Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fridge moment

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Possibly my second-favourite film of the series, because it does for the 1950s what Raiders did for the 1930s, presenting us with a kind of collective unconscious of the decade while playfully riffing through the films of the period. An example: the Nuking of the Crystal Fridge not only plays like a knowing parody of the nuclear-test footage I reviewed earlier (watch them and you'll see what I mean), but also reads less like an accurate portrayal of the nuclear tests than like the contemporary mythologising of them: there was no "town" in the desert, but certain government propaganda films made out that there was, and hiding in the fridge is if anything less daft than some of Bert the Turtle Says Duck and Cover's suggestions for how to survive a nuclear blast. Also continues some of the playful self-parody of Crusade, for instance Indy referring to the Bhagavad Gita inaccurately as the "Hindu Bible" (suggesting he knows a lot less about Hinduism than he thinks). The film also has a huge unacknowledged debt to Quatermass and the Pit. My three main problems with it are that: 1) the Cate Blanchett character should have continued for another few films (heck, scrap Indy and give Spalko her own series-- Irina Spalko and the Men Who Stare at Goats, now that's a sequel); 2) the father issues are much more conventionally played than in Crusade, and 3) I still think models are better than CGI. Though it mostly worked OK here.

Movie count for 2011: 8