Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by George Lucas, Philip Kaufman, Menno Meyjes, and Jeffrey Boam
In this one, we get a little Indy (or is that "L'il Indy") backstory, with River Phoenix playing young Indiana Jones, and we get to see why he uses a whip, why he hates snakes, why he wears the leather jacket and trademark fedora all in the span of one five-minute adventure. Spielberg's a master at boiling all of a character's personality and motivation into one defining moment during one's youth.
The female lead, again, is intolerable (this time, Allison Doody, also of A View to a Kill "fame"). Sean Connery gives the film its flavor as Indy's dad, Professor Henry Jones, with an unusally charming giddiness and frequent grinning.
The plot is completely absurd, and when the film reaches its climax, you'll either be totally won over or start laughing out loud: Indy finds the Holy Grail, along with the immortal 700-year-old knight who guards it!
Personally, I thought that was cool. The rest of it sticks very much to the formula: gunfights, fistfight, research scenes, babbling Sallah, clueless Dr. Marcus Brody, whipcrackin', roomfuls of rats, etc.
I had to set aside my rampant anti-Spielbergism, which is as virulent as Spielberg's anti-Nazism, which is as virulent as the Nazi's anti-Semitism. His direction is about as subtle as my dog taking a crap on the couch in one scene, Indy runs into Adolf Hitler, who autographs the diary Indy is carrying and there's a long shot where you see him signing "Adolf Hitler" in the book. Yeah, um, I got that from the moustache.
This reminded me of the scene in Raiders where Belloq literally identifies himself as Indy's shadow figure wow, I probably would have missed that if Spielberg hadn't been so kind as to beat me over the fucking head with it.
Um wait, what am I mad at, exactly? I liked the film, don't get me wrong but I am consistently amazed by the fact that these movies are as huge as they are. They're so antiquated on every level (which is exactly the point), you wonder how a fourth one will compete in the post-Matrix world. Ah, who cares, that's Spielberg's problem, I have enough of my own.
Review by La Fée