The cursed film of the saga returns this evening on M6 before the release of Indiana Jones 5. And if we gave him a second chance?
“IndianaJones is a trilogy“, “Indiana Jones 4 does not exist“. For 15 years, fans of the saga have been ironic about The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Considered a disaster, the 4th part of the adventures of the famous archaeologist is struck with the seal of infamy. And it’s not just a tweet joke. A few years ago, the BBC thus rebroadcast Indiana Jones for Christmas, knowingly omitting episode 4. once… The Indiana Jones trilogy”. Hard for the franchise’s biggest hit, which has grossed nearly $800 million worldwide. SO, Did Steven Spielberg and George Lucas Rape Indiana Jones like in the famous episode of South Park?
Whether we want it or not, Indiana Jones 4 does exist. And it’s even more alive than ever with the upcoming release of the 5th movie, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destinywhich absolutely does not erase the events of the Crystal Skull (we don’t tell you more so as not to spoil you). Faced with this favorable moment to review the saga, or to introduce it to your children, it is tempting to skip the 4. But no, the cursed offspring is indeed part of the family. And it hasn’t been shamefully overlooked by Disney Plus, which picked up the movies a few weeks ago. Nor by M6, which is rebroadcasting it this evening to complete its cycle.
See again Indiana Jones 4 in 2023 brings back painful memories. The fridge scene, for which Spielberg had taken full responsibility (“It’s my fault, not George’s. Now people don’t say jump the shark anymore but nuke the fridge, and I’m proud of that.”). Cate Blanchett’s Russian accent, even worse in VF. And CGI sometimes worthy of The Mummy (the giant ants that devour Igor Jijikine and of course the atrocious and useless shot on the alien at the end of the film). But, with hindsight and putting the Dial of Destiny into perspective, one cannot help but find positive points in it.
Indiana Jones was 64 on the set ofIndiana Jones 4. In a premonitory scene, Shia Labeouf makes fun of the aging hero by letting him know that he must be 80, which is the age Harrison Ford today for the release of 5. In reality, he was still on fire at the time. In great shape, the actor had trained three hours a day for the film, and did a good part of the stunts himself. And his famous fluff-pif there have the same vigor as in the first three Indy.
Shia LaBeouf, let’s talk about it again. He is absolutely perfect as the hidden son of Henry Jones Jr., with his look modeled on the Marlon Brando of The Savage Team. The return of the character of Marion (Karen Allen) is also a success, as is the performance of John Hurt, a brilliant old fool lost in the depths of Latin America. And then there is Spielberg, his mastery and his sense of the iconic plan. The chase scene on a university campus where an anti-communist demonstration is taking place is a model of its kind, and one of the best in the saga. Another good point seen today: Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull turns its back on the misogyny of the Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade, reconnecting with The Lost Ark where Marion (already her) embodied a strong and independent female character.
If the actors and the staging are there, it is however more complicated to rehabilitate the scenario. Spielberg and Ford were very skeptical of George Lucas’ idea of incorporating aliens into Indiana Jones. It was not bad in itself, nor too absurd for a saga where we have already come across angels of death, an evil priest specializing in heart ablation or a thousand-year-old Knight of the Round Table. But she was damn badass, and the Crystal Skull clearly tripped over the carpet.
Nor will we go so far as to say, like Quentin Tarantino, that the Crystal Skull is better than The Last Crusade (“this movie is boring to death it seems Stop or my mother will shoot”). He clearly remains the black sheep of the saga. But he does not deserve the opprobrium he has suffered for so many years. And his final scene, where Indy and Marion marry, offered a happy and honest, if not glorious, conclusion for our beloved adventurer.