Monday, May 26, 2008

And Let's Not Even Get Into the Woo-Woo Crap...

Back in 1982 Wim Wenders made an interesting little documentary called Room 666 . In it, he had various directors sit alone in a hotel room with a camera and answer a series of questions on the future of cinema. Godard gives a largely impenetrable but very Godardish speech. Werner Herzog decides it's very important to take his shoes off before answering the question. Fassbinder looks tired and defeated, and died not long after the film was made. Yılmaz Güney's segment was made on an audio cassette that had to be smuggled out to Wenders, as the Turkish government wasn't letting him speak to the press.

Steven Spielberg spends his entire segment bitching and moaning about how hard it is to get the money to fulfill his vision. He made this statement while working on fucking E.T., and after he'd earned more from Jaws and Close Encounters than the other directors in the film saw in their lifetimes all put together.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull sucked.

UPDATE: Took spoiler out of title. Some spoilery stuff in the comments still.


interrobang said...

It has Ancient Astronaut crap in it? Uh oh.

Richard said...

Most of the plot drivers felt weirdly dated, pulled from the bargain basement of the Woo Woo Ephemera Shoppe: the film starts at Area 51, there's a bunch of stuff ripped from Von Daniken (gibbering about the Nazca lines and so forth), and of course there's the whole crystal skull thing. Brian Dunning does a pretty thorough breakdown on what's silly about that here. Basically, all the "mysterious" crystal skulls that people have been looning over for years were probably made in Germany in the 19th century, and this has been known for a while.

I think there might have been intent somewhere along the line to do a sort of tongue in cheek romp based around this hokey stuff, but it didn't make it to the screen. It was especially a comedown when you compare it to the big mythic stuff that they brushed up against in Raiders and The Last Crusade. If they make another I expect it will be about biorhythms or ouija boards or the hollow earth. Actually, Indian Jones and the Hollow Earth could be a ton of fun if they really went nuts with it, but given how staid and dreary this one was I kinda doubt it.

interrobang said...

That's disappointing to hear, but come to think of it, it doesn't really surprise me, since this is a movie coming from one of the men involved with "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". A man who--in a documentary accompanying "Close Encounters", on the DVD, maybe--describes what close encounters of the "first kind" and "second kind" are with such earnestness that it becomes clear that he believes in the stuff.

It's also disappointing because the crystal skull was something I thought was so cool and mysterious as a child, even though the dominant part of me knew that they were just man-made, probably recent, and certainly not magical. "Chariots of the Gods" was not a part of my childhood, it was something I read during a summer home from college because I found it at a thrift store--though I had heard of it at the time. Mixing the two things is a major seventies shitstorm.

Maybe adding some biorhythms stuff could have been the clue that it was all a joke. That, or a good stretch of the movie where they doggedly dowse for their entrance to he hollow earth.

Not sure if I'm going to see it, now.