Thursday, February 14, 2008

Indiana Jones Trailer Review

I know this might seem like a stretch. But as my previous post indicated, there really hasn't been that much to talk about theatrically lately, so why not discuss what everyone is surely going to be talking about in the coming days? Happy Valentine's Day to one and all, and welcome to my "review" of the first trailer for this summer's Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

First off, if you haven't seen the trailer yet (it debuted this morning!), check it out here, then come back and read up.

My first impression: it looks decent. This haphazard response may come as a shock to most of you, since it's widely known that the first and third Indiana Jones films are two of my favorite movies ever made. But honestly, I can't help but be a little wary about this. There are things I love, sure - but there are also things that make me cringe a little bit.

One of the first things I noticed was a nice little touch they added before we even see any footage. The Paramount logo fades into a new LucasFilm logo that looks like a map, and the mountains in both match up perfectly. This hearkens back to the first scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, where the Paramount mountain fades into an actual mountain, then the camera pans down, and we see a silhouetted Indy. So right off the bat they had me thinking of the older movies. Cool.

I'm pretty sure that the Indy trailer features the same font that was used in Transformers last summer. (Check that trailer here to see what I'm talking about.) For me, it subconsciously associated this movie with a Michael Bay movie, and the shot in the beginning of the flag and the cars driving off into the distance reeks of a Michael Bay film as well. [Side note: I'm not a Michael Bay hater, so this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's not quite what I expected from Spielberg.] But the flashbacks in this trailer were fine, and perfectly serve their purpose, which is to set up the first real glimpse of Indiana Jones that we've had in almost 20 years.

The silhouetted shot of Indy putting his hat on may be my favorite shot of the whole trailer. Coupled with the iconic score from John Williams, it almost gave me chills. Hopefully this is how we're actually introduced to him in the real film.

Then, Indy's new sidekick Mac, played by Ray Winstone, says "This ain't gonna be easy," and Indy retorts with "Not as easy as it used to be." I don't think they could have chosen their words better here, because this dialogue works on multiple levels. There's the obvious filmic context of their situation, surrounded by soldiers and not sure what to do. But more importantly, these are the first spoken lines of the movie, and a fantastic acknowledgment of the legendary status of this series. "This ain't gonna be easy" - making a movie like this in this day and age, getting Harrison Ford to return, bringing in new characters, pleasing the audience - this could mean any and all of these things. "Not as easy as it used to be," says Ford, a spry 66-year-old, referring to any of the challenges they were faced with while attempting to bring this film to the screen. It HAS been in the works for 19 years, after all.

We return to the warehouse last seen at the end of Raiders, where the Lost Ark has presumably been "lost" again, and a chase scene reminiscent of Live Free or Die Hard occurs. If Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is as great as LFoDH was, then I'll be very pleased.

A slew of montage scenes follow, including Indy blowing up a car with a rocket launcher, our first look at Shia as the greaser boy Mutt, menacing tribal people, and confirmation that Area 51 is somehow involved in the storyline (if you look closely, it appears that a pair of glasses are magnetized to a crate that has "ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO" stamped to the side of it). There's also a car chase scene that looks like something straight out of Mission Impossible II with the cars on the edge of a cliff.

Then comes a sweet couple of shots with the crew running down a circular rock stairway while the rocks are slowly retreating into the walls, which I think looks like the coolest action scene in the whole thing so far. And it ends with Shia saying, "You're a teacher?" and Indy humorously responding, "Part time." Hah - excellent.

What I like so much about this trailer is that it does a great job of not really giving anything away, but at the same time showing us enough to let us know the film could be spectacular. The things the have me a little on edge about it are the possible involvement with aliens at Area 51, and Cate Blanchett's involvement with the project. She doesn't fit the style of the movie depicted in the trailer, but hey - maybe she'll be good. Who knows? I also like how they kept the dialogue to an absolute minimum and really downplayed Shia LaBeouf in it, because I think those two things are going to be two of my favorite aspects when I actually see the movie on May 22nd.

Hope you guys enjoyed the trailer, and get psyched for this movie! I'm sure Spielberg, Lucas, Harrison Ford, and everyone else involved wouldn't have made this after so long if the movie wasn't going to be fantastic. Until next time...


Marcus Brody said...

OK, it was good. But I agree with you on the fact that if aliens are involved, then its going to be questionable. Also, I saw quite a bit of CG in their, and we all now CG runins movies (i.e. star wars prequels, Mummy II), but other than that, well done sir.

P.S. If you need a Indiana Jones series reviewer in the coming months, I'm sure we can find one here at the Sentinel.

Ben Pearson said...

Mr. Brody - I am formally requesting a full trilogy review of the Indiana Jones series from you, to hopefully be completed before May 22nd. Commence whenever you see fit.

And yes - I, too, was surprised to see that CGI explosion in the Lost Ark warehouse after reading many-an-article from Spielberg and crew about how they were keeping special effects to a minimum. And then they show us one in the first trailer? Weak.

Boomer said...

much needed and very good post...i was looking at the trailers on the right side of the page and was confused because I think you put the wrong date by vantage point...just wanted to point that out

Ben Pearson said...

Thanks for the heads up, Boomer. I changed the Vantage Point release date and added a couple new trailers. Check 'em out...