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Tag: Indiana Jones (11-20 of 53)

This Week's Cover: When Bond Met Indy

How do you interview tough guys like Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig? Carefully, very carefully. It also helps if you bring their Cowboys & Aliens director Jon Favreau in on the conversation. Last week, the three men sat down with EW at a ranch in Montana to discuss their upcoming genre-mashing sci-fi-western about extraterrestrials invading New Mexico in the 1870s. “A journey of redemption,” Craig calls the film, which is a lot more serious than its title suggests (it was produced by an all-star team of heavyweights, including Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and Brian Grazer).

Beyond space invaders, the three amigos talk about everything from wearing chaps, to getting older, to their famous franchises. READ FULL STORY

Grab your whip and fedora, 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' hits 30

In 1975, Steven Spielberg invented the summer blockbuster with Jaws. Only two years later, George Lucas perfected it with Star Wars. And then, the two filmmakers combined their forces and beards to come up with an idea they thought would change movies forever: giant sharks in space. Then they quickly scrapped that idea in favor of Raiders of the Lost Ark, an action-adventure film that would resurrect the spectacle of early film serials combined with enough action and humor to melt the audience’s faces off.

Tomorrow marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Raiders. That’s three decades since Harrison Ford first dodged that rolling boulder, and I’m going to celebrate by watching the whole trilogy-plus-one on DVD. That’s right, even Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. That’s just how dedicated I am. It’s an especially good weekend for it since the Indy movies are really the only Spielberg films not referenced in Super 8. Well, also Amistad, I’m guessing.

There’s almost no franchise I can think of that is as much unadulterated fun. Whereas the Pirates of the Caribbean movieswhich owe a clear debt to Indiana Jones’ mix of rousing action and roguish humor—get bogged down and bloated in extraneous plotlines and nonsensical character motivations, the first three Indy films are great examples of wonderfully simple, instantly memorable storytelling. From Alfred Molina dying straight through to the iconic, strangely ominous final shot of the government warehouse, the original Raiders is essentially a perfect work of pure pulp entertainment, a type of movie even rarer than those considered “cinematic masterpieces.” In fact, it’s so rare that it belongs in a museum.

And that’s true even if you think they nuked the fridge with the fourth film and if news that a fifth one may be on the way makes you want to let out a Wilhelm scream. So how are you going to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Raiders? Don’t choose…poorly.

Who was the real Indiana Jones? -- EXCLUSIVE

Almost from the day Raiders of the Lost Ark premiered 30 years ago on June 12, 1981, fans have speculated about who the real-life model for Indiana Jones had been. While researching his forthcoming book, Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time (June 30; Dutton) journalist Mark Adams (brother of EW editor Jason Adams) investigated the background of one of the prime suspects — a dashing young Yale history professor, Hiram Bingham III, who found the ruins of Machu Picchu nearly 100 years ago. Here is an exclusive excerpt from the book:  READ FULL STORY

If Johnny Depp had been Indiana Jones...

Ever wonder what Indiana Jones would’ve looked like if Johnny Depp had taken the whip from Harrison Ford? At the Russian premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Depp seemed to be channeling Dr. Jones with the same pizazz that made Capt. Jack Sparrow the most hip pirate on the high seas. Take a look and imagine the possibilities… READ FULL STORY

Shia LaBeouf on 'Indiana Jones IV': 'When you drop the ball, you drop the ball.'

People in Hollywood don’t usually admit mistakes. But there are exceptions. Just this weekend, Shia LaBeouf broke the Hollywood cone of silence and provided some minor closure on one of the darkest episodes in American history. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, the actor apologetically admitted that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was not exactly the greatest movie ever.

To me, LaBeouf’s comments don’t sound remotely diva-ish. He notes his own responsibility for the film, saying, “You can blame it on the writer and you can blame it on Steven [Spielberg]. But the actor’s job is to make it come alive and make it work, and I couldn’t do it.” (Considering that he’s talking about the scene where his character swings through the treetops with monkeys, I think he’s being a bit hard on himself.) He also insists on having a tremendous amount of respect for Steven Spielberg: “He’s done so much great work that there’s no need for him to feel vulnerable about one film. But when you drop the ball you drop the ball.” (Spielberg’s camp issued no comment to EW.)

PopWatchers, how do you feel about LaBeouf’s admission? Does anyone else find it noteworthy that he mentions Spielberg and co-star Harrison Ford, but doesn’t say a word about producer (and skull-enthusiast) George Lucas? And do you think it’s admirable for such a young actor to go on the record against Steven Freaking Spielberg, or do you think LaBeouf is stabbing his coworkers in the back? And does anyone out there really like Crystal Skull? (My brother does, but he also likes Temple of Doom, which proves mental illness runs in my family.)

'Indiana Jones 5'? I'm not sure I'm ready.

Indiana-jones_l Though it grossed more than $786 million worldwide, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is better remembered for “nuking the fridge” and inspiring a crudely irreverent South Park episode that depicted Steven Spielberg and George Lucas treating Indiana Jones like Jodie Foster in The Accused. So consider me less than giddy now that Shia LaBeouf has told the BBC that Spielberg had “cracked the story” for a fifth Indiana Jones adventure and that they would soon be “gearing that up.” Lucas is already on the record contemplating a fifth film that would “make Shia the lead character…and have Harrison Ford come back like Sean Connery did in [The Last Crusade].” Cripes! But a fifth film is going to happen whether we like it or not, so let’s make the best of it by offering a few suggestions:

1) Bring back the Nazis: They’re Indy’s Lex Luthor. Communists, even seductive Pinkos with leather fetishes, simply don’t compare.
2) Call Lawrence Kasdan and Frank Darabont: Kasdan penned the original Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Darabont’s discarded script for the fourth film sounded a heck of a lot more promising than the ultimate  plotline about…aliens.
3) Send Marion packing: No one was more thrilled for the Indiana-Marion reunion, but whatever chemistry they had in Nepal is long gone. Their slapstick scenes together in Crystal Skull set the wrong tone for the entire film.
4) I know it’s not going to happen (yet), but…Reboot. No Shia. No Harrison. Handpick a dashing young Indy, and show me his first adult adventure, his initial work with Abner Ravenwood, and his initial romance with Marion. Bridge the gap between The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and Temple of Doom (which chronologically is set before Raiders).
4a) Since I’ve already committed blasphemy, let me further suggest that future films might also benefit from a different director. “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage,” Indiana once said.  Spielberg can still produce, but this franchise needs a jolt. Paging Christopher Nolan.

How did you feel about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, PopWatchers? Would more father-son bonding and UFO intrigue in a fifth film please or offend you? Would you prefer the inevitable Indiana Jones reboot now? What young actor do you envision wearing that fedora and who would you like to see direct?

More on 'Indiana Jones'
Lisa Schwarzbaum's B-review of 'Crystal Skull'
'Indiana Jones 4' Q&A: Shia LaBeouf
Fact-checking 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'

addCredit("David James ")

Indiana Jones' new Wii game: An exclusive look!

Sure, 2008 was a banner year for Indiana Jones fans, but Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was, to put it kindly, the fourth best Indy film, and Lego Indiana Jones was a cute rehash of the original trilogy that skewed toward the younger set. Redemption may be just around the corner: This summer LucasArts whips up Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings, a brand new adventure on the Wii.

Releasing on June 9, this game has a serpentine backstory. It started out in 2006 as a next-gen Xbox 360/PS3 game powered by a new 3D technology called Euphoria. The demo I saw showed a fight sequence with Indy atop a moving cable car in San Francisco. It looked tantalizing but that game was canceled; LucasArts officially says it was a "strategic business decision" to stop work on the title. The project eventually evolved into Staff of Kings, which includes bits from the more advanced PS3/Xbox 360 version (including the cable car scene) but runs on the less powerful Wii console.

While it’s still not quite the true next-gen Indy payout gamers have been clamoring for, it’s shaping up to be a satisfying chaser after last summer’s Indy binge. LucasArts provided us with this exclusive web documentary, which goes into more detail about the game’s production.

How about it PopWatchers: Are you looking forward to some more Indy action?

James Bond is saving the global box office: I'm shaken!

Quantumofsolace02_lIn case you haven’t heard, one bit of big news that came out of the movie industry’s annual Las Vegas convention, ShoWest, today was that foreign box office receipts now make up 65 percent of Hollywood’s global theatrical revenues. Sixty-five percent! That’s almost two-thirds! That means that what we here in the U.S. and Canada spend amounts to a fractional one-third of the average movie’s worldwide take! Whoa!

Why should we care? The time-tested theory has it that in catering more and more to an international crowd, Hollywood is placing its bets on movies that can be appreciated by the broadest possible audience (i.e. films overloaded with gunfights, special effects, and superheroes) and giving up on straight dramas and smart comedies (whose themes and jokes tend to get lost in translation). A quick scan of 2008’s top box office earners bears that out: Big winners like Quantum of Solace (which earned 71 percent of its global box office overseas), Indiana Jones 4 (60 percent), and Mamma Mia! (76 percent) relied heavily on foreign crowds to boost the bottom line; perceived disappointments like The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (66 percent) were saved by money earned elsewhere; and hit domestic comedies like Step Brothers (22 percent) and Pineapple Express (14 percent) struggled internationally. Of course, studios are still making funny films like Pineapple Express, but I can report that my hunt for a basic drama that even closely resembles, say, 1988’s Best Picture, Rain Man (which grossed $354.8 mil worldwide…in 1988 dollars!) turned up nil. (Closest thing I could find was the giant-visual-effect-disguised-as-drama The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.)

So, okay, point proven. But lemme try this on you: Perhaps we should just get used to the fact that dinosaurs like Rain Man are extinct, and we should be glad that James Bond and Indiana Jones and their friends are propping up the box office. After all, domestic attendance declined in 2008 (although it has rebounded in 2009, so far), domestic receipts were basically flat, and Hollywood should be glad it has any good news to report in the current economic climate. What do you think? Should we just embrace this trend and be glad that, at the very least, there’s something playing in the multiplex? Or do you want more Rain Mans?


addCredit(“Karen Ballard”)

Indiana Jones, Wonder Woman, Frodo Baggins: Who's your favorite pop-culture hero?

Indianajonesford_lAre you — much like Bonnie Tyler — holding out for a hero? We certainly are: For an upcoming issue, Entertainment Weekly will be compiling a list of the top 20 heroes in pop culture, past and present. But we also want to know, who are your top do-gooders? Indiana Jones? Luke Skywalker? Neo? The Little Mermaid? Wolverine? They could be from movies, TV, books, or comic books. So write your picks below, even if they’ve already been suggested: We’re going to compile the top vote-getters and announce them in the issue. (And we know what you’re thinking: "My mom or dad is my real hero." That’s all fine, but come on: Do they have a utility belt, bullwhip, or ability to save a roomful of hostages? We thought not. Let’s go for the biggies.)

Let’s hear your suggestions!

addCredit(“Everett Collection”)

Indiana Jones: A rare look inside the genesis of the films

Indie_l What may be a holy grail of Indiana Jones artifacts was posted online on Monday: a 125-page transcript of the original story-conference meeting involving producer George Lucas, director Steven Spielberg, and writer Lawrence Kasdan. The blog, Mystery Man on Film, somehow got its hands on the alleged transcript, which features the filmmakers talking at great length in January 1978 about what would eventually become Raiders of the Lost Ark. The thing’s a pure joy to read. In it, you can find the genesis of everything from Indiana Jones’ name to his fear of snakes to his (possibly risque) romantic history with Marion Ravenwood.

One of my favorite moments in the transcript occurs when Spielberg is repeatedly transfixed with making Raiders‘ famous opening rolling-boulder-chase sequence feel like a Disneyland ride. "What we’re just doing here, really, is designing a ride at Disneyland," Spielberg says on page 15. And guess what happened 17 years later, in 1995? Disneyland opened an Indiana Jones ride, or should I say, an amusement-park ride based on a movie based on an amusement-park ride. It’s postmodernism at its best!

EW called Lucasfilm for a comment, and a representative declined to give one, but did point out that parts of the document previously appeared in the book The Complete Making of Indiana Jones. But what do you think? Does the transcript appear genuine to you? Which of the three filmmakers seemed the savviest in their conversations? And how different would the world have been if the character wound up being called Indiana Smith, as Lucas initially envisioned?

addCredit(“Everett Collection”)

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