Friday, May 30, 2008

brief Indy Jones reflection

So, INDY IV came out. And it didn't suck. How great a movie it is is open to debate, but I hope people in the near future don't make the mistake of declaring that it sucked. Hey, it could've been a lot worse, and the fact that it made me want to see more Indy films and introduced him to a new generation are points in its favour.

And speaking of the new generation, tonight, I had the pleasure of taking my seven year old niece to see it. I offered to see PRINCE CASPIAN with her (since I haven't seen it yet and it seemed more appropriate for a child), but taking after her wacky Uncle Rish the way she does, she really wanted to see INDIANA JONES AND THE SEARCH FOR THE SKULL OF THE ALIEN ROBOTS THAT HAVE SO IRRITATED THE FORMER COMMUNISTS OF RUSSIA.

In fact, when she found out INDY IV had been realised, and I saw it on Thursday, she expressed a mixture of disappointment and rage that I had gone to see it without her.

And there was no talking her out of it.

So, we hit the cinema tonight and I saw it for the second time, and, as I have been enjoying lately, I tried to watch as much of it through her eyes as I could. She made no remark on how old Indy was, as she had when she saw the trailer, and seemed to think that Cate Blanchett's character, Irina Spalko, was frightening.* When Indy gets killed at the end, she thought that--

Oh, spoiler warning, by the way.

When the "other" crate is broken and we spy the Ark of the Covenant inside, she leaned over and said, "Ohhh, that was the table thing from the other one, huh?" "Yes," I said, "The table thing."

She recognised the scene with Indy teaching his class as being at the same place as in the beginning of RAIDERS (the only Jones film I've shown her twice), and became excited at the appearance of, and I quote, "the kid from HOLES."

She covered her eyes when what she referred to as "the skeleton guys" appeared to confront our heroes, and was creeped out by the scorpions, which began to worry me. How would she react to the army ants sequence?

I must admit that, seeing it a week ago, that was really the only scene that bothered me, 'cause I frankly found it a little excessive. Just the one ant that bites Irina Spalko is disturbing enough, but when they swarm over the poor Russian bastard and go into his mouth, well, that made my scrotum do a full military retreat.

So I wondered, since I was there in the capacity of my sister's kid's adult guardian and semi-de facto parent, if that was appropriate for her young eyes. After all, how many kids from my generation were traumatised by the Ceti eel going into Pavel Chekhov's ear in WRATH OF KHAN?**

Hey, even little tiny ants are scary, and millions of great big ones? So, I wondered if it would be the sort of thing she'd take with her into slumber tonight. And tomorrow night. And the night after, etc..

But it's only fair to mention that the part of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK that thrilled me the most when I first saw it . . . was, yes, the exploding/shriveling/melting heads at the end. I told everybody about it, and frankly thought it was the greatest thing I'd ever seen. I only wish I could've seen Phoebe Cates in FAST TIMES a year later.

Anyhow, the army ants sequence arrived, and she didn't squirm much as they first showed up, though I admit that I was twitching about it since I knew what was coming. And when Colonel Dovchenko (yeah, I looked him up) gets covered and inundated with the massive ants, I heard a few audience members gasp, but from my niece came . . .

"Awesome!" And then she laughed.

In fact, when the movie was over, that's all she talked about, referring to it as "the coolest, most disgusting thing I've ever seen!"

I don't need to mention the old apple falling near the tree saw, but I will say this: maybe the things that bother us adults and the things that bother kids aren't always the same thing. I remember the hubbub and controversy in '84 when TEMPLE OF DOOM and GREMLINS had parents howling and stamping their feet, and my reaction to those offensive scenes was amazement and delight. I just responded to the spectacle and found the grossness to be (a rather large) part of the attraction of those films.

I am very glad my niece enjoyed the film. Because she did, I enjoyed it more myself.

I just hope that she doesn't develop an acute fear of insects and arachnids later in life (and skeleton-faced warriors and aliens, for that matter), and blame it all on me.

Unca Rish Outfield

*Wait'll she gets a load of Galadriel. I'd take Freddy, Pinhead, and Hannibal Lecter all together before I'd face her in a shaded alley.

**Oh really, you too?

1 comment:

The Lovell's said...

I must confess... I didn't love it. It was okaaay. I knew I was going to be disappointed though when someone let it slip that it was about aliens. What?! But it wasn't just that... Col. Indy Jones? When did that happen? He was a spy with Mack? Who the heck was he and why haven't we ever heard about THAT before? The whole thing about the FBI being after him (for like 2 minutes) was just plain dumb. And don't get me started on the inconsistencies of the whole "Magnetic" box scene.

Who were those skull-masked ninja's in the graveyard? I guess most people thought "Cool!" But I wanted an explaination dang it! Some narrative by Indy that said "This ancient graveyard is said to be protected by the blah blah blah skull gaurdians. So watch your back Mutt."
I know that Indy is a great archiologist, but he put 2 and 2 together way to quick even for him. (How did he know just by sweeping off Oz's cell floor that that was a picture of a graveyard and then he knows EXACTLY where to find it?)
But the biggest problem I had with the show?? The skull. It didn't look real, or cyrstal. It looked like PLASTIC. Every time they whipped it out I wanted to scream "Put that thing away, your ruining the movie for me!!!" Oh, wait. That's what this show is all about. Groan. Sigh.
I did like the sand pit scene, the ants were kinda cool, and the music, well who doesn't get excited when they hear John Williams?
Your thoughts??