Thursday, May 16, 2013

Indiana Jones Through a Kid’s Eyes: Crusade & Skull

She was initially reluctant to watch another adventure of Doctor Jones, in spite of loving the first two.  Prodding her with the appearance of “James Bond as Indiana Jones’ dad” and giving her a negative answer to, “Is there any more eating beetles?” renewed her interest in the franchise.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

The cold open with “Young Indiana Jones” threw her a bit, but the action quickly pulled her into the adventures yet again.  She enjoyed following the origin, occasional stating observations like, “So that’s why he’s afraid of snakes.” 

Teen Indy’s frantic return home led to more confusion in our house than in his however. My daughter sat bolt upright and said, “Ed Jones?  His father’s name is Ed? What kind of a name for an adventurer is ‘Ed Jones?’ ” 

“No”, I calmly replied, “He said, ‘Dad’.”

“Oh…never mind," she answered, making me realize I should look up Emily Litella on YouTube for her.

Once the storyline moved to the, “present” she stayed invested in the lighter romp throughout its entirety.  She laughed heavily at gags such as “X marks the spot,” the librarian’s loud stamper, and Indy’s, “Pretty sure,” when discussing the Lost Ark. (The hieroglyph of which, she greeted with a, “Heeeey!”) 

She was also stopped cold by our hero’s matter of fact statement of, “Rats.” replying:
“Oh, well…that was literal.”

Short gag jokes like those would have fit very differently into the darker, previous film.

The suspicious characters pursuing Indy and Doctor Schneider under the library led to more confusion in our home.  I had told her that this movie returned much more to the settings and tone of the original. (Raiders remained her favorite after seeing all of them, because she has taste.) I also told her the villains of the original returned in the third outing.

This led her to state upon seeing members of the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword, “I bet they’re Nazis!” 

I answered, “They’re not Nazis.”

They appeared again, and she said, “Yes, Nazis.”

When the full blown chase opened up, ignoring my insuring her they were not, she kept insisting, until I exasperatedly pointed out:
“They’re wearing fezzes.”

Causing her to immediately exclaim:

Once the story finally convinced her that they were not, in fact, Fezzed Nazis, she could get back to making fun of the ingénue. She thought Elsa was very pretty, but then I informed my child that the actress’s name was Allison Doody.  After that announcement followed a great deal of Wreck it Ralph like “Doody” jokes from the both of us.  I’d say, “It’s amazing my wife puts up with us at all sometimes” but she got in a few good ones as well.

Mostly she rode one more roller coaster of a film like she had the others, yelling and cheering out loud as things happened.  For example, when the “Fezzed Nazis” tried to immolate our heroes, she belted out:

She found Hitler, “odd” and laughed long and hard at the famous, “No Ticket.” scene. 

It was entertaining to watch the film expertly control her opinions of the characters. 

She said that Henry Jones Sr. was, “Not very bright,” based on his ineptitude in the biplane, and even answered his, “I’m sorry…they got us,” with her own, derisive, “No they didn’t!”

She followed along after they landed, still not thinking too highly of him, only pausing in her scathing review of him to yell, “GOATS!” when they appeared on the road.

His Charlemagne move confused her at first, once again moving her to yell out loud, “What’s he doing?  WHAT?”  Until she realized how effective the umbrella caused bird strikes were.  Her expression changed from confusion to respect at about the same time as Indiana’s did.

This is as good a time as any to point out that my wife, who had seen these movies before, and constantly says things like, “Why would I want to watch it again, I’ve seen it already,” about films, was having more out loud, emotional vocal reactions to many exciting occurrences than my daughter was on her first viewing.  This provided a pretty clear answer to her own question, and a reason for me to go, “Hee hee!”

While not quite as much as my wife, my daughter still was completely emotionally locked in as the action ratcheted up.  She let out a, “Whoah!” when Indy’s single shot felled a row of Nazis, and spent a great amount of time yelling, “NO!” during the hairier parts of the tank chase.  This lead to a final outburst of random syllables at the end:


Though she didn’t believe he was actually dead, because, “There’s a fourth movie.”  Very genre savvy, she is.

She was pretty horrified when Henry was shot at the climax, and watched his son work his way through the three tasks at the edge of her seat.

She seems to get upset at traitors even more than generally evil people.  She figured out that Elsa gave her boss the wrong cup, and urged him to, “Drink it and die!” as she had a pretty good idea what happens to villains at the end of these pictures.

The rapid aging still caught her off guard, pulling a muffled yelp out of her. Recovery was very quick, followed by her emitting an evil giggle and pointing out, “He certainly picked the wrong one.”

There was much cheering (YAY!) when Henry was healed, but no redemption for Doctor Schneider in her eyes.  As the cracks in the Earth opened up, my sweet little girl cried out:
“Go! Die!  You did it!” (Meaning she was the one who took the cup too far.)  I’m so proud.

The end of the movie finally stopped one line of inquiry.  She asked where his nickname came from during Raiders of the Lost Ark.  I foolishly told her that she’d find out in the third movie.  Therefore she spent every moment of The Last Crusade that she wasn’t yelling or cheering asking me about his name.

Finally she heard, “We named the dog Indiana.”

This generated the flattest, plainest, “what?” of the entire film series.

I guess it wasn’t worth the anticipation.


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

OK.  Before I start going into my daughter’s reactions to the latest entry into this serial inspired franchise, I need to have a word with all of those who decried this as being a terrible film and an insult to the previous Indiana Jones adventures.

That word is:


Much like my comments on another franchise, just because it is not the best entry into the series, does not make it worthy of public condemnation.  With no emotional baggage tied to the movie and not having to wait years between entries, my daughter reacted to this movie with the same amount of excitement and enthusiasm as she did to the original trilogy.

She greeted the first appearance of his iconic wardrobe, shortly after the unidentified figure was pulled out of the trunk with proper reverence:

She then fell into laughter and yells at all the crashes and close calls in the opening chase in the exact same way she did for the earlier films.

She thought the countdown shortly seen thereafter was a self destruct mechanism instead of the more cheer and giggle inducing rocket ride it turned out to be.

 After the nuclear explosion her only comments were a brief lament for the “poor town,” and: “There goes the fridge.”

This was the proper level of response.

I am amazed at those who felt “Nuking the fridge” should be a new phrase akin to, “Jumping the shark,”  defining the point where a movie franchise passed the point of being good or believable anymore.

These people have seen:

High technology death traps culminating with a perfectly spherical boulder no human could set up in a prehistoric Peruvian tribal tomb

Indy survive climbing under a moving truck, after being shot, thrown through the window, and then managing to pull himself back on board after being dragged behind it

Indy riding across the ocean on top of a submarine

A magical Hebrew box that spews forth lightning and head exploding ghosts

An inflatable life raft protect three people from getting hurt while falling out of a plane, off a mountain, and down a waterfall.

A man survive having his heart pulled out

A potion that turns people into zombies, counteracted by setting them on fire

Magic diamond filled Hindu rocks that generate light and flame

Indy and friend survive a room full of flaming oil by swimming under it after hiding inside a rat infested coffin

More impossibly technological death traps

Magical decoy cups that instantly age people to dust

A magical Christian cup that heals, grants localized immortality and causes earthquakes

And they’re upset because a kitchen appliance displayed above average durability?

What movies were they watching?

Back to my daughter’s reactions:

Indy’s troubles at the university was her second history lesson about the evils of McCarthyism, this first coming from Officer Kirk, to shoot back and reference the show that coined “Jump the Shark” for a moment.

Once the action started up again in the Peruvian cemetery, it was right back to emotional outbursts of, “Oh my!” “Scary!” “NO!” and “AAAAHHH!”  This was also true for my wife, not that I’m rubbing that in or anything.

Once she finished laughing at Mutt’s panicked reaction to the scorpions, she entered a more analytical phase.

“Why is he cutting that mummy open, it’s gonna be all gross and stuff?” was answered with the reveal of the titular Crystal Skull, which she thought looked like tin foil. She didn’t linger on its appearance very long due to concerns of how they could possibly carry it without anyone knowing.  She then figured it out on her own:

“Oh…That’s a pretty big satchel Indy has.”

She was quite puzzled why the Russian army was, “having fun.”  Before I could explain about soldiers unwinding, I got to hear another entertaining evil laugh after Indy belted Mac.

“He told him he was going to break his nose…hee hee hee.”

That’s my girl.

One more proud moment for me was her execution of a perfectly comic timed face palm at Oxley’s bringing of the Soviets as “help.”

The movie cranked up to full speed for the final act and she was back to mostly total immersion and various exclamations.  She did get out a few more coherent statements, such as titling fencing while standing on moving cars as “impressive.”

She also gave the Communists the same title she previously had applied to the Nazis:  “Meanies!”  This was not due to their multiple atrocities against their fellow man, but rather the casual tossing of a monkey off the cliff.  We may need to have a talk about priorities.

Most of the ants scene involved her yelling, “RUUUUUUUUUUUN!” a great deal.

However after the requisite Indy vs. the Big Guy fight (sadly not played by the late Pat Roach in the final film) she had two entertaining comments.

One was an amusing about face, switching from, “NO! HIS HAT!” as it was being carried to the ant hill to a completely flat and disbelieving, “Really?” when the ants parted around it following the use of the all important skull to retrieve Indy’s most important and iconic accessory.

The other statement was that it would have been much cooler if the ants completely devoured the bad guy and left blood all over the mound.

That’s my girl!

She’s also well versed in the genre enough to recognize what Colonel Doctor Spalko’s wish to know everything would bring: 
“Everything?  It’s going to overwhelm her isn’t it?”

As we watched the final and “about time” wedding scene, and saw Indy retrieve “THE HAT” from his son with a look of, “I’m not finished yet, Junior,” giving us hopes for yet another return visit from Professor Jones, I asked her something.

“So now that you know who he is, what’s that kid’s name?”

She replied, “Mutt.”

“And what kind of animal is a mutt?” I inquired.

Then I had the great joy of watching the little light bulb go off in her head as she blurted out:

One final jab at all the detractors of this movie.

From my perspective it could have featured absolutely nothing but CGI monkeys, and groundhogs, and refrigerators surviving various weapons of mass destruction.

As long as it maintained the scene containing Indiana Jones telling Marion:

“There were a few [women], but they all had the same problem” ...
 “They weren't you, honey.”

Followed by Karen Allen’s “light up the whole world” smile for the next several scenes, 
And it would have been worth the price and time of theatrical admission, blu-ray purchase, and multiple viewings.

The overall summary of the Indiana Jones series through a kid's eyes is outstandingly positive.

Not only did they cause my daughter to yell and cheer in excitement throughout, they also made her like writing again in the midst of the modern, standardized education system beating the enjoyment out of her. (Tune in next time when she takes the reins due to that particularly well-timed writing assignment.)

This is also the first franchise she immediately wanted to watch over again after completion...

Which makes me worry about that Harrison Ford power starting to kick in.


longbow said...

Ha Ha. Fezzed Nazis. I love that girl.

Most disgusting thing of the 3 Raiders movies I've seen (I'm as immovable on Crystal Skull as you are on ST:TNG) was the line of drool from Doody's mouth after a big wet kiss.

Jeff McGinley said...

Thanx much. She's one of a kind all right.

I'm sure there's a Doody drool joke in there, but I'm tired.

I do remember that scene helping to cement her as being on the bad guy team.

thanx for posting!