Steven Spielberg

Jurassic Park (1993)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Jurassic Park (1993)

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Writers:

Michael Crichton

David Koepp

Starring:

Sam Neill

Laura Dern

Jeff Goldblum

Richard Attenborough

Blurb:

A pragmatic paleontologist visiting an almost complete theme park is tasked with protecting a couple of kids after a power failure causes the park’s cloned dinosaurs to run loose.

Thoughts:

Jurassic Park is a fun movie, but I think John Williams’s score pushes it to be a good movie. I like Steven Spielberg as much as the next person and he’s a really good director, but the music in Jurassic Park is iconic.

There are so many good quotes in this film. My family frequently quotes, “Hold on to your butts.” Because of course, we do.

Nothing really problematic jumped out to me during this re-watch, though, admittedly it’s been a few days since I watched. Well, I do think they put the young girl through hell just for the stereotypical reactions. Still, considering everything else I’ve watched that barely registered.

Jurassic Park is a classic and definitely worth keeping and re-watching.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Writer:

Jeffrey Boam

Starring:

Harrison Ford

Sean Connery

Denholm Elliot

Alison Doody

John Rhys-Davies

Julian Glover

River Phoenix

Blurb:

In 1938, after his father Professor Henry Jones, Sr. goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. finds himself up against Adolf Hitler’s Nazis again to stop them from obtaining its powers.

Thoughts:

Okay, I’ve got another hot take to go on top of my Ghostbusters II one. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is my favorite Indiana Jones movie. Watching it again cemented that for me.
Indiana is a shit archeologist and a shit professor, and the only reason he has a job is nepotism. Man almost immediately bails on his students when he’s actually available to work. He also goes around destroying anything with potential historical value if it stands in his way. He’s never mentioned his father before and what we know of his father isn’t endearing, but Indiana won’t let anything stand between him and saving his dad.

There are a lot of issues in the story. I spent most of my re-watch pointing all the things that didn’t make sense. Like, why in the flashback to his youth is Indiana all about things being in a museum, but then in Temple of Doom which happens next chronologically, is he all about money? Then in Raiders, he’s back to it belongs in a museum. Temple Indiana doesn’t fit.

Why is he carrying around a flaming torch in a tomb he’s said he could retire from all the petroleum in it? He is literally dripping flames onto this “oil.” Of course, this is after he destroyed a library floor which should have gone against both of his professions. Dude, could you not wait an hour or so before hammering a hole into an ancient tile? Your dad has been missing for days at that point. Are a few more hours going to make a huge difference?

The whole movie is a bunch of good scenes with shit that doesn’t make sense in between, which seems to be standard Spielberg at that point. Big set pieces and damn the logic of everything else. Reading the Wikipedia entry for the movie, it sounds like a miracle we even got this coherent of a story. Several people wrote drafts, including Chris Columbus, who wrote two. Spielberg and Lucas started location scouting for his and then bailed because they decided it was too racist and unbelievable. If the creators of Temple of Doom think your script is racist and unbelievable, then… *yikes*

There’s a lot in the Wikipedia article for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Including the fact that the prologue inspired Lucas to create the Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, which is not available to stream anywhere and is only available on DVD split into three volumes and cost over $90. I’ve seen a couple of the stories when I was a kid, and I’d love to watch all of them, but I find it difficult to spend that kind of money on a DVD. Paramount needs to get that up on their streaming service. It might get me to subscribe.

I believe there are only two women with lines in this entire movie. Both of them are Nazis. There are a couple of rich German women on the airship, but they didn’t say anything. This is pretty par for the course when it comes to these movies. However, it was pretty gross that both Jones’ men slept with Elsa. It says a lot about the treatment of women in this movie that that’s almost an improvement.

I appreciate a good adventure movie, but The Mummy movies have aged much better than the Indiana Jones ones. I’d love to see more of this type of movie being made again. There are so many movies I’d love to see made with an eye toward fixing their treatment of women and minorities. Hollywood loves to remake and reboot. Why can’t they do that and make things good? I’m not asking for a remake or reboot of Indiana Jones. That would be wrong. There’s a lot I don’t like about these movies, but they need to be left alone. I just want an adventure movie that doesn’t make me cringe in embarrassment.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Writers:

William Huyck

Gloria Katz

Starring:

Harrison Ford

Kate Capshaw

Ke Huy Quan

Amrish Puri

Blurb:

In 1935, Indiana Jones arrives in India, still part of the British Empire, and is asked to find a mystical stone. He then stumbles upon a secret cult committing enslavement and human sacrifices in the catacombs of an ancient palace.

Thoughts:

I’ve never enjoyed Temple of Doom. It’s too scary. The food is even terrifying. Hearts are ripped from people’s chests. People are burned alive. All of that, and it’s rated PG. It’s no wonder PG-13 was created because of this movie. On top of all of that, Indiana, Harrison Ford, is somehow even a bigger misogynist than in Raiders.

Watching this movie after the Me Too movement has not been eye-opening, but certainly uncomfortable. I never liked how women were treated in the film, but I just accepted it. Now it actively pisses me off. Indy’s treatment of Willie, Kate Capshaw, was disgusting. He repeatedly dismissed her, even though he literally dragged her with him. She has a right to complain. Willie had been singing at her club, and all of a sudden she’s in a jungle surrounded by a foreign nature. Naturally, she’s scared, and Indy just laughs at her and rolls his eyes. Women, amirite?

Temple of Doom is technically a prequel, which explains why I don’t like it. I tend to hate prequels. There’s no explanation for why it happens before Raiders. Indy is a bit more mercenary, looking for only fame and glory. He starts off willing to ignore the plight of an entire village because he doesn’t believe them. I guess he hadn’t yet been shown that the supernatural was alive and well in his world.

Willie was a female version of Indy, but he’d never acknowledge it. They were both the top of the careers and complete narcissists. So sure of how amazing they are and only capable of the barest minimum of self-reflection. That was at least amusing to watch.

Even harder to look past than the sexism is the blatant racism in the film. It’s just soooo bad. You’ve got the heavy-handed Indian racism and the casual racism with Short Round, Ke Huy Quan. They covered as many bases as they could with Temple of Doom and racism. I refuse to allow the whole ‘it was a different time’ excuse to be used either. Fuck that noise. The Indian government actually told them they didn’t like several things in the script, and instead of changing them, they changed location. They knew exactly what they were doing.

Also, if anyone ever complains about how unrealistic certain scenes in Crystal Skull are, just point them to the beginning of Temple of Doom. They fall out of a plane in a life raft onto a snowy mountain. Ride down the mountain at breakneck speeds and then fall off a cliff into a raging river. It’s beyond ridiculous, which is fine for the type of film. My issue is more with people complaining about Crystal Skull.

I own Temple of Doom in a boxset, and I’m a completionist, or otherwise, I’d be fine not owning it. It’s definitely not a movie I feel the need to re-watch at frequent intervals. Normally, it’s not until I forget just how bad it is that I re-watch it.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Writers:

Lawrence Kasdan

Phillip Kaufman

George Lucas

Starring:

Harrison Ford

Karen Allen

Paul Freeman

Ronald Lacey

John Rhys-Davies

Blurb:

In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before Adolf Hitler‘s Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.

Thoughts:

Did you know that Marian, Karen Allen, was fifteen years old when Indiana, Harrison Ford, originally had a relationship with her? Did you know that Lucas originally pitched the idea as her being 11 or 12? He went back and forth with Spielberg and Kasdan about her age, saying that it would be amusing if she were young and that fifteen would be right on the edge. Meaning, anything older wouldn’t be fun. We know all this was said because, of course, it was all recorded.

Anyway, ignoring the statutory rape, this is a great adventure movie. Something is always happening. Shit’s being blown up, there’s a bullwhip, someone with an eye patch, Nazis…

Yeah, see, I’m having a hard time moving past the rape. I realize it’s not in the actual movie, and it’s basically just a couple of throw away lines and a conversation before the script was even written, but it’s still out there. How could anyone think that was “interesting?” It makes me think even less of Lucas and now Spielberg too.

“Things were different back then. They didn’t know better.”

It was written in the fucking late 70s. Pretty sure a twelve or fifteen-year-old fucking someone at least ten years older than them was vile, not to mention illegal, back then too.

It’s just one of those gross details that I wish I’d never looked up because I’m having a hard time moving past it. Knowing it also made me pay closer attention to Indy’s interactions with Marion, and he is just a massive dick all around to her. If it’s between saving her or saving the ark, it’s always the ark. He barely even pretends to hesitate. What’s more, since I know the ending, I know nothing he does even matters. The Nazis still get the ark and do precisely what they would have done if he hadn’t kept trying to take it. This means they all would have had their faces melted off, and that was pretty hilarious to see.

I feel conflicted over the movie now. If I take that away, it’s awesome. As I said, explosions, a funny scene where someone brings a sword to a gunfight, and so much more. There’s a reason the Wikipedia article says one of the greatest movies of all time repeatedly. It’s really good. As long as I can forget one “little” detail.

Ready Player One (2018)


Ready Player One (2018)

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Starring:

Ty Sheridan

Olivia Cooke

Ben Mendelsohn

Lena Waithe

Mark Rylance

Plot:

When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.

Review:

I read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline back in 2011 when it came out and I freaking loved it. I gave it to my dad as a Christmas gift that year and everything. Sure it was packed full of 80s references but it was fun! I will judge all VR by the VR in the game and it will probably never live up to that in my lifetime. I never went back and read it again, even though I own it on hardback, and after watching the movie I’ve realized it did not age well.

Wade Watts, Ty Sheridan, lives in the stacks in Columbus, OH. His parents are dead and his aunt is “raising” him, her abusive boyfriend is clearly the priority though. Wade spends all of his time in the OASIS, which is the VR world. That’s where everyone lives. Wade doesn’t seem to have a job or go to school instead he is a gunter, he hunts for Easter eggs to unlock the dead creator of the OASIS billions.

Wade is a pretty one note character, there is almost no depth here. He lives and breathes Halliday, Mark Rylance, and everything that Halliday loved so that he can win the contest. Somehow, even after thirty years or so, Wade figures it all out and against all odds wins.

Naturally, there’s a girl, Olivia Cooke. There’s a romance here, but you never really figure out why Samantha likes him. She seems to have more depth than him, she wants more, and is leading a resistance or something, and yet she falls for the nerd that can’t tell you anything about the real world. It’s very wish fulfillment and disappointing.

Visually, the movie is shot beautifully, of course, Steven Spielberg. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really save the movie for me. It was nice to hear the random 80s theme song notes every now and then too. It’s just…the world has changed since this book came out. I’ve changed. Seeing a white boy with no thought to anything outside of old pop culture just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

There were lots of changes from the book, there would have to be in something like this, however, I felt like most of the changes were not for the better. All in all, it was a pretty disappointing movie and I’m kind of scared to ever go back and read the book.

2/5