Thursday, April 19, 2007

Aliens Versus The Holy Grail

An old rumour about Indiana Jones was given a fresh burst of speed when Slashfilm reposted it earlier in the week. Now half of the internet is hopping up and down about it - but not me.

For one thing, the story dealt with a now discarded draft of the Indiana Jones 4 script - at least, Frank Darabont's version as nixed by George Lucas. That pretty much renders any fuss irrelevant because this isn't even the version set to go before cameras. But, even if it didn't nullify the whole argument, there would still be no need to get alarmed.

The rumour is this: that Darabont's script involved Indiana Jones investigating UFOs in 1950s America - Roswell, New Mexico, no doubt. And people don't like that idea. Oh no. They don't want any aliens in Indiana Jones.

Why on earth not? He's looked for the lost Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail and some magic stone things - what's wrong with him looking for alien artefacts? The only difference I can come up with is that there's no reason to believe the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail or these crazy stones exist but, in any realistic evaluation, there's bound to be some kind of alien life in the universe somewhere, even if it is just some puffy gas bag rolling around in an all liquid planet surface (or whatever).

Is this alien lifeform flying to Earth in shiny saucers, crashing and then getting filmed while being dissected? Of course not. But that's just the specifics - that's like me arguing about the design or location of the Holy Grail, rather than the simple fact that it doesn't exist...

I could care less what Indiana Jones goes looking for because whatever it is it will be something faintly silly and clearly fantastical. I'm sure Frank Darabont's script was much better than the shooting draft by Jeff Nathanson and David Koepp - it's exceedingly obvious which of the three is the better writer - and isn't that really the key factor?

If the basic premise of Darabont's script was really what gave Lucas his problem, he could have been decent and interjected at an earlier stage. When Darabont called his year working on this film 'wasted' I was in total agreement.

And while we're on the subject, I think the latest Indiana Jones story at Aint it Cool is a fake that they've been duped with. The inclusion of John Rhys-Davies on the cast list should have been enough to alarm them. I guess Harry just didn't want to be scooped.


Anonymous said...

my main concern with aliens being in indiana jones is that it doesn't fit the prior films' more historically-based adventures, which make it stand out even in a time of DaVinci Codes. Also, Spielberg has tackled aliens plenty and audiences want something different. Shame about Frank's script, tho.

Brendon said...

Chariots of the Gods contextualises aliens as history. Every bit as much as Grailheads do the Grail.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Darabont signed on to write SW Episode 1 circa 1996? Does anyone know what happened there? Did he write a draft or did George change his mind before pen went to paper?

I agree that Indy with Aliens would work. In fact, the funny thing is if I were to write a Jones movie that's how I'd do it.

I used to listen,and am still a fan of American radio show Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell.
Many of their stories involve alternative ideas about aliens. For instance, fairies may have been a way for people in medieval times to describe abductions. Another great example is the way some people refer to aliens as being early ideas of angels or demons. The shadow people in particular are sometimes characterized as demons.

This would have made a great Indy film. Particularly giving it that bit of substance the DiVinci code had with much lamer characters.

I really wouldn't mind if this film were more like Temple of Doom, Raiders was my favorite, but I want Indy to be a tough ass kicker and not include all the sappy father-son stuff that is likely to be involved. Also Lucas has joked about him meeting all his ex girlfriends. I think this is a bad idea. I don't want Indy beat up by women, okay. They should hate the game, not the player. I think the film should keep a masculinity and not chop it.

George doesn't get it: besides American Graffiti, his best work has been done with fantastic teams of 3. Raiders was he, Spielberg, and Kasdan. Empire Strikes Back was he, Kasdan, and Kershner. He didn't do that with the new SW, which he should have made Darabont part of. And he refuses it on this as well. How big a role will Koepp play, probably little. This is George and Steven's playground and no one's invited to keep the dialogue fresh and the story grounded and real.

Anonymous said...

Uh, I think someone's gotten Darabont's proposed script confused with the Jeb Stuart script "Indiana Jones and the Saucermen of Mars" which has been floating around for a while. Not sure of its provenance, but here's a copy:


Bryan said...

Indy is allegedly an archaeologist. A UFO crash landing doesn't sound much like archeology. Now digging up a UFO? That could have possibilities.

Brendon said...

And indeed, Bryan, that's what I'd expect.

Though Jeb Stuart did first hatch the aliens idea - well, in script form anway - I'm reliably informed that Darabont DID also include some kind of alien plot element.