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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, 'Mac' George McHale (Ray Winstone)

Site Rating: 33%
(ratings: 3)
Writeup Rating: 100%
(ratings: 3)
Film: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Deceased Character: 'Mac' George McHale (Ray Winstone)
Archetype: Baddy (Minor)
Killed with: Inter-dimensional vortex



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Written by Old Bluffer 30th May 2008

Mac is a rogueish East-End wideboy archetype, so Ray Winstone has to really go outside of his normal acting comfort zone to play him.
He's apparently been in many close scrapes and escapades with Indy, who therefore treats him as a trusted friend.
This proves to be completely naive of him, as Mac is all to eager to betray him early on in the film. It seems loyalty means nothing when recruited by a foxy Russian and promised a share in a city made of solid gold.

As a result of this weaselly behaviour, Indy ends up getting captured and recaptured several times during the chase for the film's MacGuffin (the Crystal Skull), and is of course fairly unhappy about it. He vows that when he gets free he'll punch Mac on the nose, which he does, repeatedly.

Mac is fairly aggrieved by this retribution, and finally reveals that in actual fact he is a CIA double agent, working to expose Irina and her gang.

Again, showing a woeful lack of perception as to his friend's character, Indy takes this at face value which means the lying Mac can accompany him to the final mayan temple, dropping tracking devices for Irina to follow him with.

[We should take a small amount of time here to point out that the Crystal Skull has powerful magnetic properties, which are later revealed to work on gold too. Quite why this is doesn't matter in the slightest, but the gold attracting thing will (possibly) be used later on.]

En route through the temple, Mac's greedy eyes alight upon the motherlode of ancient artifacts. There are literally priceless relics from every ancient human culture, known and unknown here. So, while everyone else is concerned with replacing the Crystal Skull, reviving aliens, watching Irina die and then escaping from the crumbling temple alive, Mac decides to load up with a modest pile of treasure. As part of this plan, he puts a heavy gold torque around his neck.

We're now at the climax of the film, such as it is, and there is a fair bit of mayhem going on. The temple isn't collapsing in a normal way, it is spinning around, faster and faster, and opened up an inter-dimensional vortex (John Hurt's character was pretty entertaining whilst he was mad, but now that the aliens are awake, he has become sane again, and is much less fun cast in the role of an Explainer, so it's from him that we learn that the aliens aren't technically from outer space, but from another dimension).

The vortex is doing what vortexes generally do in such situations, and is sucking everything into it, whilst the humans desperately try and get away. Indy has to be shown to be a thoroughly heroic good egg all of the time though, so lingers back to save Mac, even though he knows by this time that he betrayed him again. He uses his whip to try and pull the cockney rascal to safety, but Mac for some reason tells him "I'll be OK". This isn't even close to being true though, and the vortex sucks him into the portal, where he's unlikely to survive for very long.

Now Mouseburger assures me that the reason he got pulled into the portal despite Indy trying to pull him out was because of the gold necklace he'd blagged earlier. I have to confess though, I didn't see that myself.

Regardless, the unsubtle moral was clear - if Mac had been made of richer moral fibre and not been fannying around picking up treasure he would have survived.

Once Mac is dead, Indy and pals are free to escape to high ground, and watch an enormous flying saucer burst up from the bowels of the temple and then blast off into a dimension presumably occupied by Mac's corpse. Excitement factor: not very much.

Unsatisfying?

This was a pretty weak death and I've therefore awarded it our "unsatisfying" category. Dying because of your lust for treasure is a staple part of an Indy film (eg: Mola Ram, Walter Donovan and even Irina a few minutes before, but this one felt more like an afterthought by the film makers. It would have been nice to see Mac squirm a bit as he realised he was doomed, and if this is to be the last death in a proper Indy movie, well, it really just wasn't very good.


Old Bluffer's Thoughts

Lucas Spielberg decides to take our money again with a half arsed story that rips off the plot of an episode of Stargate, badly.

Firstly, don't believe any of the pre-release hype about CGI only being used where absolutely necessary, as, predictably, this is soon shown to be nonsense. Many of the stunts are overblown and lacking in any sense of wonder, in that special way that only computers can provide.

I can honestly say there were absolutely zero plot surpises in any moment of this film. Everything was telegraphed or belaboured to such a degree that I never felt any cinema magic. My thought processes were pretty much "the crystal skull is alien, any moron can see that / Yeah, he's obviously your son / cue plenty of unfunny familial bickering / there's going to be a token fencing fight any minute and it's going to make me cringe / Russian Cate Blanchett is going to appear round about *now* - and then get almost immediately killed by aliens / Ray Winstone is going to get his commeuppance / hmmm, I thought a space ship would appear out of the temple but it didn't, oh no, there it is!"

Now this wouldn't *necessarily* be a bad thing, if each sequence was an enjoyable ride, but I'm genuinely sad to report that it isn't. There are far too many lazy, protracted chases, and token explorations of ruined temples that all look the same and which lack any kind of drama. I was moderately entertained, and did chuckle a bit, but whether this balanced out the many cringe inducing moments I'm still not sure.

Now I'm already braced for the predictable comments for this review, mostly boiling down to "But... it's Indy!". This is true, and I can't deny that it is at first very cool to see Harrison Ford back in The Hat. This feeling just doesn't last though, and it is the fault of the film, pure and simple, not the actors.
To put it into perspective though, KotCS is nowhere near the nadir that was the Phantom Menace, so you're never going to feel actual rage at the film makers - just the heavy disappointment of yet another example of a missed opportunity. Objectively, I give the film maybe 6 out of 10, but when you're hoping for so much more, that's still a pretty poor experience.

So, to preempt the protestations from people that insist the film should just be treated as a simple bit of fun, I'll make my point very clear: This was conceived over many years, had an unlimited budget and yet is still nowhere near as good as the first two films, and is arguably a fair bit worse than the third. This can be illustrated by the total absence of any one scene that people will still be talking about even next year let alone ten or twenty years in the future. "Raiders" had the truly iconic and much loved opening scene, the Cairo Swordsman death, Ark of the Covenant and plenty more, "Temple" had Mola Ram's ritual heart extractions, monkey brains, rope bridges and crocodiles. Not as iconic as Raiders perhaps, but still highly memorable. My opinion on the Crystal Skull on the other hand, is that nothing will linger on in popular memory, other than the fact that it is the worst in the series.

The one positive thing I honestly thought I'd be able to say before I went to see this, was that at least the music was good. Incredibly though, they even managed to sully one of the most stirring themes ever composed by using it for the sappy ending - as the backing for Indy's wedding. This was the final kick in the knackers for me, and I left the cinema feeling as if I'd paid for a roller coaster ride and instead ended up meeting Superman retired in his dotage, trying to sell me life insurance. The message in that once-classic melody was clear : they may as well have been playing it at Indy's funeral, as his life is well and truly over, and all he has to look forward to now is incontinence and cynical film reviews...


Bonus Fanboy Trivia

If you sit to the end of the credits, Sean Connery appears as a nebulous jedi ghost with Yoda and E.T. "Tired and old your son is." says Yoda. "No more adventures will he have."
Sean looks mischevious: "Perhapsh, old friend. But... there ish another..."
As the camera pans out, we see that E.T. is holding the crystal skull, and then a motor cycle roars cinematically into the screen - it's Mutt, and he's wearing Indy's hat!



4 categories : Ironic, Unique, Unsatisfying, Offscreen Killing

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Other Death Reviews for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett)
'Mac' George McHale (Ray Winstone)

Last Updated: 2nd Jun 2008
Number of views for this review since 30th May 2008: 7252
This review has 13 comments. Reply to the comments
Comment 1 by 'Mr Mouseburger' (reply to this comment)
While you didn't mention it in the write up, i think it is worth noting the ridiculous number of historic events that Indy was suppose to have been involved in:-

- The Roswell Incident
- The Manhattan Project
- Riding with Pancho Villa
- McCarthyism
- Testing Jet Engines at Area 51

It did have an element of Forrest Gump about this aspect, which was not pleasing. I half expected an Elvis lookalike to appear and be told by Indy that he "ain't nothing but a hound dog".

Also, the references to other films is nice if used sparingly, but every single scene had some reference or other to a Lucasberg production.

That ending was cheesey as hell - i dont want to see Indy getting married and a gust of wind blow the hat into the path of Sheer LaBollocks - he can feck off. It should have ended with the alien saucer landing outside Barnet College, playing the close encounters tune, and whisking Indy, Marion, and anyone else with half a brain cell left to realise that this franchise is dead in the water, off to a galaxy far, far away.

Overall i give it 4 whips out of 10. It tried too hard to be funny and to hard to be clever and ended up cocking the whole thing up.
Comment 2 by 'old bluffer' (reply to this comment)
I've got a feeling the historical references to past adventures were a nod to fans of the "Young Indy" TV series. Could be wrong though, I never watched that.
Comment 3 by 'Matt' (reply to this comment)
[quote old bluffer]I've got a feeling the historical references to past adventures were a nod to fans of the "Young Indy" TV series. Could be wrong though, I never watched that.[/quote]To be honest, I think there's a good reason why you didn't see it. I don't know about you, but I never saw Indy has an eye-patched old man spending his days in a museum...

[youtube]http://uk.youtube.com/v/MuZZqq-z7QI[/youtube]

I quite liked the movie, myself. That said, since I wasn't born until after the last Indy flick, maybe I'm just too much of a young whippersnapper. I'd easily take it over something like The Statement any day. It's good but not great and to be honest, that was what I expected from the film. But if The Dark Knight disappoints, there'll be hell to pay...

I did notice that Mac's death did remind me a lot of Benni's death from The Mummy (1999).
Comment 4 by 'Mr Mouseburger' (reply to this comment)
Good spot Matt, that is my exact feeling (that Mac's death was like Benni's in The Mummy). Mind you, most of the scenes were a pastiche of one film or another.
Comment 5 by 'FKAJ' (reply to this comment)
I liked the addition of the aliens, it was more realistic than incorporating the actual supernatural like in Raiders and Last Crusade.
Comment 6 by 'Matt' (reply to this comment)
In an absolutely shameless plug, here is my Indy 4 review - in video form!
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/v/9_IFeobI0IQ[/youtube]
Comment 7 by 'old bluffer' (reply to this comment)
Hey, nice work on your first video review!
One thing that did spoil it a bit for me though was the sound quality, it had loads of pops and what I believe are called "plosives" when you have the mic too close. I'd invest in a better mic if you can, and play some test recordings back on decent speakers to hear the quality. It doesn't need to be amazing for YouTube, but pops are unpleasant to listen to.
How long does it take you to edit the videos and clip art together?

I mostly agree with your review, aside from how good the film is. For me it was a 6/10 film at best - which isn't bad, just nothing to get excited about. I haven't read the posts at IMDB, but it doesn't surprise me the film is getting slated - people just had big hopes for it.

Speaking as someone who has given it a less than glowing review, I'd like to say that I most definitely did not go into the cinema with the intention of hating it. In fact, I was enjoying it fine until well after the "fridge" scene. I can't pinpoint where it started to become apparent that the film wasn't a classic after that - possibly the first lengthy chase near the college.
Comment 8 by 'Matt' (reply to this comment)
Yeah, it took me a week to edit it all together because I kept occupying myself with other things (see my reviews for The Invasion from last week). The actual audio I spent a day on. It may not sound like it, but there were lots of gaps and pauses (by removing them, I halved the length). Some of the audio distortion might be because it was recorded online using free call porgrma Skype and my friend was going to fix it but we decided to post it as it was because it had already taken a while. My mic is usually better quality than that, as my voice work in short films will tell you. The video clips themsleves took ages to do. I had to download the trailers and TV spots, convert them into AVIs and edit out the title cards. For the film clips, I had to rip the whole DVD to my laptop, convert the sections I needed and edit those in. You'll notice there's no Last Crusade footage and that's because the latter process takes ages.

The "hating it" comment was more directed at all the IMDb/Empire/etc., who were nitpicking extremely minor details. I have to admit I had low expectations (9 out of 10 times I usually have this) so maybe I was just easily pleased, but I did enjoy it.

Also, if you're wondering how old I am, I am 17. Yes, I do sound 12, but that's how old I am. My co-host is two years younger than me and sounds older, which as you can guess is a trifle embarassing.
Comment 9 by 'commanderblue' (reply to this comment)
I agree with the review stating that Mac's death was unsatisfying.

I truly felt nothing for the character. For me I'd be like, "Hey, if you wanna let go then go ahead. If you wanna escape, then let's get moving". His good/bad orientation that switched too often certainly put me, and possibly other audience members, at an inconclusive emotion towards his character. Thus unlike Elsa (which we can see now Spielberg has tried a pattern of pulling betrayal) Mac's death was nadda. Not memorable in the very least.
Comment 10 by 'MisterOCD' (reply to this comment)
I loved Indy 4. So sue me.

I thought Mac was amusing, but that was it. His death scene was utterly uninteresting.
Comment 11 by 'luke-jones' (reply to this comment)
We shouldn't forget that this is also the same death Elsa got.
Comment 12 by 'Flashpenny' (reply to this comment)
Out of curiosity should Mac qualify as a Baddy (Major)? He kinda flip-flops but if Elsa is one so is he.

Also, sue me but I liked this one somewhat. It was all well and good until the ending. I felt Spalko and Mac died too quickly compared to the deaths of all the other Indy villains (Spalko really had the least painful, just turned into dust, versus shrivelling heads, melting faces, explosions, getting red to crocodiles, rapid aging, falling into bottomless chasms and the like). I was hoping something like Mac gets up and Indy then punches him in the nose one more time which sends him into the chasm. That would've been satisfying and funny and a good callback to the "punch in the nose" bit.
Comment 13 by 'Kooshmeister' (reply to this comment)
Whether Mac and those Soviet guys even died or not is up for debate amongst Indiana Jones fans.