Sunday, May 25, 2008

Quality 80s? Part XII -- *special Indiana Jones edition*

I've seen probably about 5 hours of the 6 hours of Indy before rewatching them, but I couldn't tell you which scenes went with which films and how the stories all did and did not connect together. But as I'm catching up on my 80s viewing in the "quality 80s series?" searching for the best films of the 80s I thought it only timely to include the very-eighties Indiana Jones films in this film series.
Previous 80s film post in the series canbe found here: Part I, Part II, art III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, & Part VII, & Part VIII, Part IX, Part X, and Part XI.

(note: I might have to rework by Spielberg Top 10 now that I've caught up on much of the 80s fare I hadn't seen)

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Recommended by Oscar (4 wins, plus 4 additional noms, special award), Jeremy, jasdye, ando, and IMDB #2 80s movie.

What a great action hero entry with the Latin American cave scene with the not-yet-famous-at-the-time Alfred Molina. In fact, this films first five minutes is like a great grand finale, and that's what makes this film great. I love how Karen Allen's character is introduced, with an unclear past history and the way she really fits the mold of action film heroin. Indiana Jones' ability to get out of trouble is always dependent upon his side-kick, and in this film his side-kick is also his love interest. The connection to Indiana Jones' expertise in cults and religions makes sense as he seeks after this great treasure and despite some of the cheesy lines and exchanges (usually between Harrison Ford and Karen Allen) it makes no excuse about being fun and action packed. And when the supernatural finale comes into play at the end, Spielberg proves that he could out-do his exciting intro. An exceptional and iconic film.
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Recommended by Oscar (1 win, plus 1 additional nom), Jeremy, jasdye, and ando.

This movie is boring, cheesy, and unrealistic (even with the Indiana Jones world). There are certainly famous scenes that are familiar and classic, probably only based on the strength of the franchise, but watching this film is painful. The best part of this film is probably the Tokyo introduction (singing, the spinning turntable and the chase for the elixir and the diamond). Yet past this point, especially when Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan) enters the story and you realize that Kate Capshaw's character (Willie) is going to annoy you and drive you crazy for the next couple hours. The effects are too ridiculous, which you experience early on when the raft is falling from the sky and the three poorly paired crew members are holding on.
The story of trying to find the random stones is hard to care about, and the actual temple of's ridiculous. In fact the whole set design is remnant of a bad theme park attraction that goes on way too long, the eating of the random meal is over the top, the pit where they throw people into the fire is more silly than scary and the mine cart scene -- like the set design seems like an amusement park attraction, not an action film. It's simply a painful film and honestly Indiana's not that heroic...Short Round gets most of the action in this film.
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Recommended by Oscar (1 win, plus 2 additional nom), Jeremy, jasdye, ando, will, and IMDB #15 80s movie.

It's kind of fun in this film that it isn't until this third film that it begins with an "origin story," explaining Indiana's hat, whip, and quest. River Phoenix is exceptional in this opening role. I think it's interesting that the father relationship in this film is much different than you would expect. Sean Connery is challenging as a father, relatively unhelpful, and hardly an action hero in this film, more of a necessary hurdle that Indy has to deal with. It seems like a natural return to see Dr. Jones pursuing not only a religious artifact, but also that the Nazi's are coveting this artifact as well. Alison Doody is another interesting woman to co-star with Indiana, it's interesting how unformulamatic each of these three different women are. Doody does great as Dr. Elsa.

It's interesting because when I watch this third film and it's action reminds me a lot of the Alias TV show story line as they look for the Rambaldi artifacts. Maybe that's just me? But this third film definitely returns to something that worked well in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The quest for the Holy Grail as depicted here is certainly famous including the faith walk. Again, like Raiders of the Lost Ark the problem is solved supernaturally. This film in many ways copies Raiders, but isn't that how sequels are supposed to work?
A late entry in the Indiana Jones blog-a-thon.


Heather said...

I really loved these movies, but ToD always seemed the odd man out. Thanks for clarifying why.

general125 said...

Echoing your feelings on the Indiana Jones doesn't make for interesting comments. I'll say you are spot on and move on.

I loved the chemistry between Connery and Ford in the Quest for the Holy Grail. It made the movie quite enjoyable.

Ando said...

To me Raiders is the perfect action movie. ToD is definitely the weakest of the 3 (er, 4), but since I grew up watching and rewatching it (like the other two) it has a special place in my heart.

1minutefilmreview said...

Great article on Indy!

Jeremy said...

I tend to disagree about many people's disapointment with Temple of Doom. Did not find Kate Capshaw so annoying that she ruined the entire movie. This film is more dark, twisted and intense, than the others. It shows Spielberg doesn't have to be so wholesome all the time. I love these movies though. I find them faster, funnier and more engaging than the "Star Wars" films.

Magnus said...

There are times when I get Temple of Doom mashed up in my memories with The Beatle's Help! Odd, but at least it has Eleanor Bron.

crackers and cheese said...

Have you seen Ordinary People? It won four Oscars in 1980 including Best Picture and Best Director for Robert Redford. I saw it a few years ago, and I'll be rewatching it this weekend for my course in Family Therapy. I remember it being good, so I recommend you watch it!

Magnus said...

This is to RC or is it a suggestion to me to get therapy, re. my mashing up Temple of Doom and Help!? ;)