apropos of nothing

Is Shia LaBeouf the Next Jar Jar Binks?

Photo illustration: Getty Images, Courtesy of Lucas
Films LTD

Amid today’s reports that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’s running time will be an unending 140 minutes come additional rumors that the movie itself is a giant stinker. “I have been told by a couple people to ‘keep expectations low,’” says /Film’s Peter Sciretta. “According to some insiders,” adds CHUD’s Devin Faraci, “the movie may not have turned out to be what people in the industry call ‘good.’” This is after George Lucas himself attempted to quell fans’ hopes two weeks ago with this ringing endorsement in USA Today: “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 … And it’s not. It’s just a movie. Just like the other movies.” Since we liked the trailer, and because we’ll watch anything with Shia LaBeouf, we’re still holding out hope that Skull won’t be another Phantom Menace — but what if it is?

Despite its many problems — the story, the actors, the dialogue, the special effects, the overall tone, etc. — Star Wars: Episode I will forever be remembered as a movie ruined completely by Jar Jar Binks, the computer-generated Gungan who generous critics found merely annoying and less-generous ones likened to a modern-day blackface minstrel. If Indiana Jones 4 does, in fact, turn out crappy, it’s pretty obvious who’ll bear the blame. And, hey, as we said, we like Shia LaBeouf; while some have expressed disbelief at his continued ability to be cast in tons of movies despite a deadly lack of charisma, we thought he was utterly believable in his Transformers role as a guy running from Transformers.

Still, if Crystal Skull stinks for any reason — because Lucas passed on Frank Darabont’s screenplay, because it’s 140 minutes long, or because Harrison Ford is unable to convincingly portray an archaeologist who can still walk without electric-scooter assistance — it’s LaBeouf who’ll be the easy scapegoat. And unlike Jar Jar who was a fictional character rendered in CGI (much like Hayden Christensen) and didn’t have to worry about sustaining a career, Shia will have only his role in his other billion-dollar action-movie franchise to fall back on.

140 Minutes Plus [Hollywood Elsewhere]
Indiana Jones and the Two Hour and Twenty-Something Minute Sequel [/Film]
INDIANA JONES AND THE NUMB BUTT CHEEKS [Cinematic Happenings Under Development]

Is Shia LaBeouf the Next Jar Jar Binks?