Saturday, March 19, 2016

Oh Hell No...Not Again.

Yeah because who didn't want more of this

There is yet another Indiana Jones movie coming down the pipe.  It will be arriving in theaters in time for Harrison Fords seventy second birthday.


Okay the big question here is why the fuck are they making this thing?

I think the answer is pride.

When Disney bought up Lucasfilm they inherited the Indiana Jones franchise.  They were at the time about as interested in making another Indiana Jones movie as they were a sequel to Red Tails.

Understandably so.  It was a property that was intrinsically tied to one actor who was just too damn old to play action roles anymore.  The attitude was, well maybe in a few year we'll think about it.  I.E. when Harrison Ford is dead, then its probably time.

However after a couple of years of mulling it over they decided for the usual reasons that they couldn't let a property from before the age of Blurring Effect, sit on the shelf.

Did you know that 94% of all new movies last year were franchise releases of some kind or another?  I didn't make that statistic up. Almost everything now is a sequel, a reboot or came from another title (Comics, YA lit and so on)

Because of Netflix, Hulu, youtube, Crackle,  a billion cable channels and on and on, there has now been a Blurring Effect in pop culture entertainment.  When Ghostbusters came out you could hype the hell out a new property and buy back your percentage through heavy marketing.  One well placed TV ad could reach tens of millions.  You could spend your way to cultural impact.  That sure as hell ain't happening anymore.  It just isn't possible to reach that big of an audience.

Movies are a business and in a business you need to minimize risk.  The surest way to do that is to pick a property that is immune to the Blurring Effect.  You pick something that already has a cultural impact.

Anything made before 1995 that was popular fits the bill.

I think what changed their minds was that Disney suddenly found they had the perfect actor available in the form of Chris Pratt.  He was just the right age to play young Indy.  He had the square jawed good looks.  He could fill theater seats.  He has an office at Disney-Marvel, so the relationship is already in place.  Hell, Pratt is even an American.  That doesn't happen much anymore.  Well, there are leads who are American but they are almost all former child actors and it shows. Normally producers have to go to Europe when they cast rugged adventurers anymore.  So that was nice too.

And then Spielberg said he would love to direct Chris Pratt in the new Indiana Jones movie.  And Disney's reaction was clearly an embarrassed, " for offering Steve.  Really!  It's adorable that you even thought to tell us you were interested.  We will definitely, definitely keep your resume on file ." 

There was a reason for this.

Meet the last Indiana Jones Movie.

Mister Plinkett covers all the reasons this one was such a disappointment.

But here are the big ones.

1.  Harrison Ford, Steven Speilberg and George Lucas are too old to make action movies.

2. There is no real need for a number two.  Number one pretty much covers everything that was wrong with Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull Thing.  The refrigerator and the monkey vines were bad but you could have over looked them if the rest of the film was good enough.  Which it wasn't.

Indiana Jones is a wish fulfillment character, like James Bond or Superman.  The appeal of the character is that you want to be Indiana Jones.  No one wants to be Indiana Jones with a bad hip.

Spielberg has lost his teeth as an action director. The Indy movies were always supposed to be violent and gory.  Indy killed a lot of people in very bloody ways, the first three films.  But in the last one, he cleanly killed one native with his own blowgun and that was it (assuming the native died).  Also it has been a while since Spielberg  has made a movie that really blew the doors off at the box office.  Yes, Indiana Jones and the Skull Thing made 800 large worldwide in 2008 but before that you have to go to 1997 to find a traditional summer blockbuster that he skippered.  War of the Worlds did okay but under-performed for what they spent on it.  Spielberg has been on an Oscar track for nearly twenty years.  His days being the king of the popcorn burners is long over.

George George Lucas.  Whatever he brought to the party, died after Reagan took office.  He was also pretty hurt by Disney because as far as I can tell they didn't consult him at all when they made the The Force Awakens. 

Harrison Ford was mad because he is old.  He wasn't moving tickets and the phone had stopped ringing, (at least for leading roles).  And they weren't even talking about using him for an old Indy cameo.

So, you have three Hollywood old timers who find out they have been completely sidelined for a remake of their signature work and there was a time when they were the gods of the industry.   Which really hurt the old pride.

And then a Hollywood miracle happened.

Well, not much of a miracle really.  Star Wars happened.  Suddenly Harrison Ford is headling in a film that has grossed 2 billion.  More importantly there is fourth person involved here.  Kathleen Kennedy who has long been Spielberg's line producer and is now in charge of everything Star Wars at Disney.

With Kennedy and Ford ramrodding the project there was enough momentum generated to get a green light.

The problem now is, what are they going to do with the property?  It will have to be set in the late sixties or early seventies.  Ford really can't do the action stuff at this point.  So someone will have to do most of that for him.   And at this point we all know what that means.  It's going to be kickass grrl.
Feminist Indiana Jones is coming.

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