Category Archives: Indiana Jones

“A city girl. Out of her element.” – On Romancing the Stone, Temple of Doom, and Unlikely Action Heroines

Kathleen Turner turned 56 this past weekend, and so here’s a belated  Kathleen Turner-related entry to celebrate that event. I really like Kathleen Turner. Robert Zemeckis’s Romancing the Stone was actually my favourite movie when I was about 11. There exists “Friends Books” out there, (you know, the kind you had in middle school where you had to fill our your “favourite this-and-that”), where I have listed RtS as the best movie known to me, in all seriousness. I watched it again a few months ago for the first time in 16 years, and while it’s not likely to even be in my top 30 these days, I’m happy to report that I still thought it was a pretty decent flick, and a lot of this has to do with Kathleen Turner, who is wonderful as Joan Wilder.

What I particularly like about her performance is the way she plays the unlikely/reluctant action heroine so well. Audrey M. Brown from Best Action Heroines did a great post on Willie Scott from Temple of Doom and about how she is a misunderstood character. Willie Scott reacts the way we all would react if dropped in the middle of an adventure, argues Ms Brown, and goes on to say that Willie is “our advocate, our stand-in, and that makes the movie even more fun to watch, because we can picture ourselves in her  shoes”.

I think that Ms Brown makes some excellent points in her article, and I particularly like the fact that she points out that Kate Capshaw tends to be blamed for mishaps that were obviously Steven Spielberg’s or George Lucas’s babies. I think I’m guilty of doing that myself, to some extent, and I regret that – it’s not fair, and Kate Capshaw certainly did her best with a difficult part. As for the idea that Willie Scott is a good character and works as a kind of advocate for myself as a viewer, however, I am going to have to respectfully disagree with Best Action Heroes. The thing is, if I’m going to identify with a character in an action movie, I need to be able to feel that the character has something at stake, something that truly drives her throughout the story, and I think this was the thing I missed most about Willie Scott. The way Willie Scott was written, she merely tagged along with Indy on his adventure on his quest and apart from a half-assed idea of maybe getting married to the maharaja, Willie had nothing emotionally invested in the journey. And this is why I have little tolerance for her screaming and her whining throughout the movie. I’d feel for Willie if I thought that she was forced to overcome the obstacles before her in order to achieve some goal, but as it is, there is no goal for her, and her presence is reduced to the situation-based comedy of her squeamishness.

Photo: Paramount Pictures

I realised this as I was re-watched Romancing the Stone, because this is exactly what works so beautifully in this movie, compared to Temple of Doom. Joan Wilder doesn’t whine a whole lot less than Willie Scott in the movie, and a lot of their shtick is similar: Their wardrobe is unpractical and inappropriate in the wilderness of the jungle, they go on involuntary river rafting rides, they get wet/muddy etc. But unlike Kate Capshaw, Kathleen Turner was given a character arc, a strong motivation, to carry her through these slap-stick moments, and Turner seems well aware of this. Joan Wilder embarks on her journey out of her won volition; because she desperately wants to save her sister who is in grave danger by the hands of criminals who have killed her husband. Every threat to her life that Joan experiences on her adventure is a reminder of the perils that her own sister may be living through. As a result, Joan has a certain appealing determination despite being freaked out by her surroundings and is much less prone towards hysteria than Willie Scott. My favourite moment is the one that’s featured in the trailer at 00:34, where Zolo suddenly pulls a gun at her, and Joan, incredulous, goes “…What??” – a much funnier reaction than the high-pitched screaming Willie does in similar situations.

I also like that the love story is intertwined with Joan’s character development. In Temple of Doom the writers take the easy way out of the Willie/Indy relation and play the sex card: Willie and Indy really don’t seem to have much of a connection apart from a somewhat vulgar sexual attraction (“Mating habits… nocturnal activities” and all that), and there is little indication that Willie will move on from her Whiny, Spoiled Night Club Singer personality after meeting Indy. In Romancing the Stone, the heroine undergoes a personal development through her relationship with the hero. Joan Wilder is a timid woman who lives vicariously through the characters she creates as a romance novelist, but meeting Jack T. Colton changes her. Not because she needs a man to help her develop, but because she simply allows herself to thrive in a romantic relationship. Both Turner’s acting and the art direction work very well to underline this: Whereas Joan at the beginning of the movie is mousy, to the point of being almost blurred, she steps into focus during he course of the movie, blossoming right before our eyes. This is propably most prominent in the salsa  dancing scene, in which Joan gives into Colombian folkloristic rhythms and her attraction to Jack, and literally lets her hair down, wearing a lovely pink top (as opposed to the beige colours we see her in early in the movie), and smiling radiantly. In the end, we’re left with the story of a woman who steps into character, rather than create characters in the confined space of fiction and fantasy, and I think that’s wonderful.

Photo: 20th Century Fox

I’m not saying that Romancing the Stone is perfect, of course. I can take or leave Michael Douglas as a romantic hero, for instance, although he does have a bit of a sexy Sawyer-from-LOST going for him in this part. I really dislike Danny DeVito, who seems to me to be playing the part of Danny DeVito in every single movie he’s ever made. And let’s just forget that Jewel of the Nile ever happened, shall we? But I still think that this early 1980s flic is the one of the sweetest depictions of an unlikely action heroine I’ve seen. And I’m not at all pleased to have found out that it’s about to be remade. What’s with all the remakes, Hollywood? Have you completely given up on the idea of originality? Oh, well. That’s for another blog entry, I guess.

Motivational Posters

In last week’s episode of Family Guy there was a wonderful moment where we saw Brian at his office (working for the Pewterschmidt family cooperation) and he had a motivational poster hanging on the wall. The poster showed a tennis ball lying in the grass and it read “Go get it, boy. Go get it.”. “I will go get it. I will!” Brian muttered to himself in deep concentration, sitting at his desk.

As you know I made a (very primitive) motivational poster for my master thesis-writing self the other week, and yesterday I decided to follow up on that one by making a series of posters to use as my desk-top background, all of them based on movie characters/scenes/quotes that I like.

I decided against using  the otherwise brilliant Motivational Poster Generator, simply because I think speech balloons went better with the pictures.

I remain well aware of the irony of the fact that making these numerous posters is an act of procrastination.

1. The Replicant Messiah Tells It Like It Is 

 

2. Jason Bourne Lays Down the Law

 
 
3. Even Neurotic New Yorkers Have Written their Theses
 


4. The Amish Are Witnesses to My Procrastination


5. Rhett Butler Is No Gentleman…

(It is of course a well-known fact that speech balloons were written exclusively in italics by the time of the American civil war, so I had to change the font for this one)


6. I’m Free to Procrastinate, But Indiana Jones Will Hate Me For It

This Just In: Indiana Jones and the Prospect of a Fifth Indiana Jones Movie

I know, I know, I pretty much promised that there would be no more entries about Indiana Jones for now, but come on! How can you expect me not to write about it when a thing like this pops up all of a sudden? My friend Natascha sent me a link to this article while I was at my office working on my thesis and it took all my restraint to keep from squealing and making a fool out of myself in front of everyone else in the room:

“The story for the new Indiana Jones is in the process of taking form,” Ford told France’s Le Figaro. “Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and myself are agreed on what the fifth adventure will concern, and George is actively at work. If the script is good, I’ll be very happy to put the costume on again.”

Full article here.

My immediate thoughts:

  •  I have to say I’m happy to hear that Ford seems to have some reservations about the whole thing. I like to think that “If the script is good” really means “If the script is better than the last one and doesn’t have any mention of aliens and/or interdimensional creatures because srsly WTF, Lucas??”.  
  •  I can’t wait to find out who’s writing the script. Wouldn’t it be awesome if it were J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves? Think about it! They’re good with the emotional stuff and they’re good with the supernatural and they’re good with character arcs. They could do great things with Indy, I’m sure. Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?
  •  I love how Karen Allen asks at a ComicCon if anyone else has heard about an official announcement about her own movie. Adorable! Hope she didn’t get into too much trouble with the bosses for that one. I’m glad that it seems she will be in Indy 5 as well. But anything else would be unacceptable.
  •  The Summer of 2012, huh? Man, I’ll be in my 30th year by then.
  •  … Dude, and Harrison Ford will be 70! Freaky!

Anyway, I’m excited to see where this will be going. I’d say I’m about 30% enthusiastic, and 70% nervous about the idea of a fifth Indy movie. It could turn out great. But it could also turn out completely awful. Again, the fourth movie had freakin’ aliens in it. But then I guess, in the words of Jeff Bayer from The Scorecard:

“There’s always the chance we could get that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull taste out of our mouths. It was a bit of a fishy taste, similar to what Jar-Jar Binks tastes like, I’m sure.”

Indiana Jones and the Son of Indiana Jones – Reviewing Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Having made my way through my Indiana Jones box set and watched both Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom and Last Crusade, the time has now come for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the Indy sequel that came out just last year. And hold on to your fedoras now, because this is going to be one long mothafucka of a review. If you’re starting to get tired of my lengthy Indy blog reviews then maybe you can take comfort in the fact that this is the last Indy movie that’s been made so far, so it will probably be a while before I blog about Indy again. 

mutt-indy-and-marion-indiana-jones-and-the-kindgeom-of-the-crystal-skull(Photo: Paramount Pictures)

So, Crystall Skull. I saw it in the theatres last year, and was somewhat disappointed by it, but I was excited about watching it again now that the first three movies were still fresh in my memory. And I’m glad I did, because I was actually pleasantly surprised by it this time around. I think the ending (which I will adress later in this review – and there’ll be plenty of spoilers so you should stop reading now if you haven’t seen the movie yet) was so awful that it had overshadowed my entire memory of the movie. I actually called the fourth Indy movie a “trainwreck” in a previous post, and I would like to take that back now.

Military Warehouses and Lead-linen Refrigerators
Because the first three fourths of the movie? Awesome. The furious Indy pace we came to know in Last Crusade is there right from the luscious opening sequence in which we find an aged Indy (the film is set 19 years later in history than Last Crusade) in the clutches of Russian communists who want Indy’s help to find some kind of wrecked airplane in a U.S. Military warehouse. The sequence then takes us from the warehouse into the desert of Nevada and from the desert into a fake town (a nuclear test town) where Indy survives a nuclear explosion by seeking shelter in a lead-lined refrigerator! All this happens within the first twenty minutes of the movie, mind you.

And the movie actually doesn’t lose its pace at any point during the rest of the movie. Whatever one may think of the development of the movie’s plot (again, more on this later), in terms of action, Lucas & Spielberg have not lost their touch in this fourth installment of Indiana Jones.

“Not as easy as it used to be”
But of course Lucas and Spielberg have both aged two centuries since the last Indy movie, and so has Ford, and so has Indy. Set in 1957 Indy is probably somewhere in his 50s, Harrison Ford was 66 when the movie opened, and Spielberg and Lucas have wisely chosen (heh) to address this issue head-on. Indy has always been a fallible character who tended to get himself into trouble, and since he relies on dangerous stunts during his adventures, he’s become even more fallible now that he is approaching the age of retirement. “Damn, I thought that was close!” he mutters in the warehouse as he fails to swing himself onto a driving truck by his bullwhip, and when he finds himself surrounded by armed Russians in the first scene he owns up the fact that getting himself out of this situation isn’t going to be “as easy as it used to be”. 

Indy is too cool a guy to be trying to kid himself – and us as his audience – that he’s still physically a match for the guy he used to be in the first three movies.

Fathers…
What Indy’s not cool about when it comes to his age, however, is the fact that  as regards his personal relationships, he appears to have arrived at a kind of terminus. In a touching scene early in the movie, we see Indy at home, sadly contemplating the framed pictures of the two men who have arguably been Indy’s most important father figures: Indy’s father Henry Jones Sr, and Marcus Brody, both of whom have passed on. “Brutal couple of years,” Indy says to his friend Charles Stanforth, the Dean of Marshall College, “First Dad, then Marcus.” “We seem to have reached the age,” replies Charles, “where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away.”

The message is clear: As Shakespeare’s childless monarch Macbeth taught us, success isn’t worth a whole lot if you don’t have succession, and Indy is left alone as his fathers die, with no son to follow in his own footsteps. It’s surely no coincidence that in the next scene, young greaser Mutt Williams pulls up beside Indy on a train station and asks for his help, as his ersatz father figure, Indy’s old friend and fellow archeologist Harold Oxley, has been captured along with Mutt’s mother by Russians in the Peruvian jungle, as Oxley tried to recover an old treasure, the legendary Crystal Skull.

…and the son.
Because of course Mutt is Indy’s son. Although Indy at first neither realizes this nor the fact that Mutt’s mother is no other than his old flame Marion Ravenwood, because Mutt refers to her as Mary Williams (Mutt: “Mary Williams. You don’t remember her?” Indy: “There were a lot of Marys, kid…” Mutt: “Shut up! That’s my mother you’re talking about!”).

 But Indy and Mutt have great father/son chemistry right from the get-go, and Mutt seems to have inhereted quite a bit of spunk and stubbornness from both his parents. Shia LaBoeuf blends very well into the Indy universe, and I really like him in this part. He’s a charismatic kid, but not too heroic-looking, and he’s good at balancing Mutt’s qualities of “Impetuous Punk” and “Competent Young Man”. One of my favourite moments of the movie is the scene in Peru where Indy, Marion, and Mutt are being held at gunpoint by the Russians. The aging Indy sees no other solution than to cooperate with the Russians, but Mutt will have none of this, so he single-handedly attacks the soldiers and has Indy and Marion make a run for it into the jungle with him, and the following dialogue ensues:

Indy: What the hell are we doing, kid?!
Mutt: They were gonna kill us!
Indy: Well, maybe

Mutt: Somebody had to do something!
Indy: Something else would have been good!
Mutt: At least I got a plan!
Indy: This is intolerable…

 “This is intolerable…” being  of course the line Sean Connery’s character repeated a few times during Last Crusade, whenever Indy made a particularly reckless move and put himself and his father in danger. I thought that was an excellent little detail.

Does this mean that I’m ready for Shia LaBoeuf to take over Ford’s part and be the new Indiana Jones? Hells, no! Ford’s Indiana Jones is incomparably cool,  and I harbour the illusion that Ford’s got at least 30 years worth of action-adventure hero left in him, and that Spielberg, Lucas, and Ford will make several more Indy movies together. But I guess if I have to be realistic, I kind of like to think that there’s a possibilty that my potential kids may grow up with their very own Indy. Although, as Mutant Reviewers from Hell point out The Adventures of Mutt Jones does not have that same ring to it.

The Return of Marion Ravenwood
I’ve already praised Karen Allen’s reappearance as Marion Ravenwood in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in my tribute to Marion Ravenwood, so I won’t ramble on about that again in this review. Of course I loved it that she was back in this movie, and Karen Allen shone in the part. If I have any peeves about her part in this movie it is, perhaps, that the character left something to be desired in terms of gravity. Marion was a lot of fun in the first movie, but there was also glimpses of something darker to her when we were first introduced to her. “Do you know what you did to me, to my life?” Marion muttered gloomily as Indy came to see her in Nepal in Raiders. Since then he’s caused her even more grief by leaving her without a word a week before their wedding, pregnant with his child, in the late 30s. And yet, Marion’s dialogue with Indy in Crystal Skull is kept humourous and banter-ish all the way through.

I also have issues with the scene in which she decides to drive that jeep off a cliff and into a river. Marion was courageous in Raiders, but she wasn’t foolhardy. Driving a jeep off a cliff (while your own son is a passanger!), that’s foolhardy.

But these are minor peeves, really. I’m thrilled that they brought her back. 

Giant Ants and Extraterrestial Over-stimulation
A lot has happened in the world of special effects since Raiders of the Lost Ark, but surprisingly this actually proves to be a drawback for the Indy franchise, I think. In the special features for Raiders there was this really neat little documentary on how they made that melting head from the “Opening of the Ark” scene. First they had made a copy of Ronald Lacey’s (the actor who played Toht) head, and then they added to the model several layers of glycerine, each in a different flesh-like shade, and ending with a skin-coloured layer. The fake head was then exposed to extreme heat from a blow-torch until the glycerine started to melt off, exposing layer after layer, while they filmed. The process was then sped up and inserted into the movie scene.

Simple craftsmanship, and yet immensely effective. I don’t know how they made the equally effective Rapidly Aging Donovan scene from The Last Crusade, but by the looks of it, they used good old-fashioned claymation for the scene.

Nowadays we have computers to do effects like that for us, without us ever getting our fingers dirty or greasy with clay or glycerine. But I think Crystal Skull is proof to the fact that this new clinical approach to special effects is not always a good thing.

In Crystal Skull one of the villains gets punished for her evil ambition in much the same way as Toht and Donovan do in the first and the third Indy movie: Curiosity kills the Cate Blanchett as Irina Spalko basically explodes as a result of extraterrestiral intellectual over-stimulation (!) in one of the last scenes. First her eye sockets catch fire, then the rest of her evaporates while she screams. Sounds like it ought to be an effective scene, no? But it isn’t. It’s nowhere near as horrifying as the scenes in Raiders and Last Crusade. It simply looks too clinical, too smooth, too clean. Computers can do a lot of things, but they can’t compete with the gruelling textural effect that old-fashioned materials can produce. The melting head was (and still is, I’ll venture!) effective, not because it was sophisticated, but because it had an imperfect materiality to it that is recognizable to a spectator. A dying human body isn’t supposed to look sophisticated, it’s supposed to look messy. The Irina Spalko death scene felt unreal and distant in its perfect smoothness in comparison.

Same thing with the giant ants. Creepy crawlies are a tradition in the Indiana Jones movies, but they have never been less creepy than they were in Crystal Skull. Instead of the 8000-10.000 very real snakes they brought in for the Well of Souls scene in Raiders, the humongus bugs in Temple of Doom, or the swarming sewer rats in Last Crusade, the Crystal Skull special effects crew has created computer-animated giant ants for the movie’s obligatory creepy crawly scene. Highly sophisticated – yet utterly dull to look at.

The one scene that did work in terms of creepiness was the one with the Fake Town in the desert. That entire scene, from the moment when Indy realizes that all the inhabitants are an advanced kind of crash test dummies to the time when we see the dummies slowly dissolving during the nuclear test bombing, was absolutely brilliantly eerie, in a Offenbach-esquely uncanny sort of way. Despite the fact that this scene was made in a relatively old-fashioned way: The art directors simply went out and bought the most old-timey-looking mannequins they could find, filled the set with them, and then blew up a miniature model version of the town. I definitely think this is the kind of simplicity the Indy crew should pursue, if they intend to make more Indy movies, rather than plastering the movies with sterile computer graphics.

The Aesthetics of Extraterrestrials and the Phenomenology of Indy
Because the aesthetics are an important part of the Indy franchise, and I actually think that this was part of the problem with the Extraterrestrial plot of the movie as well. Aliens are, the way they’re usually represented in pop culture, stream-lined, sterile-looking creatures: Smooth, greyish skin, large inscrutable eyes, tiny lip-less mouths. Their means of transportation are sophisticatedly smooth and perfectly rounded spaceships.

These are not aesthetics that go well with the Indiana Jones universe. The traditional Indiana Jones universe is charming because it had a sense of materiality, of porosity, of something mechanical to it. Indy was the hero with the scar on his chin, with a ragged hat on his head, and dust and dirt all over his clothes. The Indy landscape was one of dirt and jungles and desserts, of holes that you could fall into, and of booby traps made from nifty, yet simple mechanical devises.

Likewise, the mythological dimension of the movies was one in which if you were willing to dig far enough through the layers of dust of our cultural history, you might find the truth.

This perspective was lost in Crystal Skull with the extraterristrial storyline. The elegant computer-animated extraterrestrials simply didn’t fit into this universe, and Lucas’ absurd idea that the aliens were actually inter-dimensional creatures only made it worse. “Where did they go? Into space?” asks Indy in the Crystal Skull ending as the extraterrestrial escape in their spaceship. “To the space between spaces.” Oxley replies, very cheesily, and the whole thing is just so wrong. This stupid pseudo-metaphysical explanation leaves nothing for Indy to dig his archeologist’s hands into, and leaves us without that thrilling idea of the Raiders and Last Crusade that our own soil hides incredible truths and powers. Who cares about extraordinary powers if they reside in a space that’s not even accessable to us?

The Domestication of Indy
The ending is, however, almost saved by the wonderfully sweet ending, where Indy and Marion tie the knot and walk down the aisle with Mutt as a happy little family. Some might argue that this is a pitiful domestication of the wayfaring Indy, but as this very poignant article by FilmChat argues, the domestication of Indy has been anticipated by the first three movies in which Indy’s carefree lifestyle is always interrupted or complicated by representations of domestication or of family: In Raiders his relationship with Marion is complicated by the fact that Marion’s father was (yet another) father-figure of Indy’s and had disapproved of their relationship. In Last Crusade Indy flirted with Elsa, but the movie’s most important relationship was the one between Indy and his father. And even in Temple of Doom it is the Family that prevails and we’re introduced to a father-mother-son constellation that might be said to foreshadow the last scene of Indiana Jones: 

In Temple of Doom, Indy is at his most Bond-like, boldly promiscuous and telling Willie that he has done “years of fieldwork” in “primitive sexual practices” — but the greatest bond in that film is either fraternal or filial, not erotic, as Short Round declares “Indy, I love you!” before causing him the necessary pain that will free him from the spell that Mola Ram has cast on him. The film ends with man, woman and child happily united in a sort of makeshift family.

(FilmChat)

Special Features
There are a lot of special features for Crystal Skull – a whole seperate DVD with special features is included in the box-set. It’s almots too much I think – as should have become obvious by now, I’m a big Indy fan, and even I was bored with some of it. There’s a pre-production feature, a post-production feature, a production diary, a feature about the special effects, just to name a few. The best feature, for me, was the documentary “The Return of a Legend” in which the cast and crew discussed how it was that Indiana Jones was brought back to life in 2008.

I especially enjoyed the part where Lucas, Spielberg, and screenwriter David Koepp discussed how they came up with the title for the movie. Among the working titles they mention are the insanely corny Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men (Lucas’ idea), Indiana Jones and the Attack of the Giant Ants, and my personal favourite, the wonderfully clunky and expositional Indiana Jones and the Son of Indiana Jones, which I liked enough to make it the title of this review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Indiana Jones and the Bumpy Ride into Darkness – Reviewing Temple of Doom

So, I re-watched Temple of Doom for the first time since I was a little girl. I thought it was ok back then, mostly because it made me feel cool to tell the boys at school that no, indeed, I did not have to cover my eyes during the gross parts, thankyouverymuch. But even as a child I never thought it was a good movie, so after having embarked on this whole Indiana Jones craze I’ve been cultivating for the past few weeks, I’ve been dreading the time when I would re-watch Temple. If even an eight-year-old is able to catch on to a movie’s lack of quality, that can’t be a good sign.

Turns out I had every reason to be dreading it. Temple of Doom really isn’t a very good movie. It feels wrong from the very beginning of the film – it simply doesn’t feel like an Indiana Jones movie, the atmosphere is that much different from the atmosphere in the first and the third movie. And I sat there throughout the movie trying to guess why in the world Spielberg and Lucas would do this – what were they going for with this marked change of ambience in the second movie?

Even the poster for this movie seems wrong. Why does Indy pose like a skinny emo teen boy in this picture?

Even the poster for this movie seems wrong. Why is Indy posing like a skinny emo teen boy in this picture?

The special features on the DVD gave me some clues as to the answer to this question. As Spielberg explains in the feature “An Introduction to The Temple of Doom”, he and Lucas intended to make a trilogy out of Indiana Jones, and Lucas wanted to make the second movie of the trilogy a slightly darker movie than the other two, because apparently that was the formula he’d used for his Star Wars trilogy (I wouldn’t know. I have never seen Star Wars). So this was their reasoning behind this plot where Indy enters into the hellish world of darkness and evil that we find in the Kali Ma cult.

And you know, I can kind of see how that might be an interesting idea: Our hero Indy retreating into a world of evil which he has to defeat from within before he can make it out on the other side. There’s something almost Dante-esquely interesting to that thought.

The problem is, however, that the idea doesn’t work at all in the movie: I didn’t sit back with a sense of having seen a sinister movie about a hero overcoming evil. This post shall be dedicated to answering why I didn’t feel that way.

The Absence of Dr. Henry Jones Jr.
I think one of the main problems with the movie was that Indy simply didn’t seem real the way he’d done in Raiders. Raiders was so compelling partly because it depicts Indiana Jones as a whole person – not just as an adventurous hero. In both Raiders and Last Crusade we get to see Indy teaching a class, and these scenes are wonderful in that we get to see Indy as a normal person who, just like the rest of us, relies on his regular occupation in order to put food on the table. In Raiders we even see him show Marcus Brody some antique pieces that he intends to sell to Brody’s museum in order to make enough money to go on one of his adventorous trips. It’s little details like these that makes me engage in Indy as a person – that makes him seem realistic enough for me to want to follow him on his out-of-this-world adventures of wild car chases and melting Nazi faces.

And there is none of this in Temple. We never get to see Indy in a classroom or even at home – the adventure starts in Shanghai where we find Indy at a nightclub wearing an elegant white blazer in a scene that would be perfectly fine if it were a James Bond movie scene. But it’s hard to recognize the loveable and slightly dorky college professor in these surroundings, and it almost felt wrong to hear Short Round insistantly refer to Indy as “Dr. Jones” throughout the movie.

“Oki-doki, Dr. Jones!”
Speaking of whom – Short Round is a problem in the movie as well. Retrocrush listed him as one of the most annoying movie characters ever, but I wouldn’t go that far. It speaks to Short Round’s advantage that the kid is really cute and as far as child actors go, I actually don’t think he’s half bad. But his character is simply too much of a bumpkin – his relationship with Indy doesn’t seem believable. I simply can’t believe that Indy would hire a ten-year-old orphan as his personal bodyguard and procede to make him drive his car, and take him with him on a journey to a temple infamous for kidnapping children and turning them into slaves. The Indy we know from Raiders is protective even towards the adults with whom he cooperates (like Sallah and Marion), and certainly wouldn’t have dragged a poor orphaned child with him on a dangerous quest. Thus robbed of any believable backstory, Short Round is reduced to functioning as a means to make the sinister movie more kid-friendly.

“Primitive Sexual Practises”
It’s pretty much the same problem with the character of Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw a.k.a. Mrs Spielberg), the leading lady of the movie. She’s on Retrocrush’s list as well, and I definitely agree with them there. I’ve already mentioned in my tribute to Marion Ravenwood how annoying I used to find Willie’s screaming when watching this movie as a kid, and it was even worse than I remembered it. Willie Scott screams and whines her way through the entire movie. Now, I wouldn’t have a problem with this if only her screaming and whining made sense, but most of the time it doesn’t. For instance, who the hell would waste time whining when they’ve just realized that they’re aboard a crashing plane?

The whining seems to have been exaggerated for comical effect, but not only is it not very funny, it’s also completely out of place in a movie that’s supposed to be about a quest into the sinister and dark places of the human world. Which is a shame, because can you imagine how great this movie would have been if they’d pared Indy up with a woman that we actually grew to care about? The scene where Willie is being lowered into a pitful of fire would have been terrifying! The way it is now I almost – almost – kind of want the Kali Ma guys to just kill off Willie and get her out of the picture already.

And then Willie’s character serves to make Indy seem even less recognizable. Because why on earth would the cool, intellectual Indy we met in Raiders fall for a clingy airhead like Willie? It doesn’t seem right, and it doesn’t help things that there is zero chemistry between Ford and Capshaw. It’s almost as if Spielberg and Lucas have realized this – in any case they’ve directed a dialogue between Indy and Willie in their love scene that’s way over the top, as if to compensate for the lack of sparks flying between the actors:

Indy: “You wear your jewels to bed, princess?”
Willie: “Yeah. And nothing else. Shocking?”
Indy: “Nothing shocks me. I’m a scientist.”
Willie: “So as a scientist, you do a lot of research?”
Indy: “Always.”
Willie: “And what sort of research would you do on me?”
Indy: “Nocturnal activities.”
Willie: “You mean what sort of creme I put on my face at night? What position I sleep in?”
Indy: “Mating habits.”
Willie “Love rituals?”
Indy: “Primitive sexual practises.”
Willie: “So you’re an authority on that subject?”
Indy: “Years of field work.”

Um, ew? Excuse me while I go bathe my ears with alcohol. They have just been linguistically sullied by an Indiana Jones movie. I suppose you could argue that the dialogue is entertaining because of the sheer outrageousness of it, but mostly it’s just gross.

“Dr. Jones! Don’t drink, it’s bad!”
Towards the end of the movie there’s a scene which I’d completely forgotten about since I was a kid, and which is probably the movie’s most intense sequence. This must have been the scene that Spielberg and Lucas had in mind when they declared that they wanted this second Indy movie to be a quest into darkness. In the scene, Indy is forced by the Kali Ma cult to drink the Blood of Kali, and the blood somehow transforms Indy into a Mr Hyde-type version of himself and thus a member of the evil cult. Transformed!Indy proceedes to chain a screaming, incredulous Willie to the crane that will lower her into the fire, and to hit a poor, defenseless Short Round across the face and laugh at his pain.

This could have been a memorable scene that might even have overshadowed the overdone comic relief of the movie and made it into the dark movie that it was apparently supposed to have been. But the problem is that this evil force that takes control over Indy is an entirely alien one. The extreme evil doesn’t seem to be rooted anywhere in Indy’s own personality and thus the sequence can’t be said to deal with Indy’s battling his own demons. And so, apart from the fact that it’s interesting to see Ford play an evil character, the scene becomes a pretty dismissable one.

Especially because it’s so easily resolved. Apparently, all it takes to cure Indy (and anyone else who’s drunk the Blood of Kali) is to be burned with fire. Somehow Short Round knows about this (how?? And how is it that no one in the firery Temple has caught on to this cure before?) and burns Indy who turns back into his old, heroic self just in time to save both Willie and Short Round.  Too easy, writers.

“Chilled monkey brain!”
Finally there’s the fact that the movie has a pretty strong undercurrent of racism. India is apparently a somewhat backwards civilisation doomed to perish by the hands of evil and primitive native cultists if the British empirialists aren’t there to keep an eye on things. And I realize that the whole Snake’s Surprise/Eye Soup/Chilled Monkey Brain dinner sequence is probably added mostly as a nice and effective gross-out factor, but it still comes off as very xenophobic. As in, “Oh, those crazy Indians and their weird food! Will they ever learn?”

Indiana Jones and the Scenes that Actually Aren’t All that Bad
But this is not to say that the movie is all bad. It is pretty entertaining in its places, and while I think this is definitely the worst of all four Indy films, it does have its moments – moments that ultimately make the movie a watchable part of the Indy Quadrology. Here’s a list of these extenuating circumstances:

– The last part of the movie, including the roller coaster ride out of the Temple, and the nerve-wrecking scene on the suspension bridge. You can almost feel the sinking feeling when Indy, Willie, and Short Round rush through the temple corridors in their cart, or when Indy hangs on to the collapsing bridge while Kali Ma cultists plummet to their deaths below him.

– The scene where Indy succesfully uses an inflatable raft as a parachute, as he, Willie, and Short Round have been left
on an airplane with no pilots and no fuel. Simply because that idea is so fantastic.

– The fact thatWillie actually does go through a slight character development in the movie, and she seems changed after her near-death experience in the pit of fire. It’s especially refreshing to see her being subsequently protective of Short Round, whom she’s mostly ignored up until this point. She still does whine up until the very end of the movie, (when Indy shuts her up with a kiss that she totally hasn’t deserved).

– The fact Ford is shirtless in his evil Post-Kali Ma Scene. Yes, I’m that shallow. Boy, is that man goodlooking.

–   Indiana Jones. Even if he’s not depicted as a whole person, he’s still undeniably cool to watch. No one else can pull off a line like “Prepare to meet Kali – in Hell!” and not sound cheesy.

Indiana Jones and the Daddy Issue – Reviewing The Last Crusade

Remember the time when this blog was about other things than Indiana Jones? When there’d be entries about Keats and Marie de Frances lais, and about opera and stuff? Those were the days, huh?

Well, I promise you that those days are not completely over. It’s just that right now I feel like blogging about Indiana Jones. I’m very focused on writing my very serious master thesis at the moment, and somehow that has made me crave the Indiana Jones-movies with all their treasure-hunting and booby traps and fedora hats. They’re simply the most entertaining and satisfying movies I’ve seen in a long time. So after I wrote my elaborate ode to Marion Ravenwood and Raiders of the Lost Ark last week, I actually went out and bought the entire Indiana Jones box set, containing all four movies. I’m in the process of watching them, and last night I watched The Last Crusade, and I feel like reviewing it.

tn2_indiana_jones_and_the_last_crusade_3

I’d actually seen The Last Crusade once, as I’ve mentioned before, when I was about nine or ten, but I’d pretty much blanked out all of it except for the part about the rapidly-aging Nazi sympathizer, which traumatized me, so it was a lot like watching it for the first time.

Cutesy opening sequence
And what a great experience that was! Arguably, the opening sequence was a little tame. It’s a sweet idea to have River Phoenix portray the young Indiana Jones, and the sequence served to set the atmosphere for the father-son story that the movie is by showing us young Indy with his distant father. But other than that I thought it was all rather too cutesy and heavy with reference: Indy getting his hat, Indy using a whip for the first time (and getting the scar on his chin!), and then the light comedy music of the score – it just lacked the suspense that the Raiders opening sequence had.

So I drew a sigh of relief when Harrison Ford’s face finally appeared on the screen, and the movie was an absolute thrill-ride from then on. Truly fantastic! I mean, Indy got around in Raiders, but in this movie he’s all over the place! From boats in the canals of Venice, via castles in Austria to flying a plane off of a zeppelin, my God! And the photography is so beautiful – everything looks bright and smooth and colourful in every shot, while the numerous stunts and fist-fights are wonderfully choreographed.

“She talks in her sleep”
As to the female lead of the movie, I was all ready to be disappointed with her, because she wasn’t Marion Ravenwood, but I actually didn’t mind Elsa all that much. I wouldn’t say that I loved her either, although the “Ah, Venice!” kissing scene was terrific. But then that seems to be the point exactly: Indy’s love interest isn’t supposed to take up a lot of time in the movie – the father/son relationship between Indy and his father is the main focus. And Sean Connery is wonderful as Henry Jones Sr. It isn’t fairly noticeable that Connery is only 12 years older than Ford, the two actors have an incredible chemistry, and Connery does the aging geek surprisingly well, never falling into the trap of being the charming ladies’ man that he’s used to playing – he makes sure to leave that to Indy – while still maintaining the authority that ensures the competitive dynamic between father and son. Their banter is priceless, even better than the Indy/Marion banter in the first movie. My favourite line is Connery’s ruthless remark when Indy chastises him about being distant during his entire childhood: “You left just as you were becoming interesting!”

And then I love how the writers had obviously decided to do a humorous spin on the issue that Freud believed to be the trauma of a father/son relationship – the Oedipal complex. Because of course as it turns out both father and son have managed to get themselves seduced by the same woman, by Elsa. I read somewhere that Henry’s Sr.’s line “She talks in her sleep” (after Indy asks him how he knew that Elsa was a Nazi) was actually an ad-lib from Connery. I hope that’s true – it makes it all the funnier – but the line is hilarious in any case, not least because of Ford’s puzzled reaction. The fact that they break this tabu of father and son sleeping with the same woman becomes an important key in the recovering of their lost relations, and the humour of the storyline makes it work.

Booby traps and rapidly aging villains
I was naturally somewhat nervous about the last part of the movie that takes place in the Canyon of the Crescent Moon, having been so efficiently traumatized by it when I was little. But seeing it now, I rather enjoyed it. The booby traps were very inventive, although I have to say that I think the one where Indy had to spell the name of Jehova doesn’t make that much sense. The “kneel before God” trap and the “Leap of Faith” trap make sense in as much as they presupposed a humble, faithful attitude that harmonizes with a Christian morality. But why would God want to off some poor honest fella just because he didn’t happen to know that in Latin, Jehova is spelled with an “I”? Doesn’t seem reasonable to me. The whole point of Jesus (and, in extention, of the grail) was that God was compassionate, loving and forgiving, not that he’d strike you down for being dyslectic.

But I’ll let that pass, and the subsequent scene with the knight and the grail was very nice. I watched the movie with The Boyfriend and a friend who convinced me that I ought to watch the Wrong Grail scene, so that I’d get over my childhood fear of it, and I did, and it wasn’t half as scary as I remembered it, but I can see how it caught me off-guard back in the day. Apart from the rats in the Venetian sewer (which, personally, I don’t find to be all that scary), the movie has been surprisingly devoid of gore up until this point, so the very graphic scene does come as a bit of a shock. And then I still think that it’s a great fear factor that Donovan is actually holding Elsa by the shoulder the whole time, addressing her while the gruesome transformation takes place in him, while the poor woman screams with horror. It’s hard to imagine how one would feel if one were to age about a century within a few minutes, but it’s only too easy to identify with Elsa and imagine what it would feel like to be a first-hand spectator to the process. The scene also allows for a little bit of exploration of the more complex sides of Elsa’s character: She obviously deliberately hands Donovan the wrong grail, so we know she’s not an out-and-out villain.

She’s just really ambitious, and in Indiana Jones that’s never a good thing. I like that in the Indiana Jones universe ambitious characters (such as Elsa, Belloq, or Irina Spalko) turn out the losers while love for one’s neighbour prevails. Indy finds the grail and lives to tell about it, not because he wants to be the winner, not even because he’s a devout religious person, but because he’s desperate to find the cure that the grail would provide for his father who’s been fatally wounded. Of course, one should always be cautious of reading too much into an Indiana Jones movie, but this is one of the subtleties of the action/adventure series that I think make them enjoyable.

Extra material
There’s a lot of extra material in the Indiana Jones box set, and the material on the Last Crusade is great. The best part is an interview from 2003 with “Indy’s Women”: Karen Allen who played Marion in Raiders, Kate Capshaw who played Willie in Temple, and Alison Doody who was Elsa. The three women offer interesting insights into their characters and also into their own experience as actresses in the respective Indy movies. Karen Allen was obviously the one to be the most enthusiastic about her character, and she’s positively beaming as she describes how she fell in love with Marion right away. Her audition was the bar scene where Marion drinks that big man under the table and punches Indy, and Karen Allen says that she thought it was the best introduction to a character ever.

Kate Capshaw is, not surprisingly, less enthusiastic about her part in Temple, and her experience seems to have been the bizarro version of Allen’s. Capshaw was put off by her needy clingy character as she read it in the script and had no love for her, and only warmed up to her somewhat while filming. “I told [Steven] when we wer filming it that there was too much screaming!” Capshaw says bitterly, while Alison Doody remembers having a difficult time doing anything with her rather limited part in the father/son-centered story (“Sean Connery stole my part!” she says humourously) and trying to be sexy in spite of the harsh, cold Austrian accent that was required for the part.

There’s also a feature about “Indy’s Friends and Enemies” that offers some insights into various secondary characters in the movies, which is nice, although it does grate to have to listen to Steven Spielberg talk about how funny and beautiful Willie Scott was. Like, give it up already, Spielberg. Nobody liked her.

Finally there’s an introduction to The Last Crusade where Spielberg actually makes some good points about the relationship between Indy and Henry Jones Sr, the casting of Sean Connery, and the metaphor of the holy grail.

Indiana Jones and the Awesomeness of Marion Ravenwood

Last week I finally saw the first Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark). I don’t know how I’ve managed to miss that one all these years, but I’d actually never seen it before. I’ve watched my older brother play the Indiana Jones computer game on his Amiga 500 in the early 90s, I’ve seen Temple of Doom numerous times during my childhood (somehow it was always on TV when I was a kid), I’ve seen The Last Crusade once (and it scared me half to death), and I even saw the fourth one in the theatres last year (and holy Christ, what was the deal with that one? Aliens? What the hell??), but I’ve never seen the one that started it all.

And what a shame that is, because it’s such an awesome movie! There is hardly one dull moment, and the movie had such a great energy that I couldn’t help being sucked completely into it, despite not generally being into the whole action-adventure genre. Harrison Ford does a great job at establishing himself in the part of Indy, particularly because he’s got a knack for the self-irony that’s needed if the character wasn’t going to turn into a total Mary Sue. The opening sequence, with Indy retrieving the golden idol from the cave, is a classic moment of cinema, as is Indy’s nonchelant shooting of the scimitar guy in the bazaar, and the opening of the Ark. People are always saying that the special effects of the latter scene are laughable by today’s standards, but I don’t agree at all. Or, well, yes, I suppose I do, to a certain extent, but like I mentioned in my Scaries Movie Scenes entry I don’t think it matters. Special effects aren’t everything and the scene is so perfectly directed and composed that it hardly matters that you can tell that the melting Nazis are merely wax figures. It’s still completely bone-chilling.

But I think my favourite part of the movie is Marion. She’s just so completely awesome. Karen Allen plays the part with as much self-irony as Ford, so she never turns into a Mary Sue either. She also has a great sexual chemistry with Ford that’s established right from their first scene together, and you easily believe that the two have a history together even if it is never made clear exactly what happened between them – we only know that Marion was the daughter of Indy’s mentor Abner Ravenwood, that she loved Indy, and that he let her down somehow. And she’s gorgeous to boot: Not too skinny, slightly buxom actually, but still fit, and a bit of a hammerhead, which is always cute. Just look at her!:

Marion Ravenwood

And then she’s got that perfect combo of being tough, resourceful, and brave and squeamish and scared. See, this is what went awry in The Temple of Doom.

Okay, to be fair, a lot of things went awry in Temple of Doom: it is my personal conviction that Spielberg failed as a director with this sequel because he was determined to suck up to his audience of pre-teen boys (by creating the character of Short Round as an object of identification for them, and by stuffing the movie with gory scenes like the Monkey Brain/Eye Soup one that they could talk about in the schoolyard).

But the female lead in Temple of Doom was a major problem, too. The character of Willie is just way to squeamish. She does nothing but scream and fret throughout the movie, and it does nothing for the dynamics of the movie, and, I might add, nothing for the female Indiana Jones audience. Indy is still cool in Temple of Doom, but it seems rather too easy to be cool when you’re constantly contrasted by a screaming woman. Indy is much more interesting with a competent woman by his side who’s woman enough to challenge him, and to make him look stupid every once in a while, without him liking her any the less for it.

Sure, Marion does get kidnapped, she does scream a little every now and then, and needs to be saved by Indy in shining armour a couple of times, and I don’t really understand why we need to see Marion squeeze into not one, but two different uncomfortable and inconveniently tight dresses during the movie (first the one she’s forced into by Belloq, then the silky one she’s miraculously given as a present aboard the ship). But she also stands erect by Indy’s side, hits a villain over the head with a frying pan when needed, or uses her feminine charm (and impressive ability to hold her liquor!) to pull evil Belloq’s leg. “I’m your goddamn partner!” as she tells Indy early on, and she truly is. It makes Indy seem all the more manly, which, in turn makes him sexier to a female audience and more appealing to the male audience, while Marion makes a likeable character for the female audience to relate to. Everyone’s a winner!

In fact, Marion is so awesome that to me her mere presence was an extenuating circumstance in the trainwreck that was The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, too. I simply have to admire Spielberg for having had the sense to make up for the mistake of leaving Marion out of both Indiana Jones # 2 and 3 in his last Indiana Jones movie. I love it that in Crystal Skull Ford wasn’t paired up with, say, Megan Fox, or some other eye-candy starlet decades younger than him, I love it that Karen Allen looked middle-aged and fabulous, I love it that they provided us with a story that explained why Indy and Marion split up between the first and the third movie (Temple of Doom was a prequel to the first movie, so that does to some extend excuse Marion’s absence in that one), and I love it that they got to get married in the end, and that they’d managed to produce Shia LaBeouf together before Indy left Marion in the 1930s.

I found a great video on youtube by The Movie Critic which lists the ten most f’n awesome Indiana Jones Moments:

I agree with the list for the most part and think it’s a great tribute to Indiana Jones altogether, but I still feel that Marion deserves a list of her own. So here it is – below. If you notice any errors in my summeries of the scenes in question, please let me know. I don’t own the DVDs, so I had to do the list from memory. And with a little help from Wikiquote here and there.

The 10 Most Awesome Marion Ravenwood Moments

10. Drinking Match
I agree with The Movie Critic that Indiana Jones’s character is wonderfully established in the opening sequence of Raiders. But so is Marion Ravenwood’s character in her first scene where we see her kicking a big man’s ass in a drinking contest, to the point where the guy is literally unconscious, while Marion just gets up and leaves triumphantly with not as much as a reeling in her walk. We know at that moment that Indy will meet his match in this woman.

9. “Indiana Jones. Always knew someday you’d come walkin’ back through my door.”
And if there had been any doubt left about whether or not Marion would turn out to be Indy’s match, it’s all cleared up during their first scene together in Raiders: Marion seems pretty cool and calm while first greeting Indy as he enters the bar where she’s a bartender, so Indy’s caught completely off-guard when Marion punches him in the face. “I was a child! I was in love!” she goes on to chastise him, destroying any hope Indy might have had that their failed relationship was long forgiven and forgotten, and that Marion would make things easy for him.

8. Still feisty, twenty years later
In Crystal Skull Indy finds Marion in Peru where she’s been captured by Russians, and it’s been 20 years since he’s seen her. When he first sees her, Indy walks up to her incredulous, and he does this wonderfully goofy grin, obviously expecting to have a warm, tearful reunion with Marion. He really ought to have known better. Because the last time Marion saw Indy, he practically left her standing at the altar, and she’s not about to let him forget about that. The goofy grin is quickly wiped off of Indy’s face as Marion brushes past him unimpressed. Shortly after the following conversation ensues:

“Indy (confused, to Mutt): Marion Ravenwood is your mother?!
Marion: Oh, for God’s sake, Indy, it’s not that hard!
Indy: Well, I know, I just thought-
Marion: That I would never have a life after you left!
Indy: Well, that’s fine…
Marion: A damn good, really good life!
Indy: Well, so have I!
Marion: Really? Still leaving a trail of human wreckage behind you, or have you retired?
Indy: Why, you looking for a date?
Marion: With anyone but you!”

Awesome.

7. Drinking Belloq under the table
Belloq, the chief villain in Raiders, is such a smug bastard. Constantly outmatching Indy using  foul play and teaming up with Nazis while wearing a flimsy straw hat that doesn’t hold a candle to Indy’s rugged, brown fedora, he also manages to kidnap Marion and sneaks a very un-gentleman-like peek at her as she slips into a fancy dress that he’s forcing her to wear. Sleazeball. But as has been established early on in Raiders, Marion has a knack for drinking people under the table, and she puts this ability (plus her ability to sex men up) to good use in the scene…

A fellow Marion fan has put up the scene on youtube:

6. Marion and the frying pan
While being chased at the Cairo bazaar in Raiders, Marion manages to outsmart a villain by running into a house, hiding behind the doorframe, and then hitting the guy over the head as he tries to follow her into the house. We don’t actually see her hitting him, we just see her going in, the guy following her, the sound of a frying pan hitting a human head, and then, promptly, the guy falling out of the doorframe, unconscious. It’s a wonderfully slap-stick moment that has even earned the action figure!Marion Ravenwood a frying pan as her attribute:

Marion_1

5. Whac-a-Mole Marion
A little earlier in the bazaar scene, we see Marion and Indy fighting the villains together. While Indy’s doing some heavy fist-fighting, you can see Marion in the background, hitting some of the bad guys over the head with some boxes found in the bazaar. The scene goes on for quite some time, and Marion just keeps at it as if she were a kid at a Whac-A-Mole, going in for the big prize.

4. “Mutt… I mean, his name is Henry… He’s your son.”
See, this is what’s so nice about Marion. She’s feisty, but she still has a big heart, and obviously loves Indy more than she’d care to admit. In Crystal Skull when she believes that she and Indy are seconds away from perishing in drysand, she’s not about to let Indy die without letting him know the truth about her son Mutt, who’s served as Indy’s young partner during the first half of the film: Indy is his father – he fathered the kid unwittingly before he left Marion in 1937. A warm and fuzzy, and also funny moment, nicely played by both Allen and Ford.

3. We can never seem to get a break, can we, Indy?”
It’s only natural that in the real love scene between Indy and Marion in Raiders, it’s Marion who initiates things, feisty girl that she is. Indy is in bed, and Marion’s next to him, and you can tell that things are heating up between them. Except Indy’s all bruised and battered from having performed a series of impressive stunts in the previous scene, and he whimpers every time Marion tries to touch him. She loses patience with him, and in a scene slightly reminiscent of the scene between Zerlina and Masetto in Don Giovanni“Ahi, ahi! La testa mia!” ) Marion asks him to just point out to her the places where he’s not hurting. He starts off innocently, by pointing to his forehead and such, which she kisses, but he keeps getting bolder, and eventually Marion leans down to kiss Indy deeply on the lips. It’s Marion, too, who wants things to go further after this kiss – only to find that the exhausted Indy has fallen a sleep while kissing her and is unable to deliver. Too bad! But then she got her chance later on, as Mutt is living proof to.

2. The Well of Souls
See, this is the difference between Marion and Willie: Marion only screams when she has just cause for it. And she certainly does in the Well of Souls scene. Snakes everywhere, and dried-up dead bodies falling down on her all over the place! So she does a fair amount of screaming in this scene, but she still has the energy to clutch her stiletto-heel shoe, yell at Indy, and curse at Belloq (“You bastard! I’ll get you for this!”). Classy! And awesome.

You can see the whole scene here:

1. “They weren’t you, honey”
There’s a nice bit of conversation in Crystal Skull where Indy and Marion discuss the time that’s gone by since they last saw each other:

Marion: “I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to go on with my life. There must have been plenty of women for you over the years.”
Indy:There were a few. But they all had the same problem.”
Marion: “Yeah, what’s that?”
Indy: “They weren’t you, honey.”

I swear, half the audience when “Awww!” at this line when I saw the movie in the theatre. Arguably it’s mostly Indy being awesome in this little bit of dialogue, but I like to see the line as a nod to Indy fans – an apology for having replaced Marion’s character with tedious “Indy” girls in Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade.