George Lucas is still traumatized by the sullen faces of Star Wars fans who filed out of the first preview screenings of The Phantom Menace, and, spotting its jittery director standing by the exit, spit, "You ruined Christmas, my childhood, and Life Day!" before whipping their crumpled comments cards at his head. So it's not terribly surprising to learn that the producer of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is taking a far more tempered, "Hey, Indy fans: Let's just try to remember this is just a movie...and the originals weren't even that great to begin with!"-approach to his latest revisiting of a devoutly worshiped franchise:
"When you do a movie like this, a sequel that's very, very anticipated, people anticipate ultimately that it's going to be the Second Coming," Lucas says.
"And it's not. It's just a movie. Just like the other movies. You probably have fond memories of the other movies. But if you went back and looked at them, they might not hold up the same way your memory holds up." [...]
"When people approach the new ('Indiana Jones'), much like they did with 'Phantom Menace,' they have a tendency to be a little harder on it," he says. "You're not going to get a lot of accolades doing a movie like this. All you can do is lose." [...]
Lucas says that doesn't hold much sway for him, Spielberg and Harrison Ford.
"We came back to do ('Indy') because we wanted to have fun," he says. "It's not going to make much money for us in the end. We all have some money. ... It would make a lot of money if you weren't rich. But we're not doing it for the money."
True, when you're worth $3 billion, another $50 million give or take is hardly going to make or break you. That fanboy-fuck-you-fortune allows Lucas and his collaborators the luxury of perhaps getting a tiny bit experimental with supposdly sacred texts; it's only once you let go of preconceived notions like "justifiable sequels" and "good movies," and allow yourself to truly respond to your creative instinct to, say, add a patois-spouting duck-ape or Mexican Rerun into the mix, that cinematic alchemy can truly occur.