Friday, May 30, 2008

The Official Indy Review (or, Don't Say I Never Gave You Nothin)

Once upon a time, a girl named Heather happened to get out of work early on a Thursday afternoon, due to something unfortunate like a dentist's appointment. As a reward for surviving through much scraping and flossing and general dental-related discomfort, Steven and I decided to go see the new Indy Movie!


(Yes, tickets were that expensive. Argh. Sometimes I wish we lived in the middle of Nebraska or something -- I'll bet they aren't paying $4.65 for a gallon of gas right now.)

But anyway...
So we bought the tickets and we must have looked like People-Who-Needed-A-Pack-Of-Indiana-Jones-Trading-Cards, because look what they gave me (along with some free Chewy Runts, which were absolutely disgusting, especially when you consider that I still had a bit'o the dentist taste in my mouth, but who cares because Free! and Candy!)
Steven immediately instructed me not to open his pack of cards because clearly that would deface them and lower their value. I instructed him, in return, that Free Cards from The Movie Theater do not have value, and yet he insists he will E-Bay them and prove me wrong. (I told him I'd be happy to wait for the check in the mail.)

After we bought a plethora of popcorn, soda and other random snacky stuff, we settled into our seats in the theater and waited for the lights to dim.

And then they did, and I was so excited!

Up first, we meet our fearless hero (looking a bit grayer than he used to, but nonetheless its still Indy!)

And guess where he is:

Remember this old warehouse? I loved this scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, where the camera just keeps zooming out and out and out.... it evokes the conspiracy theorist in me, and it just makes you think there must be so much out there that we just don't have any clue about...

As my southern acquaintances might say: "Reckon what's in them boxes...."

Reckon indeed. Apparently there's something in one of them that's very very magnetic. And a very angry, very Russian Cate Blanchett wants whatever is in there. Badly.

Indy uses his whip skills and his daring bravado (as USUAL, people!) to escape from the Russians and their crazy magnetic whatzit-in-the-box. Indy runs and runs and runs and then happens upon a nice little town, right next door to Area 51. And what kind of people would live in such a sweet little 1950s town in Nevada?

That's right. A mannequin family. Because this is a nuclear test site. And as a loudspeaker begins an ominous countdown, Indy runs in panicked circles (reminiscent of his panic after falling through the train roof as a young Indiana Jones). Apparently Indy's been doing this whole freak-completely-out thing his whole life.

Indy finally chooses a lead-lined fridge as his place of refuge, and pushes an orange out of the way of the door just in the nick of time before the blitz of light and then the mushroom cloud.

And although a 50s era housewife could easily open and close said fridge, we, in our dedicated devotion to all things Indy, are fully willing to suspend our disbelief and nod our heads to the notion that a refrigerator would merely tumble gently across the hillside with a sixty-five year old man inside, who would then gracefully tumble out, unscathed. :) I believe it! Go Indy!

(Except I did lean over to Steven and mention that Indy might want to go get tested for radiation poisoning. I did learn a few things from all of my seasons of 24, believe it or not.)

Next, Indiana meets up with Shia LaBeouf, whose character kinda had a dumb name (Mutt), but I forgave him because I heart Shia LaBeouf.

Especially when Harrison Ford is clinging perilously to the back of his motorcycle. Hilarious and awesome.

The premise is that Shia's mom, "Mary," told Shia to go find Indy because Indy could help them find "Ox," an old archaeologist friend who went insane and got kidnapped by the Russians (and I'm not sure which came first -- the insanity or the kidnapping).

Indy and Shia set off looking for Ox, and they happen upon an insane asylum where Ox stayed for a while (after Indy interprets for a woman speaking some random rare Mayan dialect). (Because Indy knows everything. Was that even a question, people? He's the Jack Bauer of arcane civilizations.)

They sweep the floor, and Indy gets up and stands on a box so he can get a bird's eye view, because Ox, in his insanity, has scratched a map into the stone floor. When Indy looks down and the camera pans down to the floor, it reminded me of the same downward camera pan in the Last Crusade, where Indy warns Elsa not to cross the seal, and she does it anyway because she's greedy and vapid, and she falls down that big crack and into the abyss.

Classic. The whole film was full of these vaguely-familiar throwback moments.

Indy and Shia spend the next ten minutes of the film getting to be good buddies, and when Indy asks Shia what he wants to do with his life, Shia says his mom is mad because he didn't finish school, and all he wants to do is fix motorcycles. Indy tells him, "Never let anybody tell you what to do -- if you love fixing motorcycles, then do it." (Or something to that effect.)

They eventually end up finding Ox -- he's with the Russians, natch, and when Cate Blanchett's threats to kill Ox don't seem to work, Cate reveals someone else she's been hiding in their KGB tent...

Its Marion!

And she has barely aged a day. She looked great! I was amazed.

Dad gave me a heads up to watch Indy's face when he saw Marion for the first time -- and it was so stinking cute. Indy was like a little kid. He did a triple-take, and then spread out his arms and walked toward her to give her a hug -- and he says, "[gulp]... Hi!"

And then she slaps him. Ha. (Actually, I don't remember whether she did...but it would have been fitting.) They started arguing almost instantly about how Indy had called off the wedding and Marion was left to raise the kid by herself, etc. etc.

And then Indy does another double take, and looks at Shia, and then makes The Realization that Marion + Indy = Shia. And then Indy immediately barks, "Why didn't you make him finish school!"

Arguing continues, Russians force Indy to look at a map to tell them where to go, and during all the commotion, Shia slugs somebody and they all try to run away. Except Indy and Marion fall into quicksand. While Shia and Crazy Ox run to find something to pull them out, Indy and Marion have a little more heartfelt conversation whilst gradually sinking into the quicksand.

Shia reappears with an enormous boa constrictor, and Indy does his freak-out and refuses to grab it until Marion and Shia call it a rope and not a snake. (Indy may need some cognitive therapy for this whole freakout thing. But that's why we love him. He's vulnerable to a good bout of crazy just like the rest of us.)

Fast forward -- Indy, Shia and crew run away from the Russians, during which they encounter some seriously mean and hungry ants. And Shia does this swinging in the vines thing which I'd rather not talk about because it was very odd and out of place. Let's just forget that ever happened.

Look, its Marion driving a big truck and Indy's got a rocket launcher! That's more like it.

Eventually, they get past the ants, the Russians, and a few dozen waterfalls, and they find the temple.

Meanwhile, Crazy Ox has been carrying around this enormous glass-looking alien-shaped skull and exhibiting all sorts of weird powers with it. When the nasty ants showed up, Ox laid on the ground and the ants parted around him. The shape of the skull makes you instantly think "alien," which is just what Spielberg wants, because that's where we're headed.

The crystal skull finds its way back onto a crystal body, which is sitting on a throne surrounded by 12 other crystal skeletons (like a really creepy Tiffany's, only without the blue boxes and the snotty salespersons). The whole room starts spinning, and Cate Blanchett's eyes start to emit light in another fun throwback to Raiders of the Lost Ark. (Remember what happened to these guys?)

Heads up, guys. The Ark is not to be messed with. Especially if you'd prefer to have your face not melted off of your skull. Just FYI.

So Cate Blanchett glows and then gets sucked up into the alien ship and all the crystal skull people mesh together into an actual alien, and the whole temple turns into a spaceship and spins around and then does this breaking-the-sound-barrier noise and then just disappears, and all the debris that was swirling around instantly pauses in mid-air, and then drops to the ground.

And water floods into the canyon where the temple used to be, and Ox is no longer crazy, and Indy and Marion sit on a rock and watch because they are tired.

And so am I. :) Whew, that was an exhausting review.

In the final wrap-up scene, Indy and Marion finally get married, and Indy's hat blows off of a hatrack at the back of the church and rolls to Shia's feet. He reaches down to pick it up and almost puts it on, but then Indy takes it back from him and grins.

Overall, the level of cheesiness was a little high, but I still loved it. Like Dad said, I probably would have loved it even if it were "Indiana Jones Goes To Wal-Mart."

And I wouldn't mind seeing my little Shia as Indy Jr., either. Just sayin.

Favorite Parts: Any scene with Marion because she rocks, even 27 years later (did I mention the first movie came out the year I was born?)

Overall rating: four and a half out of five stars. (I missed Marcus Brody. He would have gotten that last .5 of a star)

1 comment:

tracy said...

Yay!! Thanks for the review... I am so glad I am not the only one who loved that movie. When I was growing up in Cairo, we didn't have TV but we did have a VCR and a rental place, and we rented Indy movies over and over again until we knew them all by heart. I was thrilled to see the new installment in the MOVIE THEATER! Just awesome. Happy Birthday again, by the way!