Bob and Justin's Mad Movie Blog

My name is Bob. My friend Justin and I are aspiring filmmakers and we have pretty similar tastes in movies. This will include our take on what's going on in film and television today as well as updating you on the status of our own work.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Peter Howell asks if we really need another "Indy."

As anyone who knows me well could tell you (or if you start to read this blog with regularity you will come to know) I HATE George Lucas. I'll give you a full rant soon to coincide with the upcoming release of the original cuts of the "Star Wars" trilogy on DVD (FINALLY!). Looks like ol' George wants to do to "Indiana Jones" what he did to "Star Wars," i.e., ruin it. This from the "Toronto Star":


Do we really need another Indy?
Aug. 25, 2006. 06:55 AM

You would think a movie buff like George Lucas would know what a MacGuffin is. The mullah of the megaplexes is quoted in the current Empire magazine explaining how he hatched a fourth Indiana Jones movie, an idea he's managed to sell to his co-conspirators Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford. But his brainwave is puzzling, to say the least, because he doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. "I discovered a MacGuffin," Lucas told Empire. "I told the guys about it and they were a little dubious about it, but it's the best one we've ever found ... Unfortunately, it was a little too `connected' for the others. They were afraid of what the critics would think. They said, `Can't we do it with a different MacGuffin? Can't we do this?' and I said `No.' So we pottered around with that for a couple of years. "And then Harrison really wanted to do it and Steve said, `Okay,' I said, `We'll have to go back to that original MacGuffin and take out the offending parts of it and we'll still use that area of the supernatural to deal with it'." If by MacGuffin he means the Ark of the Covenant, the all-powerful Christian artifact sought by Ford's whip-cracker Indiana Jones and his Nazi nemesis in 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark, he's way off base. A MacGuffin, as defined by its chief practitioner Alfred Hitchcock, is an item sought by characters in a movie that isn't essential to the plot. The mysterious briefcase in Pulp Fiction is frequently cited as a bona fide MacGuffin. The Ark was anything but non-essential to the first Indy flick, especially if you recall the events of the final reel. And what does Lucas mean by "taking out the offending parts of it?" Is he referring to the Ark's essential religious aspect? Is he planning another misfire like The Phantom Menace, in which the quasi-religious Force from his original Star Wars trilogy was reduced to blood organisms called midichlorians? Do his movies now have to be completely secular? He doesn't say what he has in mind, other than to drop the further disturbing news that Indy IV will be a lot like his reviled first Star Wars prequel. "We're basically going to do The Phantom Menace. People's expectations are way higher than you can deliver. You could just get killed for the whole thing ... We would do it for fun and just take the hit with the critics and the fans ... But nobody wants to get into it unless they are really happy with it." Earth to Lucas: Why not just make a good movie? Better yet, why bother making Indy IV at all?

That's the consensus of many commentators on Jeffrey Wells's Hollywood Elsewhere blog, who joined his call this week for someone to put the Indiana Jones franchise out of its misery. Said Wells: "Will someone good at subterfuge and pretend guises please slip into the development room —stealthily, like a panther — and while George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford aren't looking (or are out putting quarters in the street meters), pick up a pillow, lean over the crib and smother the Indy IV project until it's dead, dead ... deader than dead? With compassion, I mean." More than a few people have observed that Ford will be 65 next year, which is when Indy IV is supposed to begin filming. That will make him six years older than Sean Connery was in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which Ford swore then would be the final Indy flick. And Connery was playing Ford's dad in the movie. But Ford has been in a series of duds for most of the past decade, and he probably thinks he needs both the money and the attention that Indy IV will bring.

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