5 Jun 2008 1:00 pm   //   Filed under: Failure, Movies

How to fix the Indiana Jones movie

My brother Gerritt helped me realize what made Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull so bad. The culprit? Indiana Jones.

Imagine if Lucas and Spielberg dropped a summer movie on us out of nowhere called The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Instead of Dr. Jones, our hero is a new character. Some kind of nerdy tough-guy professor, played by Will Smith or The Rock or Nick Cage. Imagine…

Roll film. It’s the cold war, 1957. Our hero is fighting the Soviets for possession of a mysterious alien skeleton. There’s action. Comedy. Camp. Flying saucers and killer ants. There’s a flume ride down a treacherous waterfall. There are cute gophers and hilarious monkeys. Sure it’s ridiculous, but that’s what we expect — a mindless escape movie. Everybody loves it.

But back to what happened. We were expecting an Indiana Jones movie, and so was Harrison Ford. He did his best to make it one. But the script was all wrong. That left us with something tantalizingly close to an Indiana Jones movie, but a little off. It’s that slight difference that was so upsetting. The movie had an uncanny valley problem. It made fans like me feel queasy to watch it.

There’s still time for Lucas and Spielberg to scuttle Indiana Jones 5 and get to work on some other movie that would almost certainly be better. We can hope.

Elsewhere: Five Questions Not Answered In ‘Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull’