#SSSF (Saving supposedly shit films).#
This week? Indy 4!
We start, with a mini-defence. IT IS NOT THAT BAD! Seriously.
I am glad it exists. Harrison Ford ages well in the role.
Dr Jones is not being played ‘young’ anymore but neither is the character defined as ‘old’. Instead, the fantasy and adventure remain intact and we, as audience, are growing, with our titular hero. A great comfort, in its way? There is some great dialogue, too and a sense of place and history to the whole affair. It’s a brave step to not rely solely on Nazis yet again as go to baddies. And yeah, ok, aliens seemed out of place. But why? Seriously. If Indiana can face Gods and monsters in all forms, then whyever should he not, meet little green saucer-men? But it had to be done ‘right’. And, aside from that Spielberg magic being in place at the start? There are large chunks of the film that lack any pace, purpose, magic, mystery or menace. BIG problem, when those qualities have defined the previous 3 beloved movies in the series.
How to improve things? Well:
1: If you bring back Marion? Why not Short Round and Willie Scott, too? Seriously. Maybe a last minute re-shoot will shoehorn them into Part 5? Makes sense, especially with the lovely Oscars reunion?
2: Change the aesthetic a bit. Sure, we DO want Indy in his customary gear amidst yellow sands and dust and trees and swirling mists and the like. But the geography in part 4 s far too limited and consequently, limiting, for viewers? Once again, part 5 seems to be fixing that deficit?
3: Make the aliens more menacing. You can still have a faction of nice ETs and have Indiana expose the good from bad. Bet let’s see flying saucers, on the attack? Have the body-snatcher sleeper cells awaken in the suburbs, even from graveyards etc. Go horror. Go full on B Movie sci-fi. Especially given that was the alleged intention, right?
4: More stakes for Indy. What if it is he who accidentally dug up the aliens? On one of his digs? So there is a ticking clock to establish that he is not out to kill them all and equally that he is a rational, non Commie, all American good guy?
5: Do not lose the religious vs rationality motif altogether. These aliens could be mistaken for Gods. Or leave a hint that they ARE, in fact, divine powers, akin to that behinds the Ark/Grail/Sankara stones etc?
6: By all means keep Mutt in the picture. But no need for it to be a sub-plot that he did not know Dr Jones was his Dad. Heck, throw in assorted siblings with multiple moms! Acknowledge Indy was a rogue and a lad. Leave some ambiguity about which characters are/are not his kids? But have them maybe all play vital roles which could go further, without in any way upstaging our favourite hero or forcing some awful baton passing before time.
7: Make both Russians (maybe lose Ms Blanchett?) AND American villains far scarier. And yeah, ok, if you HAVE to? Throw in a Neo-Nazi, for good measure. Once again, Part 5, appears to be ‘on’ that..#
And bingo. A perfect INDIANA JONES 4. I retain high hopes for part 5..