Thursday, June 5, 2008

indiana jones nemeses

Just so you don't get the impression that Aili and I only blog about stuff we really like... A couple nights ago, we saw the new Indiana Jones movie and agreed that it was a lackluster, tedious affair. Now, Aili's not a huge fan of the action/adventure flick anyways - but I grew up on Indiana Jones and absolutely loved it. Raiders of the Lost Ark came out in 1981 when I was 8 years old, and it thrilled my imagination. The Temple of Doom was a decent story, except for 'Willie' Scott's annoyingly useless female character (admittedly, she had a hard act to follow with Marion Ravenwood). And The Last Crusade seemed a strong end to the series, mediated largely by the on-screen synergy of Harrison Ford and Sean Connery.

But now we get this hollow, CGI-heavy bit of rubbish mucking up the whole mystique of one of my childhood heroes. Thanks for ruining things again, Lucas/Spielberg. Rather than bore you with all the aspects of this movie that were disappointing, I'll just concentrate on the primary villain: Irina Spalko, played by Cate Blanchett.

At first, it seems like a match made in heaven. Blanchett is an excellent actress, and having her play a Russian agent in the post-WWII Cold War seems like it will provide Indy with a complex and intriguing opponent. But, no. All one gets is a fake accent and some yawn-inducing sword play. Where's the hate? I want to despise, or at least admire, my protagonist's opponents. For comparison's sake - just to make this point clear - consider the following nemeses from the earlier Jones' escapades:

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Dr. Rene Belloq & Major Toht. Belloq is the quintessential villain you love to hate. Always a step behind Indy, stealing his glory at the last moment and then dumping him into a pit of vipers. Arrogant, brilliant, and, of course, French.

Do I need to even say anything about Toht? This guy gave me nightmares when I was a kid, and he barely even does anything in the movie. But, oh, how satisfying is it when they open the Ark and his face melts?

Temple of Doom

Mola Ram. Ummm... this guy would pull your heart out and hold it beating in front of your face while you died. Plus, he enslaved children to mine for Sankara Stones. Yeah, I'd say he's pretty evil.

The Last Crusade
Dr. Elsa Schneider, an Austrian art professor who covets the grail and seduces both Indiana and his father to acquire information. Beautiful and deceitful, playing to one of Indiana's few weaknesses. She dies because her greed refuses to allow her to give up the grail.

I don't really want to be another one of those haters that wishes Lucas would just leave things from my childhood alone... but I really wish he would leave things from my childhood alone.

No comments:

Post a Comment