Monday, September 10, 2007


As revealed by actor Shia LaBeouf on the MTV Video Music Awards last night, the title of the fourth Indiana Jones movie, set for release on May 22 next year, is ...

Uh ... hmm ... alright ... I mean, I guess.

Pretty long title
—nine words, 42 letters. And three K sounds in there. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But Ks are supposed to be funny, not ... adventurous. Ah, what the hellI bet Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom sounded pretty goofy and bloated when it was announced sometime in 1983. But I was eight at the time, so it sounded just fine to me.

I'm sure I'll quickly get used to the new Indy movie's title the way I got used to Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace back in 1999. It seems like George Lucas, the creator of both the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, is getting more and more pulpy with his titles as he gets older. Or maybe it's the fact that I'm much older than I was when the first batch of films in these franchises came out in the '70s and '80s. Therefore a title like Attack of the Clones makes me laugh now, whereas if I was still a child I'd be saying "ooh" and "ahh" in anticipation of big-screen action and spin-off merchandise that could cast a spell on me all summer long.

But not letting a title like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull keep me up at night is a good thing. It's a very good thing. I wouldn't want to be like a former coworker of mine who refused to see Star Wars: Episode II
—Attack of the Clones in 2002 because he felt so cheated by The Phantom Menace. I didn't have the courage to tell him that he shouldn't have expected to get the same kind of thrill from a new Star Wars movie in his late twenties that he did when he was six. This guy's childhood had ended a long time ago, and it wasn't going to be George Lucas's fault if his years of prepubescence didn't make a late-inning comeback. Just enjoy the ride, and if that doesn't work, have some kids of your own so you can get a buzz off their reaction to Industrial Light & Magic's bag of tricks.

To be fair to my former coworker, though, The Phantom Menace was a sorry follow-up to the original trilogy, but I wasn't expecting a repeat of the first three films, which admittedly lost some of their luster once I reached college and realized how atrocious the acting and dialogue is in certain spots. That being said, director Irvin Kershner deserves praise for pulling solid performances out of all the leads in The Empire Strikes Back, and Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan's dialogue for that film is an improvement over the ham-fisted declarations Lucas seems to prefer in his space operas. As Harrison Ford said to Lucas on the set of Star Wars in 1976, "You can type this shit, George, but you sure can't say it." Ford played Han Solo in the original trilogy and added a great deal of humor to the series. The prequels didn't have a Solo-like character, which is one of the main reasons why they weren't nearly as entertaining to me. But if I were 25 years younger, I'm sure I would've eaten them up. (No sale on Jar Jar Binks, though. I wasn't that dumb as a kid.)

Ford also had terrific comic timing as Indiana Jones in the first three films of that series, so I'm looking forward to seeing him in Indiana Jones and the Blah Blah Blah next May. However, I'm not sure what to think about Lucas's next project, Even More American Graffiti: Journey to the 50-Year Reunion of Lost Souls.

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