It's another installment of "D Bitches About Some Fuckin' Movie". Today, the latest Indy, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Before I get to fine detailed points, however, I just want to give a shout-out to the Greys. You big-headed, googly-eyed alien motherfuckers get a lot of currency out of looking as unthreatening and awe-non-inspiring as possible in this cynical movie-going age, and I'd like to congratulate you on this. Scary movie monsters have come and gone, some have come around again, and some are even still scary. Some have transcended their origins as "scary" and become "cultural" and "significant," which is a hilarious way to describe Wolf-Man, but ok, AFI; we'll roll with that one.
Anyway. The Greys. Since the whole "Roswell" thing, the idea that aliens are bipedal like us, but with a big head, big glossy black eyes, and no external features has become pretty common. It's everywhere. Hollywood loves those guys, and Steven Spielberg is no exception. He loves them, perhaps, more than he loves appropriate characterization and coherant plot lines. But they have never been scary. Not in even the awesome flashback during Fire in the Sky, where everything else in that scene was creepy and frightening, were the Greys remotely scary or inspiring-of-awe.
Steven. Pal. Buddy. Please. I get it, really, I do. You like the idea of Greys. Every alien that appears in your movies is some minor variation upon them. Christ, even the fucking robots from A.I. were goddamn Greys. The Martians in War of the Worlds? Greys. Close Encounters? Greys. The Precogs in Minority Report? Greys. Seriously, Steve. You're actually worse than Jim Cameron and his hard-on for WATER. I never thought I'd say it, but someone is more irritating than James fucking Cameron. Go figure.
Anyway. On to me bitching about the movie, which is what you came for. When I first read about Crystal Skull, I read an interview with Spielberg. He said that he had to study the old films to get back into the head of the man he was 20 years ago, so that this new film would stylistically mesh with the old ones. I don't know what old Indy movies he studied, but this new Indy stunk of modern-Spielberg bullshit shenanigans. CG everywhere! Unrealistically-moving cameras! Motherfuckin' aliens! An insistance on style over substance!
Seriously, this is the movie we've been waiting for twenty years to get? This wasn't an Indiana Jones. For fucks' sake, the relic wasn't even magical; it's a fucking alien skull that somehow gives you mental powers because OMG Greys are a hivemind or something. The fact that Steven felt we needed to know exactly the mechanism behind the relics' power shows just how far he's moved from Last Crusade. In Last Crusade, we were told it was the Cup of Christ. It was his drinking cup at the Last Supper and held his blood after the Crucifixion. Christ being Christ, his cup is gonna be magical. Magical rocks from the gods ruled the day in Temple of Doom. The Ark contained the remains of the Covenant, which was touched by God Himself. Powerful stuff. No more explanation than that. So why the modern-scifi compulsion to technobabble an explanation out? Fucking idiots. Grow a pair and count on your audience to accept it without wasting my time.
But Spielberg isn't all to blame. I blame George Lucas just as much. These two yutzes came up with this movie themselves. (David Koepp may have written the script, but he did so with their outline in hand.) Lucas seems to have this ruining-a-classic-trilogy thing down by this point, and it showed.
Art is a funny thing. When you're suffering, art comes easy. It's full of your agony and pain, and good art shows that struggle. By now, George and Steven are fatcats. Huge success, huge money, no problems doing whatever they want. No edge. No hunger.
No good movie. This wasn't an Indiana Jones. This was bad fanfic, and I'm ashamed of Lucas and Spielberg for trying to pull the wool over our eyes on this.
Also, Shia LaBeouf? Fuck off.
The Big Idea: Fran Wilde
7 hours ago