When Michael Jordan came back to play basketball, was it for the love of the game? When George Foreman came back to fight again, was it out of sheer passion? When the Eagles go on their twenty-fifth "When Hell Freezes Over" tour is it because they love the music that much? Or is it for money? For ego? Is it possible that ego and love can go hand in hand? There's nothing more depressing than when someone tries to come back and remind you how magical it was when they were around, yet demonstrate to you why they left in the first place. Damn you Indy, you had it all. And you blew it. As we left the theater that was playing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull this weekend, my ten year old looked at me and said "they just don't make movies like they used to, do they?" I'm not sure if he knew what he was saying, but damn it was profound.
I have to admit I was skeptical walking in to see this final(?) installment. I didn't feel that all of this was necessary. I mean, why can't Lucas and Spielberg work together on another great movie character and release that? Why do they have to revisit this well again? Well they did, and from the moment the movie opened, it felt more like "self-reflection" than "on with the show." It's my feeling that if you're going to give us one more, than by God, give us one more. Give us a great story, filled with great villains and great fights sequences. Don't give me the first few minutes of Indy talking with a character I've never seen before about past adventures. And don't give me a villain that I would rather fuck than fight. And don't give me a sword fight on the hoods of jeeps that harkens back to Return Of The Jedi. And please, please, please whatever you do, don't give me Shia LaBeouf as the sidekick. Ultimately this fourth installment was nothing more than a long string of one-ups. Everything trying to be better than it was before. Better action sequences. Better fighting. Better scenery. Better adventure. You know, like every other sequel we've ever seen. Damian of Windmills Of My Mind, recently wrote a good piece about the parallels between Indiana Jones and James Bond. There's no doubt that there would be no Indy without James. And if Lucas and Spielberg would have brushed up on their James Bond cinema a bit more they would have realized what almost killed the Bond franchise is one-upmanship. A desire to make everything better except the script. In the midst of all these one-ups, all I did was long for the original.
So what we're left with is a bunch of old has-been trying to relive the glory days. I usually relish cases such as these because it's usually ego that drives these things and I rarely enjoy ego. But unfortunately I didn't laugh here. I like Indy too much. What I did was cover my eyes, because I was no longer watching a great serial that kept me wanting more, instead I was watching a bad sequel that made me want to shut off the lights to signify that the party was over.