Monday, June 2, 2008

Iron Man and Indiana

Wow. Long time since I've posted anything. We've been out to see a few films this spring, but nothing that inspired any blogging, obviously.
Well, the summer season is underway with Iron Man and Dr. Jones. Iron Man is, by any reasonable measure, a far better movie-it's an original, with a smart, tight script and great performances all around. Indiana Jones is, by contrast, kind of a mess, with a clunky script, some bad acting (by Cate Blanchett no less, letting her British accent come through behind her Russian), and some setpieces that are either too ridiculous or too poorly motivated to deserve our interest.
And yet, curiously, I quite enjoyed it.
I saw Indy with a family group including my Dad, who remarked that the movie "couldn't have been better." I can think of a few ways...
The exposition heavy speeches were extremely clunky, and could have been cut since they don't register anyway.
The scene where Indy is forced to look into the skull goes nowhere.
Spalko's psychic abilities never pay off.
Mutt's hair comb schtick never pays off.
Marion doesn't have enough to do.
John Hurt doesn't have enough to do. His character could easily have been cut, with Indy and Marion taking up his slack in the storytelling.
Ray Winstone doesn't have enough to do, and his motives are never explained.
Shockingly, in the final third, even Indiana Jones doesn't have enough to do-he becomes a passive observer.
The skull prop was not very good. (They only had 100 or so prop people in the credits, so easy to see how this was overlooked).
The camera angles in the diner scene were terrible. They looked to be due to the limitations of the location, but can't they build any location they want? They've only got about $200 million to spend.

After waiting 19 years for the "perfect script", this screenplay was a lazy mishmash. All the more inexcusable when we know that there is a Frank Darabont script out there that is rumoured to be great.

For Iron Man, I am hard pressed to think of how it could be improved, except perhaps for some more imagintative staging of the final fight scenes. (Jon Favreau is no Michael Bay in that department).

And yet, somehow... I liked Indiana Jones a bit more. Maybe it's the nostalgia factor. Maybe after the Star Wars prequels my expectations are at an all time low. I don't know why I'm inclined to give Dr. Jones a free pass, but I am. So there.

In other news, we are closing in on putting together our home theatre. This weekend my Dad helped my put up a new ceiling. Or, more accurately, I helped him put it up. The screening of Indiana Jones was in a freezing cold theatre. The popcorn and drinks for 4 people were $30. At another recent movie we saw some idiot spilled my drink as he filed into our row in the dark, after the film had started. I still love going to the movies, but it's going to be nice to have an alternative way to see movies on the big screen.