The latest issue of Vanity Fair, which has always had a good relationship with Lucasfilm as witnessed by their sneak-peek pictorials from the three Star Wars prequel films, has a feature article on the upcoming Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skulls. And of course, it is illustrated with a few new photos taken on the set. (Click to make bigger.)
Despite George Lucas and Steven Spielberg’s attempts at keeping the film’s plotlines a secret, there are a few minor, though oblique spoilers. When discussing the film’s 1950s setting – demanded by star Harrison Ford’s advancing age, more than anything – Lucas notes-
I looked around and I said, ‘Well, maybe we shouldn’t do a 30s serial, because now we’re in the 50s. What is the same kind of cheesy-entertainment action movie, what was the secret B movie, of the 50s?’ So instead of doing a 30s Republic serial, we’re doing a B science-fiction movie from the 50s. The ones I’m talking about are, like, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Blob, The Thing.
The below photo shows off Karen Allen, reprising her Raiders Of The Lost Ark role of love interest Marion Ravenwood, and Shia LaBeouf, whose character still remains unnamed, posing in a warehouse set that certainly looks mightily familiar…
This photo, however, does confirm that Cate Blanchett will indeed be playing a Soviet Union spy Agent Spalko.
And finally, here’s the cover art for Dark Horse Comics’s upcoming adaptation of Kingdom Of The Crystal Skulls by artist Steve Anderson, courtesy of The Raider.net. I guess there are a few spoilers in the image- for example, LaBeouf wielding a sword and switchblade. And just what is that supposed to be behind Indy’s head?
I have to admit, though, one part of the Vanity Fair article that particularly annoyed me, was Lucas’s seemingly defeatist attitude when it comes to how he thinks the new movie will be accepted by both audiences and critics.
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.’
I’m sorry, George, but you’re wrong here. The worst that I’ve seen in the online press – and I go through a lot of it each day – has been at worst, cautiously optimistic about this film. I don’t think it is fair to say that critics, online or print, have made up their minds yet about this new movie. Certainly, I think, everyone wants it to be good, if not great. The Indiana Jones franchise is just about universally loved, so I can’t think why one would suspect that everyone is rooting for this new installment to fail.
Now granted, Lucas received a lot of internet flack for the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Some of it was deserved, some of it not. A majority of the criticism leveled at those films centered more on technical aspects and the fact that Lucas seemed to be straying from some of the core themes of the original Star Wars films than that the story was different from what fans were expecting. But whatever criticisms can be leveled at those films strictly can and should be shouldered by Lucas alone as he was the final arbiter of what they would be.
So, while it is understandable that he might be gun shy about criticism, he needs to realize that for Kingdom Of The Crystal Skulls, he is not the sole driver behind the wheel. Both Spielberg and Harrison Ford had to agree to the script before production became a reality. The process of developing a new Indiana Jones film has taken over ten years, multiple writers and versions of the script before all three major players could agree on a screenplay. If the film stinks, it won’t be for lack of trying and there will be three folks there to shoulder the blame. However, I think that both Spielberg and Ford have enough of a personal stake in wanting Indian Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skulls to be the best film possible that they would not have agreed unless the script and the resultant film was going to be the best that it could be.