Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Digging For Vacuity

The plan to try and catch up with the summer movies this year has gone completely array. It started off well, back in mid-May, when I saw Iron Man, but since then, nothing. It could have been that it was such a perfect summer movie there was no point seeing anything else.

Anyway, June seemed to be dominated by the fourth Indiana Jones movie, which left everyone looking down in the dumps. What clips I saw, including the last ten minutes, didn’t seem that inspiring. Instead I stayed home with Frank Darabont’s 2003 draft, Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods. It was a particularly good read, especially since it omitted the irritating kid. Why George Lucas turned it down only goes to show the man has more money than sense.

Thinking back to the original Raiders of the Lost Ark, made back in the early 1980s for $20 million, compared to the $185 million spent on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull twenty-seven years later, it made me wonder why Lawrence Kasdan hadn’t been invited to write the new film. Dreamcatcher may have been a piece of crap but that was five years ago. Isn’t it time to let the guy out of Hollywood Jail?

Indiana Jones seemed to loom large over the new BBC archaeological drama, Bonekickers, although the title Cock Knockers ultimately seemed far closer to the truth. It was if the viewer was having Time Team (with a matronly Lara Croft running the show), CSI, and Waking the Dead rammed down their throats, along with a hint of The Da Vinci Code, only for them to wildly percolate around before being expelled in the most massive belly laugh.

I never bothered reading Dan Brown’s book because people told me not to bother, and I found the film adaptation mildly diverting because it had quite an interesting central idea. Expect rather than a film, I thought it would have worked far better as a four-, five-, or six-part miniseries. That way more time and effort is used up to decipher centuries-old clues.

The problem with that film, and with the episode of Cock Knockers, was that someone comes along and solves each puzzle at each stage almost instantaneously. When it comes down to the fact that people had been scratching their heads down through the ages because they hadn’t picked the right book off the library shelves, it all turns out to be a bit rubbish.

Mercifully, last night the telephone rang long before the episode had ended and I had a long chat with Work Buddy, which was far more entertaining. In fairness I caught the rest on iPlayer this evening. Before it started, the Parental Guidance box appeared, highlighting the fact that with Adult Themes involved, Bonekickers: Army of God may be unsuitable for young audiences. Obviously that statement should have finished three words earlier.

Although I would like to know how, having spent the whole day down in a muddy trench, they managed to stay so clean. My memory of living in the countryside was that any activity involving a shovel and the turning of any soil usually ended with everyone involved covered in mud. Unfortunately, on television these days, the crap seems to stay in the script.


At 11:13 pm, Blogger English Dave said...

Cock Knockers lol excellent!!

At 6:05 am, Blogger qrter said...

All the trailers instantly reminded me of Doctor Who, so that was me done!

I was actually surprised it wasn't taking the place of Whoooo in the schedules.

At 11:54 am, Blogger Tom said...

I thought it was William Goldman who was largely to blame for the atrocity that was Dreamcatcher and that Kasdan was mostly involved in the directing of it and didn't do that much on the script. Mind you, most blame has to go to Stephen King for writing the godawful book in the first place.

At 12:16 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Both Goldman and Kasdan are credited for the screenplay, but it’s the director who gets it in the neck once the film has been shot and is up on the screen. He did appear to be on shaky ground after the reception of Mumford, which I really like.

But this is the guy who co-wrote the only decent Star Wars film, the only decent Indiana Jones film, and wrote and directed Body Heat, The Big Chill, Grand Canyon, and The Accidental Tourist.

Others films I had meant to mention were the two National Treasure flicks, but immediately forgot about them. I saw the first on TV recently and rented the second. Once again, mysteries and cryptic puzzles from down through the ages solved, pretty much, at the drop of a hat.

Thinking about the sequel, I can’t even remember how it ended. They got to Mount Rushmore... Did they find the Team America base? Maybe I was still stunned from them getting caught up in a car chase in Central London without getting caught in a traffic jam.

At 3:11 pm, Blogger Lee said...

Laura Mackie said at the SWF, that when she was in the US and Bryan Fuller was trying to sell Pushing Daisies, he told her he knew all the beats of Season One, and where he wanted to be by the end of the third season.

In contrast, McKie had just rush commissioned a six part serial, where no-one involved had any idea what happened past episode four.

Cock Knockers feels a bit like that.

At 5:18 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

After this nailed it, I think we should just put this rubbish behind us and look forward to Generation Kill.


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