(Welcome to 21st Century Spielberg, an ongoing column and podcast that examines the challenging, sometimes misunderstood 21st century filmography of one of our greatest living filmmakers, Steven Spielberg. In this edition: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and The Adventures of Tintin.)
May, 1977: George Lucas had fled to Hawaii. Star Wars, Lucas’ new film, had just arrived in theaters and would eventually be on its way to becoming one of the first blockbusters – something no one, including Lucas, could’ve predicted. Worried about competing with Smokey and the Bandit, 20th Century Fox dropped Star Wars into fewer than 32 theaters just before Memorial Day. Uncertainty hung in the air. While visiting his close friend Steven Spielberg on the set of Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Lucas bemoaned that he was all-but-sure Close Encounters would be the bigger money maker. But his friend disagreed. Spielberg thought Star Wars would win at the box office, and Lucas turned this friendly support into a wager: the filmmakers would trade 2.5% of the profit on each other’s films.
Star Wars was the bigger hit. To this day, Steven Spielberg still receives 2.5% of the profits from the film. But in May of ’77, Lucas was still nervous. He wanted to get away from the stress of it all, and so off to Hawaii he went, inviting Spielberg along. And now the filmmaking friends were together on a beach – Lucas to hide from Star Wars, Spielberg to take a vacation from Close Encounters (the film would not arrive in theaters until November of that year). Ever the workaholic, Spielberg was already thinking ahead, hoping to make a dream project: a James Bond film. Spielberg had already approached Bond producer and rights holder Albert R. Broccoli about the idea once before – and been denied. Now, Spielberg told Lucas he was going to try again. Not missing a beat, Lucas replied: “I’ve got something better than that. It’s called Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
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The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, the visual effects artists at Corridor Crew take a look at the question work done during a chase sequence from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Plus, find out how Kingsman: The Secret Service compares to the comic book on which the movie is based, and take a retrospective look back at the Earthworm Jim animated series inspired by the video game. Read More »
Steven Spielberg is about to have his biggest box office opening in 10 years. Tracking for Ready Player One indicates it will be Spielberg’s best opening weekend since Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. More on the Ready Player One box office below.
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Every week in /Answers, we answer a new pop culture-related question. In this week’s edition, tying in with the general reaction to The Cloverfield Paradox, we ask “What is the most profoundly disappointing movie you have ever seen?”
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Even though Harrison Ford has proven to be rather resilient in his old age, bouncing back from both having his leg broken on the Millennium Falcon and a plane crash on a golf course, that hasn’t made fans any more forgiving of what some consider to be one of the most egregious scenes in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. That’s right, I’m talking about nuking the fridge, the scene so bad that it became the new way of describing “jumping the shark” in pop culture.
But what if I told you that there was an intriguing fan theory going around that may actually make that scene forgivable? Does that sound like something you might be interested in? Find out more about this Indiana Jones theory below. Read More »
Earlier this week we highlighted a video called Star Wars Poetry, which took a look at the visual symmetry between the original Star Wars trilogy and the more recent prequel trilogy. When comparing the two sets of films, some striking similarities in shot composition arose, showing that George Lucas wasn’t completely off his rocker for the prequels.
Now the same creator of that video, Pablo Fernandez, has done the same thing with another trademark George Lucas creation: Indiana Jones. This time the video compares Indiana Jones visual symmetry from the original trilogy of adventure films to the frequently panned, outcast sequel Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, all directed by Steven Spielberg. Read More »
Steven Spielberg has such a great track record that, short of a major crime, very little could tarnish it. That’s probably why, at a recent screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark in Hollywood, the director continued to claim “full responsibility” for the idea of Indiana Jones getting into a refrigerator to survive a nuclear attack in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
The idea, “nuking the fridge,” instantly became a punchline. It’s also another way to say “jumping the shark,” a Happy Days reference long synonymous with the moment a TV show or movie goes from good to bad.
However, while Spielberg can say “nuking the fridge” was his idea, George Lucas says he’s lying. Read both quotes and search for the truth below. Read More »
We’ve posted a lot of the Screen Junkies-produced trailer edits over the past year. Their latest is a hilarious takedown of the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones series, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Watch it now embedded after the jump.
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:
With the weekend fast approaching, it seems like all is quiet on the Star Wars front. Unless, of course, you’re an Oscar-winning director newly on Twitter, or are in search of a screen-used X-Wing Fighter. After the jump, read about the following:
- Oscar-winning director Michael Cimino revealed he pitched a Western sequel to Star Wars in the late seventies.
- Ted, the foul-mouthed star of this year’s film of the same name, dreamed he was in Star Wars.
- Profiles in History is having a Star Wars themed auction highlighted by a screen used X-Wing Fighter from A New Hope.
- Colin Trevorrow explains how his Star Wars Episode VII mix-up occurred and was solved.
- LucasFilm is being sued for allegedly stealing a prop for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
- A man making a life-size Millennium Falcon is interviewed.
- Jar Jar Binks meets Gollum. Kind of.
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I have nothing but respect for Armond White, but to say his opinions are unpopular is like saying the Sun will rise. It’s a foregone conclusion, and two of his most recent posts fit that bill and then some. In one post, he argues that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is better than Raiders of the Lost Ark and in another he says Paul W.S. Anderson is a better filmmaker than both Martin Scorsese and Paul Thomas Anderson, comparing Resident Evil: Retribution and The Master. (That one is a few weeks old but we hadn’t written about it yet.)
The scary thing is, White is such a talented, smart writer and has such confidence in his outlandish arguments you almost want to believe them. Can he convince you? Read some excerts and link to the full articles after the jump. Read More »