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The Carletonian

Why Steven Spielberg broke my heart

<r as long as I can remember, I have loved learning about ancient civilizations. At seven years old, for example, I spent hours in the Egyptian and ancient Mesopotamian sections of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Today, my desire to look into humanity’s evolution over the past eight thousand years is as strong as ever. I spent six months on archeological digs while studying abroad in Egypt, and almost had to be physically forced off the digs of Mossada and Maresh while on a trip to Israel so I wouldn’t miss my bus back to town. Therefore, it’s no surprise that I ‘dig’ archaeology, and have found the movies of the Indiana Jones trilogy to be some of my favorites. Although all three movies take an immense amount of artistic liberty with the true stories of ancient history, they were still filled with the notions of human curiosity and the ever-present element of the human psyche that archaeology is built on: finding and understanding the unknown. These searches always fell upon the heroic yet human Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones Jr. (the well-educated and brave archetypal American male who may have not always had the right answer, but was willing to try and even fail so in his efforts). It’s this human connection that has attracted so many people to Dr. Jones and his adventures, which is why so many people – including myself - had such high expectations for the fourth installment of the film series “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

Since its production announcement last fall, I’ve literally counted down to the midnight showing of the film on my calendar. When tickets went on sale, I bought them immediately. So, as my watch struck 12:01 Thursday morning, I was poised in my Eagan movie theater seat, expecting what I anticipated to be the greatest cinematic experience of the year. Two and a half hours later as the credits rolled across the screen, my feelings of anxious expectation and joy had become disappointment and sadness. How could the finale of one of the greatest stories of my generation turn out to be a complete dud? I’ll tell you what I think.

Though I will not tell you what occurs in the movie or give away its plot, I will tell you that while watching the movie I was reminded of two other movies released in the past decade. These were Alien vs. Predator and National Treasure. If you don’t understand that now, you will understand it once you’ve seen the movie. Not only did director Spielberg and executive producer/creator George Lucas completely lose their marbles, but their basic plot and conclusion were so extremely ridiculous I forgot I was watching Indiana Jones, and thought I was watching a made-for-TV movie for the SciFi Channel. I understood that the final film was going to be different from the first three, but not to the extent that I didn’t recognize the characters or the point of the film. Though I thought various references to the first three films were cute, I have come to the conclusion that this fourth installment should not have been made. The series should have ended with Indy, his father, Sallah and silly Marcus, riding into the sunset after leaving Petra. Now, we are left with a cheap, cliché storyline, with little to no room for awe or anticipation for Indy’s future. Spielberg and Lucas should have quit while they were ahead, and I desperately hope that future generations are not turned off from the first three movies just because the fourth was terrible. So terrible that I am also changing my Indiana Jones ring tone. Spielberg and Lucas broke my cinematic heart, and I doubt this wound will heal with time.

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