Steven Spielberg Didn't Like the MacGuffin in 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' Either

Spielberg didn't like the aliens in Indiana Jones eitherIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a strange little test if you want to look at reviews versus how the film is regarded a few years later. The film registers a "Certified Fresh" rating on RottenTomatoes, the site's highest honor, with a 77% rating, although "Top Critics" award it a 62%. It was a film I think more people wanted to like than actually liked it and that helped it to a higher score in many reviews.

However, now, it's not regarded so highly. Whether people are making fun of Shia LaBeouf swinging around with monkeys, the nuking of the fridge or the film's ultimate climax, it finally seems people are coming to a general consensus that it just wasn't too good, or to quote my C- review, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a blemish on the much beloved franchise."

And now, three years later, Steven Spielberg is beginning to continue the conversation LaBeouf began last year when he told the Los Angeles Times:

I think the audience is pretty intelligent. I think they know when you've made [shit]. And I think if you don't acknowledge it, then why do they trust you the next time you're promoting a movie... We [Harrison Ford and LaBeouf] had major discussions. He wasn't happy with it either. Look, the movie could have been updated. There was a reason it wasn't universally accepted... We need to be able to satiate the appetite. I think we just misinterpreted what we were trying to satiate.

As for how Spielberg would react to his comments, he added:

I'll probably get a call. But he needs to hear this. I love him. I love Steven. I have a relationship with Steven that supersedes our business work. And believe me, I talk to him often enough to know that I'm not out of line. And I would never disrespect the man. I think he's a genius, and he's given me my whole life. He's done so much great work that there's no need for him to feel vulnerable about one film. But when you drop the ball you drop the ball.

Whether he got a call or not, I know Harrison Ford referred to him in an interview with Details magazine saying, "I think he was a f--king idiot. As an actor, I think it's my obligation to support the film without making a complete ass of myself. Shia is ambitious, attentive, and talented - and he's learning how to deal with a situation which is very unique and difficult."

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Well, Spielberg has finally spoken out about the film, more specifically the MacGuffin and he wasn't too impressed either. In a comment that should be considered a spoiler for anyone that hasn't seen the film, Spielberg told Empire recently, "I sympathise with people who didn't like the MacGuffin because I never liked the MacGuffin... George and I had big arguments about the MacGuffin. I didn't want these things to be either aliens or inter-dimensional beings. But I am loyal to my best friend. When he writes a story he believes in - even if I don't believe in it - I'm going to shoot the movie the way George envisaged it."

As for whether there will be an Indiana Jones 5, he adds, "You have to ask George Lucas. George is in charge of breaking the stories. He's done it on all four movies. Whether I like the stories or not, George has broken all the stories... He is working on Indy V. We haven't gone to screenplay yet, but he's working on the story. I'll leave it to George to come up with a good story."

  • MWHollywood85

    I find it hard to bellieve that Spielberg just 'shoots the film the way George wants it'. He makes it sound like he has 0 creative input or control in the process or the film.
    At what point does Spielberg realize that Lucas has lost his mind?! When will he acknowledge that Lucas hasn't made a decent film in over 20 years?
    I guess the bottom line is that time he has made 4 incredibly shitty movies that have grossed over $3.2 BILLION worldwide in box office alone.

    • Leandro Dubost

      Yeah, he's being very defensive here. 'That's how George wanted so I did it anyway because I'm his friend', come one Spielberg. You're better than that!

      I'll quote the Harrison Ford quote from this article: 'I think it's my obligation to support the film without making a complete ass of myself.'

      He could've said he didn't liked his own work without saying 'it's not my fault, blame it on George Lucas'.

      • MWHollywood85

        Other sources running the full quote have him saying this (taking some responsibility for the mess):

        As for the Nuke the Fridge thing?

        "Blame me," he confesses. "Don't blame George. That was my silly idea."

  • Tyler Kerry

    I hope that they don’t make another Indiana Jones film. All of the people involved should move onto more promising projects. The original trilogy were all classics and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a good tribute to them even though Kate Capshaw, John Rhys-Davies, Jonathan Ke Quan and Sean Connery should have been included. It would be best that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull concludes the series. I have my doubts if they try to reboot it as Harrison Ford defined the role.

    • MWHollywood85

      I hope they dont jump into just "doing another one" although I was always geeked at the idea of hunting Excalibur as the mcguffin. If they want to sustain the franchise they have to do it very carefully.
      Maybe a tv series prequel with another actor playing adult Indy. NOT young Indiana Jones. But a trial for someone to take over from Ford. For me he has just become a grumpy old man in all of his films. I dont like him when I watch his movies anymore.

    • Judy

      Temple of doom, classic? It was B-Movie shit! No way is it in the same league as Raiders. In fact, neither is Last Crusade. The only 'classic' here is the original. And Crystal Skull was actually quite a decent movie. Shia Labuff, or whatever his name is, sucks by the way.

  • cuteview

    Indy 4 is shit compare to the other 3 films...the alien aspect of the movie ruined it for me....

    • Judy

      TOD sucks more.

  • Zack

    get damon lindelof to write 5

  • Winchester

    Maybe Shia LeBeouf should stop taking the cheques that get flashed in front of him instead of having to constantly talk about shit his film choices are? He seems to have to go back and 'apologise' a lot.

    I also however, don't quite believe that Spielberg just shoots what Lucas writes either. Not at Spielberg's level do I believe that one little bit.

    I'd be more inclined to believe that after all the years they spent trying to get one made they simply just decided to stop and start shooting with the draft that got made. I think the problem with the MacGuffin is that it itself had been pretty debunked if I recall. It's not like Arks, Grail's or even sacred stones..............that Skull business was pretty shot even by the time of the making of the film. And, yeah, the Monkeys were over the top.............and slightly iffy CGI as well, which didn't help.

    The film itself, I don't find any worse than Temple of Doom (which is actually not very good either, I'd have to say) overall. I think some of the content was reasonable for the settings. If Lucas was picking 30s serials for the first three, then what was going on nd muddled up in the 50s setting of the film?

    Atom bombs, Cold War, Soviet infiltration, Teenagers, Cheesy Alien flicks and even killer ants. Most of which are present and correct. Just in a slightly muddled way.

    From that aspect, I never found the content itself overly bad, and while the nuking the fridge scene is..........(cough)'s no less ludicrous in my perception than the ridiculous inflatable sequence in Doom.

    Indy 4 - not my favourite, but also not my least favourite film of all time. I don't see a need for a fifth though..............least of all with LeBore involved.

  • C138

    I didn't mind Indy 4, but it sounds like Spielberg needs to take more control of things instead of George Lucas.

  • Rashad

    Indy 4 was a lot of fun, especially compared to most action movies these days. It's no way worse than the other sequels either. And you specifically left out the part from Empire where he says he likes the film.

    The movie is only looked down upon by online fans, and even then the hate is overblown and exaggerated like the prequels "rape" nonsense.

  • Film Wizard

    I can see it now: Indiana Jones V: The Curse of the Time Traveling Jar Jar!! First Star Wars, and now Indy. I for one actually like Indy IV, but please don't put aliens into the fifth one, Lucas. Maybe have Indy be able to communicate with people of the past and attempt to fix what's wrong in the past.

  • JayRam

    When you look at Lucas and Spielberg's track record, it's quite clear who is more competent at storytelling; with that said, Spielberg should have total control over the Indy projects. Audiences could have had something great if Frank Darabont's script of Indiana Jones 4 was produced. What we got was just alright.

  • Semper Vivus

    Indy 4 was not a great movie, but it was enjoyable.

    For me, the over-the-top moments, such as Shia swinging with the apes or Indy surviving a nuclear blast in a fridge did not ruin the movie, but I can understand if they did ruin it for other people.

    I hope they make a fifth one, with Harrison still starring.

  • Connor

    When I saw Indy 4 in theaters I couldn't believe Spielberg put his name on it. I'm glad he is finally saying what we knew once the credits rolled, that Lucas had complete control of the ridiculous story and almost ruined the legacy of the three previous brilliant films. Certainly a rare blemish on Spielberg's resume, but I cannot help thinking what the film would be had they used Frank Darabont's script.

  • Jack

    Is anybody surprised? Lucas is the same guy who made the horrible Star Wars prequels. Of course Indy 4 was awful.

  • Randy

    I do support Shia for this. I mean the actors don't do the movie in order from start to finish. They have no clue what it's going to look like in the end. They may like it , they may not. This seem different on paper and that's what I think Shia saw. I believe he is just a person putting out his opinion. He said the same thing with Transformers 2 and you didn't hear anything about Michael Bay bashing him for it or not putting him in the 3rd one. I also believe that Spielberg should have some balls and tell him friend George to change things he doesnt like. He's Directing it, and making it what it is, if something doesn't seem right he should say something. I have a feeling when they argue they have lightsaber fights.

  • Derek

    What it needs is a reboot. New actor back in the 1930s-40s. New director. New writers. Lucas and Speilberg can produce...but let the director make the final decisions. Not necessarily Nazis, either - I would like new, interesting stories, like some of the Young TV series, comics, etc. You can calim sacriledge, but that's exactly what people said when Connery left the Bond films and THAT series turned out pretty well without him overall.
    Harrison is just too old and Lucas hasn't turned out anything new for the series since Temple. Last Crusade and Crustal Skull are cookie-cutter retreads of Raiders, plain and simple. The only reason Crusade isn't as disappointing as Crystal is because of the great interaction between Harrison and Connery.

  • Jamie Mathers

    "There was a reason it wasn't universally accepted…" Yeah cause Shia LaBeouf was in it. No one likes him, and he won't be in Indy 5 either, thank God!!

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