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Thank you Steven and George

Reposted from Seven Pieces:

So far I've got two Indy 4 viewings down within 14 hours, and I can't wait for the next one. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is everything that I hoped for and more. If you haven't seen it yet, this entry will be full of spoilers, so stop here and come back after you've seen it :)

On May 21, 2008 at 11:59pm EST I settled into a 3/4 or more full theater (gone are the days of sold out seatings me thinks) primarily occupied by teenagers obviously looking for an excuse to stay out late from parents who understand the magnitude of a new Indiana Jones chapter. I did spot about 10 Indy costumers (but no Marions or other characters). The crowd was abuzz with excitement nonetheless, and cheers all around for the opening Lucasfilm logo followed by the famous Paramount logo transition to... a molehill this time around! Actually, I'm pretty sure those were groundhogs, but either way a hilarious contrast from the previous Indy opening mountains.

Fast forward to May 22, 2008, 1:50pm - The official opening day of KOTCS. After sleeping off the previous evening's viewing which was fogged by noisy and distracting audiences along with my own tiredness, I was very pleasantly surprised to enter the very same theater I was in 14 hours before with only about 15 or 20 well mannered fellow audience members. This time around, I would be able to catch most of the story details that evaded me the first time.

And that I did. Here are some observations and impressions:

1. How awesome is the opening drag race scene? A direct nod to American Graffiti. I love the 50s. I think George does too.

2. Shia LaBeouf is just the most awesome, charismatic, fun to watch, young new talent out there right now. It's as if he were made for Indy movies, or perhaps the Indy movies were made for him...

3. Mutt seems to have chosen his name just like Indiana did, but it still remains to be seen if Henry III also had an actual dog (named Mutt?) or if he just considers himself to be a mutt. Either way, it's an awesome name for a 50s greaser type. He really nailed that part!

4. Love the glimpse of the Ark of the Covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark, and it was great to revisit that immense military warehouse. At the end of Raiders it seemed like we would see that place again, or at least I had hopes to.

5. Indy has a hat and a whip. Will Mutt's signature be a knife and his hair (I can't help noting that Mutt's character must be developed after George himself)? If Indy is afraid of snakes, and Henry the first is afraid of rats, what is Mutt's mortal fear? I'm asking a lot of this with the presumption that the story will continue in some form. If it's Shia taking the reigns for two more movies, I'll take it. I'm just trying to wrap my head around possible titles like "Mutt Williams and the Ancient Pigeon Roost of Death and Destruction" - ?

6. Speaking of snakes, the scene where Mutt uses a rat snake (is that a reference to Henry I's fear of rats?) to pull Indy out of the sand pit is hilarious. Before they got to the sand pit however, during the escape from the camp which Mutt instigated, Indy starts assuming the role of his father by saying "This is intolerable" in reference to Mutt's plan of action. Later we see Indy act like his father again, but he seems to catch himself doing it..

7. I didn't find any 1138 references, and didn't really expect to, but if I remember correctly, the Wilhelm scream, which has been in all 3 previous Indy movies, is found from a Russian soldier during the jungle car chases. If I don't remember correctly, it has to be in the Area 51 warehouse somewhere. I definitely heard it in one of the two scenes.

8. The capoeira moves during the burial grounds scene were totally awesome.

9. Near the end in the throne room, Indy says "I have a bad feeling about this" just like in all the Star Wars films. I haven't noticed this phrase being used before in any of the other Indy films.

10. Mutt "hangs out" with monkeys who have the same hairstyle as him, and they teach him how to swing. This was one of my favorite parts of the movie.

- Thanks to The Dark Moose who notes that in Raiders Marion and Indy stroll through Cairo with a similar monkey. Marion tells Indy "He has your looks" and Indy retorts "He has your brains", as if they were talking about Mutt already!

11. The view of Indy standing before an atomic mushroom cloud is absolutely fabulous, and terrifying. I love the framing and photography used in all the Indy flicks. They stick to their stylistic traditions and it never gets old.

Also of note: During my second viewing this afternoon I was treated to my first big screen showing of the WALL-E trailer and I have to say that I haven't been so excited about a movie just from a trailer in a really long time. I've been anticipating this endearing Pixar flick for a long time. They didn't show the trailer during the previous midnight Indy 4 viewing!

Overall, Indy 4 was just perfect to me. A wonderfully over-the-top (as per the Indy tradition) mix of action, adventure, early history, lore.. and this time around a little bit of sci-fi mixed in. I love how on one level, the Indiana Jones legacy looks at early history through archeology, but on yet another level and from the audience perspective, it is a commentary on 20th century world history.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and the entire cast and crew from KOTCS and all the Indy films for enriching our lives and respectfully continuing the legacy. Great job everyone!

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