Spielberg defends Indy 4, talks Indy 5 and Jurassic Park 4
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The director talks future instalments of archeology and dinosaurs...
In a forthright but sure to be controversial interview with Empire, director Steven Spielberg gave some juicy quotes, defending Indy 4 and his loyalty to George Lucas, and declaring that he’s proud of introducing the phrase “nuked the fridge” to popular culture.
He gave an update on the status of the long in the works dinosaur sequel Jurassic Park 4, saying: “The screenplay is being written right now by Mark Protosevich. I’m hoping that will come out in the next couple of years.”
Moving on the subject of his other famous franchise, Indiana Jones, he said: “Whether I like the stories or not, George has broken all the stories. He is working on Indy V.”
Responding to the oft-criticised Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Spielberg addressed the big picture and also talked about specific elements of the film. This is a good approach, rather than just dismissing one’s opponents’ arguments outright. Whatever side you take, it’s good to have a reasoned discussion about these sort of things, rather than just being polarised and loudly decrying people who disagree with you.
Spielberg stated his overall take on Indy 4 as: “I’m very happy with the movie. I always have been… I sympathise with people who didn’t like the MacGuffin because I never liked the MacGuffin. George and I had big arguments about the MacGuffin… But I am loyal to my best friend. When he writes a story he believes in – even if I don’t believe in it – I’m going to shoot the movie the way George envisaged it. I’ll add my own touches, I’ll bring my own cast in, I’ll shoot the way I want to shoot it, but I will always defer to George as the storyteller of the Indy series. I will never fight him on that.”
Friendship is good, and it’s not worth sacrificing friendship for success, but agreeing with someone creatively just because they’re your friend isn’t always the best idea. However, no doubt it’s more complex than that, as Spielberg respects and trusts Lucas’ creative abilities. This is the guy who made Star Wars, after all, which is possibly the best franchise ever. Either that or Lord of the Rings or Firefly.
It’s great that Spielberg loves films, loves what he does, and appreciates the stories that he tells in his own films, traits shared by the likes of Guillermo del Toro and Joss Whedon. Of course, he’s potentially biased, but it’s refreshing when filmmakers clearly have a love for the stories they’re telling, rather than cynically doing it for the money. Both Spielberg and Lucas have been accused of the latter, but their enthusiasm for their recent films seems genuine, whether it’s shared by long-term fans or not. And some accusations of 'cashing-in' may simply be due to the fact that some fans just don’t like those particular creative choices, and fail to take into account that film is a subjective medium.
Setting aside such insane hyperbole as “the worst film ever” (which is sadly typical of highly-anticipated films), I personally think Indy 4 is actually a decent film in its own right. Admittedly, it's not perfect, as it does take a long time for the whole film to really click, and overall it’s somewhat disappointing when measured against the first three brilliant Indiana Jones films (well, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is excellent except for the bits when it’s freakishly dark and violent and scary and gory, far beyond what’s necessary for the film).
And on the infamous moment of ‘nuking the fridge’, Spielberg said: “Blame me. Don’t blame George. That was my silly idea. People stopped saying “jump the shark”. They now say “nuked the fridge”. I’m proud of that. I’m glad I was able to bring that into popular culture.”
It’s clear that Spielberg has a healthy sense of self-deprecating humour; as does George Lucas about the likes of Robot Chicken: Star Wars, even hiring Seth Green and Matthew Senreich to make an animated Star Wars comedy show.
Spielberg has a film out now in the UK; some indie style thing about tin cans or something…
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