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Keys to the Kingdom
January 4, 2008 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Keys to the Kingdom. Vanity Fair profiles George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and previews Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull [minor spoiler on page 5]; Q&A with Spielberg and Lucas.
Rather than update the franchise to match current styles, Lucas and Spielberg decided to stay true to the prior films' look, tone, and pace. During pre-production, Spielberg watched the first three Indiana Jones movies at an Amblin screening room with Janusz Kaminski, who has shot the director's last 10 films. He replaces Douglas Slocombe, who shot the first three Indy movies (and is now retired at age 94), as the man mainly responsible for the film’s look. "I needed to show them to Janusz," Spielberg says, "because I didn't want Janusz to modernize and bring us into the 21st century. I still wanted the film to have a lighting style not dissimilar to the work Doug Slocombe had achieved, which meant that both Janusz and I had to swallow our pride. Janusz had to approximate another cinematographer's look, and I had to approximate this younger director's look that I thought I had moved away from after almost two decades."
posted by kirkaracha (51 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
When I'm in my 60s, I also would like to spend my time systematically poisoning everything that made my career good and worthwhile.
posted by logicpunk at 10:14 AM on January 4, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'm withholding judgement until they edit the whip into a flashlight, and make the sword swinger shoot first.
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:18 AM on January 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Dollars to doughnuts: Indy will step on Lenin's tail, and Lenin's eyes will bug out cartoonishly.
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 10:27 AM on January 4, 2008 [4 favorites]


When I'm in my 60s, I also would like to spend my time systematically poisoning everything that made my career good and worthwhile.

We should have such problems.
posted by DU at 10:30 AM on January 4, 2008


Well... I figure it'll involve going back and misfiling things.
posted by logicpunk at 10:40 AM on January 4, 2008 [6 favorites]


I'm divided on the concepts raised as spoiler warnings in the piece regarding the plot. On the one hand, it seems typical pulp for the era they are paying homage to. On the other hand, it seems like it could be dippy for the franchise. Opinions?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:46 AM on January 4, 2008


During pre-production, Spielberg watched the first three Indiana Jones movies at an Amblin screening room

At least he got through the most painful part of his research OK.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 10:46 AM on January 4, 2008


I used to think that George Lucas had murdered my childhood... then I realised I'd grown up and it didn't matter. Well, not that much.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:47 AM on January 4, 2008


When I'm in my 60s, I also would like to spend my time systematically poisoning everything that made my career good and worthwhile. --logicpunk

Actually, I wouldn't half mind if Lucas and Spielberg went all crazy-revisionist on Temple of Doom...
posted by Bugg at 10:50 AM on January 4, 2008


The official title of Raiders of the Lost Ark has been changed to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I haven't been this outraged since I saw a poster for a concert featuring Morris Day and the Time.
posted by flarbuse at 10:53 AM on January 4, 2008


Since when are emoticons used in major print media? Oy vey.
posted by nasreddin at 10:54 AM on January 4, 2008


Most of the move is Indie talking about surgery he had to remove a mole, because it wasn't cancerous, but might be, and the doctors thought it was a good precaution. He also complains about the cold and doesn't drive very well. And, at least once, he gregariously picks up the check at a restaurant for a few of his friends, but then severely undertips the waitress because the check is for more than he expects.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:55 AM on January 4, 2008 [5 favorites]


How bad is the "minor spoiler"? (Afraid to look.)
posted by bodega at 11:03 AM on January 4, 2008


I think I'm more interested in the piece about the kids doing the shot-for-shot remake of Raiders in the early 80's.
posted by anazgnos at 11:05 AM on January 4, 2008


He's really a she.
posted by elwoodwiles at 11:05 AM on January 4, 2008


I still haven't read the article, but I saw the photograph on the first page and thought "wow" -- then realized that they were taken by Annie Leibovitz! Great photographs.
posted by suedehead at 11:07 AM on January 4, 2008


God, please let it be as good as Star Wars III.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 11:07 AM on January 4, 2008


I hope I'm wrong, but I'm really afraid the movie won't be any good. Can I just mail Lucas and Spielberg ten bucks and watch Raiders again?
posted by starman at 11:16 AM on January 4, 2008


The official title of Raiders of the Lost Ark has been changed to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

What.

You know, I was arguing with some friends recently whether an author gives up ownership of his work when he puts it into the world. Not financial ownership, but I mean that my position is that just because George Lucas made the thing doesn't mean he can come back afterward and change the story all around. I mean, he can, but I don't have to accept it. Greedo didn't shoot first. I refuse to believe that Darth Vader built C3PO-- a "protocol droid"-- as a hobby when he was eight, just to help his mother do household chores. That just doesn't make any damn sense. And Raiders of the Lost Ark is not called Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, dammit. It's called Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Although I might be talked into Indianan Jones and the Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 11:18 AM on January 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


This article really lowered my expectations for the film. Toward the end (to recap for those who didn't read the whole thing), Lucas goes on about how the Macguffin drives everything in the Indy movies, and that the 2nd and 3rd movies were weak because of bad Macguffins. So he searched and searched and finally came up with the right Macguffin....and when he pitched it to both Spielberg and Ford, both did not like the idea. But Lucas dug in and told them 'this or nothing', which is why so many scripts were written, and why it took so long to get this one made.

(Ford claims that the script they used was the one that convinced him, that it's really great, but I wonder if he just did the math, realized he's 65 years old and that Lucas will not change his mind and let go of his weak idea, and acquiesced.)

(Also, Frank Darabont wrote a script that Spielberg loved and Lucas hated....I think Lucas actually has pretty terrible instincts as a filmmaker, so that might've been the script to go with, and if this Indy sucks I will be sooo disappointed.)
posted by LooseFilter at 11:19 AM on January 4, 2008


I was arguing with some friends recently whether an author gives up ownership of his work when he puts it into the world.

I totally agree with you, once a work of art is out in the world it takes on a life of its own, because people who experience and love that piece of art develop a relationship with it, apart from the artist him/herself. Lucas doesn't get that at all, clearly regards his films (or, "his" films, since a whole bunch of other talented people also worked on all of them) as his to do with what he will.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:23 AM on January 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Why is there a fucking emoticon in a Vanity Fair article?
posted by ColdChef at 11:29 AM on January 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


...and if when this Indy sucks I will be sooo disappointed.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:32 AM on January 4, 2008


When has a 4th movie ever been any good? Ever?!? (Not counting serialized oldies.) I must investigate...

I thought it was a law of moviegoing. Trilogies, we can handle. A fourth movie .... wha?!?!?!
posted by mrgrimm at 11:33 AM on January 4, 2008


The Indy series has succeeded, Lucas believes, largely because of its reliance on well-made stories. “There’s a difference between throwing a puppy on a freeway and watching what happens and constructing a story,” he says.

Coming Summer 2009: Indiana Jones and the Shitzu on the Turnpike
posted by ColdChef at 11:34 AM on January 4, 2008 [7 favorites]


Also, I like the emoticon, and would like to see more in mainstream print rags, but only if they're converted into wacky cartoons, not ASCII. Duh.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:35 AM on January 4, 2008


I was arguing with home friends recently whether an author gives up ownership of his work when he puts it into the world.

Legally, debatable, but practically, of course. You can write all the fanfic you want about "Raiders of the Lost Ark" or a world where C-3PO was not Darth's mom's maid. It's not like God owns the universe. :)
posted by mrgrimm at 11:37 AM on January 4, 2008


I liked Star Trek IV better than 3 or 5

I liked Alien 4 better than 3

in my opinion there's no consistency on 4th movies sucking.
posted by Megafly at 11:39 AM on January 4, 2008


When has a 4th movie ever been any good?

If it weren't for Rocky IV, you fucking Philistine, we'd all be speaking communistese right now.

USA! USA! USA!
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:41 AM on January 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


See also: Leprechaun 4, the only movie in history ever to feature a murderous magical midget emerging from a man's penis.

Dear God, please let that statement be correct. I'm taking sanity loss just considering the alternative.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:45 AM on January 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the article made it sound like the movie would suck. I was hoping we'd see a 'modern' version of the movie, but it sounds like it'll just be slapstick and sillyness. And I think the "MacGuffin" seems pretty silly too.
posted by delmoi at 12:08 PM on January 4, 2008


wow, i thought there'd be a lot more excitement in this thread. i for one am a little disappointed in the macguffin. i'm glad they're going to stick with the "look and feel" of the other three movies. and i understand that since harrison ford has aged, indy must also age, so it couldn't be set in the 30s again. i dunno. i know i was super sad when i found out sean connery wouldn't be back, but it'll be interesting to see how they play up the whole marion thing. i love the series and i hope it's a good movie--i don't want to lose that part of my childhood too.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:19 PM on January 4, 2008


the only movie in history ever to feature a murderous magical midget emerging from a man's penis

ITYM

"a murderous magical midget emerging moistly and maliciously from a man's masculine member."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:21 PM on January 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


One of the best things ever to come out of Raiders of the Lost Ark: Indiana Bum and the Pamphlet of the Dead, by Tracy Bowersox. Saw this at our local indie theater last year. It's great.
posted by cog_nate at 12:29 PM on January 4, 2008


Whatever, Lucas is convinced he won’t please everyone. “I know the critics are going to hate it,” he says. “They already hate it. So there’s nothing we can do about that. They hate the idea that we’re making another one. They’ve already made up their minds.”

At least the legions of Indy geeks will be pleased, right?

“The fans are all upset,” Lucas says. “They’re always going to be upset. ‘Why did he do it like this? And why didn’t he do it like this?’ They write their own movie, and then, if you don’t do their movie, they get upset about it. So you just have to stand by for the bricks and the custard pies, because they’re going to come flying your way.”


So, he knows the critics will hate it, and he knows the fans will hate it. I guess he's going after that demographic of people who don't like Raiders.
posted by poppo at 12:38 PM on January 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


(I realize that was very OT, but I really love it when a kid takes something like that and runs with it. Also, and even more OT: I dated a MacGuffin once.)
posted by cog_nate at 12:39 PM on January 4, 2008


The official title of Raiders of the Lost Ark has been changed to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.


Are you fucking fucking with me? How the fuck can you fucking change the fucking title of a fucking film 25 fucking years later?

EXTRA: Just heard they changed the name of a well-known painting to the Mona Tina. IS NOTHING FUCKING SACRED?
posted by Mister_A at 12:53 PM on January 4, 2008


Call me when they start filming "Indiana Jones and the Search for the Displaced Hip"
posted by AccidentalHedonist at 1:10 PM on January 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


How dare they sully the reputation of the MacGuffin. Hitchcock is spinning in his grave. The idea of the MacGuffin is to make the audience think they are watching one type of movie when all along they've been watching another... North by Northwest isn't about spies, Psycho isn't about the money.
posted by Gungho at 1:41 PM on January 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


There are a bunch of new Indiana Jones Lego sets. Hilariously, the sets' marketing copy never mentions Nazis.
posted by cowbellemoo at 1:51 PM on January 4, 2008


I'd like to see Indiana Jones keep on going.
James Bond style.

Keep making them. Cast a new Indy. New directors. New writers. Some of them are going to suck. Some will be great. Make me one every year or two.

It would be sad if there were only 3 James Bond movies.

Now I'm sure some of you will disagree and say they should have stopped a long time ago. To you I say, lighten up. James Bond movies are fun. And the same could happen with Indy.

Now I'm a HUGE 'Raiders' fan. HUGE. They'll never top it. And somehow it would be sacrilege for someone else to play Indy, but I'll take someone else over no one at all. There's no reason (no good one) to let the character die just because the first movie was so great and no new one will ever live up.
posted by gummo at 1:53 PM on January 4, 2008


I swear to god, if I ever run into George Lucas I will kick the living shit out of him.
posted by padraigin at 2:20 PM on January 4, 2008 [5 favorites]


I'd like to see Indiana Jones keep on going.

I second that, with Star Wars* also, but using the whole Star Wars universe. Another good film or two along those lines would at least make Ep. I-III less of a tragedy. Same for more Indy, and I think that character is certainly big enough to transcend one actor in the role (which it in fact already has, if you count the younger portrayals).


(*-Oops, I mean Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope. There, isn't that all nice and tidy now.)
posted by LooseFilter at 2:25 PM on January 4, 2008


Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Indiana Jones is a much better title.
(What’s the deal with this giant ball? Get OUT! Costanza running to catch the plane “Jerry! Start the engine!”)

Or Raiders of the Lost Ark, now with Indiana Jones!

I think some folks, Lucas in particular, get a real charge out of sticking their balls in people’s collective breakfast cereal now that they’ve got power and stuff because they were marginalized and had to fight for funding. Lucas seems to think he still has to put up a big stink to get his way. Or he just puts up a big stink by rote and if no one kicks, changes it until they do put up a big stink so he can push them down.
Oh, the critics like this version, eh? How about this change then suckers?

I just saw THX-1138. Which I greatly enjoyed when I was younger. Only to find, yup, Lucas pissed in it. Now it’s all “futurely” with this whole external technological world CGIed in.
Well, part of the appeal was the claustrophobic look and feel of the film. Everything was “inside” and closely packed. Not no more. Can’t drive a car in the future without having a big race with a huge highway and Laverne and Shirlyesque schlocky slapstick driving and of course, lots of color in contrast to the near constant white visual ‘hum’ the film has. Had.

I wouldn’t trust Lucas to get me a cup of coffee. He’d give it to me black, see that I like it, and go put lots of creme and sugar and honey and cinnamon and ‘raw’ sugar. This is better- It’s got more stuff, aah, he’s not going to like it anyway *dumps in tapioca pudding*)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:42 PM on January 4, 2008 [6 favorites]


I'm cautiously optimistic because of the way they're filming it and getting Karen Allen to return.

About the Raiders title:
The outer package was retitled Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark to correlate with the film's prequel and sequel. The subsequent DVD release in 2003 features this title as well. The title in the film itself remains unchanged, even in the restored DVD print.
it sounds like it'll just be slapstick and sillyness

Both of which have been part of all the movies so far (especially the second one).

North by Northwest isn't about spies, Psycho isn't about the money
Notorious isn't about uranium in champagne bottles. And it doesn't matter what's in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.

posted by kirkaracha at 4:48 PM on January 4, 2008


And it doesn't matter what's in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.

Completely unrelated, but I saw Ice Station Zebra yesterday (to bask in the presence of Patrick McGoohan) and there's a shot with Ernest Borgnine gazing into the submarine's reactor with the glowy awe coming out and couldn't help but scratch my chin. I do this with everything involving looking into glowy things. It's fun. It's like a new Pandora myth.

Which, now that I think of it, kinda is relevant to the first Indie movie...
posted by cowbellemoo at 5:50 PM on January 4, 2008


LooseFilter writes "I totally agree with you, once a work of art is out in the world it takes on a life of its own, because people who experience and love that piece of art develop a relationship with it, apart from the artist him/herself. Lucas doesn't get that at all, clearly regards his films (or, 'his' films, since a whole bunch of other talented people also worked on all of them) as his to do with what he will."

It's funny. In music, one is almost expected to revise or revisit a popular work. In film, though, mostly it's a narrative, and music isn't really like that. Sometimes you can get away with revising film. I don't mind when this is done, as long as it's for a good reason. Like when Bladerunner was yet again re-edited, finally the way it was intended. The intent is important. What made Lucas' revisions so lame is that he wanted to "enhance" the films with modern effects and trim up the story, partly because he wanted to appeal to a new audience. In that sense, there's very little art or love behind what Lucas did, and he didn't understand that the audience needed him to remain consistent in their memories, reaching back into childhood for many. Kubrick was far better than Lucas ever will be, but there is no need to revisit 2001 to modernize the effects or explain the ending for modern audiences. If you create an epic space opera that appeals to children and becomes embedded in our cultural memory, or a brilliant masterpiece that turns the film world on its ear, then leave it alone already.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:30 PM on January 4, 2008


I think I'm more interested in the piece about the kids doing the shot-for-shot remake of Raiders in the early 80's.

I have a copy of this. It is, hands-down, flat-out, jaw-droppingly amazing.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:45 PM on January 4, 2008


Heard on the radio something thinking it's going to be just like a late Roger Moore Bond film... ie where the action consists of some ageing embarrassment with a turkey wattle neck creaking across a room. Hope I to god he's wrong but I'm starting to get a bad feeling about this.

Rambo IV, of course, WILL ROCK!!!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:52 AM on January 5, 2008


I'm on board for Indy 4 for one reason and one reason only: Karen Allen. I will follow that freckled face anywhere. I don't care if the film sucks. Indy & Marion together again. That's gonna be fun.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:28 PM on January 6, 2008


You know, until the other day I had no idea Alfred Molina was in Raiders.

"No time to argue! You throw me the idol, I throw you the whip!"
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:24 PM on January 8, 2008


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