Picture the scene: George Lucas is sat in his study, surrounded by star and planet mobiles, rocketship wallpaper on the walls and the futuristic music from the queuing system at Disneyland’s Space Mountain ride playing in the background. On one side of his computer is a note from Steven Spielberg, which says: “Dear George. We have finally decided to make the fourth Indiana Jones, even though the series didn’t need it and Harrison is a gajillion years old so will look a bit weird. All the other big action films have made fourths, and I was starting to feel left out. Who likes any of the other Die Hards anyway? Please write me a script so we can film a new Indy and make loads of money. The fans will watch it regardless, so put whatever you want in there. Cheers. Stevie.”
On the other side of the computer is a shed load of sherbet dip, which George’s mum has told him not to have because last time it took him seven hours to go to sleep, but she’s on holiday so he can do what he likes. George proceeds to eat all the sherbet dip and then write the script for the fourth Indiana Jones.
If I was to describe the plot for Indy 4 right now, you would most likely think it a continuation of this elaborate scene above (which is of course false - George was joined by Jeff Nathanson on plot duties). But I wouldn’t be making it up. I couldn’t make it up. Seriously. Three words: What. The. Fuck.
Indy 4 is essentially a never-ending car chase interspersed with everything and anything that could exist in the real world (or not) and might cause some excitement - killer ants, scorpions, waterfalls, cliffs, booby traps, FBI, Russians, magnets, quicksand, angry tribes people, nuclear explosions, monkeys, Jim Robinson from Neighbours, and frickin’ gophers (what was with the gophers?!) It was like any and all ideas were used, rather than selected for most entertainment / relevance to the plot.
Just to retract the barbs slightly, of course the original Indy’s weren’t brimming with coherent stories or anything other than a series of tombs and fights. And like its predecessors, Indy 4 has a bit of spirit about it - some good fun can be had in some of the sequences, there’s slapstick and wry humour, and a small portion of the Indy / Mutt (Shia LaBeouf- “the new Indy”) banter was entertaining. But on the whole it dragged horribly, feeling twice as long as Iron Man (when Iron Man was actually longer) and matching the witty old-school opening title sequence by being pretty damn dated. We like character development nowadays. Or, you know, plots that aren’t from a sherbet-fuelled insanity trip.
Indy 4 brings nothing new to the table except a lump of crusty bread that we’ve already seen before, only now it looks like it’s picked up every bit of fluff off the floor and some space dust along with it. Didn’t need to be made, entertained for only a quarter of its running time, and yet will probably make a killing at the box office. It was going to get a CF-1, but having written this I’ve angered myself into dropping it further. CF-2 for you, Indy. No more sherbet, Lucas. Your mother knows what she’s talking about.