Saturday, May 24, 2008

My (zzzzz) hero. or whatever.

Went to see "Indiana Jones" last night. Tell me, was there like a, a blue light special on “jaw-droppingly offensive portrayals of ‘primitive savages’ with weird grayish body paint menacing the white adventurer heroes” in Hollywood this last, umm, while? I mean, not that racism in the Indiana Jones franchise is exactly a deep shock or anything, um hi, kind of built right into the premise, but you’d think with that many years under the bridge that at -least- Spielberg might be able to go, you know what, maybe we have enough with the snakes and bugs and aliens and nuclear bombs and Commie Supravillains and shit, at least empty ruins isn’t quite as OVERTLY offensive; but, no. I guess he figured, hey, if it was good enough for Peter Jackson and Mel Gibson, by golly…

of course, that’s not the only aspect that could be umm deconstructed, there, but it was far and away the most “no, you didn’t really go there, did you? oh right, of course you did…”

Also, it just plain sucked. No, seriously: even on its own terms, i.e. big dumb movie that you can't look at the plot or logic too closely, let alone really REALLY problematic not so subtext, without a concussion, but hey! car chase! things blowing up! SCARY!: didn't work. You could tell it wasn't just us: the theatre was full of extremely erm rowdy younguns, and they barely laughed or screamed or reacted for most of the flick. The part that by far got the biggest reaction was when the projector shut off and the house lights came back on, briefly. Someone's heart wasn't in it, I think. (ETA: I feel vindicated).

The only good thing about it was Cate Blanchett, who at least seemed to be having some fun with the whole “get moose and squirrel” routine (and is quite hot in leather gloves). Not worth the $11.50 and incredibly dismal setting though (would it -kill- large institutional theatre owners to shampoo the carpets or clean the bathroom every ten years or so?) Much as it does bring a goddam tear to my eye to finish a rip-roaring chase through the jungle with a happy ending of the hero marrying the heroine (which, btw, no one remembered who the hell she was, clearly, cause they hadn't been born when the last one came out, I think) in a church fulla white people in New Haven. Oops, did I give it away? Awful sorry. I R Asshole Today.

9 comments:

J. Goff said...

OMG, yes. I just saw it and, OMGWTF racism EVERYWHERE! But then, Spielberg was never really about anti-racism, just anti-Semitism, which, given enough dollars, he probably won't be able to see the similarity. I mean, Arab wielding a scimitar, attacking our white knight a la Raiders? Yeah, no need to worry about that stereotype. Riiiiiight.

Emily said...

I KNEW IT! I've never been that interested in Indiana Jones. I've only seen it on TV, and the only one I've ever seen, ever, is the Temple of Doom. Why do they always play that one and none of the others?

At any rate, a couple of weeks ago I was over at my parents' house and my dad, who always has to have the TV on in the background, was watching The Temple of Doom. I hadn't seen it in several years, and as I was watching it, I was thinking, "Wow, I can't believe how racist this is." We talked about the new one and I predicted that it, too, would probably be racist to the hilt. You just can't have a movie of that kind and make it not racist. The premise of "white man goes into the unknown (i.e. brown peopled) parts of the world and saves some stuff from some bad (also brown)guys" is going to be racist no matter what.

Thanks for seeing it, though, so I never, ever have to.

belledame222 said...

Yeah, I think this one might've actually been even worse; there -were- no good brown people. actually I think there were no -speaking- brown people. They were either Peruvian peasant extras or the aforementioned barely-human looking "savages," springing out from behind walls and bushes and leaping about like video-game monsters.

oh, and then they all got killed by the Russians, offscreen. no muss, no fuss, no fanfare.

it was really crap.

Tom Nolan said...

I've only seen it on TV, and the only one I've ever seen, ever, is the Temple of Doom. Why do they always play that one and none of the others?

Because the schedulers enjoy confronting all the goody-goody vegetarian viewers with the sight of dinner-guests feasting on monkey-brain served fresh in the skull. Just think of the spoon sliding in under the cranium! Mmmyummyummyummy!

Emily said...

"Because the schedulers enjoy confronting all the goody-goody vegetarian viewers"

Let me tell you, I'm a goody goody vegetarian viewer, and the bugs, dead or alive, are the best part of that damn movie.

harpymarx said...

The second installment to the franchise, The Temple of Doom, was appallingly racist with good old white man Indy coming to the rescue.... Jeeze....

But recently, there has been so much about the age of Harrison Ford (65 or there abouts)and whether he could still manage it all (creeping ageism).

But would the media been as charitable, if say, a woman who has played a part of an action adveture "hero" over the years came back at 65? I just think male actors can age but women actors aren't allowed. Sexist double-standards....

Alon Levy said...

Hey, Sean Connery freely did action movies into his 70s. I'm still waiting for a new Linda Hamilton action flick, though.

belledame222 said...

I did wonder why Hamilton had to be dead in T3.

Yeah, I'm personally not arsed about his age. Mostly I thought the -franchise- was really showing its creakiness. Even the whole--y'know, Roswell's kind of been done to death? crystal skulls, aliens, etc. ditto, really, esp. by bloody Spielberg himself...

you know what, though, maybe next time (I assume, drearily, from the end of this one, that there will be a next time), they could just -go- with it. open with a daring escape from teh retirement home, followed by a thrilling golf cart chase across Sun City.

Alon Levy said...

Meh. They should make Bound 2. An action flick with Linda Hamilton and/or Summer Glau should also work. But Die Hard 4 was a steaming pile of shit, and I imagine Indy Jones 4 shouldn't be any better.

(As an aside: a few days ago I read 1491, which describes pre-Columbian America. Turns out the people there weren't primitive at all; they just had no evolved resistance to European diseases, so smallpox killed half of them off before any outside Hispaniola ever saw a white man. The conception we have of Native Americans right now isn't a primitive state, but rather a severe decline from previous eras.)