I’m going to take this opportunity to admit something that won’t make me popular amongst my fellow nerds: I actually kinda like Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. Seriously. It’s hardly perfect, sure–but it’s a lot of fun, and in some ways superior to Temple Of Doom (at least the female lead isn’t a shrieking harpy who got the job by boning the director).
But even I readily admit that the famous “Nuked Fridge” scene is 50 pounds of bullshit in a 30 pound bag…..and guess who agrees with this?
Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford.
At a recent screening in L.A. of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Spielberg was questioned about the scene, which has become a part of pop culture vocabulary (“Nuking The Fridge” is the cinematic equivalent of “Jumping The Shark), here’s what he had to say on the subject:
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!’
While it’s nice to see a director step up and take responsibility for a bad decision like this, the story doesn’t end here. /Film cites a 2012 New York Times interview where George Lucas claims nuking the fridge was HIS baby, and Spielberg’s just taking the rap because fans already hate Lucas so much for “ruining” Star Wars:
When I [The New York Times writer] told Lucas that Spielberg had accepted the blame for nuking the fridge, he looked stunned. “It’s not true,” he said. “He’s trying to protect me.”
In fact, it was Spielberg who “didn’t believe” the scene. In response to Spielberg’s fears, Lucas put together a whole nuking-the-fridge dossier. It was about six inches thick, he indicated with his hands. Lucas said that if the refrigerator were lead-lined, and if Indy didn’t break his neck when the fridge crashed to earth, and if he were able to get the door open, he could, in fact, survive. “The odds of surviving that refrigerator — from a lot of scientists — are about 50-50,” Lucas said.
We’ll probably never know for sure who’s responsible for the most infamous piece of cinematic “what-the-fuckery” of the modern age…
All we can do is hope, whichever of them is to blame, that they’ve learned their lesson, and a similar scene will not befoul Indy 5.