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May 25, 2008


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Nicely parsed, Bryan, but I don't think it's quite fair. I think the movie tries to be a tribute to the wacky movies of our youth, and if the first couple were the Saturday serials, this one, based in the Fifties due to Ford's age, has to be a drive in movie.
And they all were Reds under the bed/saucer men allegories. Unless there were giant chickens in them.

So, that said, there are elements of the film that are icky and that I believe are meant to be...the Russians kill the natives who are indeed buglike. The Russian scientist isn't killed because she wants to know more, she is killed because she greedily wants to know ALL. It's a very anti-communist flavoured element.

The part that troubled me was the "you don't need to go to school unless you're MY kid" meme. There was a hail fellow well met element to the fixing motorcycles is fine as long as that's what you want to do, that was wiped out entirely in the aftermath.


Thanks for this, Bryan. It's good to know that I'm not alone in my opinion of Spielberg. I've not seen (and probably won't see) the latest Indy movie. The last Spielberg film I watched voluntarily was Jurassic Park.

I think it's trivial (but fun!) to pick apart the scientific errors and racism in Spielberg's films. After all, there are plenty of scientifically dubious and morally reprehensible movies I adore. I think my dislike of Spielberg goes more to his use of emotional manipulation and anti-intellectualism. Of course, he wouldn't be able to pull any of that off if he weren't a virtuousic filmmaker. At least when I watch a Jess Franco film, I feel like I'm hanging around getting drunk with an old reprobate. There's no illusions there.

Does it count as a Godwin's Law violation if I say that Spielberg reminds me of Riefenstahl?

Also, thanks for the links. Ethnography.com is going in my RSS feed, and now I want to read The Royal Way.


Get a grip. It's just a movie for crying out loud. What makes you think that Spielberg or any one else's personal opinions are written into the movie. It's just meant to be entertainment. I never once saw any thing that said the movie was based on fact or any ones belief. I hate people who think they are movie critics because what makes them think they are experts at what is or isn't a good movie. It's just one persons like or dislike for a movie is all it amounts to. I think the box office sales say more about how good the movie is then this jerks opinion. Here's some advice for all you wanna be movie critics. Why don't you start criticizing fact based movies and documentaries instead of fiction movies.

Bryan Alexander

Greetings, Janice! Nice comment, for which I have a few thoughts.

I agree that anti-communism is clearly the old theme being rehashed. Reminds me not only of the classic giant bug movies, but also of the George Pal War of the Worlds, with its bizarre Christian finale.

But I'm not so sure the film was that coherent. Remember the opening scenes, which make nuclear weapons scary, rather that worthy of pride. Recall the profs worrying about the Red Scare, not to mention the bad, too-suspicious, even unpatriotic FBI agents. The movie doesn't try to integrate these two different approaches.

Moreover, there's a hefty amount of different sf and pulp to draw on from that period, which doesn't aim for the same racist and/or colonialist and/or reactionarily anticommunist tropes. The Day the Earth Stood Still, for example, or some of the great EC and other horror and crime comics.

The bit about Mutt and school was definitely bad. A clearly class-based bias - something about which Spielberg is typically clueless.

Bryan Alexander

I'm glad to know we share a dislike of Spielborg's emotional tyranny, HP.

And let me know what you think of that Malraux. I taught a few pages from it, once, during a Vietnam war class.

Rick, I'm curious: if it's just a movie, why do you take time to read my post about it, then write up a 134-word reply?


Let's not forget the woman who spared Indiana the tedium of raising his child and then happily marries him when all the work is done.

An entire generation of women's relationships were shaped by the archetype of the handsome rogue as being more desirable than the "dull" stay at home nerd. And now we discover that we need only wait till he's in his sixties to develop enough maturity to marry the girl and be responsible for his own kid.

And before someone jumps all over me about how Miriam didn't mention her pregnancy to Indy, remember that the backstory is he left her two days before the wedding and didn't write for a year. This was pre-birth control, remember? In Britain, there were still lawsuites over this kind of thing. Woman has sex with intended before wedding. Man decides to flee before wedding. This was called "Breach of Promise"

So poor Miriam is stuck with illegitmate child and some other man agrees to marry her. Perhaps because he likes her. Perhaps he merely feels sorry for her--or perhaps Miriam slept with him quick and told him *he* knocked her up. He gets killed in the war so at least Miriam is a war widow rather than the mother of a bastard

Mutt would be well within his rights to beat the hell out of his absentee father and lock his mom up in her room till she comes to her senses.

Juan Carlos

I was looking for Mark Seven bag originally used in WW2 by Britians. This is same of its kind used in all Indiana Jones Movies. Finally I ordered from http://indianajonesbag.com but not sure of strap included it, it is too short. Have someone idea to find some larger size? Any suggestion will be great help.


Quite nicely written actually, i like it. :)

Yaroslave L.

Indiana jones - the last one (or not?)- was in tune with the rest of them. I thought it was decent.

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