Sunday, September 20, 2015

#42Movies, Day 10: Totally Eighties

I'm referring to the 1980s, of course. I'm sure you've heard the legends.

InnerSpace (1987)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Blather after the trailers.

(Hey, remember when Steven Spielberg still made mostly good movies? Remember that? Those were the days, man. I guess he can do whatever the fuck he wants at this point, but I just wish he'd do more "ever" and less "what the fuck.")

The thing I love about both these flicks is how well they pull off the high concept thing. Not only do they deliver on the adventure promised in their trailers, but they are both outrageously fun, often in unexpected ways.

Last Crusade really should have been the final Indiana Jones movie. We all agree on that, right? It sure felt like it was the big closer at the time. And it was a hell of a great way to go out. It took all the familiar, established elements of the franchise and pushed them to even more interesting places. Sure, there were a few cheap, crowd-pleasing, throwaway in-jokes, but Indy's character arc—from the opening flashback to "It belongs in a museum!" to letting the Grail fall into the abyss—was the perfect way to wrap up the trilogy.

InnerSpace plays with the concept of miniaturization, which before then had last been explored cinematically in 1966's Fantastic Voyage (based on a story by Otto Klement and Jerome Bixby). Some people consider InnerSpace to be a "remake" of Fantastic Voyage, but I feel like that's a stretch: there are many similar plot elements, but the vibrant escapades of InnerSpace are completely different in tone and execution from the somber Cold War intrigue of Fantastic Voyage.

(By the way, this year's Ant-Man manages to recapture some of the vivacious charm of InnerSpace. It's considerably weaker in the character department, especially with respect to the villain, but it's more fun than a lot of other Marvel stuff these days.)


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