I’m not much of a movie person, so the fact that I’ve now seen two movies in two weeks is an anomaly. I wouldn’t normally post reviews or thoughts on movies, but I had such strong reactions to both of them I thought it would be appropriate.
The first movie I saw was Persepolis, an animated film based on the graphic novel of the same name by Marjane Satrapi (see, there’s the link to books!). The movie is the story of Satrapi’s struggles growing up in Iran as a young woman. The movie starts with her as a child, then follows her as her parents send her out of Iran for protection, then her return to the country later in life. The movie is tragic, and Satrapi is an entirely sympathetic character to follow. I loved seeing her child’s perspective on things in Iran like secret parties or rebelling against her religious teachers — you can tell she didn’t understand the potential deadliness of these moments at the time, and as an audience member I was really frightened for her. I was skeptical of the movie at first, but by the time the credits were rolling I didn’t want it to end. I would highly, highly recommend this movie if you can get a chance to see it. I couldn’t find a lot about the movie online, but I did enjoy this review of Persepolis by Kevin Carr at 7(M) Pictures.
The second movie I saw was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. This movie was terrible — do not go see it no matter how much you think you might want to. I’ve enjoyed other Indiana Jones movies, but this one felt less like a serious movie and more like an attempt to parody the entire series of movies. However, it wasn’t even a well-executed parody of the series, it was just bad. The friend I went with thought it felt more like the Indiana Jones ride than an actual movie.
While there are many, many things I think were wrong with the movie, I think the premise of the movie is what I had the most problems with. Without giving much plot summary, the movie comes down to Indiana Jones and crew tracking down artifacts that lead them to aliens. Aliens, seriously!? Indiana Jones is the kind of character that goes after old things, he’s confidently and happily anachronistic; he uses a whip, wears a goofy hat, goes after the Arc of the Covenant… he doesn’t try to find aliens. The entire idea that someone that represents the past like Indiana Jones does would go after aliens (even if these aliens have some tenuous connection to an ancient civilization) is absurd.
The ill-conceived premise is in many way representative of everything that was wrong with the movie — a franchise as steeped in the past as Indiana Jones simply doesn’t translate well to a story today. While you certainly have to suspend disbelief to get into most summer action movies, the suspension this movie asked the audience to do was just too much for me to get into. I was really disappointed by the movie and don’t recommend it at all.