type-cast, and I don’t think Karen Allen was any more “past her prime” than Harrison Ford was past his.

    • I disagree with the overall point, and I might contest the 4th reason, but I like that you actually made a generally solid argument in favor of your case. That’s not something I typically see from Crystal Skull defenders. And besides, you’re not defending it over Raiders and Crusade anyway. I think that defending it over Temple of Doom is a far, far more understandable position than those who place it on the same level as Raiders or Crusade.

      • Don’t get me wrong, while I do defend Crystal Skull, I didn’t LOVE it. I thought the first half of the movie was very much in tune with the tone and style of an Indy film, especially the chase through the school campus. Once the chase through the jungle began, it drifted way too far off course in style and tone. I heard someone actually comment once that it seemed like the first half of the movie was Spielberg’s, while the second half was Lucas’, and I think that’s an apt observation. There’s a lot in the chase scene that feels like a Star Wars prequel, for better or for worse.

        It’s rare for me to call a movie truly terrible. I can usually find something worth liking. I like the Star Wars prequels, and Indy 4, and Batman Forever (Batman & Robin, not so much). I think they all have redeeming qualities, even if they’re sometimes buried under poor decisions. Two things I always try to remember is:

        1) These are movies, not depictions of real life. They only need to entertain. They do not need to conform to any set standard because their overall relevance is trivial. They either amuse, provoke thought, or frighten, then they’re over.

        2) As much as we, the audience, feel attached to a film’s characters and locations, they are not ours to control. They are the property of their respective creator(s). In this case, Lucas (story, characters, scenario), Spielberg (casting, direction), and Ford (performance). If Lucas decides Indiana Jones should fall into a time portal and land in the 23rd century for the next film, and Spielberg and Ford go along with the idea… well, that’s their prerogative as the creators. We may not like it as the audience, but we were not clever or ambitious enough to come up with the property ourselves, so we really have no right to complain. We can choose not to see the movie, out of our own personal tastes, but we have no right to tell the creators what to do with their creation.

        Spielberg more-or-less says this in the interview. He didn’t like the aliens idea, but it was Lucas’ wish, and his job was not to criticize it, but to bring it to the screen in the best way possible… and I believe he did. I can watch Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and be amused for a couple hours. Sure, there are parts that make me roll my eyes, but I just tell myself “it’s just a movie,” and go on with my life.

        All that said, I don’t hate Temple of Doom either. I just find its faults more bothersome than Kingdom’s.

    • Response to FearTheClaw

      1) The references to the university is not a holy rule. The thing that is important is the hat, the whip, the suit, the wit, the action, the archeology, and that Harrison Ford plays Indy. The fact that the movie sets entirely outside the comfort zone of civilized USA makes it more thrilling. Indy’s personal life have never been the most important thing. In fact that was what ruined Crystal Skull a bit, because his relationship with Mutt & Marion weren’t entertaining or remotely interesting regarding the plot.

      2) Wouldn’t call Doom “silly”. It certainly aim to be darker since it’s set in the deep occult India. It lacks the grip of Raiders and the humour of Crusade, making it distinct as it should. That does not in any way means it lacks identity, rather the opposite.

      3) The audience need not a sentimental connection to the historical adventure to be entertained. It’s not remotely relevant to the quality of the movie. How many people were not christians and still appreciated Raiders and Crusade? Are you a UFO believer, since you appreciated Crystal Skull? Silly argument.

      4) This argument is better, though it seems to miss the point. We don’t get more emotional connection to a character the more we see it, rather it’s what the character do when we see it. Mola Ram wasn’t suppose to run around exposing himself talking too much, but remain in the dark like a ghost. Almost non human. Certainly a more frightening guy than Ivana Spankoff squashing an ant.

      5) Steven Spielberg’s wife, more energetic and entertaining with her screaming than the old Marion doing nothing but some argueing. When I come to think of it, the ladies in the Indy movies are usually exposed to things like gross insects or dead bodies but Marion in Crystal Skull had it easy. It was rather Mutt and for what I care the scorpion could have killed him. Overall the movie lacked spice IMO.

  15. I have found all these comments very interesting, really, some GREAT insight, on all opinions. May I give mine? RAIDERS – Groundbreaking, amazing story, action, etc. Just an incredible movie. It’s 31 years old but still great- my kids want to watch it. DOOM – sucked. Kate Capshaw… I was wishing her character killed in the first 5 minutes. Can any other character in any other movie be any more annoying than that dumb blonde bimbo? (Not Capshaw, her character.) Short-Round – FUNNY kid. It was an OK story, but completely unnecessary and deviated from who Indy was. Just a dumb movie. CRUSADE – AMAZING FILM. Adding Sean Connery was terrific. Going back to fighting the Germans – great idea. The story itself was terrific. Great action and acting. SKULL – enjoyable. Did NOT like the alien idea, but the movie itself was good – some good action too, and Ford did most of his own fighting/stunt things, at 66 years old, not bad. Karen Allen as Marian was a great idea, she re-played herself very well! Shi – people need to give the dude a break. He played a young attitude-driven cocky 50s kid very well. Using the Russians, 1950s technology, etc. in the plot was a great idea – aging Indiana Jones as Harrison Ford has aged was also a great idea. tO USE bASEBALL TERMS, RAIDERS – HOME RUN; DOOM – WALK; CRUSADE – HOME RUN; SKULL – SINGLE. Making another one would be a great idea and I will go see it.

    • sorry – “Shia”, not “Shi” – oops

  16. i think indie 4 could have been great.. if they left out aliens or made it more focused on mayan/aztec alien theories, but never actually showed aliens =|… , if they had made the humor more like the originals it would have helped a lot.. since the entire movie is a bit too campy & utterly ridiculous at times with cgi etc..

    the idea of a movie more akin to last crusade with ford & labeouf could work if it isn’t absolutely ridiculous for Indie 5… george lucas is supposed to be a great story teller yet.. some how he could not see all the obvious flaws in indie 4… he hasn’t written that many great stories and he keeps dragging the same old works out of the chest.. i dunno dont get me wrong.. he wrote some of the most influential awesome movies ever.. but…… eh.. its hard to be inspired when you have a lot of money and already accomplished what you wanted to originally..

  17. Heh. I like every Indy for its own merits. Raiders was a hell of a tribute to the ‘cliffhanger’ serials of the 1930s and the Alan Quartemaine novels. The huge rolling rock at the start of Raiders is no more silly thatn the damn fridge scene guys. Indy has always been over the top. That’s the genre, man! Raiders nailed all the elements of the cliff hanger. Doom was a terrific ‘pulp horror’ tribute. Mola Ram was terrifying and Short Round and Willy really added some much needed comic relief. LOL! Crusade sorta revisted Raiders in tone, but Connery and Ford’s chemistry elevated the script and made for a terrific adventure. Crystal Skull was fine. It was certainly original and I liked how it explored the mystery and Sci-fi genres of the 50s. Having the Reds as the baddies was a good touch too. Sure Blanchett could have been written more menacingly- but she was intended as a psychological foil. Again original/different.

    Indy 5 could step solidly into the 60s and have Jones in a harrowing Indochina adventure in perhaps Vietnam. Utylize some Buddist mysticism in the plot and bring in a grown up Short Round. I think Mutt and Shorty would complement Indy nicely. Just a thought.

    And NO Crystal Skull ain’t as bad as you guys would like it to be.

    • What you said right there (Jonathan) is great. You basically just said what I’ve been saying for years about the film’s compared to each other, and that sounds like it would be a great Indy 5. Well done sir.

      • I wasn’t too mortified by ‘Skull’ when I first saw it in the theatre, but I think I had my nostalgia goggles on pretty tight at the time. After what I felt was the betrayal of the SW prequels, I was kind of reaching out for anything that could revive/remind me of my youth back in the 80′s. Looking back now, there were just too many failings that you see in other modern movies to really give it a thumbs up, however. The script, reliance on CGI, wholly unbelievable and immersion-breaking action sequences, poorly drawn characters and so forth. I didn’t mind the Maguffin, and in fact it made sense to me given the time period. I’ve always liked the ‘golden age of sci-fi’ in books and movies. So that part I don’t hold as a strike against it.

        Oddly, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Temple. Probably because I was just the right age when it came out (12 or so), and my friends and I enjoyed the arcade game version :) But honestly, I recall always liking the fact that it WAS just a ‘day in the life of’ episode of Indiana Jones’ adventures, not encumbered by the need to progress his life story, his age, his responsibilities to existing characters, plotlines, the modern world, etc. It seemed, for all its darkness in tone and texture, as a more carefree escapade into pure serial escapism, separated from modern world trappings.

        As time has worn on I can see it’s shortcommings (particularly it’s share of unbelievable action). But it was a true 80′s action film in the sense that it definately didn’t bow to political correctness or give in to some kind of post-modern self-awareness of it’s own silliness, camp characterizations, and so on. It went for the gusto, unapologetically, in terms of ‘gross out evilness’, Capshaw’s damsel-in-distress’ness, Short Round’s plucky sidekick’ness and of course Indiana Jones’ over the top derring-do. There’s even a nice helping of nostalgia for the British Empire to help save the squallid superstitious native villagers from their bad overlords. Good clean Regan-era retro serial movie fun. I ate that stuff up when I was a kid.

        I strongly disliked Crusade when it came out. I was older, and maybe already pining for the innocent times of youth. I didn’t like it’s more lightweight humour, especially at Marcus Brody’s expense. Didn’t really take to the River Phoenix opening, seemed too contrived. And I had difficulty seeing Connery as anything other then Connery. In the years since I first saw it, however, I’ve warmed to it considerably. To the point where I’m prepared to put it in 2nd place, or at least in a tie with Temple for 2nd. Both appeal to me for different reasons.

        Raiders is unassailable in my eyes. A perfect pulp adventure movie in almost every sense. I can’t add anything more to the reasons why that hasn’t been said, and more importantly felt, by others already. :)

        I think Lucas is well past his prime as a man who can tap into a magic fountain of shared pubic taste, mood, gestalt and so forth. I’m sure there’s a way to make an ‘Indy’ style movie that captures some of what the first 3 had, but I don’t think it could use Ford in that role. So would it really be an ‘Indy’ movie?

        • Well said. I was also 12 when I first saw Temple of Doom, my first Indy film. I’m not terribly fond of the River Phoenix opening of Last Crusade either, but I still love the film overall. I’d definitely agree that Raiders is the most “perfect” of all the Indy films. I love TOD and LC, but I could probably think of a few flaws in each of them. Not so with Raiders.

  18. I like Kingdom of the Crystal skull. Was it as good as the originals? Not even close, but I still liked it. Keep in mind we are comparing this to Raiders, on of the greatest movies ever made. I feel that a large amount of the backlash is coming from people who went into the theatre expecting a remake of Raiders, and when they got something different they started whining. Fridge scene over the top? Ok, because it’s in no way like the giant bolder, or the mine cart chase, or Indy falling off a cliff in a tank. Correct me if i’m wrong, but didn’t Henry Sr. shoot down a plane in Last Crusade with freaking seagulls? What’s that, didn’t like Shia? Because Short Round gets a pass from all of you. Most of the people here are looking st the first three movies through the eye of nostalgia, and that nostalgia blinds you all to the fact that most of the flaws present in Kingdom are in all of the other Indiana Jones movies. I liked a lt of what they did do. Harrison Ford is still awesome, they referenced the TV show (I bet a lot of you didn’t know a tv show existed. There have been four actors to play Indiana Jones, so don’t get all offended by the idea of Shia becoming taking the mantle.), and tit was the same campy fun with the same flaws. Face it, those movies aren’t perfect. The same thing happening here is what happened with the Star Wars prequels. Stiff acting, awful dialog, and annoying characters are just as present in IV, V, and VI as they are in I, II, and III. It’s all nostalgia.

  19. legends that mayan culture had help from a far more technologically advanced power, to me, are no different than saying that an ark contains the 10 commandments and a way of speaking to god or that jesus’ holy grail could offer everlasting life. they are fun stories that we can enjoy, but most ppl are butt hurt b/c “everything taught in sunday school is absolutely real and theories presented about the past are false if they aren’t in the bible”

  20. 1 and 3 are the best. Nazis and bible artifacts work so well together. I think a fountain of youth adventure would be cool though. But Russians and aliens, kind of over done for 50′s time period. You could bring the Nazis back as a secret organization trying to rebuild but need a powerful artifact, maybe a search for the fountain of youth.

  21. You know, the thing that always gets me about any movie made these days is that there is always an army of mindless zombies who foam at their mouths for the chance to complain about them. Lucas and Speilberg are just as brilliant now as they have ever been. My father had a saying, “If you have nothing useful to say don’t even bother wasting your breath?” I think a lot of you could learn from what he had to say. Don’t bother throwing box office numbers at me either, in this age of technology when you can download a movie for free in under a half an hour (and yes I realize that it is illegal which is why I don’t do it) nobody goes to the theater anymore anyway except those who feel this incessant need to whine about everything they they watch. Congrats george and Stephen. Keep up the good work.

  22. The existence of aliens visiting earth is far more believable than the power of some god in a wooden box, rocks that make plants grow, or a cup of eternal life. The religious hocus-pocus was nonsense but it didn’t matter because the films were good. The problem with Skull isn’t the aliens it’s the fact that Lucas cannot (for quite some time) write a good story to save his life. Spielberg too is guilty of complacency, to me he seems bored with the subject matter, if he’s not excited by what he’s filming then the film lacks excitement also. It’s nearly 20 years since Jurassic Park and nearly 30 since the last (passably) decent Star Wars movie was made.
    With due respect for all their past work, i think these two should retire gracefully.

    • Exactly. Well said. Although, I’m still holding out some hope that Spielberg can make more good films that aren’t in the Indy franchise. Lincoln could be good.

  23. I havent disliked the cgi gophers as much is i disliked cgi indy ! Which happenned in the beginning of the movie. So anyway movie lacked all of the adventure themes all 3 previous movie had.

  24. I love Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. You assume that the whole world hated it and then try to make it out that way. The aliens were used as ancient gods as so were the other religions and or myths that were explored in the other Indiana Jones movies.

  25. Can Goerge Lucas make an Indiana Jones 5?

  26. Can Steven Spielberg make an Indiana Jones 5?

  27. There is always something you can question regarding theatrics versus reality in the Indy movies – but lets face it, why sit around and ruminate for hours on how Indy got to the island on the submarine in Raiders or how impossible it might have been for him to outrun the deluge in Doom or how improbably it would have been to survive the waterfall drops in Skull?

    Would agree that the ending of Skull left a bit to be desired – not much interesting problem solving left to Indy at the end. On the other hand, why not another Indy while Harrison still has the chops to play the role?

    Personally, I’d rather see Lucas tackle something like Atlantis or perhaps Bigfoot as opposed to bringing in another religious artifact – the first three kind of covered the McGuffin artifact realm – why not something a bit bigger than just an artifact in terms of being myths or legends?

  28. I think the 4th was one of the best. I make my own films and I’m working on my fifth Indiana jones movie right now,so I like to take ideas from the Indana jones trilogy so I can’t wait for Indy 5.


  29. I think Indy Five is a great idea. I didn’t dislike Indy 4. It was everything I expected from an Indiana Jones film, and that is fun- It was a fun movie. Yes, the cinematography and the CGI were annoying at times, but it was still an overall pleasant film. Also, am I the only one who didn’t mind the aliens? I find it odd that people do not think it absurd with the fact that our hero was chased down by a boulder after picking up a statue, witnessed a man getting his heart replaced, and found the holy grail, but find it way too out of the ordinary that met face to face with an alien. The Indiana Jones franchise is not a very serious franchise, and as long as Harrison Ford enjoys playing Indy, I am content with the idea of another one.
    As for Jurassic Park: I don’t care about that franchise.

    • @charles – It seemed to me that Harrison Ford didn’t enjoy playing the character this time. That was one of my issues with it. He seemed overly grumpy. I have other problems (Mutt Williams being #1) but the aliens weren’t one of my issues with Indy #4.