Indy and Al
Two movie reviews--Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Recount. No surprise: the HBO movie was the superior one.
The latest installment of Indy certainly has some fun moments albeit many are simply invoking nostalgia for the earlier pictures. On the plus side, Harrison Ford is thankfully not too old for the role as it is now written and there are some over the top action scenes that fit in with the over the top nature of the series. For example--SPOILERS--there is a scene that is completely unrealistic involving a refrigerator but that works within the framework of these films. It is absurd but funny and logical within the universe of Indy. In fact, the first third of the movie, in the desert and then at Yale (although it is not called Yale) is somewhat coherent and a pretty good time. I also enjoyed the tribute to the late Denholm Elliott, who played Marcus Brody in the earlier pictures, and the retired but still living Sean Connery.
With the appearance of Mutt (Shia LaBeouf), however, things get way too crazy, and the remainder of the plot makes absolutely no sense. I have no problem suspending disbelief in a movie such as Raiders, but I want the film to at least be logical. Raiders did just that: The Nazis want the Ark, they think it will make them invincible, and when they get it, they do an initial opening of it so they won't have to do it in front of Hitler. Bad idea. Here, nothing makes sense. Why, for example, did one of the 13 alien skeletons lose its head when they merged once the head was replaced? Wouldn't they have merged before the skull was stolen? How are the monkeys able to differentiate between good and bad guys. (I mean monkeys are smart, but come on.) Am I glad I saw it? Sure. But is it a great or even a good movie? Nope.
Recount, however, is both excellent and depressing. Starting with the first rate cast--and it is great to finally see Kevin Spacey in a terrific role and to compare John Hurt in his role in Indy to his role here as Warren Christopher shows his amazing range--and continuing with a fantastic ability to distill the events of 7 1/2 years ago--in which we all know the ending--, the movie still is fascinating. Yes, the movie abridges certain events and omits others, but, in general, it recounts (har har) pretty good history. Of course, it brought back the anger and disgust of what occurred in 2000 depressing me to no end of (1) the inability of Florida (and probably many other states) to have some system in place to address a virtual electoral tie, (2) the incompetence and blatant conflict of interest that is Katherine Harris, and (3) the desire of so many to do whatever it took to ensure that their candidate won regardless of who got more votes. The Gore team certainly took a knife to a gun fight.
Of course, did Gore win by losing and Bush lose by winning? Gore is clearly the leading statesman in the Democratic party today. The two former Democratic Presidents carry a lot of baggage--Carter and his failed presidency and his controversial forays into Middle East policy (although he has his humanitarian work as well) and Clinton is now a partisan for his wife. And as for Bush, well, we all know what happened. Of course, the US is, I would argue, much worse off.
So if you have HBO and have the stomach to relive these events, watch this movie.