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Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Sunday Cinema: lndiana Jones Cracks his Whip over Russia

Reuters reports on still more humiliation for Russia, this time at the hands of Steven Spielberg:

Russian Communist Party members
condemned the new "Indiana Jones" film on Friday as crude, anti-Soviet propaganda that distorts history and called for it to be banned from Russian screens.

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" stars Harrison Ford as an archeologist in 1957 competing with an evil KGB agent, played by Cate Blanchett, to find a skull endowed with mystic powers.

"What galls is how together with America we defeated Hitler, and how we sympathized when Bin Laden hit them. But they go ahead and scare kids with Communists. These people have no shame," said Viktor Perov, a Communist Party member in Russia's second city of St. Petersburg.

The comments were made at a local Communist party meeting and posted on its Internet site

The film, the fourth in the hugely successful Indiana Jones series, went on release in Russian cinemas on Thursday. Russian media said it was being shown on 808 screens, the widest ever release for a Hollywood movie.

In past episodes Indiana Jones has escaped from Nazi soldiers, an Egyptian snake pit, a Bedouin swordsman and a child-enslaving Indian demigod.


"Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett (are) second-rate actors, serving as the running dogs of the CIA. We need to deprive these people of the right of entering the country," said another party member, Andrei Gindos.

Though the ranks of the once all-powerful Communist Party have dwindled since Soviet times, its members see themselves as the defenders of the achievements of the old Soviet Union.

Other communists said the generation born after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union were being fed revisionist, Hollywood history. They advocated banning the Indiana Jones outright to prevent "ideological sabotage."

"Our movie-goers are teenagers who are completely unaware of what happened in 1957," St Peterburg Communist Party chief Sergei Malinkovich told Reuters.

"They will go to the cinema and will be sure that in 1957 we made trouble for the United States and almost started a nuclear war."

"It's rubbish ... In 1957 the communists did not run with crystal skulls throughout the U.S. Why should we agree to that sort of lie and let the West trick our youth?"

Vladimir Mukhin, another member of the local Communist Party, said in comments posted on the Internet site that he would ask Russia's Culture Ministry to ban the film for its "anti-Soviet propaganda."

The "Indiana Jones" film is not the first Hollywood production to offend Russian sensibilities.

In 1998 the Russian parliament demanded the government explain why the Hollywood film "Armageddon" - which depicted a dilapidated Russian space station that blows apart because of a leaky pipe -- was allowed onto Russian cinema screens.

A government official at the time said the film, starring Bruce Willis as the leader of a team of astronauts sent to deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth, "mocked the achievements of Soviet and Russian technology."


Paramount Pictures appears to have another hit on its hands, as the new "Indiana Jones" movie grossed $25 million from its first full day in North American theaters, independent box office analysts reported on Friday.

That tally ranks as the fourth highest-grossing Thursday debut on record and puts "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" on track to possibly match or overtake last year's "Pirates of the Caribbean" film as the biggest opening on a U.S. Memorial Day holiday weekend.

The last big release from Viacom Inc's Paramount, "Iron Man," opened three weeks ago with $98.6 million in U.S.-Canadian receipts its first Friday-through-Sunday frame -- a sum that the latest "Indiana Jones" film is expected to surpass.

Unlike the new "Indiana Jones" film, "Iron Man" was fully financed by Marvel Studios, which paid Paramount a flat fee to market and distribute its film. Thus, Paramount has much more at stake riding on the success of its latest release.

"Crystal Skull," directed by Steven Spielberg, is the fourth movie in the beloved and lucrative movie franchise that began in 1981 with "Raiders of the Lost Ark," and is the first to hit the big screen in 19 years.

Harrison Ford reprises his title role as the bullwhip-cracking archeologist who hates snakes, and reunites with actress Karen Allen, his co-star from the first adventure. In the new film, set during the 1950s Cold War era, he competes with an evil KGB agent played by Cate Blanchett to find a skull endowed with mystic powers.

Box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers, said the film's opening Thursday performance was strong enough to bode well for its commercial potential but not so strong as to diminish its weekend audience.

If its Friday-through-Monday box office tally crosses the $140 million mark, the film would exceed last year's Walt Disney Co's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" as the biggest North American opening yet for the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend.

"They have a strong shot at meeting or exceeding that Pirates of the Caribbean number last year," Dergarabedian told Reuters.

By comparison, the highest-grossing Thursday debut at the domestic box office was the $50 million raked in three years ago by "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," according to Box Office Mojo.

1 comment:

Tower Bolshevik said...

As I said before, it is a pity that money of these Russian CP leaders in Russia are too focused on the anti-Soviet portrayal, rather than what a piece of crap Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was.

Its absurd to call Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett running dogs for the CIA. I call them good actors who did a really bad movie. Dry humor that irritated me, Shia Labeouf--I hate this guy, bad dialogue, overacting, action scenes were just modified versions of action scenes from the previous three. Example: at the very end when Irina Spalko returns the Crystal Skull, she wakes the alien who then unleashed his power killing Spalko and the other Russians. Obviously another version of the Ark being opened, its powers unleashed, and the Nazis being destroyed in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I'm a lifelong Star Wars fan, as well as Indiana Jones. I own the trilogy, and the 3 box sets of Young Indiana Jones. But was is this a humiliation of Russia? It should be a humiliation for Spielberg, Ford, and Lucas. After three Indiana Jones masterpieces, and Young Indiana Jones TV series, the best they can do is this crappy fourth movie? Come on.