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Excerpts from the Slack: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 17 Jun, 2019 / 25 comments

Days of arguing brought us to this: Which one is better, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull or Temple of Doom. I said the former, and to prove it, I sat through it, and live-Slacked it. Some would call that a huge mistake, and some might be right.

Read the result. Or don't. But do.

25 Comments

  • Avatar
    Alexrd on 28 Jun, 2019, 16:26…
    Raiders of the Lost Ark > The Last Crusade > Kingdom of the Crystal Skull > Temple of Doom

    Never really had a problem with Crystal Skull, and I'll probably never understand the controversy. Perhaps it will take the release of the next Indy for people to finally appreciate it.
  • Avatar
    elTee on 26 Jun, 2019, 18:16…
    There are some truly outrageous opinions in these comments!

    Personally I think Raiders is the best by a very comfortable margin. Then it's probably Crusade (potentially influenced by nostalgia because it was my favourite when I was a kid), then Doom, then Skull is dead last.

    I saw Doom on TV a few weeks ago and if anything, it was BETTER than I remembered.
  • Avatar
    Scummbuddy on 25 Jun, 2019, 03:19…
    (continued from previous post...)

    Sam And Max toys preorder is at Bossfightshop.com
    The new images are on bossFightStudio on Instagram.

    The Star Wars boxes are on LimitedRunGames on Instagram.
  • Avatar
    Scummbuddy on 25 Jun, 2019, 03:10…
    New news:
    A) LimitedRunGames have previews of their NES and Gameboy StarWars boxes and cartridges. Preordering is on Friday. But this gives another example of the work they produce.
    B) BossFightStudios Sam and Max super articulated toys are up for preorder with some new shots and ruler-for-scale.
  • Avatar
    Jason on 22 Jun, 2019, 15:29…

    ThunderPeel2001

    We should do a head to head commentary on Doom. You can talk about the good bits, and I’ll point out all its flaws :)



    It's the 35th anniversary after all, so bang out your bilious second opinion in long form and it shall get its due. Hopefully you've got something more convincing lined up than "That's just nostalgia talking." ;
  • Avatar
    ThunderPeel2001 on 22 Jun, 2019, 14:55…
    We should do a head to head commentary on Doom. You can talk about the good bits, and I’ll point out all its flaws :)
  • Avatar
    ThunderPeel2001 on 22 Jun, 2019, 14:49…

    Jason

    Your standard bivalve "gets" that Temple is Indy's arc from Belloq-like graverobber to someone more righteous. It is pretty explicit. As for his motivations being non-heroic at the start...that would be kind of the point, no? Indy grows through the movie. And anyway, some would argue that a morally gray Indy is more interesting than a goody two-shoes. Crusade doubles down on the latter by telling us he was literally a boy scout who took the crooked path only as a temporary detour because of father-son angst. Don't get me wrong: Crusade makes it work (that all three original films ultimately do work is what distances them so much from Skull) but it kinda cheapens his journey in Temple for the sake of obvious sentimentally.

    Also, you are going to hate the article I am working on now. Whatever it's bent, though, I am eager to make Indy discussion a more regular thing on Mojo, especially given the possibility we'll have a fifth film in production next year.



    I’ve spoken to many an Indy fan who never noticed the “transformation” (because let’s face it, even the film half forgets — which is why nobody complained when Last Crusade’s amazing opening undid it, let alone the edutaining Young Indiana Jones — Although who watched that?).

    Don’t get me wrong, both Skull and Doom have MAJOR problems, and I don’t really know which is worse, if I’m honest, but Doom gets far too much of a pass due to nostalgia.

    In fact, I challenge you to watch it with someone who doesn’t consider it part of their childhood and isn’t too familiar with it (bonus points if that person is Indian). While Raiders will keep them entertained, Doom will bore them (and potentially offend with its Colonial-era portrayal of India as a weird inhuman place where people eat live snakes and giant spiders). I never fully noticed myself until I did this experiment by accident.

    I really hope that odd numbered Indy films become the high watermark for the series. Fingers crossed for five!

    Also I’m happy to have ANY continuous discussion going on here :)
  • Avatar
    Skinkie on 22 Jun, 2019, 14:42…

    Skinkie

    Jason

    ThunderPeel2001

    Rum_Rogers

    I can't believe what I'm reading.
    Temple of Doom VS Crystal Skull... seriously?!?



    I know. Doom is so much worse than people remember.

    Also nobody ever gets that Doom is supposed to be Indy’s origin story. He starts as a greedy gold digger (“fortune and glory, kid!”) and ends up sacrificing fortune and glory to save the village (and so turning into the more noble “it belongs in a museum” seen in later adventures).

    I guess we all like Harrison Ford/Indy so much that we didn’t notice that “fortune and glory” are terrible motivations for a hero!



    Your standard bivalve "gets" that Temple is Indy's arc from Belloq-like graverobber to someone more righteous. It is pretty explicit. As for his motivations being non-heroic at the start...that would be kind of the point, no? Indy grows through the movie. And anyway, some would argue that a morally gray Indy is more interesting than a goody two-shoes. Crusade doubles down on the latter by telling us he was literally a boy scout who took the crooked path only as a temporary detour because of father-son angst. Don't get me wrong: Crusade makes it work (that all three original films ultimately do work is what distances them so much from Skull) but it kinda cheapens his journey in Temple for the sake of obvious sentimentally.

    Also, you are going to hate the article I am working on now. Whatever it's bent, though, I am eager to make Indy discussion a more regular thing on Mojo, especially given the possibility we'll have a fifth film in production next year.



    This sounds great to me, it’s nice to see Mojo so lovely over this one.



    Ugh, that’s supposed to say Lively.

    Not that you aren’t all lovely
  • Avatar
    Skinkie on 22 Jun, 2019, 14:42…

    Jason

    ThunderPeel2001

    Rum_Rogers

    I can't believe what I'm reading.
    Temple of Doom VS Crystal Skull... seriously?!?



    I know. Doom is so much worse than people remember.

    Also nobody ever gets that Doom is supposed to be Indy’s origin story. He starts as a greedy gold digger (“fortune and glory, kid!”) and ends up sacrificing fortune and glory to save the village (and so turning into the more noble “it belongs in a museum” seen in later adventures).

    I guess we all like Harrison Ford/Indy so much that we didn’t notice that “fortune and glory” are terrible motivations for a hero!



    Your standard bivalve "gets" that Temple is Indy's arc from Belloq-like graverobber to someone more righteous. It is pretty explicit. As for his motivations being non-heroic at the start...that would be kind of the point, no? Indy grows through the movie. And anyway, some would argue that a morally gray Indy is more interesting than a goody two-shoes. Crusade doubles down on the latter by telling us he was literally a boy scout who took the crooked path only as a temporary detour because of father-son angst. Don't get me wrong: Crusade makes it work (that all three original films ultimately do work is what distances them so much from Skull) but it kinda cheapens his journey in Temple for the sake of obvious sentimentally.

    Also, you are going to hate the article I am working on now. Whatever it's bent, though, I am eager to make Indy discussion a more regular thing on Mojo, especially given the possibility we'll have a fifth film in production next year.



    This sounds great to me, it’s nice to see Mojo so lovely over this one.
  • Avatar
    Jason on 22 Jun, 2019, 13:50…

    ThunderPeel2001

    Rum_Rogers

    I can't believe what I'm reading.
    Temple of Doom VS Crystal Skull... seriously?!?



    I know. Doom is so much worse than people remember.

    Also nobody ever gets that Doom is supposed to be Indy’s origin story. He starts as a greedy gold digger (“fortune and glory, kid!”) and ends up sacrificing fortune and glory to save the village (and so turning into the more noble “it belongs in a museum” seen in later adventures).

    I guess we all like Harrison Ford/Indy so much that we didn’t notice that “fortune and glory” are terrible motivations for a hero!



    Your standard bivalve "gets" that Temple is Indy's arc from Belloq-like graverobber to someone more righteous. It is pretty explicit. As for his motivations being non-heroic at the start...that would be kind of the point, no? Indy grows through the movie. And anyway, some would argue that a morally gray Indy is more interesting than a goody two-shoes. Crusade doubles down on the latter by telling us he was literally a boy scout who took the crooked path only as a temporary detour because of father-son angst. Don't get me wrong: Crusade makes it work (that all three original films ultimately do work is what distances them so much from Skull) but it kinda cheapens his journey in Temple for the sake of obvious sentimentally.

    Also, you are going to hate the article I am working on now. Whatever it's bent, though, I am eager to make Indy discussion a more regular thing on Mojo, especially given the possibility we'll have a fifth film in production next year.
  • Avatar
    ThunderPeel2001 on 22 Jun, 2019, 12:03…

    Rum_Rogers

    I can't believe what I'm reading.
    Temple of Doom VS Crystal Skull... seriously?!?



    I know. Doom is so much worse than people remember.

    Also nobody ever gets that Doom is supposed to be Indy’s origin story. He starts as a greedy gold digger (“fortune and glory, kid!”) and ends up sacrificing fortune and glory to save the village (and so turning into the more noble “it belongs in a museum” seen in later adventures).

    I guess we all like Harrison Ford/Indy so much that we didn’t notice that “fortune and glory” are terrible motivations for a hero!

  • Avatar
    Rum_Rogers on 19 Jun, 2019, 07:38…
    I can't believe what I'm reading.
    Temple of Doom VS Crystal Skull... seriously?!?
  • Avatar
    Jason on 18 Jun, 2019, 23:09…

    Call me Squinky

    Hey Jason what did you think of the colour grading in the Raiders Bluray? I thought they ruined the earlier colour from the VHS/DVD releases to make it more in line with Crystal Skull. Haven't tried the 2nd two movies yet on Bluray though.



    I do think Spielberg did some revisionist grading to Raiders when the 4K master was prepared. People have argued that the cooler look of the VHS/DVDs is not a valid reference point, but it's not like anybody who saw the movie when it came out remembers orange swastikas.

    Maybe it was done to make the movie more in line with Skull, but like I say, the awful look of Skull goes way behind color grading. The filtration, the lighting style, the decision to do zero location shooting outside of the U.S. (Protip: If you managed to shoot an Indiana Jones movie without using your passport, you probably fucked up), and overuse of CGI have more to do with why the movie looks like Sky Captain rather than anything that feels as if it exists in the same solar system as Slocombe's work.

    Temple and Crusade were unaffected in the same way Raiders was, presumably because they used the same HD masters that were already prepared for the DVDs. Raiders got a brand new 4K scan for its Blu-ray release, and Spielberg "supervised" the digital coloring. I think it's a case where these tools make it too easy for directors to mess around with their work, and they just can't help themselves. Spielberg is definitely not the only one to have done this.
  • Avatar
    Call me Squinky on 18 Jun, 2019, 22:51…
    Hey Jason what did you think of the colour grading in the Raiders Bluray? I thought they ruined the earlier colour from the VHS/DVD releases to make it more in line with Crystal Skull. Haven't tried the 2nd two movies yet on Bluray though.
  • Avatar
    Jason on 18 Jun, 2019, 22:12…

    Melancholick

    I'm also surprised that we've never seen a conceptual, Adywan/Harmie-style re-grade of the visuals in any real shape or form. Seems like it'd be one of those things that would help us all get past the suntan-oil lens treatments and see if there's actually some decent visual texture underneath the crap.



    The reason for this is that grading is the least of it. Yes, the movie veers strangely toward monochrome for an Indy movie and would benefit from some vibrancy, which the trilogy certainly had. But the fundamental problem is the physical filtration Kaminski applied to give that diffused, hazy look where every light source (which he's more or less blasting onto everyone's faces) gets a halo around it. That's all baked in and completely inoperable.

  • Avatar
    Melancholick on 18 Jun, 2019, 21:52…
    Love it. And as a great post-dinner mint to this link, it's worth checking out "Fix-a-Flick's" deconstruction of KotC and how it could have been saved by just rejiggering the moving pieces and adding some gravitas to the whole mess.

    It's up on Youtube, and I'm also surprised that we've never seen a conceptual, Adywan/Harmie-style re-grade of the visuals in any real shape or form. Seems like it'd be one of those things that would help us all get past the suntan-oil lens treatments and see if there's actually some decent visual texture underneath the crap.
  • Avatar
    Remi on 18 Jun, 2019, 20:35…

    Call me Squinky

    I think since it's also been 6 years since Remi saw Temple of Doom he should also post a rewatch of that and see if his opinion changes.



    I actually did, and my opinion had indeed changed. I might tack some of my thoughts onto an upcoming article.
  • Avatar
    Call me Squinky on 18 Jun, 2019, 19:58…
    I think since it's also been 6 years since Remi saw Temple of Doom he should also post a rewatch of that and see if his opinion changes.
  • Avatar
    popularsoup on 18 Jun, 2019, 17:26…
    An entertaining read. Is this a public Slack?
  • Avatar
    Jason on 18 Jun, 2019, 12:51…

    ThunderPeel2001

    A highly amusing read! Some solid observations from Jason, too. However the first chunk of Skull is probably better than Doom. Sorry, but if you take off your nostalgia glasses you’ll see just how awful and boring Doom really is.



    I wouldn't stack very much against the opening twenty minutes of Temple, much less any stretch of the weirdly lethargic, indifferent vibe of Skull. And I was not being sarcastic when I called the fridge scene one of the movie's best. Whatever else you want to say about it, it's really the only situation that even resembles a classic Indy jam.

    At this point I don't even need Indy 5 to be good. I will settle for it looking like a live action movie. That is Skull's legacy.
  • Avatar
    ThunderPeel2001 on 18 Jun, 2019, 07:21…
    A highly amusing read! Some solid observations from Jason, too. However the first chunk of Skull is probably better than Doom. Sorry, but if you take off your nostalgia glasses you’ll see just how awful and boring Doom really is. The bad guy doesn’t even appear until something like act three. It’s a mess with a fun opening sequence and a nine car chase. And I don’t even mind Shortround.

    Things people don’t get from Skull; Shia’s 50s greaser hairstyle is similar to that particular species of monkey, so they see him as being related.

    Yes, some ants really do climb up like that.

    Yes, they really did blow up houses filled with mannequins and household goods (to see how the average American home would withstand a blast - creepy).

    The fake out when Shia picks up the hat at the end. Indy takes it back of him with a “No chance!” look. (It’s the opposite of a “Shia will be Indy” moment - just a little joke to the audience.)

    The reason the aliens grate at the end is because (as someone explained to me) our brains can only handle one crazy element in films. Indy already had the supernatural, so you can’t add aliens (or time travel, or werewolves, etc.).

    (Oh and Kate Capshaw is still married to Spielberg - not his ex, Alfred! :)
  • Avatar
    custard on 18 Jun, 2019, 00:50…
    My hot take: Both are bad, Crusade is best.
  • Avatar
    Call me Squinky on 17 Jun, 2019, 21:27…
    Actually Temple of Doom is my all-time favourite. Before Crystal Skull least favourite was Last Crusade, but Raiders is a close second favourite.
  • Avatar
    Jason on 17 Jun, 2019, 21:18…

    AlfredJ

    Before I read: of course Temple of Doom.



    I was going to say "You have chosen...wisely," but really, is it even a choice? The only response to anyone who would rank Crystal Skull ahead of distant last is "Well, not all crazy people are locked up." You can tell Remi came to this conclusion himself by the end.
  • Avatar
    AlfredJ on 17 Jun, 2019, 21:04…
    Before I read: of course Temple of Doom. Although it does have the racism and Spielberg's ex.

    The motorcycle chase in Skull was good. Also the aliens were fine (although the big goofy alien close up at the end wasn't).

    I'll comment again when I get a chance to read this and when I'm not juggling some toddlers like the cool uncle that I am, because someone needs to comment on these things.

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