Revisiting the Site: Even if a Movie isn't Great, At Least the Creative Process is Almost Always Riveting

 (CS: An Indiana Jones movie is on its way this year. It seems appropriate to revisit this short piece originally posted on Feburary 13th, 2019.)

I get that it isn't cool to like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. To be honest, I remember almost nothing about the movie since I only saw it once right after it came out on video. I remember not loving it but also already being aware of the hate for it, it turned out better than my expectations. Everett on the other hand has seen it recently and adores it, but you should also understand he is seven and loves everything Indiana Jones. I think this one has a soft spot for him, because he got to see it with his grandparents. (CS: He has since stated it is his least favourite one, but I wonder if this is due to him catching 'whiff' of its reputations online.)

Even if it isn't the most beloved of the series, I found Adam Chitwood's piece on Collider about the long development process of the movie to be fascinating. The movie was in the planning stages since the early '90s and for whatever reasons, George Lucas was obsessed with the idea that Indiana had to battle aliens. (CS: Apparently, Lucas' original plan for the sequel of Raiders of the Lost Ark was to have Indy in a haunted house, So, having the archeologist adventurer thrown into different genres was clearly a thing the producer wanted from the start.)  I get that the original three movies was a homage to the 1930s and 1940s adventure serials, but not really sure why they needed this iconic character to be in a homage to the 1950s creature features and alien invasion B-movies. It seems like Lucas' attachment to that concept may be part of the reason it took so long for the movie to start being filmed, because Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford were less than thrilled with it.

Despite what we ended up getting, I'd say at least it wasn't our whip-cracking hero up against Martians like the original concept seemed to promise. Though to be fair, the series has always been heavily influenced by pulp with plots revolving around magic rocks and spirits that can melt your face. It was never intended to be grounded in reality. (CS: Of all the criticisms of the fourth movie, the sci-fi elements seem the most tone deaf to wage against a picture that is part of a series that already has ghosts, beating hearts in a hand, and immortal knights as major parts of the story.)

The most fascinating thing to me is seeing how long it took to develop the film and how it evolved over almost two decades before it was released. It went through several different screenwriters and each one seemed to contribute since parts of their scripts made it to the final production, but there was only one screenwriter credit in the end. I also find it fascinating that since Spielberg is the lone director of this series that we always see it as his baby, but it becomes clear from this article that Lucas may have had a stronger hand in all the actual stories in the series. It is a reminder that when we heap blame or praise on a filmmaker or writer that there may be several uncredited factors and individuals. (CS: The creative process and journey to a finished product is one of the most fascinating things in the world to me. I want to write a book about such a thing, but I need to choose what movie or what stance to take on such a daunting subject.)

The piece really demonstrate how much work it takes and how it is a miracle for any movie to finally get released. It is easy to be critical of a plot or disparage a movie for its budget or find numerous issues, but the reality is, there are so any moving parts that make it near impossible for any movie to come together. It happens all the time so we take it for granted, but I really love reading or hearing about these peeks behind the curtain to learn about how the process unfolds. (CS: This is one of the many reasons that I am leaning more and more towards retiring the annual 'Breakdown of Worst of' episode.) 

The movie may not be great but the development history is gripping and a nice lesson in the challenges of movie making magic.