Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men From Mars" -- 1995s What-Could-Have-Been-- Held up to 2008s "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"

Generally speaking, word-of-mouth is the new Indy is great. My office has been abuzz with the good word. To me, as I wrote in my previous blog entry, this was a fun film that is not in league with the originals but you can have a good time with it if you let go your critical mindset. It's kind of like the Independence Day of 2008 for me-- I rolled my eyes through half of Independence Day but I can't say I didn't have a good time.

Now that I've seen the new movie, I decided to take a look at that mid-90s Lucas/Jeb Stuart script called Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men From Mars. Maybe as a result of the new movie, the screenplay has been removed from the usual sites, but a friend got me a copy. If you don't have it and are having trouble finding it online like me, a detailed rundown of the screenplay can be found here.

I expected, after having read the screenplay, to say.... if only this had been made we'd have been so much better off. And that was my feeling reading the first part of it. But when I got to the end, I'm of the distinct opinion that they were right to wait and the new film is a vast improvement (that incorporated some of the same ideas). Even though I thought Kingdom of the Crystal Skull strayed from Indy a bit, Saucer Men really strays by the end.

I will say that the Saucer script is a lot more "serious" and maybe that too contributes to its problems. Perhaps, all things considered, going a little silly and over-the-top was the way to go with this one after all. In other words, to compensate for so much time elapsed, Spielberg/Lucas and company wisely upped the "popcorn" level in exchange for having no possible chance at a Raiders-level classic, but guaranteeing a bundle of entertainment. And why not? I'll say this: the movie seems to have entertained and brightened the Memorial Day weekends of many. I'm happy to include myself in that group. With the new knowledge of Saucer's screenplay, I think I'll enjoy KOTCS (get used to that abbreviation-- I'm seeing it everywhere nowadays) on DVD that much more. I'll be sure to have plenty of extra butter microwave popcorn on hand.

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