‘Indy’ Film: Spoiling the New Indiana Jones


(Note: this is piece about spoilers, but does not contain any.)

After ranting last week about the wall-to-wall coverage of the Sex and the City movie, it only makes sense to look at the front-page pimping of the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise, which premiered yesterday at the Cannes Film Festival. The Post declares it a “Knockout!” (in an Indy-style font) and the Daily News awards it four stars. The Post gives it three.

So, is the first film in the franchise since 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade any good? Well, I tried to read the reviews, but there was too much spoiler info in Lou Lumenick’s Post review. When you start with giving away how the logo dissolves in the beginning and then provide a fairly thorough plot synopsis, adding “I won’t give away much more” in one of the final paragraphs of the review really doesn’t help. Joe Neumaier’s review in the Daily News is slightly more vague, but still gives away the set-up of a few of the action sequences and hints at a major plot point.

Granted, most of these spoilers are ones that may appear in the trailer or describe basic narrative tropes in big blockbuster action movies. If Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull went without big chase scenes and escape-by-the-skin-of-your-teeth adventure sequences, then that would be big news. But that doesn’t mean that the entire synopsis needs to be laid out on page 3 of the Post.

When the News reviewed the Sex and the City film at its premiere in London last week, it added a “this review contains no spoilers” warning at the top of the piece. As people become more spoiler-averse (or spoiler-hungry), perhaps this needs to become regular practice. Yes, you could just skip over the review, but how many people really have that much self-restraint. It is difficult to review a film without getting into specifics of what happens, but it can be done, and in the case of a movie like Indiana Jones, there is already a breadth of work that can be used for descriptive comparison. Doesn’t the viewer ultimately want to know if the action is as awesome as Raiders of the Lost Ark, if Harrison Ford is too geriatric for his hat and whip, and if this installment is the equivalent of what The Phantom Menace was to the Star Wars> franchise (heaven forbid)?

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 19, 2008


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