Henry Buck

Red Letter Media Reviews (Plinkett & Half in the Bag)

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Y'know, I never realized how odd it was for Indy to be involved in World War II with the U.S. army. He always was sort of a-political and had a more worldly disposition, despite being American.

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Wonderful. Leave it to Plinkett to intelligently explain why brutal, gross out violence and murder is central to the experience of Indiana Jones.

Yes. As you heard everything he says is the only right opinion and makes sense.

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Well, no, I'm serious though. That stuff is important! I think the ending sequence of the interview with Karen Allen cut with violent clips from the original trilogy summed up best of all what's wrong with KOTCS. And it's not just graphic violence. It's edginess, attitude, brutality. And most of all bravery: that's what KOTCS had little of.

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I'd never noticed there isn't a single confirmed kill by Indy in KOTCS. It's shocking, really.

It's basically a Disney Indiana Jones movie. I mean, just look at the thing: aesthetically it looks like a cross between National Treasure and Pirates of the Caribbean.

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I'd never noticed there isn't a single confirmed kill by Indy in KOTCS. It's shocking, really.

It's basically a Disney Indiana Jones movie. I mean, just look at the thing. Aesthetically, it looks like a cross between National Treasure and Pirates of the Caribbean.

It tries so hard to recapture the old feel of the Indy films aesthetically but it is hit and miss in the end. The CGI which was supposedly used with lighter hand (say the film makers) in this film but it comes off quite polished in all respects and has that over produced sheen that is absent only in places. It is strange how you used to laugh or smile at the old effects in the Indy films, like the falling tank or the plane crashing and exploding in the Himalayas but somehow now those details seem to add to the charm of the first three Indy films. The grittier approach makes it all feel somehow more realistic in a strange way. Same goes for the violence which was at times ugly, Indy was certainly more ruthless, giving to the villains as good as he was getting and indeed did kill his enemies who were out to kill him. Perhaps Indiana Jones was going soft in his old age. Dotard!

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I'd never noticed there isn't a single confirmed kill by Indy in KOTCS. It's shocking, really.

It's basically a Disney Indiana Jones movie. I mean, just look at the thing. Aesthetically it looks like a cross between National Treasure and Pirates of the Caribbean.

This is why I feel that while GL can redo the Han/Greedo scene as many different times as he wants to make Han Solo a more kid-friendly, less bloodthirsty kind of guy, there is absolutely nothing he can to change the moment in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indiana Jones uses his gun to dispatch an impressive sword-wielding man in black desert attire (short of removing it entirely, leaving a large gap in Williams' fine action cue).

That moment -- Harrison Ford at one of his worst personal moments, sick on Egyptian living -- produced one of Indiana Jones' best and most defining.

That character is absent in KOTCS.

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As always, Plinkett delivers an incredibly entertaining review, and he brings up some very good points, as well as some virtually unarguable weaknesses of the film that I had not noticed. That said, the big picture stuff is largely him choosing aspects of KotCS that did/did not follow the original trilogy, and assuming that these decisions were bad ones. What I mean is, he praises ToD for taking risks. In many ways KotCS also takes risks, Plinkett just personally dislikes them. Why does Indy need to be apolitical? Well, why can't an Indiana Jones film begin with a musical number? The opposite is also true. He praises LC for playing it safe in many aspects, but he dislikes the instances that KotCS decided to play it safe. There's absolutely nothing wrong with him having these opinions - they seem very genuine, given the fact that he finds a decent amount of material that he enjoys from the film - but they are just opinions, and they don't always seem to follow some sort of internal logic. And I am glad he makes these reviews, because like I said, they're very entertaining, and in some ways they are informative.

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It's basically a Disney Indiana Jones movie. I mean, just look at the thing: aesthetically it looks like a cross between National Treasure and Pirates of the Caribbean.

The Pirates movies still had balls (I'm not even a fan of the sequels). There's violence, sexual tension and even gore. Indy always had these things. Even Last Crusade, which was generally a lighter flick. That to me was more of a Disney Indiana Jones movie. I don't know what the hell Crystal Skull is. We're still trying to figure it out.

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The only aspect of his review that I did not totally agree with is when he said that you can't make Indy old because it undermines his role as an avatar for masculine wish fulfillment. Now it is true that Indy exists partly as that, but I don't think that's all he is. Though he leads an awesome life, enviable life, he's still in some ways an ordinary man. He's not a superhero who deflects bullets with his skin, and at times Indy faces challenges that test him so thoroughly that he's only able to overcome with help and sheer luck. He gets beat up, he has a pathological fear of snakes, etc. Just look at the ending to Raiders: he spends the entire climax of the film tied to a pole with his eyes closed, not really participating in what's going and essentially lets God do all the work. This is a guy who is relatable as well as admirable, which is why making him an old man can work, if not only because it raises the stakes and the tests his abilities even further. Unfortunately, KOTCS didn't really do this, instead making him seemingly more invulnerable than he was before.

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Even though Indy is at his most emotionally vulnerable in KOTCS, physically he's more invulnerable than ever. There was such potential for a powerful and brutal moment showing that Indy has become too old to keep taking such brazen risks, and it never came. I'm not saying he should have broken his back, but some sort of real injury would have been nice. I mean, every movie had that (well, TOD was more about mind control than physical injury), but in KOTCS all we get is some mopey talk about how life starts taking things away.

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Yeah, the entire movie needed to be a different approach. In KOTCS universe, a scene like that would make no sense. Indy's invulnerability was a joke. There was no getting shot and thrown out of the truck, black sleep of Kali, tank off the cliff or grail temple scene for Indy to triumphantly come back from. He always got his ass handed to him, that's part of the character. He wasn't a super hero type as has been argued since we saw him flying in the fridge. It was clearly taken to a whole other level. Indy didn't even have to use a gun in the new one.

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Yeah, that "counts" but it doesn't feel right. He gets beat up by the Russian guy but goes right on as if nothing happened (that horrible waterfall sequence). There's no "recovery" moment, no suggestion of fragility.

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Yeah. When you think about the fact that that first punch from the German mechanic knocked Indy on his ass when he was 37, he shouldn't emerge from EITHER fight with Dovchenko (in the warehouse or in the jungle) so fine at 58. In fact, he should be hurting hard by the time that sequence is done. Comparing the aftermath of the tank sequence in LC to the waterfall/"Because it told me to" stretch in KOTCS is cringe-worthy.

Honestly, this review really helped to clarify more issues with the film. Up until now I had been more focused on the aesthetics and the jokiness of the character development. It seems to me that the half-baked family reunion and the lack of intensity and tension are two sides to the same coin: the film goes too far in its pursuit of being a light adventure and doesn't take its story, characters, or situations seriously enough.

I do disagree with Plinkett's gripe on Marion's inclusion--at Indy's age, I didn't mind seeing him ending up in a stable relationship and getting some closure with Marion, who was the only woman in the trilogy we saw with a real relationship. Now, theoretically he could've been married already or something, but I'm fine with Marion returning. He is correct, though, in that her character was largely wasted.

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RedLetterMedia's new "Half in the Bag" series is easily just as good as the Plinkett reviews, and closely connected to them. It's essentially done in the same style of creepy comedy mixed with trenchant criticism, but the live photography and "real" characters of Mike and Jay add much. There's an ongoing storyline, but any episode is a good watch just for the reviews. I think the second season is stronger because they moved away from laughing at silly, low budget films, and took on more of the big hits.

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Half in the Bag has a nice mix of frank discussion and funny theatrics. I love the facial acting in videos like

and
. You can't get that with the Plinkett reviews. Not saying that one is better, just that I like that Red Letter Media hasn't let itself become a Plinkett review factory.

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RLM has had more positive reception at its other ventures unlike Cinemassacre that got universally scolded for products like Over Analyzers and some of Mike's reviews. I rather liked OA, but a lot of people couldn't grasp that James likes to do more than just AVGN videos, which he's obviously gotten bored with despite making a feature length movie.

Speaking of, I'll have to buy Feeding Frenzy soon.

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2 minutes ago, E.T. and Elliot said:

Well, this would seem to be the closest thing to an official JWFan RLM thread. I love Best of the Worst and Half in the Bag. Below at 35:58 is the funniest thing I've ever seen on RLM.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceUSZBMeREY

That's one of my favorite moments too.  But my very favorite moment is from this episode at about 44:10

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3 hours ago, Drax said:

I think Mike's ego got a good stroking from TFA because Simon Pegg shared his TPM review and likely showed it to JJ, who likely took "Plinkett's" criticisms to heart and essentially made a movie that responded to his grievances.

Mike Stoklasa saved Star Wars!

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3 hours ago, Mr. Big said:

Mike Stoklasa saved Star Wars!

I'm grateful that prequels were made so that I can enjoy those reviews. After rewatching those recently, I can honestly see how Abrams and Disney took Mr Plinkett's observations to heart. It is possible.

 

Karol

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