Though I don’t have a deep, meaningful relationship with the Indiana Jones films, I do watch them often, and have an stunted crush on Indie (stunted because Harrison Ford looks eerily similar to my grandfather, so I feel as though I can’t completely let my feelings for Ford bloom lest they become too close to incestuous feelings for my grandpa. I don’t think I’m at risk for romantic incest, but having a crush on someone who looks like a forefather is kind of creepy). I therefore feel justified in completely agreeing with the makers of South Park that Indiana Jones was raped, repeatedly and brutally, by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. The fourth film was an atrocity that should be blotted from the annals of cinematic history. I would support a ban on ever speaking of it, and even more strongly support punishment by death for showing it, except for in the inevitable trial against Lucas and Spielberg for physical, mental, and sexual abuse against a much-beloved-though-fictional-character.
SPOILER ALERT: I AM ABOUT TO TALK ABOUT THE FILM IN-DEPTH, WHICH MAY INCLUDE SPECIFIC DETAILS ABOUT THE ENDING, AND WILL DEFINITELY GIVE AWAY ALL THE MAJOR SURPRISES IN THE PLOT, NOT THAT THE PLOT IS THAT GREAT, BUT STILL, SOME PEOPLE MAY WANT TO EXPERIENCE THE HORRIBLENESS OF THE MOVIE FOR THEMSELVES WITHOUT ANY WARNING OR HINT OF HOW BAD IT IS GOING TO BE.
You’ve been warned.
I think all my myriad of complaints about the fourth Indiana Jones movie can be boiled down into one outraged sentiment:
Aliens?! What the hell?
We all know that Indie deals with the supernatural on a regular basis, but seriously, we can’t have a respected archaeologist see aliens for himself; the implications for that are too grave. After the adventure Indie would have to try and publish a report about the existence of aliens, or, at the very least, would be lead to question whether humans actually came up with all of the stuff that he’s dedicated his life to studying, or if they were just copying the much cooler alien overlords.
Many people counter this complaint with the argument that the previous Indiana Jones movies have essentially confirmed the existence of a biblical, Judeo-Christian God, so why couldn’t they also confirm the existence of extra-terrestrials? My initial response is that Spielberg can only confirm one mystical being per film or film series. Indiana Jones is for the Judeo-Christian notion of God, E.T. is for aliens (friendly, adorable, occasionally drunk aliens), Jurassic Park is for dinosaurs, Goonies is for pirates and friendly retards, Jaws confirms the existence of sadistically intelligent sharks, and Hook reassures us that Peter Pan does exist and is not gay, because he may wear tights, but he has a sense of humor about it, also, he’s a very hairy man, he eventually bonked Wendy’s granddaughter, and Tinker Bell has a huge crush on him.
Occasionally Spielberg feels the need to reinforce a point, for example, Close Encounters of the Third Kind reaffirms the existence of aliens, though in a slightly more uncomfortable way than E.T. (I realize that Close Encounters came out before E.T.; however, most people are more familiar with E.T., and in the generations that weren’t present for the initial movie releases, most people have seen E.T. first, and more often, than Close Encounters of the Third Kind). He also reinforces that Tom Cruise is awesome no matter how pathetic he is in Minority Report and War of the Worlds. However, it is a serious clash of supernatural beings to include two or more in the same movie (or movie series). For example, we never find an awesome Tom Cruise in a Spielberg film with a friendly retard. That would be too much for the willing suspension of disbelief to handle.
In the Indiana Jones series, the dual existence of aliens, mystical rocks, and God is too much to deal with. If God exists, as Indie knows He does because of the PG-13 earning face-melting special effect from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, then how can aliens also exist in the world of Indiana Jones, as Indie knows they do because of the whole Cate-Blanchett’s-head-exploding-from-knowledge computer special effect in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? (By the way, the first effect was way cooler than the second; computers pixels can never compete with melting latex). I will not address the problems created by the mystical rocks and jungle demons found in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, merely because everyone knows that film doesn’t really count, and even if it does, the idea of relics and spirits can be acceptably fitted within the existence of God.
The idea of a dream team of supremely knowledgeable and powerful aliens conflicts with the idea of a supremely knowledgeable and powerful God. This conflict can’t be easily explained; in fact, only a long, convoluted explanation would really work, and such an explanation would require an entire film of its own (i.e. the aliens work for God, who doesn’t like brown people, which is why he spent most of his time and efforts on Caucasians, and left the much more tan South and Central Americans for the aliens to take care of. Also, perhaps the aliens are agents of Satan who perverted truth for the South and Central Americans, which is why the early explorers and conquerors were so easily able to take control of the Americas—God always wins against Satan, except in marketing). It could be argued that by replacing his emphasis on God with an emphasis on aliens, Spielberg has confirmed his ticket to hell, if he hasn’t already done so by directing part of the Twilight Zone movie. At the very least, this dual existence implies that Indiana Jones is some how the child of destiny, as he (and Miriam), are possibly the only people who have seen proof of both God and aliens.
A major fallacy in my argument is that people believe in God and aliens (even at the same time) in the real world, so why could they not both exist? I would answer that most people who believe in both at the same time do so with the idea that God created more than one world, so he still is more powerful than aliens. I think the aliens in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull could have handled anything the Ark of the Covenant had to throw at them. No matter what one believes, there has to be some semblance of hierarchy or order; the inclusion of aliens in a world of God doesn’t easily offer a clear system of who’s more powerful than who.
On a side note, I’ve always thought it was interesting that most films with a supernatural vibe, be it aliens, super-powers, or ghosts, rarely address where God has a place in it all. I have no idea why Nicole Kidman and her kids didn’t go to heaven in The Others, other than that God might be afraid of her forehead. Likewise, the closest thing to religion in Star Wars is The Force. This issue was lightly addressed in Contact, however it was more with a sense of “take everything for what it is”, rather than a sentiment of philosophical exploration.
However, the point of the Indiana Jones films is not philosophical exploration, but sheer awesomeness. Indie is only bogged down by the need to explain the existence of God and the existence of aliens. Spielberg and his team of writers should have seen this problem and fixed it before sinking millions of dollars into a movie that left the audience with the conviction that they had just witnessed the raping of Indiana Jones.
A Post Script:
The seriousness of the problems caused by including God and aliens in Indiana Jones is my primary concern; however, the most passion-invoking problem is the casting of Shia Labeouf as Indie’s son. Spielberg could have had Indie crap aliens who painted Baroque murals and then flew away in little dookie ships so long as he didn’t have him father that posturing idiot. Enough Labeouf.
44 minutes ago