It was hard to watch "Indiana Jones and the Legend of the Crystal Skull" and not feel like you wanted to press the A button at some point. The movie screamed "video game."
Entertainment does not exist in a vacuum but in a cyclone. It's a giant mixing pot, borrowing something from its presence in other mediums, even subconsciously so.
"Crystal Skull" screenwriter David Koepp hasn't been involved in a game before, but George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, the driving creative forces, certainly have.
Whether they know it or not, "Crystal Skull," beat for beat, feels like a video game.
By the way, if you comment below this spoiler-free post, please mark any of your own spoilers.
But that aside, didn't many of the big action set pieces feel like scripted QTE events? There might as well have been a controller next to my theater seat. I kept wanting to tap "A" to make Indy run faster, ala "Grand Theft Auto IV," and hit "Y" at the appropriate moment so Shia Labeouf would dodge an incoming poison arrow.
Maybe it's the fact that so much of the movie, despite Spielberg's comments ahead of its release, are steeped in computer graphics. "Indiana Jones" is a tried-and-true adventure, not unlike Naughty Dog's "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune" from last year, which borrowed heavily from the same source material as "Indiana Jones." Maybe that's why it feels so familiar.
"Uncharted" plays upon the same fantasy Average Joe concepts of "Indiana Jones," the idea that any one of us could be a secret, bad ass adventurer in our off time. Uncharted, like "Crystal Skull," features lengthy jungle sequences -- both on foot and in vehicles. The parallels were uncanny, thanks to the amped up computer graphics on-screen. "Uncharted" looked better, from my estimation.
It's possible that "Crystal Skull" was never meant to come off as a game. "Uncharted" may have just hit so close to home recently that I got déjà vu. But it's more than likely a little bit of both. The senior filmmakers of Hollywood are grown up and with families. Families mean kids. Kids, nine times out of 10, mean video games.
It's likely these creative movers and shakers are watching what their children's primary means of entertainment -- games -- and applying those hooks into the movies they write and direct. "Crystal Skull" is part of a subconscious reaction to that. Isn't that why Paramount was afraid "GTA IV" would hurt the opening weekend of "Iron Man"?
Well, that didn't happen. "Iron Man" went on to break box office records. So did "Crystal Skull." There might be a connection there, a connection that's making everyone money.
Or maybe I just played too much "Uncharted" last year.