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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Indiana Jones

I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark two nights ago to a) finally watch the prolific saga and b) because I was in the mood for a long series of movies [that form in a row]. I know it's awful to dis a movie that is so famous, but I'm afraid I must. The entire movie is so unbelievably corny and fake, I was falling over from laughter! So, I did enjoy the movie, even if I was criticizing it at the time.

Raiders of the Lost Ark starts with our hero Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones (played by the Harrison Ford) exploring a jungle in South America in the year 1936, with his companion Satipo. They enter a cave in search for treasure, and they do find it: a statue. Indy sneakily replaces it with a bag of sand because it is the equivalent weight of a gold statue. But, alas! The "boobie trap" is triggered anyway, and Satipo attempts to escape without his leader! The nerve of Satipo! Luckily, the traitor is killed, and Indy safely exits the cave...until he encounters Dr. Rene Belloq, an evil archaeologist and longtime enemy of Indiana. He steals the statue from his clutches! Indy, having had enough of being bamboozled, flees the jungle with the help of Jock and his seaplane.

He is now back to civilization and is offered another mission by his fellow colleague Dr. Marcus Brody. Indiana leaves, again, to Nepal, in search of Marion Ravenwood, who possesses a trinket that activates the Ark of the Covenant. This Ark holds some mystical power that the Nazis are in pursuit of, so Indy just has to stop those fiends from harming the world! Indy arrives at the bar Marion owns, and they have a little tiff, since they used to go out and it ended badly. They're interrupted by Toht and his "boys", who are some of the Nazis in pursuit of the Ark-thingy Marion has. Now, the first fight takes place! Pow, pow, pow! The bar burns down, so Marion has no other choice but to accompany Indy as his partner on their quest for the Ark.

They go to Egypt, the Ark's location, and meet up with Indy's old buddy Sallah, who happens to be "the best digger in Egypt" (had to make a note of that!). Then, when Indy and Marion are shopping at the Bazaar, they are encountered by Arabs with swords! Pow, pow, pow! They've now kidnapped Marion, because of that stupid monkey who can communicate with people.

Now, Indy and Sallah reach a point where they locate the Ark! They must, however, dig for several hours. But, since Sallah is the "best digger in Egypt", he has hookups with some other adequate diggers, and they all dig. When they're done, Indy is (practically) pushed into the chamber...where there are snakes...lots of snakes. Unfortunately, our hero is terrified by the sight of snakes, but that doesn't stop him from his mission. Together, he and Sallah explore the chamber and find what their looking for: an enormous coffin-shaped thing, known as the Ark. As they tread back to the surface, the Nazis have discovered them, along with Belloq! Since she didn't cooperate with his "seductive drinking game", he throws Marion in with Indy, and traps them in the chamber!

After the couple reunites, they salvage for a way out of there, to stop the villainous Nazis from using/entering (I still don't get the use of it) the Ark. Luckily, there were some stairs they didn't see before, so they escape easily. After a never-ending car chase, everyone is all together in yet another chamber to test the magical powers of the Ark. As the clueless Nazis figure out how to use the Ark (I'm with them on that impossible quest!), Indy already knows what to do; when they activate the Ark, Indy and Marion will shut their eyes to avoid instant death.

When all this is over, Indiana is back at the museum, discussing the Ark's mysterious disappearance. Then, Indy and Marion appear to be in passionate love (but that will change in the next Indiana Jones adventure!) and they live happily ever after (until Temple of Doom emerges!).

Overall, this Indiana Jones was not that bad; the story was all right, the acting was decent for its time (the 80s were a corny time), and the directing was beyond excellent. Harrison Ford didn't really act much, just read his macho lines and did his macho stunts. Marion was just you're average damsel-in-distress, and wasn't even that attractive AT ALL. Actually, nobody really acted, just read their lines. The plot was amazing (for its time) and I just love adventure movies, no matter what year! I give this adventure a 69/100. This one may be corny at times and is a little silly, it is nothing compared to the next one, Temple of Doom. Be scared, be very scared.

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The next Indiana Jones movie is Temple of Doom, and is considered the least best of the famous trilogy, for the others have higher ratings and have a spot on IMDb's Top 250. I agree with these "statistics", immensely. I know that it is wicked of me to offend this movie because, even if it isn't the best of the saga, it is still an Indiana Jones picture. Well, that doesn't stop me from doing it anyway.

Temple of Doom starts in a bar called Club Obi Wan (love George Lucas's Star Wars connection) in Shanghai, China in 1935. Indiana Jones is there with Lao Che, a crime boss, and they are discussing something about remains from an emperor of the Ming Dynasty. (It isn't relevant to the overall story, but whatever.) As I awaken from my almost-nap, Lao and his "boys" are laughing and they confess that they've poisoned Indy! Evidently, our first battle (with guns!) takes place. Bang, bang, bang! Indy and the club singer, Willie Scott, escape the treacherous bar, thanks to the help of Indy's (excruciatingly annoying) "sidekick", Short Round. They climb aboard on a plane and crash into some mountains (I was occupied during their conversation, if there was one).

After their journey down some rapids, they arrive in some village in India, and are welcomed by an elderly man. As if the man sensed Indy was an explorer/hero, which luckily is a fact, he gives him a mission to retrieve a stone that is sacred in their village. So, mission at hand, the trio is off to Pankot Palace, where the stone is rumored to be. After an unrealistic feast of beetles, eyeball soup and monkey brain, Indy and Willie have this odd "I-know-you-love-me" fight, which leads them to going into a secret passage. It leads the trio to a gigantic underground temple, where they discover a nonsense cult where members sacrifice random people daily and child slavery, which includes the children from the Indian village. These children are forced to mine for some stones that will help the cult, of course, take over the world.

As the heroes witness a ritual, some of the members discover them, and imprison them all. They make Indy drink some "mind-control" potion, which obviously allows the villains to control his mind. Willie is going to be their next human sacrifice, with Indy doing the honors of ripping her heart out and sending her to a deep pit of lava. Short Round is sent to the mines to serve as a slave, and his foolish attempt to cut free from his chains with a rock is hilarious and impossibly successful. Right before Willie is about to reach death, Short Round rescues Indy from his trance by saying "Indy Indy! You my best friend!" Indy, at first, slaps him (HAHAHA!), but then he's back to his senses and begins saving Willie.

Unfortunately, he must battle some thugs first, before saving the girl. Bang, bang, bang! Indy, Short Round, and Willie escape, and saved the village children and took three sacred stones. The three of them arrive at a rope bridge, and try to cross it haphazardly. But, alas, some of the cult people have them all trapped! Oh no! Indy must fight them all, because he is just so strong and manly. The other two simply sit and watch, mimicking punching movements, as if that would help Indy. Bang, bang, bang! The bridge breaks, and they're all dangling from the ropes. One last thug remains, and he happens to be the leader; he and Indy battle to the death, and the cult leader loses, eaten by the crocodiles down below.

The three heroes are back in the Indian village, with the sacred stones and children with them. As parents reunite with they're filthy children, Indy gives the stone back to its rightful owner. Also, Indiana gets to kiss Willie by wrapping his handy-dandy whip around her waist and pulling her in, for a big 'ol smooch! (Of course, our adventurer will have a new girl to smooch in the next movie) Hurray hurray! Indy saves the day! Again!

Well, that was an incredible disappointment. Not only was the story absolute shit, but the acting was even worse than the previous! Again, I am condemned to hearing another sob story about some village losing something sacred to them, and some wealthy kingdom is to blame for stealing this revered object. If that weren't enough, I'm to believe that some cult, with members from the palace's staff, is committing rituals where people's hearts are ripped out and they're sent to some tornado of fire? Yeah, maybe, if I were a Beverly Hillbilly.

And the acting was truly disastrous. Harrison Ford, still reading his macho lines and doing his macho stunts, now actually has stuff to say! This includes primitive attempts of flirtation and unsuccessful jokes. Willie was yet another damsel-in-distress, only she was the kind no one would ever want to save. She was awfully irritating, with her desperate efforts at seducing Indiana, her unforgivably snobbish behavior, and her non-stop shrieking at everything! Short Round, though, was by-far the worst character in this movie, and perhaps in history. He was reprehensibly obnoxious from start to finish, with his anxiousness to be Indiana's BFF and his constant nagging, like the terrible child he is! His character in the movie was totally unnecessary, and I hope George Lucas regrets having had him a part of this famous saga.

I give this calamity of a film gets a 58/100. Sure, this was the absolute shittiest Indiana Jones adventure so far, but the following portion is the best in the entire series! Stay tuned!

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The last Indiana Jones in the trilogy is The Last Crusade, and is believed to be the absolute greatest in the entire series (in my opinion)! Out of the three movies, this one has humor that is intentional and funny, an excellent plot, and a wonderful choice of supporting actors. For those who are hard-core Indiana fans, relax, because I will actually be praising this one!

The Last Crusade begins with a flashback of Indiana's life. He was a boy scout (shocker) and, as he traveled through the desert with his group, he rebelliously leaves and goes into a cave. In that cave he discovers a gang of looters, who have looted the cross of Coronado, a sacred Spanish-American treasure. Indiana believes that "it should be in a museum" (I quote it because he repeats it several times) and he successfully attempts to take the cross and escape. During this daring escape, with the looters on his tail, they jump aboard a circus train. This entails Indiana running from car to car, and in one car encounters his future fear: snakes. Also, he must tame a lion with a nearby whip, which he will become attached to (figuratively speaking). After all this, he jumps off the train and hightails it back to his home, where we are introduced to his intellectual father (played by Sean Connery).Then, the looters arrive, with the bribed sheriff, and steal back the cross. The leader of the gang then tells Indiana "you didn't win this time, kid. But that doesn't mean you have to like it" and gives the boy his fedora hat (which becomes his signature).

Back to the present of 1938, Indy is on a boat trying to retrieve that cross from the flashback, and after grabbing the artifact, he swims back to the university. He gives the object to his fellow colleague, Marcus Brody, and then escapes his students' demanding questions through a window. Outside, however, he is encountered by some guys who take him to a penthouse apartment. There, he meets Walter Donovan, who invited Indy to help him find the second half of a stone marker his oil workers found. On the first half, it mentions "the blood of Jesus Christ", which is held in the Holy Grail, which grants immortality to those who drink it.

Indy is really intrigued in this mission...especially when he finds out the leader of this project is his father, and he has gone missing! Earlier he received a package, containing his father's journal, with every piece of information about the Grail. En route to Venice, Italy! There, he and Marcus (who tagged along) meet Donovan's beautiful assistant, Dr. Elsa Schneider, and she actually is beautiful, unlike the previous women. The three go to where Indiana's father disappeared: the Venice library. In order to open up a secret passageway, they must find three Roman numerals throughout the library. Indy, being the smartest guy ever, finds them all, opening the passageway, which is on the Roman numeral ten on the floor.

He and Elsa crawl through the dark tunnel and eventually find the second marker. On the bright surface, they undergo a pursuit lead by some cult, who are chasing Indy to prevent him from finding the Grail. Via speedboat, Elsa and Indy are chased by those cult members, and Indy apprehends one of them. He explains the cult's cause (irrelevant) and tells Indy that his father is held in a castle in Germany. En route to Germany!

Indy and Elsa enter the castle and are somehow separated. Nevertheless, Indy finds his father safe-and-sound, and reprimands him for bringing his journal on this hazardous journey. Indy reassures him that absolutely nothing will tear him apart from the journal...until Elsa betrays him and steals the journal! Oh, and she's also a Nazi working for Donovan, who wants the Grail all to himself to become an immortal "king". Captured, Henry Sr., once again, reprimands Indy for getting them in this mess. Fortunately, the son gets them out of this mess, an in-your-face moment indeed. After starting an accidental fire, the father and son escape the castle via motorcycle. Whilst their ride, Henry Sr. explains his journal's importance, and that is the detail of the Grail's protection. In Berlin, Indy grabs his father's diary from the obliging Elsa. Also, the diary is autographed by Hitler. Score!

After retrieving the journal, they climb aboard a zeppelin, but it suddenly turns around! Indy comes to the rescue and commandeers an attached emergency plane. A mini-battle ensues in mid-air, with a conclusion of Indy and his father crashing into some tunnel. (I don't remember the next set of events, so I'll skip it.) Indy and Henry Sr. are now in the deserts of Jordon, where they meet up with Indy's old buddy Sallah (the best digger in Egypt), who tells them that Marcus has been captured by those evil Nazis. The trio are now trailing the Nazis convoy, and when they are eventually discovered endure a mobile battle. Wham, wham, wham! Marcus is saved, and they all travel onward to the temple where the Grail is located.

Donovan and his "boys", who were already there, have made numerous tries at crossing toward the Grail, but died trying, for the traps are vicious. Of course, the bad guys capture the good guys, and Donovan uses Indy to acquire the Grail, since he knows the ins and outs of the temple from his father's diary. To spice up the deal, Donovan shoots Henry Sr., severely wounding him, therefore giving Indy a reason to obtain the Grail (the water from it will save his life). Indy enters the dangerous pathway to the powerful Grail, avoiding all the traps (which takes a lengthy amount of time). He arrives at the Grail's tomb, where he sees several Grails and must choose the correct one, or it would've been a waste of a trip.

Oddly, when Indy arrives, Elsa and Donovan are there too, and Elsa has chosen a Grail for her master to drink from. However, the cup she has chosen was the wrong one, therefore leading to the instant death of Donovan. This was actually on purpose, Elsa admits, for she has fallen in love with Indy. After the make-out session, Indy picks the true Grail, healing all of his father's pain. However, Elsa attempts to escape with the Grail, leaving all that power to herself! (What a fucking traitor-whore.) Fortunately, she fails her rotten endeavor, and ultimately falls to her death, along with the sacred Grail. Indy, Henry Sr. and the others exit the temple and ride off into the sunset.

This Indiana Jones movie is, by far, the best in the series. It's plot was wonderfully brilliant, and I love how they incorporate Nazis into it (call me evil, but I admire Nazi inclusion in films). The whole idea about the Holy Grail is a bit religious for my taste, but is still the most believable plot element in the entire saga. Also, this movie was actually humorous, unlike the other ones! The acting was decent, like in the first one, with Sean Connery added to the mix. He was the ingredient [of the movie] in which makes it excellent! Elsa was incredibly attractive, which was a pleasant change in the scenery, for the other girls were (below) adequate. I was slightly sad to see her fall into that ditch, but the conniving bitch had it coming. Nothing to comment on Indiana in this one...reading macho line, doing macho stunts, as usual.

I give this excellent one a 74/100. Not only was it my favorite piece of the Indiana Jone trilogy, but it might just be one of my favorite movie, period! I really enjoyed watching all of the famous movies of the famous trilogy. Sure, they were corny, and in the second one's case pure crap, but I loved them all. Adventure, short-term romance, suspense, unintentional humor...all that jazz. You may have noticed I have been referring to these movies as a "trilogy" when there are four of them, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull being the most recent one. I really did not want to waste my time (again) with that utterly horrible movie. Plus, it's not really an Indy film when our hero has to ride an electric wheelchair soon. Yeah, people, Harrison Ford is pretty old to be portraying Indiana again. Give him a break, Paramount. Overall, though, the Indiana Jones series is something worth watching, and will be remembered as the greatest adventures of its time.

1 comment:

  1. I agree completely with your reviews and the short remark on Crystal Skull. The Last Crusade was definitly the best! Awesome Reviews!

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