Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Indiana Jones and the Rise of those Heathen Tornadoes!

You all remember that old episode of WKRP when a tornado was bearing down on Cincinnati, still reeling from the giant Lizzard attack the previous winter, and intrepid news reporter Les Nessman, already a survivor of the great Thanksgiving Day Turkey Plunge of '78, couldn't find the right file on what to do in case of that meteorological emergency? And so, instead, he's ordered to use the instructions on what to do during a Communist invasion? To whit, wherever the declaration says "Russian" or "Communist" Nessman substitutes in the word "tornado." Yeah, that episode ... Hilarity, needless to say, ensues. I was reminded of that incident when I finally managed to carve out a couple of hours to go and see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Geritol Tablets back in 2008.

As a firm believer in the exponential Law of Diminishing Returns on this particular franchise -- hell, I thought Ford was too old in the Last Crusade, and being totally prepared to take the shoveling face-fulls of the usually high levels of Spielbergian bullshit during the action scenes, and steeled for whatever Lucas considers as comedy that was destined to fall leadenly into my lap, I felt I was ready for whatever they chucked at me. And for the record, what I saw wasn't all that terrible, just a bit tired and overdrawn and really, really over-CGI'd -- even the normally thunderous THX fisticuffs were toned down. Sad. But that's what I expected going in. And the only thing that really bugged me was that the much ballyhooed return of Marion Ravenwood was a total bust as Karen Allen was completely wasted from what I got to see.

Which brings me back to Les and those "Godless Tornadoes" -- for you see, right at about the part when Indy and Co. fought off the Rooskies, the deadly ants, and took a ride over
not one, not two, but three treacherous waterfalls (-- and I'm not even going to get into how he managed to survive an atom bomb detonation), then found the lost city of whatever, were surrounded by natives closing in for the kill, when the film abruptly stopped with about ten to fifteen minutes to go, the lights came up, and the theater manager informed us that the sirens were sounding a tornado warning and we had to evacuate the theater immediately because it was headed right for us!

Now, the theater in question, not to mention my home, is somewhere in the middle of that huge reddish blob on the map, a radar vid-cap snagged that day. Sadly, the scenes of blind panic on some of the theater and mall patrons as they freaked and rushed about was more suspenseful and entertaining than anything I'd seen on screen. T'was quite a surreal scene as I loitered for a bit and gawked at the ensuing melee. However, my attitude changed when I stepped outside of the mall and the change of barometric pressure hit me and sucked the air right of my lungs; and as I looked around and saw the sky was painted an unholy shade of green, I muttered a quick "Uh-oh" before picking up the pace as I headed to my car. Luckily, the storm swung south and missed us by [-that-] much.

As for the aborted movie, I think my opinion can be best summed up with this: There wasn't anything that I saw that really lit any fire to see how it actually ended. Again, the movie wasn't all that bad; it isn't terrible, I just didn't like it all that much and the last few scenes would really have to be something special to change the overall verdict. And, from what I saw until then, well, despite several opportunities to catch the end on cable I took a pass.

Yeah, kind of a dud if this truly is the franchise capper. And if for some reason Georgie and Steve-O decide to try their hands at another one, it's time to pull a Roger Moore and turn the reins, bull-whip and fedora over to somebody else. No. Not Shia LeBeerf. Hell no -- stress on NO. No. No. No. If there is to be an Indy 5, somebody really, really needs to give them Nathan Fillion's phone number.


Stacia said...

I admit, I read this because of the Les Nessman and the tornadoes (the worst since 1978!) Thank goodness the tornado missed you.

I have no interest in the movie, because enough already with the sequels and the reimaginings and the hey. Also, a crystal skull was the big prize at the end of the newbie dungeon on a MUD I used to play back in the 1990s, so the title always reminds me of that.

W.B. Kelso said...

That storm was crazy -- and it served as a season finale for Discovery's Storm Chasers. We escaped unscathed, but our sister city wasn't so lucky. No loss of life, but the biggest casualty was the loss of the last local drive-in.

As for the movie, you're not really missing anything.

Stacia said...

Oh no -- I think you told us about that drive-in before, didn't you? That's horrible. Enough get knocked down on purpose, no need to have tornadoes get in on the action!

W.B. Kelso said...

I know I've bemoaned about it over at the Morgue many times. I know there's still a few going down in you neck of the woods, and every summer I swear I'm gonna get down there and immerse myself once more to outdoor cinema.

Of course, if gas stays under five bucks a gallon I intend to do my damndest to attend this this year:

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