The weirdest villains in film

November 14, 2007

In a recent review for the film American Gangster, the LA Times included a fun little photo gallery of what they considered “more unusual choices for organized crime bosses.” Their picks include Jabba the Hut (can’t argue with them there…) and Don Lino (aka, the voice of Robert DeNiro) in the animated Shark Tale.

And while that’s fun and all, what about those other outcasts from the population of ne’er-do-wells whose chosen occupations sadly don’t fall into the realm of organized crime? Shouldn’t they get their say as well?

Here, then, are some of my favorite villainous oddballs:

WARNING: some contain SPOILERS (read with care…)

Bowler Hat Guy (Meet the Robinsons) – Something about those spindly legs just really creeps me out and to top it all off, the true villain is the mechanical bowler hat itself (uh huh, a bowler hat) that’s telling him what to do. Ick.

Yzma and Kronk (Emperor’s New Groove) – The first looks like some sort of waspish spider and has a weird thing for llamas. The second is a sidekick who hums his own theme song and happily cooks spinach puffs right in the middle of an evil plot. And when Yzma cackles evilly as a cute little kitten? Priceless.

The Penguin (Batman Returns) – Okay, true, in Batman, Jack Nicholson’s The Joker is mighty odd and, yes, totally insane. But he’s got a kind of sense of humor (in a creepy way) and, well… it’s Jack Nicholson. He’s his own kind of weird. In any case, unlike the Penguin in the original comics who was rather cool-headed, refined and quite intelligent, the Penguin in Batman Returns is, as the Wikipedia entry puts it, “a physically deformed, sadistic, megalomaniacal monster.” Plus, he hangs around with penguins all the time. Literally. I think that qualifies him.

The Wicked Witch of the West (Wizard of Oz) – She melts and her henchmen are flying monkeys. Enough said.

The Claw (Toy Story) – Who knew the fun selector of children’s stuffed animals could be such a bizarre nightmarish creature? Not forgetting of course that The Claw is also a completely emotionless cult leader who gets his brainwashed followers to chant “The Claw is our master. The claw chooses who will go and who will stay.” And leads them to believe that being “chosen” will take them to “a better place.” Scary, scary stuff.

HAL 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey) – As an artificial intelligence, this decidedly creepy villain is nothing but a voice and an oddly pulsating red glow. And really, there isn’t much that is scarier and more goosebumpily bizarre than a villain who never, ever raises his voice.

The Emperor (Star Wars) – Why is it that the names of many evil villains begin with a definite article? I suppose we’ll never really know, but I think it’s clear that this villain at least certainly deserves to have a name that begins with an emphatic “the.” With his ghoulish voice and eerie cackle, not to mention that blue lightning thing he can do with his hands, the Emperor is both evil and just plain strange. Darth Vader has got that cool strong man / deep voice in black metal vibe going on, but the Emperor has an omnipresent cowl and cooky sense of humor. He wins.

Assorted Amélie villains (Amélie / Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain) – Perhaps not villains per se, if you want to get technical, but they are all weird and/or mysteriously odd people. So I think they should get their chance too. First, there’s the almost (okay, total) stalker guy from the café who records everything his ex-girlfriend says or does. Then, there’s the obnoxious and cruel grocer who delights in tormenting the boy who works for him and always calls Amélie “Amélie-melo.” And finally, there’s the ghost / possible obsessive picture taker whose eerie mystery haunts the film. Quite the goldmine of weird scoundrels, n’est-ce pas?

No Face (Spirited Away) – Half leprechaun, half “The Blob,” this gold-giving masked spirit vies (successfully, in my opinion) with the witch Yubaba for the title of baddest, largest, most complex, and just downright crazy villain in this spooky Japanese fairy tale.

The Cat King (The Cat Returns) – Pretty much demented, yet still a powerful ruler over, uh, cats, this rotund monarch has “I am CRAZY” eyes, static-style hair and calls the heroine “babe.” And he throws unfortunate palace performers out the window when they can’t make his guest smile. Weird and psychopathic – a winning combination for this list.

Lord Voldemort (pretty much any Harry Potter film) – Let’s recap, shall we? In the first film, he was a face on the back of someone’s head. In the second film, he was a ghost from a diary. In the third film, um… Okay, well, in the fourth film, he was a seriously creepy baby-like creature who transformed out of a boiling cauldron into a noseless man. In the fifth film and (I’m assuming) on, he’s that same snakelike, pasty-faced, noseless man. Yep, I think I’ve made my point…

Dr. Evil (Austin Powers) – This is a bit of a given. And with a medical degree in Evil, he’s earned it.

Honorable mentions: Stay Puft (Ghostbusters), the Black Knight and the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog (Monty Python and the Holy Grail), coat hanger aficionado Toht (Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark), and potentially Grendel’s mother (the animated Angelina Jolie) in the upcoming Beowulf.

Advertisements

Famous movie locations that aren’t Paris or New York

November 2, 2007

Does it sometimes seem as if every big city in the movies is New York and every romantic destination Paris? Well… they are. (Hmm, I’m not entirely sure that makes total grammatical sense, but ah well. You get the point, hopefully.) According to an article in The Observer, Paris and New York have achieved such “overlord” location status on the big screen that most filmgoers feel as if they’ve been there (at some point, haven’t we? or have I just seen National Lampoon’s European Vacation too many times?), even if that is unfortunately not always the case. On the other hand, though, movie Paris = no customs! Tough call, really.

However, New York and Paris don’t have all the big screen fun, and there are other locations, sometimes forgotten in the glow of the, ah, terrible two, that have achieved a sort of mythical status as well. They too have celluloid alter egos, or impressions of the city created from a jumble of film recollections and real world experiences. These locations certainly also deserve a place in the sun – for better or, perhaps more often than is admitted, for worse.

Here are a few of these alternative location stars:

Vienna

Before Sunrise (Vienna)

Well before they awkwardly greeted each other in Paris, Jesse and Celine memorably walked the streets of Vienna in Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise, forever establishing Austria’s capital as the place for soulmate-at-first-site hopefuls. Hey, Ethan Hawke’s gotta sit down across from you on that train eventually, right? Vienna, and particularly its famous ferris wheel, the Reisenrad, was also featured in the Orson Welles noir classic, The Third Man, which takes place in Vienna right after World War II. You’ll never look down from the top of a ferris wheel in the same way again.

Another Vienna classic: Amadeus, about Mozart and Salieri.

Trivia: The battle fought at the beginning of the film Gladiator is mentioned as taking place at Vindobona, which is actually the early name for Vienna. It has, you know, expanded a bit since then.

For other films that take place in and around Vienna, check out this nice little review by Dustin Penn here.

The Australian Outback

Mad Max

From Rabbit-Proof Fence and The Dish, to Crocodile Dundee and the post-apocalyptic Mad Max, to my own mother’s obsessively favorite films A Town Like Alice and My Brilliant Career, Australia’s Outback seems to be a source of endless fascination for both filmmakers and filmgoers. What really goes on out there in all that space? We don’t really know, but it must be something mysterious and exciting and, of course, intriguingly rugged.

Trivia: Crocodile Dundee is the most successful Australian movie ever. I guess all I can say is… wow.

For an interesting look at the Outback’s connection to the horror movie genre, click here. Let’s just say it’s called “Things that go bump in the outback” – make of that what you will.

San Francisco

Vertigo

Sure, filmmakers have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with the New York skyline, but those sloping streets and red bridge towers have inspired their own impressive number of classic films and made San Francisco’s unique cityscape internationally admired. Really, the city has almost too many classic scenes. Scottie saving Madeleine from the waters below the Golden Gate Bridge in Vertigo. Dirty Harry finding evidence to a murder on the city’s rooftops in Dirty Harry. Benjamin Braddock driving across the Bay Bridge (the wrong way, but in any case) in The Graduate, a bridge that also appears in The Maltese Falcon. For a more contemporary scene, there’s Mia, who crashes her car into a trolley in The Princess Diaries. And, of course, not forgetting Steve McQueen’s very famous car chase through the city’s streets in Bullitt.

San Fran fun: And you thought San Francisco’s hills were just for exercise (and really frustrating bike rides), check out what else someone did with those gentle slopes.

For a more complete list of movies set in this California town, click here.

Tokyo

Lost in Translation

There’s just something so indescribably exotic about a city that is both very much like a city near you and at the same time entirely different. With its bright lights, bright colors, bright pop culture, and seemingly limitless supply of population (see trivia below), Tokyo appears to be the perfect setting in which to be both completely surrounded and entirely alone. It’s the city where Charlotte and Bob had a fleeting connection in Lost in Translation and where people struggle for survival in a post-apocalyptic future (Akira), but also where James Bond (You Only Live Twice) and his modern counterpart Austin Powers (in Goldmember) both encounter, you guessed it, sumo wrestling. And, uh, there’s that Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift movie as well – of course.

Trivia: Tokyo is the largest metropolitan area in the entire world. With well over 30 million people (for some perspective: the New York City metropolitan area has about 18 million – more than 10 million less), you can certainly understand how that would be.

Antarctica and the Arctic Circle

March of the Penguins

Okay, I can probably guess what you’re thinking right now: great, more penguins. (and, well, I have a huge picture of them right above this, so why wouldn’t you be?) But really, what you should be thinking is: action and horror. I don’t know if it’s the treacherous ice, low likelihood of survival, lengthy hours of darkness, or those polar bears (because you know they mean business), or all of the above, but the arctic ice is accumulating quite the impressive collection of action/horror films: The Transformers, 30 Days of Night (it’s in Alaska, but north of the Arctic Circle, so I’m gonna go ahead and count it), Alien vs. Predator, National Treasure, The Thing, The Thing from Another World, and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (Siberia, close enough). And then, yes, not to forget of course Happy Feet, March of the Penguins, Arctic Tale, The Endurance, and Eight Below (and thus also Nankyoku Monogatari). Plus Insomnia (both versions).

Trivia: One of the original horror classics of literature actually began in the Arctic Circle – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Cairo

Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood

If you’re looking for exotic mystery in a film, Cairo seems to have it in spades. And how could it not? Considering its association with over three thousand years of ancient Egyptian civilization, Cairo is quite hard to beat as a movie location. Naturally, you’ve got your obligatory pseudo-Egyptian myth horror (The Mummy), other mythologically- inspired action (Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark), tourism (Death on the Nile), and just plain action (The Spy Who Loved Me). In other words, if you’re looking for an otherworldly adventure complete with historic mystique, celluloid Cairo is where you want to be.

Cairo fun: If you like what they did in that San Francisco video, see what happens when they take on the pyramids.

Transylvania

Nosferatu

Well, you can’t say that film has been easy on poor, much maligned Transylvania. For many long years, Transylvania has had to suffer numerous indignities as the place inextricably intertwined with vampires and most anything gloomy and weird (that is somehow associated with darkness and rain, in any way at all). At least they pretty much know who to blame: Bram Stoker, who decided to have his Dracula live there (despite the fact that Dracula’s inspiration, Vlad the Impaler, actually ruled over nearby Walachia, which got off easy, all things considered). Transylvania, a region in Romania, is, I’m sure, a perfectly lovely area with many attractive medieval ruins, but sadly, this image was not meant to be. Instead, it’s the spooky, rainy, shadowy, depressing, crumbling, seriously weird, and, let’s just say it, eeeevil location of Nosferatu, Young Frankenstein (and Mary Shelley’s monster wasn’t even originally, um, “born” in Transylvania), Van Helsing, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, even The Rocky Horror Picture Show (technically).

What does the real Transylvania actually look like? Check out some Flickr photos here to see. And check out the official tourism office here.

Another location with quite unfortunate film credentials? Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Apart from its seriously depressing depiction in Euro Trip, it stars in, of all things, Hostel. I think that pretty much says it all.

And, of course… London

28 Days Later

Not just the setting of one of my favorite comedy moments in film (Look kids! Big Ben! Parliament!), and thus also infernally frustrating roundabouts, London has been the setting of countless classics and, well, not-so-classics, as well as more than its fair share of apocalyptic/future films (28 Days Later, Children of Men, V for Vendetta), which is, needless to say… interesting. Although New York has faired no better, if we’re being honest (that poor Statue of Liberty, she’s been crushed by a tidal wave, destroyed by apes, buried in ice, animated by slime, used as a mutant-creating weapon and a mind wiping device, etc. etc.). The British capital, or rather, its buses, are also fantasy favorites (The Mummy Returns, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). And naturally, you can’t have a timeless city without an endless number of romantic comedies (Notting Hill, Bridget Jones, Love Actually, The Holiday). In short, the big screen London has got something for everyone.


Favorite movie quotes

October 17, 2007

I received a comment yesterday from the eloquent blogger of Ripple Effects asking me for my favorite movie quotes.

By no means an unreasonable request – after all, how can I post quotes day after day without pointing out my own favorites?

So, here they are, the many, many quotes I know and love and quote incessantly to my friends (Eventually, that’s gotta make them love them too, right?… Right?). No “Rosebud” or “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” here, this is a list of personal favorites, ones that caught me for some inexplicable reason and somehow stayed among the various other miscellanies I seem to collect. They’re not necessarily classy, or even profound in any way (at all). But I just can’t get enough of ’em. They’re my guilty pleasure quotes, if you’d like.

This is personal, so be gentle – but not too gentle, of course. What do you think? Anything I missed? What quotes are your guilty pleasures?

Quote marks

Superman II

Oh, I’ve been, uh… working out.
[Clark Kent pumps his arms up and down a bit.]

The Incredibles

Edna Mode…
[a gun appears out of the ceiling immediately and aims at Helen]
… and guest.

– Everyone’s special, Dash.
– Which is another way of saying no one is.

Monty Python

I’m not dead!… I’m getting better!

Blue. No yel – aaaahhhhh!

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

He’s got a two day head start on you, which is more than he needs. Brody’s got friends in every town and village from here to the Sudan. He speaks a dozen languages, knows every local custom. He’ll blend in, disappear, you’ll never see him again. With any luck, he’s got the Grail already.

[later on in the film]

– But you said he had a two day head start. That he would blend in, disappear.
– Are you kidding? I made all that up. You know Marcus. He once got lost in his own museum.

Young Frankenstein
(Yep, this was the inspiration for the Aerosmith song.)

Walk this way. No…
[Igor hunches his back even more, shambling along]
this way.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie
(pretty much anything I put in my post on the film, but here are some of my favorites)

Into the weenie mobile. Weenie man awaaaay!

Leaves only the fresh scent of pine.

– Are you boys cooking up there?
– No.
– Are you building an interocitor?
– No.

Caddyshack

So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

Clueless

Daddy, some people lost all their belongings, don’t you think that includes athletic equipment?

Well, uh, I thought they declared peace in the Middle East.
[said over a shot of the TV news featuring turmoil in Bosnia]

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

I put some Windex on it.

Oh, that’s okay. That’s okay. I make lamb.

Star Wars trilogy
(the first one – or rather, episodes 4-6)

– No time to discuss this as a committee.
– I am NOT a committee!

And now, young Skywalker… you will die.

(Okay, I admit that might sound a bit disturbing as a favorite quote, but you just have to hear the way the Emperor says it. Classic.)

Ever After

Some people read because they cannot think for themselves. [wicked stepmother, of course]

– She is mute, my lord.
– Really? She spoke quite forcefully.
– Well, it comes and goes…

The Third Man
(you knew I had to throw a classic in there somewhere – couldn’t help myself!)

Hello, old man, how are you?

In Switzerland they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Do these attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are they the result of previous study?

Fight Club

The first rule of fight club is – you do not talk about fight club. The second rule of fight club is – you do not talk about fight club!

Galaxy Quest

By Grabthar’s hammer!

The ship is breaking apart and all that. Just FYI.

Roman Holiday

May I say, speaking for my own press service, we believe your Highness’s faith will not be unjustified.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

Wait for the opportune moment.

The Mummy

– Well, if it ain’t my little buddy Beni. I think I’ll kill you.
– Think of my children.
– You don’t have any children
– Someday I might.

Aladdin
(You’re probably thinking – these? They’re even more random than the rest! Well, point taken, but, probably much to the dismay of my friends and family, these somehow pop up quite often in conversation.)

– Patience, Iago, patience. Gazeem was obviously less than worthy.
– Oh, there’s a big surprise.

Calm yourself, Iago.

PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS! Itty bitty living space.

The Princess Bride
(Saving the first for last – besides Aladdin, these are some of the first quotes I remember reciting.)

Well, it just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead.

Inconceivable!

(and, of course…)

Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die.

Quote marks


What kind of movie are you?

September 19, 2007

People say (perhaps more often than is necessary) that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but can you judge people by what movies they like, or even by what type of movie they most resemble?

I’ve compiled a list of popular movie genres and the telltale signs that someone might be starting to identify with that genre a little too much. See anyone you know?

Action

When falling through a glass window, do you:

a) Start screaming.

b) Pray.

c) Shout a witty comeback to the man who pushed you while pulling on the ripcord to your backpack parachute.

You live by the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. Or if not prepared, you always, always act like you are – and improvise (if you don’t think that Kleenex is a potential weapon, this is not the category for you). A man (or woman) of few words, you have a gift for phrases that are catchy and memorable, and, of course, almost improbably timely. Your voice is often a bit gruff from years of some sort of addictive habit and/or being knocked down perhaps one too many times by black-attired anonymous assassins.

You have perfect aim and an uncanny ability to distract enemies to the point where their own aim is nonexistent. You have very strong feelings about monologuing, especially by scheming loner types with weird, five-minute-long laughs. Unfortunately, you’re probably not great at long-term relationships, but on the bright side, you have almost no trouble finding temporary flings. Finally, you’re barely ever wrong (or won’t ever admit that you are) and you don’t like being told what to do, except, shall we say, by more “aged” citizens, particularly ones wearing expensive suits. And if you do find someone to trust and possibly even love, you’re fiercely loyal.

If you answered c to the question, the above description matches your personality and you can picture every possible escape route from the place you are now, then you’re most definitely Action.

Movies you should watch: Die Hard, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Bourne, The Matrix, Robocop, anything with Arnold Schwarzenegger (and probably almost everything on this EW list).

Horror

When leaving a party to go home late at night, do you:

a) Call a car service.

b) Tell your friends you don’t need their help and walk home alone, preferably only taking poorly lit streets and dark alleyways.

c) Grab pepper spray, a bullet-proof vest and your three, ex-Secret Service bodyguards and walk down as many brightly lit, heavily populated sidewalks as possible.

A bit naive and trusting, you tend not to be very suspicious (or even aware) of what’s going on around you. You commonly forget to lock, or just close, the door and/or you don’t think twice about telling a mysterious stranger which door you leave unlocked at night. You really like the phrase “I’ll be right back.” You carry around a grainy, digital camera – just in case. You or someone close to you might also be one or more of the following: a bully, a very attractive woman, a frequent babysitter, someone who is sexually active, a jerk, an insensitive tourist, someone who likes to take daring, out of the way trips, a corporate and/or rich snob.

If you answered b, the above description matches your personality and your phone is ringing right now, then you are Horror.

Movies you should watch: Halloween, The Exorcist, Psycho, Carrie, Silence of the Lambs, Night of the Living Dead, Alien, 28 Days Later (and, for some levity, Shaun of the Dead)

Lifetime Original Movie

You are:

a) Male.

b) Female.

You like long walks on the beach and watching the sun set. You are really attracted to obviously bad and seriously sketchy men. You can be a bit jumpy at loud noises and are often paranoid about sounds coming from outside the house, but probably for good reason. You have unfortunately suffered many, many personal, professional, family, and romantic tragedies in a very short span of time. You have a mentally unstable twin and/or a murderous family member and/or a traitorous best friend. Most importantly, however, you firmly believe that you can always learn to love again and that if you believe in yourself, everything will work out all right in the end. Requirement: you must currently have or have had, or know someone with, amnesia.

If you answered b, the above description matches your personality and you have Kleenex and a pint of ice cream handy, then you are a Lifetime Original Movie.

Movies you should watch: Sleeping with the Enemy, anything on Lifetime that stars Meredith Baxter-Birney and Tori Spelling, and other movies in this EW Lifetime Movie article (and go here to create your own Lifetime movie title!)

Romantic comedy

You are engaged. Do you:

a) Happily plan your wedding and future with the man or woman of your dreams.

b) Unconsciously sabotage your own wedding while secretly dreaming about the guy or girl who recently appeared in your life.

c) Never agree to get married in the first place.

You either have a very eligible (and single) good friend of the opposite sex (but you just don’t see them that way), or you know absolutely no one of the opposite sex. You are not known for your long-term relationships. On the other hand, you are an excellent internal monologuer.

You deal with relationship woes and/or self-esteem issues by talking to your quirky, self-deprecating, not-unattractive-but-not-competition friend(s), although you don’t often follow his or her (or their) advice. You might like to go out to parties (when your friends insist), but more often than not you prefer to be a homebody. You might also be dealing with some difficult personal style issues.

If you answered b or c (this one could go either way), the above description matches your personality and you’re planning to be at the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day, then you’re a Romantic Comedy.

Movies you should watch: You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, Pretty Woman, While You Were Sleeping, When Harry Met Sally…, Roman Holiday, The Philadelphia Story

Comedy

You are at a restaurant for a job interview, do you:

a) Arrive right on time, fully prepared.

b) Arrive a bit late (volunteering at that soup kitchen took a bit longer than expected), apologize profusely, and proceed to wow them with your eloquence and graceful manners.

c) Arrive ten minutes late (your pet ferret got loose), trip and spill hot soup all over your new suit, go to the bathroom to wash and blow dry your pants/skirt, run into your interviewer there while you’re in your underwear, and then belatedly realize they’re not the bathroom attendee after you’ve handed them some change.

A bit of a klutz, you are frequently physically awkward around the opposite sex and/or their family and friends. A man or woman of perhaps too many words, you commonly end up referring to somewhat inappropriate parts of the human anatomy, whether on purpose or tragically by accident. Normal, everyday situations just don’t seem to go your way – in fact, they often seem to go horribly, horribly wrong. You are one of the following: a parent with a very large family, a young guy in high school/college (literally or spiritually) who has lots of similarly-minded friends, an eeevil dictator, a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be…, someone who is not very sexually active, an acerbic New Yorker, a worker with a very boring profession or a job that caters to highly annoying, preferably snobbish customers.

If you answered c, the above description matches your personality and you have already spilled your morning coffee in a very inconvenient place, then you are probably a Comedy.

Movies you should watch: Young Frankenstein, Spaceballs, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers, Office Space, There’s Something About Mary, Annie Hall, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Airplane!, Some Like It Hot, Blazing Saddles, Caddyshack, National Lampoon

Independent films, preferably with subtitles

In your spare time, you:

a) Listen to classical or otherwise obscure musical recordings and finish up your own translation of “Crime and Punishment” while nibbling on some bread made fresh that morning by the local baker (whom you know by name).

b) Go on a pub crawl with some friends, crash when it’s getting light out and then wake up at 4pm.

c) Play games on your Xbox.

You like talking. A lot. Or at least writing or otherwise expressing yourself artistically in a very deep and passionate way. Unfortunately, you are not often happy – but more as a way of life rather than as a mood. You care deeply about sociopolitical issues and/or are a keen observer of human behavior. You like slow walks through forests or sitting by the fire in old country estates. Requirement: you must love to read, particulary books that are bound in leather.

Movies you should watch: Any miniseries on Masterpiece Theatre, Merchant Ivory films, Marcel Pagnol movies, Before Sunrise/Sunset, Stranger than Paradise (and check out Empire Magazine’s list of the 50 greatest independent films)


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

September 10, 2007

Is the new title of the Indiana Jones 4 movie, according to Shia LaBoeuf’s announcement at MTV’s Video Music Awards.

Huh. Well, that’s… nice.

Here are other worrying, and encouraging, details about the new Indiana Jones movie:

1)  It will star Shia LaBoeuf (Transformers), John Hurt (V for Vendetta, Mr. Ollivander in Harry Potter), Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth, Lord of the Rings), Ray Winstone (King Arthur, Sexy Beast, Beowulf), Harrison Ford (if you don’t know who he is, I can’t help you) and Karen Allen, who played “Marion Ravenwood” in Raiders of the Lost Ark and will be returning to the role in this film.

2)  It will NOT star Sean Connery, who gives the excuse that “retirement is just too damned much fun.” I see. But The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was worth the break from retirement?

3)  Spielberg is directing again and George Lucas exec-producing.

4)  The script was written by David Koepp, no stranger to big-budget action flicks (and Spielberg) with his screenplays for War of the Worlds, Spider-man (1 and the upcoming 4), Jurassic Park and Lost World, and Mission: Impossible.

5)  It will be released in the summer of next year, May 22, 2008. According to Firstshowing.net, also released that month will be Iron Man, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall (the new Judd Apatow film starring Kristin Bell from the now defunct “Veronica Mars.”)

6)  Other possible titles for Indy 4 included (according to slashfilm.com): Indiana Jones + City of Gods / Destroyer of Worlds / Fourth Corner of the Earth / Lost City of Gold / Quest for the Covenant. I don’t know about you, but I’m much more excited about a movie that’s about a city of gods or, even more so, a lost city of gold, than one that’s about some sort of crystal skull. Come on, El Dorado: Indiana Jones style? Awesome.

7)  Intriguingly, there is actually a ride at the DisneySea Park in Tokyo named Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull. It’s not even a new ride either. Could the Indiana Jones 4 team be pulling a Pirates of the Caribbean for this new installment?