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tpigeon

Does "The Adventures of Mutt" work?

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I've been thinking about this for a while. The jungle chase in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is such a frustrating sequence. I want to love it, and although it has a number of good elements it ultimately is too disjointed and needlessly infantile. One of these infantile moments is (of course) when Mutt is taking crotch shots from plants. But hold your thoughts on that for one moment; even if the crotch shot and Tarzan sequences were excised / improved, the whole chase still wouldn't feel right. And I can't help but think that John Williams had a lot to do with it by adding his "Adventures of Mutt" theme. The music is too flighty and non-threatening, and it feels totally out of place in the scene. I know the scenario is ridiculous, but shouldn't we be feeling some kind of tension or suspense when a hero and villain are dueling on moving cars? Williams rarely outright misses the mark in terms how the music interacts with the action, but here he may have been way off.

Thoughts?

Ted

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The music is too flighty and non-threatening, and it feels totally out of place in the scene. I know the scenario is ridiculous, but shouldn't we be feeling some kind of tension or suspense when a hero and villain are dueling on moving cars? Williams rarely outright misses the mark in terms how the music interacts with the action, but here he may have been way off.
The piece is great.

Agree with both. Great fun on its own, but way too light and jaunty for the scene.

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I've been thinking about this for a while. The jungle chase in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is such a frustrating sequence. I want to love it, and although it has a number of good elements it ultimately is too disjointed and needlessly infantile. One of these infantile moments is (of course) when Mutt is taking crotch shots from plants. But hold your thoughts on that for one moment; even if the crotch shot and Tarzan sequences were excised / improved, the whole chase still wouldn't feel right. And I can't help but think that John Williams had a lot to do with it by adding his "Adventures of Mutt" theme. The music is too flighty and non-threatening, and it feels totally out of place in the scene. I know the scenario is ridiculous, but shouldn't we be feeling some kind of tension or suspense when a hero and villain are dueling on moving cars? Williams rarely outright misses the mark in terms how the music interacts with the action, but here he may have been way off.

Thoughts?

Ted

The scene could have been constructed better (mainly the SFX), but the musical piece DOES indeed work. It's great, I love it.

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Meh, it didn't bother me. It's okay to have adventure and excitement without the sense of peril sometimes.

- Datameister, who nevertheless LOVES the subtle sense of dread that the music builds throughout Raiders, for instance.

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A BIG FAT NO. It is the worst thing to happen to Indiana Jones since being entombed in the Well of Souls.

Way to undermine the vague tension of the jungle chase...

I've said it sucks since day one. I don't care how "technically" superior it is, or how great a standalone cue it might be; in the movie it mostly SUCKS.

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A BIG FAT NO. It is the worst thing to happen to Indiana Jones since being entombed in the Well of Souls.

Way to undermine the vague tension of the jungle chase...

Well, that scene was clearly meant as a kind of comic relief, even without the music.

JW just went along with it (or maybe Spielberg told him how to score it).

I think the music is fitting. Jungle Chase (the scene) cannot be compared to Desert Chase, IMO.

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The only tense moment in the entire cue for me is the final minute or so with the militaristic sounding part.

Apart from that, I listen to it as just a tremendously fun action cue, so yes, in a way I think Williams perhaps misjudged the approach (or Spielberg just gave inaccurate direction).

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Because of the music, the Jungle chase as a sequence, is a joke.

It's the dumb humor, unrealistic situation, and hit-and-miss visual effects that contribute to its jokelikeness for me, not the music.

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The piece is great

And it fits the scenes it scores.

What is the need of ultra-tension? Its mostly a cat & mouse game with the skull. From the moment there are no guns, its a sword duel, Mutt seems to be good at it so i did not fear he was going to be killed or something.

Was there any tension needed on Robin hood? It had an evil tyrant prince, still, it was a lighthearted film and the score fits it.

Do i have to mention 'The Pen is mightier than the sword' moment from Last crusade?

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Because of the music, the Jungle chase as a sequence, is a joke.

It's the dumb humor, unrealistic situation, and hit-and-miss visual effects that contribute to its jokelikeness for me, not the music.

Of course all of those things are true, but the spotting session was the nail in the coffin.

I'm used to JW making a substandard scene work better, not even worse.

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Spielberg just gave inaccurate direction.

Because of the music, the Jungle chase as a sequence, is a joke.

So you think if the music had been different, the scene would have come off tense and suspenseful?

I don't think so.

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This is one of those JW cues that really seems to divide us. I hear the argument for its achievement as a standalone piece, but I'm trying to consider it in relation to the visuals from the scene. And to me, the scene (and likewise the movie) is mostly a failed opportunity. It should have been tense and exciting, but it just falls apart.

Spielberg just gave inaccurate direction.

Because of the music, the Jungle chase as a sequence, is a joke.

So you think if the music had been different, the scene would have come off tense and suspenseful?

I don't think so.

Sometimes I wonder though. Action music (especially Williams') can really dictate the flow and feeling of a big sequence.

Ted

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So you think if the music had been different, the scene would have come off tense and suspenseful?

I think a better composition tonally, may have have helped to gloss over at least the sequence's worst offenders.

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This is one of those JW cues that really seems to divide us. I hear the argument for its achievement as a standalone piece, but I'm trying to consider it in relation to the visuals from the scene. And to me, the scene (and likewise the movie) is mostly a failed opportunity. It should have been tense and exciting, but it just falls apart.

Ted

Spielberg just gave inaccurate direction.

Because of the music, the Jungle chase as a sequence, is a joke.

So you think if the music had been different, the scene would have come off tense and suspenseful?

I don't think so.

Sometimes I wonder though. Action music (especially Williams') can really dictate the flow and feeling of a big sequence.

Ted

Well, here, Spielberg clearly MEANT it to be more comedic than suspenseful.

JW just scored it accordingly. I don't think we can blame Williams here. You can blame Spielberg (or Koepp or most likely Georgie).

So you think if the music had been different, the scene would have come off tense and suspenseful?

I think a better composition tonally, may have have helped to gloss over at least the sequence's worst offenders.

Possibly yes. However, I have a strong feeling that Spielberg told JW how to score that scene.

Except for this and the monkey-scene, The Jungle Chase HAS been scored VERY tensely and suspensefully after all.

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Josh's eternally tiresome fanboy defence of JW = :sleepy:

Possibly yes. However, I have a strong feeling that Spielberg told JW how to score that scene.

And guess what: They BOTH got it wrong, as I said a few posts up this page.

To suggest that Williams doesn't serve as a post production creative director of sorts, is ludicrous.

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Josh's eternally tiresome fanboy defence of JW = :sleepy:

Think whatever you want.

But that's my honest opinion.

Josh's eternally tiresome fanboy defence of JW = :sleepy:
Possibly yes. However, I have a strong feeling that Spielberg told JW how to score that scene.

And guess what: They BOTH got it wrong. As I said a few posts up this page.

WRONG?

Sorry, but you have no idea what you're talking about, do you? There is no right or wrong here. :sleepy:

Many people like that scene after all. You just don't. That's all there is to it.

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Fair enough on the like/dislike factor.

I have however edited a previous post on the first page (my last post), which I think further explains my viewpoint.

To put it as straightforward as I possibly can: JW's Mutt music during the Jungle Chase makes the movie feel like a kids flick. None of the previous Indy movies were exclusively kids movies, yet JW's terrible film music makes it seem that way in Indy IV. He scores an Indiana Jones movie action sequence as if it were produced by Walt Disney.

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All the relation (and criticism) between 'The Adventures of Mutt' and the Mokey-wine swinging scens should be eliminated to rate this piece, as they are wrong.

The piece does not play in any of those scenes. Mutt's theme does.

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A nice cue but totally wrong when it comes to Indiana Jones. And the transition to the cue in the Jungle Chase feels like Williams said "what the hell I'll just paste this bit of music in here".

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See:
Mutt music

Above.

:sleepy:

Yes it was your intention to speak about all mutt music and not just Adventures of mutt (what is the theme of the thread) from the very beggining:

A BIG FAT NO. It is the worst thing to happen to Indiana Jones since being entombed in the Well of Souls.

Way to undermine the vague tension of the jungle chase...

I've said it sucks since day one. I don't care how "technically" superior it is, or how great a standalone cue it might be; in the movie it mostly SUCKS.

And The rest mutt music is a slightly altered Raiders march. The other (monkey first scene) music is so short and harmless that i dont know how can it ruin anything...

And Another example from the OT:

The basket game.

A comical cue that scores the tension indy is feeling about Marion's kidnaping and DEATH.

Spot on Scoring... (or that is what happens when you over-analyse things in order to find faults?)

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Now that you mention, it probably is too light and nonthreatening for the scene (which I don't think it all Williams' fault). But the piece is still some good fun. It's doesn't bother me that much.

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Another example from the OT:

The basket game.

A comical cue that scores the tension indy is feeling about Marion's kidnaping and DEATH.

Spot on Scoring... (or that is what happens when you over-analyse things in order to find faults?)

That's all wonderful and dreamy, but you're forgetting two vital things: The Basket Game scene WORKS. The score for that scene WORKS.

To compare anything from KOTCS to Raiders is like comparing mutton to silk.

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To compare anything from KOTCS to Raiders is like comparing mutton to silk.

I'm just using the same argument used to diminish the KOTCS piece, but for a Raiders cue, and its valid, very valid. (as Valid as your opinion, I mean...)

That's all wonderful and dreamy, but you're forgetting two vital things: The Basket Game scene WORKS. The score for that scene WORKS.

It works because it was filmed 28 years ago, and it is not a scene of 2008's KOTCS.

Raiders is and excellent soundtrack, just in case someone is reading me wrong

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It works because it was filmed 28 years ago, and it is not a scene of 2008's KOTCS.

Okay.

Gladiator's score works because it was filmed a few years ago and it isn't Dungeons and Dragons.

"The Basket Game" works in ROTLA

"The Adventures of Mutt" works in KOTCS

Imo.

Yay!

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It works because it was filmed 28 years ago, and it is not a scene of 2008's KOTCS.

Okay.

Gladiator's score works because it was filmed a few years ago and it isn't Dungeons and Dragons.

Do you mean that if the movie is critically acclaimed, the score by definition, works, regardless of its quality?

OK but i'm not sure that is a 'good' point to use for Raiders.

And really Making the paralelism between Gladiator and Raiders (that a low hit) and D&D to KOTCS, is not talking about about mutton and silk, its between garbage and platinum.

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That's all wonderful and dreamy, but you're forgetting two vital things: The Basket Game scene WORKS. The score for that scene WORKS.

That's all wonderfully compelling, but you're forgetting two even more vital things: The Jungle Chase scene WORKS. The score for that scene WORKS.

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Haha, like "The Basket Game" is the same as "The Jungle Chase" because both scenes are comedic. Of course not. There are many kinds of comedy. If "The Basket Game" was like "The Jungle Chase," instead of shooting the Arab swordsman, Indy would have had a full fledged sword duel with him, full of impossible stunts. Then he would have tripped and fallen into a townsperson, who in turn would have tripped and hit another townsperson and so on and so on until a domino effect took place and crushed the swordsman. That's the George Lucas of 2008 for you.

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Haha, like "The Basket Game" is the same as "The Jungle Chase" because both scenes are comedic. Of course not. There are many kinds of comedy. If "The Basket Game" was like "The Jungle Chase," instead of shooting the Arab swordsman, Indy would have had a full fledged sword duel with him, full of impossible stunts. Then he would have tripped and fallen into a townsperson, who in turn would have tripped and hit another townsperson and so on and so on until a domino effect took place and crushed the swordsman. That's the George Lucas of 2008 for you.

But the point is that both scenes have aspects of theme that are filled with tension, but because of the music we don't feel that tension.

I think it works great in both instances.

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I feel tension toward the end, once they arrive at the truck. Before that, a lot of it is significantly more lighthearted than the jungle chase cues.

By the way, in case there was any confusion, I didn't mean to imply that those two sequences were comparable in quality. I'm one of those guys who thinks Raiders is nigh untouchable in just about any category imaginable, and as much as I enjoyed KOTCS on the whole, there's not a doubt in my mind which one is the "better" film.

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It works to make the scene more gleefuly adventurous. It doesn't function as suspense music, nor does it have to. We see Shia getting hit in the groin repeatedly by sunflowers. The scene itself should have gotten cut down before scoring IMO, but serious music would have just made Spielberg look like an idiot, whereas now it is just boffo nostalgia.

Think about how you felt when the fart scene in TPM was scored with Flag Parade. On the one hand, it is good Williams ignored the tone Lucas set, but on the other, the score is in contempt of the film. If you think of it that way, it is completely hysterical to think of JW just completely blocking out what he was seeing.

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I think it definitely fit the scene well. Its more a question whether you like the scene itself in the first place.

While I understand everybody who thinks the music is inappropriate, I don't necessarily agree.

That scene where Mutt suddenly starts fencing with Irina is a shift in tone, I would say... it was tense before, but this is clearly meant to be funny more than anything else. I watched that scene last night, and noticed a couple of things that support this notion: Marion "teaching" him how to fence correctly even while she's driving and the plants hitting Mutt's crotch repeatedly. So I think the scene is scored appropriately.

That said, I think KotCS tends to go overboard with the comedy in places.

Also, this scene of Mutt and Irina fencing reminded me slightly of the Mine Cart Chase in ToD--especially the scene where Indy and the villains engage in a game of tug-of-war using Shorty. Now, if you think about it, this latter has also an element of comedy (as evidenced by JW's track Mine Cart Chase, which is quite hilarious), only it managed to juggle "funny" and "suspenseful" much more successfully than the infamous fencing scene in KotCS.

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As far as the stand-alone track "The Adventures of Mutt" is concerned, it is a very good piece of music.

However, despite the Raiders March statements in it, it doesn't sound like Indiana Jones music to me.

Still, it's a pretty good track.

When it comes to it's use in the Jungle Chase, I'm not so convinced it is appropriate.

It's OK, I suppose, but I'm not impressed. Of course the scene itself does appear fairly lighthearted, but I think that's quite unfortunate.

A swordfight on top of moving cars could've been exciting and I think it would've been great if it was.

I do pretty much like the scene though, but NOT the hit-in-the-groin parts. That joke is BEYOND stupid and should-not-have-been-in-there.

The main problem with the inclusion of "The Adventures of Mutt" in the Jungle Chase comes on the OST album though.

The music starts a bit tense, then quickly becomes funny, then finally becomes tense again only to stop shortly after.

There's a great difference here with the complete track, where the first 4 minutes or so are tense, then there's a bit of funny Mutt swordfighting,

to go back into tense music again which lasts much longer than on the OST. In the case of the full track,

the inclusion of Mutt's swordfighting music is a lot less annoying and might even be welcome by that point.

After finally having listened to crumbs' excellent expanded edition of the KotCS score, I'm unfortunately still fairly disappointed in the final score.

The music near Mac's betrayel contains some elements from "Ah, Rats!!!" from The Last Crusade and I have to ask myself: why?

Then the action track for the escape from the warehouse opens with the "Flight from Peru" music from Raiders, which is used again,

but better, during the journey to Peru map scene. In the map scene I pretty much like it, but during the warehouse escape it really annoys me.

The remaining music for the warehouse escape is also not really doing much. Yes, it's clearly action music, but it's not really engaging or anything.

The most interesting aspect is the Ark Theme cameo, though that is over almost before it's started. On the whole, this action track pretty much leaves me cold.

Then there's "A Whirl Through Academe" which musically might be very impressively written, but it just strikes me as pretty boring.

For me, it completely takes away any tension during the college chase scene and for that reason, this scene again strikes me as pretty boring.

It appears that many people do like this scene, but despite me liking many aspects of the final film, this again leaves me cold.

Then there is "The Snake Pit" which, to me, is more interesting than "A Whirl Through Academe", because at least the music is doing something.

With "doing something", I mean "having a melody that you can sort-of follow, rather than just fairly random notes".

However, in the movie it again removes any sort of tension that might otherwise have been there.

In this scene Marion believes that they're going to die and there's the revelation that Mutt is Indy's son.

Neither of this is reflected in the music.

The Jungle Chase is pretty much all over the place for me. It starts out pretty good,

with a nice statement of Marion's theme and the only proper extended statement of the Russian soldiers' theme, which I really like.

Then the music again goes in fairly nondescript action music that lacks any real melody that I can discern.

The music gets more interesting at the point where the OST track begins, though then quickly changes shifts by going into Mutt's swordfighting music.

The best part, to me, is the march-liek music at the end of the track. I wished the rest of the track would've been more similar in approach to this.

Unfortunately this great action-march music is frequently interrupted with cutesy Mutt-and-the-moneys music, which takes it down a notch again.

Ants! is probably my favourite action track. It's got nothing cutesy or funny about it and does make good use of the Russian soldiers'/Dovchenko's theme.

Although I do think KotCS is a pretty good score for an enjoyable film, it falls short on comparisions with the other three on virtually all accounts.

Whereas I would have a hard time deciding on less-then-five-star tracks on the previous films' scores,

on KotCS I'd have a hard time deciding on more-than-four-star tracks.

On the whole, I think I'd rate KotCS as a 4-star score, which would be a compliment to most other scores.

In the case of an Indiana Jones score, though, this is just plain painful.

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Haha, like "The Basket Game" is the same as "The Jungle Chase" because both scenes are comedic. Of course not. There are many kinds of comedy. If "The Basket Game" was like "The Jungle Chase," instead of shooting the Arab swordsman, Indy would have had a full fledged sword duel with him, full of impossible stunts. Then he would have tripped and fallen into a townsperson, who in turn would have tripped and hit another townsperson and so on and so on until a domino effect took place and crushed the swordsman. That's the George Lucas of 2008 for you.

Don't drift from the point. I'm not saying that those two scenes are similar in their content. The point is that both scenes should have been scores with tensiĆ³n and instead they get lighthearted music. Period.

And sorry but your comparison is faulty. Dont you remember the original Shooted version of the sword duel? It was even more stupidly comical, with a shoptender using the sword slashes to cut his fruits and etc (something from 1941 i think). We got the final version because (they always says this) Harrison had malarai and was not in the mood of re-shooting. In the end, Harrison's scene is better, but if he had not been i'll we would have ended with the original, and that was 1980 Spielberg.

I'm trying to find it on youtube, but i cant :/

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Luke, you need to listen to the Basket Game again in context. Yes, it is probably the lightest piece of music in the entire score for Raiders but it scores a cat-and-mouse footchase about mid way through the picture - NOT a climactic multi-vehicle chase through the jungle, a head to head duel with the main baddie with the magic relic in hand. Indy's life was on the line in both scenes but the similarities end there, there was much more danger and so much more was at stake in the Jungle Chase.

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Luke, you need to listen to the Basket Game again in context. Yes, it is probably the lightest piece of music in the entire score for Raiders but it scores a cat-and-mouse footchase about mid way through the picture - NOT a climactic multi-vehicle chase through the jungle, a head to head duel with the main baddie with the magic relic in hand. Indy's life was on the line in both scenes but the similarities end there, there was much more danger and so much more was at stake in the Jungle Chase.

Look, beforehand, i am not going to change my opinion.

Again, i know that a footchase scene is not the same as a vehicle chase. We are talking about musical propperness of supposedly tense scenes.

Now, First, Indy kills the arab sword man more or less in coolblood, and they even mock it using the same lighthearted music in TOD.

Second, Marion dies.

The point is that neither movie is a serious drama, they have a lot of fun in them, so the music does not need to be like that either.

The Jungle chase anyway, its also a cat and mouse chase, as i said before. And really what are we dicussing here is mutts scenes, the rest is as fine a chase as Mine Car or Tank Chases.

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Again, i know that a footchase scene is not the same as a vehicle chase. We are talking about musical propperness of supposedly tense scenes.

You can't deny the fundamental differences in these two scenes. If you want to talk about proper scoring than you have to address what is going on onscreen. You brought up the Basket Chase, my point is that the scenes call for different scoring altogether. Neither the main villain nor the magical relic appear in the Basket Chase and it is also a smaller scale action scene, hence the overall lighter tone of the music.

Now, First, Indy kills the arab sword man more or less in coolblood, and they even mock it using the same lighthearted music in TOD.

Luke, henchmen are discarded with no value placed on their lives in every action movie. This is totally irrelevent.

Second, Marion dies.

I'm so glad you mentioned this as it is even further evidence that the Basket Chase is a better scored scene. The music, with its playful tone, tricks us on an emotional level. Here we are enjoying a fun romp on the streets of Cairo and suddenly the love interest dies, or so we are supposed to believe. The music gets quite serious as Indy confronts the truck and Marion is believed to be dead.

With all this talk about Basket Chase being a "light piece", compared to the silly moments of LC and KotCS it is not light at all - it is just light and playful compared to the rest of the Raiders score.

If you really want to make comparisons, compare Jungle Chase to Desert Chase and Steal Beast. Compare Basket Game with the Snake Pit or Whirl Through Academe or Bug Tunnel.

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Do you mean that if the movie is critically acclaimed, the score by definition, works, regardless of its quality?

No. I was simply making a nonsense comment, in a similar vein to this one:

It works because it was filmed 28 years ago, and it is not a scene of 2008's KOTCS.

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