Indiana Jones and the Jungle of the Swinging Shias

I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull tonight.

Instead of giving you a review of the movie, which millions of bloggers are most likely doing at this very moment. And instead of telling you about the first time I saw Raiders as a kid and how my friends and I pretended our faces were melting in our sleeping bags later that night… And instead of telling you how I think the film lives up to its predecessors or how Harrison Ford held up in the action sequences…

I’m going instead, to review the movie-within-the-movie…which I’m currently calling Indiana Jones and the Jungle of the Swinging Shias. (One insignificant spoiler ahead.)

If you’ve ever studied screenwriting or movies or done the Sally Struthers’ film school from your couch thingie, you’ve probably heard about “movies within movies.” There’s that classic scene in the middle of Witness where they’re raising a barn. It’s a story, all on its own, contained within the larger world of the film.

In any case, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has one too. And it has something to do with a jungle…tree vines…and a swinging Shia.

That’s right — during the middle of a somewhat entertaining action sequence through the jungle, our good friend Mutt (played by Shia LaBeouf) happens to get stuck in a low-hanging tree vine and he’s pulled up and off the top of a moving vehicle and into the trees. At which point, he stops, looks around — and spots a bunch of monkeys.

Monkeys. 10 points for the monkeys.

Then, Mutt happens to notice that those vehicles with all the principal actors (and MacGuffins) are speeding away from his stagnant position. He’s got to find a way to catch up. He notices the monkeys again (ten points, remember?) who all start swinging away from him on vines. So what does Mutt decide to do? He decides to ALSO start swinging on vines like Tarzan.

Tarzan. 25 points.

Then, the action sequence quickly seems less entertaining because you’ve got Shia LaBeouf actually swinging on a vine, leaping off the vine just when it’s about to swing backwards, fly in mid-air towards another vine, then reach out and grab a new vine — thus allowing him to swing through the jungle like a drunk Marlon Brando, swinging on a vine, chasing a bunch of crazy fuzzy monkeys.

Fuzzy monkeys. 5 points.

Before you know it, as we’ve all learned in physics class — a guy in a leather jacked swinging on vines in the jungle actually has a faster velocity than 70 mile per hour speeding trucks and amphibious vehicles — so Mutt catches up to the speeding vehicles and conveniently drops off his vines into a car below (along with the monkeys) and continues the action sequence now that he’s back in the mix.

I give the vine-swinging Shia moment another 60 points.

Which, if you’re counting, makes the movie-within-the-movie a full 100 point extravaganza of silly monkey swinging goodness. Which, if you ask me, is the one reason you should go see the new Indy movie.

Forget about whether it lives up to the last three. Forget about how old Harrison is and whether or not he can pull it off. Forget about how the movies made you feel as a child. Forget that a guy on a jungle vine can’t travel faster than a moving vehicle.

Forget it all and embrace Indiana Jones and the Jungle of the Swinging Shias.

It will change your soul forever.

7 comments on “Indiana Jones and the Jungle of the Swinging Shias

  1. Alison - May 23, 2008 at 8:54 am -

    I had so much fun watching this movie last night. And I loved the movie-within-a-movie you just described.

  2. Kerri Anne - May 23, 2008 at 10:09 am -

    Shia can swing from my vine any time.

    (I couldn’t help myself.)

  3. Dave2 - May 23, 2008 at 10:12 am -

    Hmmm… sounds like total crap to me! And here I thought that Lucas couldn’t get any lower than Jar Jar’s face getting farted on or Chewbacca swinging on a vine AND doing the Tarzan yell.

  4. Susan - May 23, 2008 at 11:50 am -

    What’s a couch thingie and where can I get one?

  5. Stacey - May 25, 2008 at 7:18 am -

    Three seconds into that movie-within-a-movie the Captain turned to me and said, “No, we cannot get a monkey.” It ruined the whole scene.

  6. Pauly D - May 25, 2008 at 9:26 am -

    Susan – For your 411, a couch thingie is not a couch, and not a futon, but a post-college stuffed object that you can sit, sleep and eat on.

    Stacey – Sometimes you gotta obey the Cap’n.

  7. Ted - June 20, 2008 at 12:00 pm -

    Hilarious article. I loved that scene–you just have to go along for the ride and smile as the filmmakers go WAY over the top.

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