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Indiana Jones and other things

May 25, 2008

Warning! Spoilers for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull follow!

I have to say this has been a fairly disappointing Memorial Day weekend. It’s been cloudy and rainy since Friday, I have tons of school work to do, and I haven’t hardly done anything worth mentioning. Well except for yesterday, I went with some friends to see the new Indiana Jones movie. I knew it was going to be crazy busy, but I didn’t expect it would be that busy. We wanted to see the 2 o’clock show but didn’t get in until the 4 o’clock show. And we were in line for an hour before the doors opened. They’ve been showing marathons of the first three movies on cable for the past couple weeks, so I’d like to think I’m fairly caught up on the back story. Obviously, nearly twenty years have passed since The Last Crusade, and apparently since that time Indiana has been a decorated war hero, dear old Dad has passed (or Sean Connery passed on the movie?), and the government has become suspicious of Indy’s communist connections. (My apologies if some of this is incorrect. It was sort of glossed over rather quickly). Obviously, the Nazis have been defeated and have been replaced by the equally villainous KGB. As Indy is about to flee the country after nearly being killed by an atomic blast (did he somehow gain invincibility? I know he drank from the Holy Grail…) and interrogated by FBI agents, Shia Lebeouf in full-on Greaser gear shows up with a plea from his mother to come to South America and help an old friend who has been captured in a search for a crystal skull. After a 50s diner brawl that gave me serious Back to the Future deja vú, they jet set south to the tune of John Williams’ infamous overture.

The thing that I liked best about the first three movies, and maybe less so for Temple of Doom, is that they were questing after actual well-known historical artifacts. The cursory googling I did about crystal skulls reveals there are some crystal skulls that have been discovered in South America, but their origins are hotly disputed and none of the known crystal skulls have been shown to come from an actual excavation. So while maybe the crystal skulls aren’t as well known as the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail, at least there is some historical basis for their inclusion in the movie. Where Spielberg, or I guess, the writers decided to take it-alien origins- is where I start to doubt things. This film definitely starting delving into science fiction towards the end, which in a way, makes some sense to me. The first few films are ultimately about the search for truth and the test of Indy’s own faith as they are about crashing boulders, cracking whips and melting Nazis. So to throw aliens into the mix doesn’t shake things up too much; if you’ve seen spirits flying out of the Ark and a centuries old Knight guarding the Holy Grail, then seeing an alien space ship appear in the middle of the Amazonian jungle and disappear into “the space in between spaces” probably wouldn’t be all that shocking. So I understand how they justified the plot, but I don’t know if I like it. It was weird, to say the least. There was one other point with Shia LeBeouf pulling a Tarzan with some monkeys that really stretched the limits of believability, but I think the way to approach the movie is to just let go of any notions of reality and have fun. I really did enjoy it, and I’ll probably watch it again when it comes out on DVD.

One last point- yes, Harrison Ford is old. Karen Allen is old. But it’s been twenty years! People age, and I have to say Harrison Ford looked damn good. Aside from the fact that he obviously looks older than he did in the last installments, I don’t think I would’ve noticed the difference. He kicked the shit out of quite a few people. Oh and the ants- the ants were freaky.

On to the other things:

While I was waiting for the movie to start I stopped by the bookstore and picked up “Love is a Mix Tape” by Rob Sheffield. I’ve had it on my list of books to read for awhile now, and I read nearly half of it last night. It’s by Rob Sheffield, who is an editor for Rolling Stone. “Love is a Mix Tape” is part memoir and part love letter to his wife, who died suddenly at a young age. I love High Fidelity, so it’s no surprise I love this book. If you’ve ever made a mix tape I’d recommend it. I should probably stop reading right before I fall asleep because I woke up at 5 am with playlists running through my head. Sort of a last-thing-you-thought-of type thing, I guess.

I woke up again at 8am in the middle of a terrible nightmare. We had discovered a ghost in the house, who looked suspiciously like that girl from The Ring, and like SMART people, we decided to pack everything up and get the hell out. As we were running to throw things in the truck parked in the street, I was starting to think we were going to make it, when I remembered a terrible scene that I had seen in the commercial for what was going to happen. I knew that it hadn’t actually happened yet, but it was going to, because I saw it on the commercial. I think it must’ve turned midnight because right as my sister was about to come down the steps, she was stopped by some invisible barrier. I had a box of stuff in my hands and I looked around for help but everyone else had turned into snakes. I tried to help, but the ghost took my sis and threw her into some type of washing machine/CT scanner thing and locked her in. Sorry, Kenzie. I couldn’t get you out. Clearly the ghost-girl did not want us to leave. That’s when I woke up. I can only speculate that this is a result of a conversation about the movie The Strangers that I had yesterday. Clearly the snakes are from the Indiana Jones movie and the CT Scanner – well I suppose that’s self explanatory. This is why I don’t see scary movies-I have crazy nightmares just from thinking about them.

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