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Indiana Jones and the Last Good Movie

For Halloween we went with a small film festival the last two Indiana Jones movies starting with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) followed by Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (2008).

Brown hat and a horse?  Let's call it a western!

Last Crusade

I have no idea when I first saw this movie but I sure forgot a whole bunch about it. I completely forgot that River Phoenix plays young Indy at the beginning of the movie. The start of the movie might be the most fun. Young Indy has a horse chase and a fight atop a circus train. Phoenix is a pretty interesting actor, it's a hard game of what-if to think what kind of actor he would have been 27 years later. He's a little goofy when he runs, but Harrison Ford is not a lot less goofy when he runs either. It's a fun movie with just a tinge of grossness in the Father-Son-Nazi love triangle.

Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I had never seen this one before. I had been warned about a lot of the movie... Aliens... but for some reason it was a little jarring that it took place in the 1950's. It made chronological sense but Shia LaBeouf's greaser look next to Indy is a little off putting, and I'm not sure why. LaBeouf actually does a pretty good acting job, as does the other lead newcomer to the series Cate Blanchett (not sure I can pick out a subpar performance in her whole career).

LaBeouf gets a lot of guff from this role but I don't think he should be taking the blame for this flick. The strangest thing for me in this movie, oddly, is the lighting. Everything is lit as though there are two Suns, one setting and one rising at all times. There are no shadows in the whole movie and everything is saturated in gold. My guess is that it's because Spielberg was trying to film it in the style of Douglas Sirk 1950's technicolor where excessive lighting would be used while filming in studios to get vibrant lighting, but resulted in not having any shadows because the actors were lit from all angles.

I don't know how I feel about the alien factor to the movie. I am generally insulted by ancient alien beliefs because they undercut the great achievements humans have made through history. But I also go appreciate when aliens are a part of fiction because that can be a fun alternate history that can be a highlight of creative thought.

In the end, I don't know what to think, and I have no clue where another Indy movie could take us in the future... there's a chance the alien angle is forgotten or we could get regretfully go to hollow pyramids used to store grain.

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