Originally Posted by retablo
I can buy it because it was a ritualistic thing, a la voodoo. I mean, a magic ark, magic stones, magic cup... it's always been about the supernatural in a way...
Exactly! You have to separate the unbelievable parts that are related to some supernatural influence from the unbelievable parts that are just physically unbelievable as they are portrayed as not being under the influence of the supernatural element. While some of the physical action is a bit over the top in the original three, practical effects and stepping over the line by an inch and not a mile made them a lot more acceptable.
The heart thing . . . believable as it is due to the influence of the supernatural.
Powers of the Ark/Grail . . . in a world where such a thing exists, who's to say what influence they have over our world? If they explode heads, give ever-lasting life, heal wounds . . . ok, I can buy that.
Separate these from a head-on car crash which totally destroys the entire front of a vehicle, yet Mac steps out unscathed seconds later more concerned about covering his ears due to surrounding gunfire. The vine swinging, which is an incredibly lame idea in the first place, is made even more absurd by the fact that he somehow manages to traverse probably at least a quarter mile of jungle with such proficiency as to not only arrive at the road at the exact same time as the cars traveling some 50+mph, but he's able to swing kick an enemy posted behind the wheel and knock him out of commision. It just looked stupid and just doesn't fit with the real, gritty physical action and stunt work of the preceding films.
The raft . . . yes, it's unbelievable, BUT, you do have people who jump out of helicopters onto ski slopes while wearing windsuits, so . . . it's done to an extreme, but that's where you just have to say it's a movie. It doesn't look incredibly fake, either, which helps tremendously. Generally though, the physical action in Indy films have been fairly believable. I think a lot more of it could have been acceptable in Skull had they just gone a little lower in scale and used practical effects, as Spielberg originally said they were going to. For instance, if they drove over a cliff and into the water, I probably would've bought that a lot more had they not landed on a CGI tree which gently lowered them into the water. That scene's horrendousness is just sealed by Karen Allen's ditzy "Yes dear" line.
I'm not really a Skull hater. I can watch it and enjoy it for the scenes that are good (I love the Area 51 chase scene, the motorcycle chase is fun, parts of the jungle chase are pretty cool, even though Indy takes a back seat), but at the same time it's still a tremendous let down.