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Fun with Franchises: Our Favorite Images from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

One of the recurring features that we do in Fun with Franchises (a feature within a feature) is, after we finish watching a film, we go through and pick out our favorite images from that film. These images could be anything from really famous images from the film or franchise, really beautifully composed shots, shots that are funny to us because of the facial expressions being made in them or because of what we said about them in the article in which they appeared, or simply because they have boobs in them.

How we do this is, in the same way we watch the films, Colin and I separately pick out about ten to fifteen shots that we really liked. (This typically ends up being him picking out around 30 and me having around 70.) Then we compare lists, and whichever ones we both chose automatically make our final list. Everything else we talk through. We have it down to a science by now. Within four total emails, we’re left with a final list of ten images we liked the best, along with ten honorable mentions, which were also as good, but just missed out on making the list proper. (And then more we just work in. Just cause.)

It’s not very complicated (like most things we do here at B+ Movie Blog), and is just a way for us to point out shots that we really liked in the films, especially since we tend to pick stuff that’s not always on the beaten path. (We also don’t officially rank the list of shots. We just put them in chronological order. Simply picking them is hard enough. We don’t want to make our lives any harder. Plus, we’re lazy.)

That said — here are our favorite images from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull:

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1. Wide shot

Because there’s nothing about this movie in this image. And the car is so far in the distance, it’s easy to take it out of context of the dumb opening. I just like the green, orange and blue layering to it. A wide shot that looks mostly realistic is better than 90% of everything else in this movie.

Colin:

This is like the shot I chose during Phantom Menace, which was right before the Gungans fought the droids, and it was a single, empty frame. Or when we both picked the opening shot from Twilight, as the camera is just panning over Arizona or wherever. This kind of shot at the top of the list is a bad sign for your movie.

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2. Reflection

It’s a car reflected in another car’s hubcap. That’s one of the only interesting shots in the movie.

Colin:

These shots are almost always picks for me. But in a movie like Quantum of Solace, they’re secondary picks that make it on cause I like them. In this, it makes the cut.

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3. Silhouette

This is more of a greatest hits shot, but it’s a nice way to reintroduce the character. At least they didn’t fuck this up.

Colin:

Shadows, silhouettes. It’s greatest hits. This is where you’re supposed to cheer in the theater, especially because you don’t know what’s coming. 

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4. Framing

It’s nice framing. That’s all I got. What the hell else can I say? The nicest thing to say about a shot in this movie is, “It’s not as bad as the rest of them.”

Colin:

It’s real, and it’s nice framing. I really do like this shot. It’s such a rare bird in this film full of shitty factory chickens.

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5. “That’s my boyfriend!”

She’s the best character in the movie. He punches the jock, she punches him. That’s fantastic. This one is more about what’s happening in the shot than the shot itself. But what the hell else was there to choose? Aliens? Fuck that shit.

Colin:

That’s Spielberg’s daughter.

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6. Silhouette

Simple, silhouette, black and a sliver of color. Nice. Plus an old station wagon in the back.

Colin:

The best chase of the film is the one nobody really remembers. This was where we had some low-angle shots, good framing, and silhouettes. Plus, old cars. 

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8. This shot

This is a legitimately creepy shot. The guy in the mask just standing there as they pass by. Plus, it’s scary ruins. This is actually unsettling. One of the only shots in this movie that elicited an emotion out of me.

Colin:

This is the correct way to do the shot, as opposed to the shot later on when the natives pop out of the walls in the temple. Mike noted that the latter shot was tracking in, so you know you’re about to see something. This is the more effective shot because the camera is still and we see only this tiny bit change. It’s like how a spider walking across the floor right in front of you isn’t scary, but if everything is still and it moves into your periphery, you freak the hell out.

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8. Smiles

Colin chose the first one, and I chose the second one, and they’re both centered around the same theme: Indiana Jones laughing at the ridiculousness of what’s going on around him. This plot is crazy, and he’s going, “This is such horse shit.” I feel the same way.

Colin:

“What are you doing? C’mon. This is funny.”

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9. These

Because they’re hilarious. There’s actually a two minute scene in this movie that’s a shot/reverse shot of him staring at a fucking alien skull. This will never not be funny to me.

Colin:

If you didn’t see it, go back to Part III and scroll through this scene with the Morricone soundtrack on. It totally works.

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10. Framing

And the door looks nice. Looks like they actually built it.

Colin:

Though it does look Chinese with all the red and gold. Think Willie Scott is back in communist Shanghai right now?

– – – – – – – – –

Honorable Mentions:

  • This shot

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The overhead is nice. And I like how they use the hat to introduce him before he appears.

Colin:

There’s a y’all are surrounded shot. From above. Yeah, I’ll take it.

  • Get off of my lawn!

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I love this. Another shot that epitomizes the movie. Indiana Jones, old and angrily peeking over a fence, and everything around him is fake-as-shit-looking.

But also, seriously, “Get off of my lawn!”

Colin:

This can’t not be Wilson from Home Improvement.

  • Rumble

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Because it’s people rumbling in a soda shop. Giant brawls in close quarters are amazing. Especially when the start with SOMEONE BREAKING A GLASS OVER SOMEONE’S HEAD OUT OF NOWHERE.

Colin:

This was marginally better than the Sean Kingston Beautiful Girls video.

  • Indiana Jones and the Destroyer of Worlds

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I’ll take full responsibility for this one. My choice completely. The reason I put this here is because, conceptually, it’s a good image. Simple. Him standing in foreground, giant mushroom cloud in the background. And, thematically, I think it does a great job representing just exactly what this movie means to the franchise. No matter what you say about this movie, it’s not exactly Ford that’s the problem. He does fine. Sure, he stopped acting, but he’s not someone I’d point to in my top ten things that are wrong with this movie. A better movie, sure. So, I think this is representative of that. The character is there as we know. But he’s surrounded by complete and utter ridiculousness and CG excess. And this is the simplest representation of that.

Colin:

I can’t forget this image, that’s for sure. What you choose to read it as, that’s up to you. But I DO think it represents what happened here.

  • Flare

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I like the lighting. Plus the other dude is filming. Riefen-Stalin.

Colin:

This is when lens flare got big. Lots of lens flare starting in the 60s, with bright lights. Though my image of 70s lens flare is always crystal. Cups and chandeliers and stuff. I think it’s cause the 70s were gaudy. 

  • Quicksand

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Conceptually — they’re in quicksand and they’re bickering. Great scene. I’ll take conceptually over almost everything else in this movie.

Colin:

A this point, we’re reduced to, “Well, they’re theoretically doing something we like.”

  • Framing

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Just the legs would be one thing. It’s the wall of forest stretching back that I like. How many shots can remind you of both For Your Eyes Only and Totoro at the same time?

Colin:

I pointed this out in the article, and noted that usually I’d be happy about this shot, but it also looks bad because of the weird, digital feel to the film. How did you make FILM look like bad digital? Composition is a win, outcome is a fail. Again, conceptually, I like it.

  • This

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She’s laughing like a crazy person while holding the detached wheel of a car while the car is sinking in the background. That’s actually pretty cool. And the composition is nice.

Colin:

This woman needs a padded cell, and so do the rest of us at this point in the film.

  • This

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Wide shot of ruins. Nice. And then I like how in a single shot all the guys bust out of the walls. Not gonna question it because it looks nice. Also notice how I chose the shot before they do that. Mostly it’s about how this place looks than anything else.

Colin:

Then they ruined the moment by tracking in and breaking walls. Thanks a lot, Steven.

  • Indiana Jones

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It’s a simple send-off for the character. I choose to imagine the film ends here and not with the wedding. This is a nice send-off for the character. He’s happy, he’s sitting there against the sky. It’s a nice final image for the character.

Naturally the movie keeps going, because that’s what we’re dealing with. (And admittedly, Spielberg has had a problem with endings lately. Remember Lincoln?)

Colin:

The sky, the hat, the outfit, the crooked smile — if you showed me ONLY this image before any of the rest of the movie, I might be convinced that making it would be a good idea. Which is the highest praise I’m going to give anything in this film. 

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow, we go over our final thoughts from the film.

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