Nineteen years after he last rode into the sunset, the man with the hat finally came back to theaters this summer with the eagerly anticipated, feverishly discussed movie "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." Just four months later, and it's hard to find anybody who really cares.
While the fourth film in the insanely popular series was an unabashed financial success, thanks to more than $700 million in international box-office receipts, "Crystal Skull" was almost universally a fanboy disaster. Its only lasting contributions to the cultural zeitgeist are the insipid, Tarzan-esque scene of a character swinging through the jungle vines and the phrase "nuked the fridge," which UrbanDictionary.com defines as "the precise moment at which a cinematic franchise has crossed over from remote plausibility to self parodying absurdity." The phrase has spawned a Facebook group, countless YouTube parodies, a Web site and even a whole slew of T-shirts.
But if you thought "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" was silly or juvenile, or that it didn't measure up to the first three films, it's not the movie's fault — it's your fault, co-star Shia LaBeouf told MTV News.
"I feel like people are watching the movie and it's not the same viewer [as watched the originals]. It's not necessarily the style of the films has changed, it's the viewer — the viewer is different than the viewer was in the 80s," said LaBeouf, who played Indiana's prodigal son Mutt Williams. "It's two different viewers, and I think it was an innocent viewer and a less-jaded consumer [back then].
"To suspend the disbelief — the swing through these vines and nuking of the fridge. It wasn't like they didn't do fantastical stuff in the first three," he continued. "They did ridiculously fantastical things in the first three. But you could stomach it because you were a different viewer, and I think that the viewership has changed."
But while LaBeouf embraced the silliness of nuking the fridge as consistent, screenwriter David Koepp already seems to be distancing himself a little from the center of the fanboy bull's-eye. Asked whether he would defend "nuking the fridge" to his dying day, Koepp was quick to point out that that moment "wasn't even my idea." (Indeed, a similar scene was in Frank Darabont's earlier version.)
"I thought the fridge was kind of cool, and I thought that was a lot of fun," Koepp said. "There's going to be stuff in movies that people like and don't like. Going into that one, I knew I was going to get hammered from a number of quarters. That movie is owned by millions and millions of people. What I liked about the way the movie ended up playing was it was popular with families. I like that families really embraced it."
At the end of the day, LaBeouf isn't particularly concerned with whether fans liked the moment — he's not even concerned with whether the average fan liked the movie, he said.
"I think that Steven [Spielberg], George [Lucas] and Harrison [Ford] are the only fans that I care about. ... If they're happy with the movie, then my job is done," LaBeouf said. "And they're happy with the movie."
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