By now, at least in my mind, we know that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is going to be a very big nostalgia driven piece for a lot of people. And if you’ve been subtly following the hints, you might be able to figure out to what extent this fourth installment will be an extension of the other films. In the mind of creator George Lucas and director Steven Spielberg, it appears that Indiana Jones 4 will be just another Indy movie, nothing more and nothing less.
Back in January, we reported on an interview that Steven Spielberg did with Vanity Fair, in which Spielberg commented about the lack of modernization in the upcoming Indiana Jones flick. “Janusz [Kaminski] had to approximate another cinematographer’s look, and I had to approximate this younger director’s look that I thought I had moved away from after almost two decades.” In this particular instance, Spielberg was referring to maintaining the same visual style as the previous three films. In preparation for Crystal Skull, Spielberg found himself going back and watching the first three movies several times with Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski in order to get the right vision.
At that point, everyone would have taken that news with a grain of salt — no reason to be alarmed by the fact that Spielberg and company wanted to make an Indiana Jones movie that looked like all the others. For fans, this would be a tasty bite of nostalgia that would drive their experience even moreso than if they would be seeing a modernized, flashier version of the film.
This past week, writer and creator George Lucas chimed in along the same lines when he sat down with Entertainment Weekly at ShoWest. In the interview, Lucas made it clear that if fans are envisioning a grand Indiana Jones finale, a second coming of epic-proportions, they will be sorely disappointed:
“[W]e know that for the fans it won’t be the movie that they have been making in their minds for the last 19 years, so they all get bent out of shape. A lot of the critics forget that they didn’t like the first three, and so they get off on this one, too — or it’s not the Second Coming. And, yeah, we didn’t make it bigger and better, we made it exactly the same. So if you loved the other ones, you’ll love this one. But if you expect to have F-14s flying under freeways — that isn’t there. It’s just another period adventure movie with this wacky archaeologist.”
So if it isn’t clear by now that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is going to be just another Indiana Jones movie, I don’t know what to tell you. It is obvious, based on the way Lucas, Spielberg and Harrison Ford have been talking about the film, that it was a blast to make and that they, as fans themselves, enjoy this one as a companion to the others.
But the question still remains: will fans get on board? Even more interesting is the question of whether fans will be on board enough for Indy 4 to win the summer box office. “Will it beat [The Dark Knight]?” Lucas commented when asked. “I don’t know. But we’ll certainly give Batman a run for their money.” I would tend to agree, but my internal logic seems to be leaning toward a big summer for ole’ Indiana and friends. Until proven otherwise, I am sticking to calling Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull my clear box office favorite of the summer, solely based on the nostalgia factor — too many people have been waiting too long to see Harrison Ford crack the whip again. The great unknown will continue to be whether or not those fans will be pleased with the film or sadly disappointed. George Lucas seems to be preparing for the latter.
Sound Off: What do you think? Are you ok with an Indiana Jones movie cut from the same cloth as the others, or were you hoping for some upgrades?