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9.3 3 10
FanFix September 17, 2023 1795
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I've watched FOUR versions of this film at this point and this is BY FAR the best one. It's not perfect, but there is very little left that could be improved by a faneditor. Simply put, it's the most complete rehabilitation of the film you could imagine.

Firstly, I should say that I didn't hate the theatrical version. For me, its biggest sins weren't too different than National Treasure or a lot of other modern blockbusters:
1. Action sequences that are so over-the-top that they lose all tension because they're just ridiculous
2. Plot turns that are incredibly convenient and a narrative that throws too many things in too quickly
3. Humor that is either inappropriate for the moment, the film, or just misgauged and misdelivered

To be honest, I had these same complaints (to a lesser degree) about The Last Crusade. And to me, the South American Crystal Skull religion is no more ridiculous than magical Jesus knights. The plot of this film wasn't the problem for me, it was the measurement of the delivery. The vast majority of that is improved here in The Fox Cut, allowing me to enjoy this as much as I did The Last Crusade. Which is to say: it's still a distant second to the first two Indy movies, but it's a pretty fun time!

Things that could be improved: I think the visual correction doesn't quite work for me. Everything is super-bright and kind of washed out. It also has the effect of making the CG stand out even more. I'd like to see this run through a slight sepia filter, and with a hint of film grain added to it. That would make it match the older films better I think. There are also some cuts during action scenes that are made very nicely and cleanly, but the positions of the characters or their expressions don't quite match from one shot to the next. So the visual language isn't very Spielberg, it doesn't track as well and it *feels* like there was a little 'skip' in the film.

The one BIG thing for me though is just the way Ray Winstone's "Mac" is dealt with. Firstly, it's very hard to hear his "I"m C.I.A!" line to Indy during the jeep chase. It's fast and the music is loud...and that's a really VITAL line since there is nothing else in this cut that would lead anyone to trust him. Indy was literally JUST punching him, and then suddenly they're all chummy. Then at the end, (spoiler), Indy is trying to save him and Mac just wordlessly lets go of the whip. I's possible? But it really makes his character feel kind of random and hard to follow. (To be fair, his flip-flopping in the theatrical cut was exasperating, too.)

Things that can't be fixed: Mutt is still a bit of a dweeb. He's trying too hard to be cool, he often makes snarky little comments but turns out to be wrong, and he can be whiny sometimes. To be honest, watching this after having marathoned The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, he comes off very much like Sean Patrick Flannery's Young Indy! I'm sure that was probably the intention, and it's no fault of Shia Lebouf's. But it was often hard to reconcile Flannery's portrayal with the iconic, manly, cool adventurer we came to love. And Mutt is even worse off here for being standing right next to him. To boot, as great as it is to see Marion, the romance is rushed here. And you just can't get around the design of some of these action sequences, where everything is so grandiose that it feels like the least grounded Indy film yet.

That said: no prairie dogs. No fridge. No constant old man comments. No monkeys. No Tarzan. No boat pinball. No motorcycle acrobatics. No car acrobatics. No Errol Flynn on a jeep acrobatics. Still a little bit of MesoAmerican acrobatics, but I can allow it. There are 95% less acrobatics in this movie. It's an Indy film that is a bit rough around the edges, but recaptures so much of what makes the series great, while still moving it beyond the same old same old of Christianity and Nazis. I will definitely be rewatching this film now.

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Owner's reply December 15, 2023

Thanks so much for your awesome review! I appreciate the feedback - I agree with you on many of your points and I have thought about revisiting the "I'm CIA" exchange - I'll keep you posted if I make an updated version.

The jungle chase is the hardest thing to edit based on exactly what you said - sometimes people are switching spots and looking a different direction than they should be - I took so many passes on it and had a notepad keeping track of who was where and who was holding the skull at what point and it about made me crazy! I'm glad I could make it more enjoyable for you to watch!

Thanks again!

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