Upon its initial release in 2008, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was met with near-universal derision and resentment by many fans of the storied franchise. This was due to its over-reliance on silly gags, the casting of Shia LaBeouf and a host of other cinematic infractions including (but not limited to) the infamous “nuking the fridge” sequence from early in the film.
Those who have seen the film will know that our intrepid hero finds himself trapped at a nuclear testing range just as a countdown-to-destruction test sequence is initiated. With nowhere to run or hide, the always-thinking Indy stuffs himself into a lead-lined refrigerator just as the bomb detonates, propelling the fridge through the air like a Maytag-manufactured guided missile. Unbelievably, Indy survives his close encounter with an atomic bomb thanks to the refrigerator and lives to fight the communist scourge another day. The audience, however, is left bewildered and bemoans the fact that this groan-inducing gag was included in the finished film and did not meet its tragic end on the editing room floor.
Last night, the historic Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles was host to a very special screening of the original Indy adventure, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Among the important guests in attendance was none other than the man responsible for shepherding Indiana Jones through four breathtaking adventures since his 1981 inception, director Steven Spielberg himself, who took the opportunity to accept full-responsibility for the ill-fated fridge-gag, stating:
“I know in Indy 4, you didn’t buy the refrigerator and the atomic bomb… I know! I know! But we tried! We tried! I was pushing the envelope! By the way, I take FULL responsibility for that — that was COMPLETELY my idea! Even Harrison said to me: ‘Nobody is going to buy this!'”
It’s nice to see a refreshingly candid comment from a director who owes explanations to nobody really when it comes to on-set decisions. His candor when discussing the lamented fourth-entry in the Indy film saga is certainly commendable. And if there is to be a fifth chapter for the globe-trotting archaeologist, here’s hoping that the lessons learned from fan-reaction to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull are taken to heart like a golden idol to Indy’s chest.
What do you think about Mr. Spielberg’s comments? Do they bode well for future instalments in the Indiana Jones pantheon? Let us know in the comments section below!