The other day I happened to see about 85% of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on TV. I missed the beginning. Although I enjoyed the first two Indiana Jones films, I hadn’t bothered to see it because I’d heard lots of negative opinions about it. (Warning: spoilers ahead!)
I was quite pleasantly surprised by it. It’s not a great film, but from what I saw it seemed quite comparable in quality to Raiders of the Lost Ark. What was especially interesting to me was the fact that, behind all the action-adventure silliness and the 1950s nostalgia George Lucas likes so much, its story, boiled down to its basic elements, is almost a Lovecraftian weird-tale.
What I mean is that there are unexplained alien beings with an unexplained agenda at the center of the plot. And, significantly, the main villain is eliminated–not exactly killed, I don’t think–by being overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge the alien consciousness imparts to her. The quote at the foot of this blog illustrates how that fits into Lovecraft’s style.
Having said that, clearly the tone of Indiana Jones is far lighter than anything Lovecraft would dream up. It’s not a “weird tale” in that there is no real suspense or horror for anyone over the age of seven that any unpleasant fate will befall any of the Good characters. This is just as it should be in an Indiana Jones film, of course.