While the film has its delusional defenders, most rational people can agree that “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” was pretty bad. A stain on an otherwise solid trilogy — yes, even the uneven ‘Temple of Doom‘ — taking the pulpy good times of the previous three films into outrageous sci-fi territory, the result was a movie that even managed to make Cate Blanchett look ridiculous. And while Shia LaBeouf got pilloried for trashing the movie — Harrison Ford recently called him “a fucking idiot” for his comments — it looks like Steven Spielberg is finally ready to own up that the movie was a dud (sort of). And he puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of producer/visionary/bajillionaire George Lucas.
“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,” Spielberg rationalized to Empire. “I didn’t want these things to be either aliens or inter-dimensional beings. 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.”
As for the long rumored fifth movie? Spielberg says it’s all up to Lucas and again emphasizes, he comes up with the story ideas. “You have to ask George Lucas. George is in charge of breaking the stories. He’s done it on all four movies. Whether I like the stories or not, George has broken all the stories. He is working on Indy V. We haven’t gone to screenplay yet, but he’s working on the story. I’ll leave it to George to come up with a good story,” he said, presumably without sarcasm.
But it’s not all Lucas’ fault as Spielberg takes full ownership of the ‘Crystal Skull’ moment that quickly became a catchphrase for shit getting fubar. “…What people really jumped at was Indy climbing into a refrigerator and getting blown into the sky by an atom-bomb blast. 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.”
And as for that other mega franchise that’s still stomping around, “Jurassic Park“? As you know, the developing fourth entry in the series got some movement early this year when a writer was brought on board and if anything, Spielberg swears it’ll be better than the last one. “The screenplay is being written right now by Mark Protosevich. I’m hoping that will come out in the next couple of years. We have a good story. We have a better story for four than we had for three…” he insists.
The lesson in all this? Hitching your wagon to Lucas these days probably isn’t the best idea. And as for JPIV — that’s what we’re calling it now — it’s definitely a long way off as “Lincoln” and “Robopocalypse” will keep Spielberg busy until 2013.