Indiana Jones IV — a few more details

The Hollywood Reporter adds a few new details about Indiana Jones IV: Shooting is set to begin in June 2007, the film will come out in May 2008, and the as-yet-untitled screenplay is by David Koepp, whose credits include the first Spider-Man (2002), the first Mission: Impossible (1996), the first two Jurassic Park movies (1993-1997) and Spielberg’s War of the Worlds (2005).

UPDATE: And now Variety magazine chimes in.

Is Indiana Jones IV a go, now? Whatever.

Apparently while I was out with the wife and kids last night, checking out the Bright Nights display at Stanley Park, the blogosphere exploded with the news that George Lucas declared yesterday — without giving away any story details, natch — that Indiana Jones IV will begin shooting next year, for release in 2008.

Whatever. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) is a classic for all time, of course, but neither of the sequels produced so far is anything to write home about — so why would this one be any different?

Still, if this new film does get made, it will be intriguing to see how it turns out, since Lucas and Spielberg have gone down very different artistic paths over the past two decades.

Indeed, they had already begun going down those paths at some point between the second and third Indiana Jones films, which came out in 1984 and 1989, respectively. During that period, Lucas produced Howard the Duck (1986), Labyrinth (1986) and Willow (1988), plus a couple of Ewok TV-movies (1984-1985) — all of which apparently ranged from awful to mediocre — whereas Spielberg had begun to get serious with The Color Purple (1985), which was a hit, and Empire of the Sun (1987), which was not.

Since then, their career paths have diverged even more. Lucas has essentially ruined his reputation as a film-maker for all time, by tampering with the original Star Wars and producing all three prequels. And Spielberg? He has delved into the more troubling aspects of American and European history, won two Oscars, and collaborated posthumously with Stanley Kubrick; even his “popcorn” movies, like Minority Report (2002; my review) and War of the Worlds (2005), aren’t all that escapist any more.

Both men “needed” the third film, to affirm their viability at the box office or to affirm their credibility as entertainers. But do either of them “need” a fourth film? Doubtful. The only person who really “needs” this movie now is Harrison Ford, who hasn’t had anything resembling a hit — critically or commercially — in years. Perhaps Lucas and Spielberg are doing this as a favour for him.

But let’s not analyze this movie too much before it actually gets made — assuming, that is, that it does get made, in the end.

BC Christian News — January 2007

The newest issue of BC Christian News is now online, and with it, my film column, which looks mainly at Children of Men and Apocalypto, but also touches on the DVD releases of The Passion of the Christ and World Trade Center. The paper also includes a print version of my interview with Erin Gruwell, who is the subject of the upcoming movie Freedom Writers, which stars Hilary Swank; I may post a longer version here in a few days.

JAN 24 UPDATE: The interview is now also at

What if all the James Bonds met at a casino?

Now this is a clever mash-up. I especially like the way the various glances around the table actually seem to make spatial sense.
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I’ve always rather liked Doctor Octopus.

I’m sure there are other bits of footage out there like this, but I was still tickled to see this ad, which I took from a VHS cassette released in 1999. It depicts a live-action, mid-air fight between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus — three years before the first Spider-Man movie, and five years before Tobey Maguire’s Spidey was pitted against Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2:

Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.

Did Cuarón read the original James novel?

Regarding Children of Men, yesterday’s National Post reports:

It’s no coincidence that Cuaron began the script in a post-9/11 world, having refused to read the pre-9/11 P.D. James novel that the movie is based on. “Because of those 9/11 events, it was important to set the film more in the 21st century, since the world has changed since then,” he says.

So if Alfonso Cuarón didn’t read the book, how do we explain the various minor points where the film and book do agree? Well, at least four other screenwriters are credited with the script, so presumably Cuarón just re-wrote one of the earlier drafts and accidentally imported whatever elements from the book had survived into those earlier versions. The Post continues:

“The movie is really an observation about the state of things today,” explains Cuaron. “I wanted to make it futuristic but feel like today, so it can comment on the state of things. ?The premise of the infertility is a metaphor for the fading sense of hope humanity has today.”

There are two other issues prevalent in Children of Men that the director hopes audiences pick up on. “Environment and immigration are two of the main issues shaping the world today, and they affect everybody,” he says.

Huh. It’s been over a month since I saw the film, and I don’t remember any environmental subtexts. As for the immigration theme, I found the film’s treatment of this particular issue so exaggerated — and, as others have noted, so inherently illogical — that it didn’t affect my views on current matters one bit.