07 June 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull

How many people out there would (care to) know that the real name of Indiana Jones is actually Dr Henry Walton Jones, Jr? I just knew about it when I was collecting some information before writing this entry. I saw the latest of the Indiana Jones series, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull, a while ago, but due to an enormous amount of paperwork and other stuff that I wouldn't care to mention I didn't have time to write anything about it until today.

I'm sure it's a film that people have been waiting for and along with this wait have gathered a significant amount of expectation. Director Steven Spielberg did a great job in providing us with a fun-filled flick but I regret to say that it's just that. If you don't expect too much, I'm sure you'll come out of the cinema feeling you've had a great time. But if you expect something like a parody or a political revision of the film's ideology, you'll be sadly disappointed. Spielberg is great in making an irony-free epic film which aims for a tear-jerking or jingoistic effect. But when it comes to a rather I'd say 'ironical' film, I have yet to see his masterpiece. I guess that's because Spielberg belonged to an earlier era when people are less cynical and more (I'm at a loss for a word here) ... 'faithful'.

For the modern crowd with no faith but a hell lot of cynicism, his film fails to reach their expectation. Sad to say, I'm one of this crowd and I expect Spielberg to at least question what's going on without saying in the film. The film is still very patriotic and unashamedly makes manifest the discrimination against the Eastern bloc, epitomised in Cate Blanchett's odd character and parodied accent. I know the director would have justified that it was the Zeitgeist at the time when the Eastern bloc was the arch enemy. But we're now in the twentieth-first century and have come a long way from that! The thing is ... you can still make a good retro film but you don't need to sport the outdated ideology. To play fair, Spielberg could have at least shown how Indiana Jones himself was equally an intruder into the sacred realm of the 'exoticised' natives. Yet, the whole film still glorifies the old man and death become the whole lot of the natives and people from the Eastern bloc.

I couldn't help but wonder why Spielberg has invested so much in this Indiana Jones character. Is it possible that he sees himself in this character? Is it possible that if Indiana Jones still thrives despite his old age, it also means that the director himself can likewise triumph amidst new directors who are good at doing irony? Perhaps we're touching on something very delicate here.


Kiattisak said...


dechito said...

Thanks for pointing that out. I think when I wrote it I meant the twentieth century and then it came to me that we're actually in the 21st century. I then just added first without changing the suffix of twentieth. I'll leave it like that though, as a monument of my carelessness. :)