I Hate Indiana Jones: Day 6

Day 6: Indiana Jones and the Unrelated Opening

Again, I'm going to go to history for this one. The first images of an Indiana Jones film are crucial to setting a tone for the rest of the film. Raiders of the Lost Ark takes its sweet time actually giving us a look at Indiana Jones. We stay with images of the people following him. They're in over their head, and a little fearful of the man in the hat and leather jacket. And who can blame them? From their sweatiness we can glean that it's unpleasantly hot in the South American jungle, and he's wearing a hat and Leather Jacket.

Temple of Doom opens not with Indiana Jones, but Willie Scott, singing a Mandarin version of "Anything Goes". It's a bizarre, entertaining cabaret act that transforms halfway through into a fantastic Busby Berkeley routine, and it sets a playful, fanciful tone that will be subverted half an hour later when we realize that the film is actually about child slavery and human sacrifice. Maybe not the wisest decision, but certainly an interesting one.

Compare these to Crystal Skull's opening. First, the notorious gopher appears, then scurries away before a roadster crushes his mound. Then that roadster races down a highway, driving alongside a convoy of army trucks, weaving in and out of traffic and finally drag-racing against the lead army car for a few hundred yards before speeding away as the convoy turns down a road.

What purpose does this scene serve? Does it introduce Shia LaBoeuf, our only new character of note? Nope. Does it introduce the lead villain? Nope. In fact, the only purpose it serves it to reveal that the people in the truck are evil one scene before that same information is offered in a violent surprise that might have been entertaining had their evilness not already been confirmed by a shot into the back of one of the trucks.

How is that evilocity shown in the film? Despite the fact that they're wearing American uniforms, none of the soldiers are entertained by the antics of the reckless teens. So you just know they have to be evil commies.

The ultimate expression of how useless this scene is can be summed up in a simple question: How would the film be altered if the scene had been edited out, and the movie went straight from gopher to the convoy driving up to the military base.

The answer? Not at all.

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