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Spielberg Takes the Blame for Nuking the Fridge in 'Indiana Jones 4'

by
October 23, 2013
Source: Jay West

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Even if Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will stand the test of time as more of a skidmark than a milestone in cinema, the film at least still has a legacy for introducing the term "nuke the fridge" which has become synonymous with "jumping the shark." It's not exactly something to be proud of, but it's better than nothing I guess. Anyway, Steven Spielberg appeared at a special screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark at Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles last night, and eventually the topic of the less than stellar sequel came up, and the iconic director finally fessed up that the atomic bomb gag was completely his fault.

Friend of the site, Jay West, attended the screening last night and quotes Spielberg saying:

"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!'"

So here's at least one bad thing in Indiana Jones 4 that we can't blame on George Lucas (though we think all the cutesy animal stuff and Shia LaBeouf ball-shots were still his fault. But obviously, nuking the fridge is just one of many problems in the adventure sequel. If an Indiana Jones 5 is still in the cards, we hope Spielberg and Lucas recover from the silliness they delivered in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and come up with something that might be a decent end to the franchise before the filmmakers and star Harrison Ford head to that great big movie theater in the sky. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: SlashFilm cites a New York Times article from 2012 which has George Lucas saying that Spielberg has tried to take responsibility for nuking the fridge in order to protect him, because he gets enough shit for ruining Star Wars already. The article says:

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.

So who do you think is telling the truth? Maybe Lucas doesn't want Spielberg to get tainted like he has? Thoughts?

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Reader Feedback - 32 Comments

1

Now apologize for the rest of the movie. Especially the monkey swinging scene. Blanchett was hot with black hair.

Xerxexx on Oct 23, 2013

2

The monkey scene was hilari-bad. Total loller-coaster.

Carpola on Oct 23, 2013

3

Apologise for what? You either enjoyed the movie for what it was or not .. It's only a freakin' movie. No apologoes needed.

Guest on Oct 23, 2013

4

Apologise for what? You either enjoyed the movie for what it was or not .. It's only a freakin' movie. No apologies needed.

Jason on Oct 23, 2013

5

Shiau swinging with monkeys and the aliens.

Xerxexx on Oct 23, 2013

6

Lmao... yeah, the monkey swinging scene was so bad. I remember having high hopes for the movie. It pissed all over me when Shia came in, and then the fridge... the monkeys.... and the aliens. What a disappointment. I'd personally blame George Lucas for ruining it. I'm pretty sure Harrison has some sense.

Sam on Oct 29, 2013

7

I remember all the speculation leading up to Indy 4...the rejected scripts, rewrites and overall reluctance of all involved to do another one. You would have hoped the final product would have been great with all the hurdles they had to overcome to finally getting it made.......NOPE!

desispeed on Oct 23, 2013

8

Its because no one had the balls to tell them both: the script SUCKED.

Buzzfunk on Oct 23, 2013

9

They made an Indy 4???

TheOct8pus on Oct 23, 2013

10

This was a bad movie....

Trey on Oct 23, 2013

11

From my perspective, I have never approached an Indiana Jones movie with an expectation of realism. To see Indy' emerge from the refrigerator unscathed was as surprising as people melting in the 'Ark' film...

GabrielPalmer on Oct 23, 2013

12

This would have been better

DJROBL on Oct 23, 2013

13

Honestly aside from the monkeys and the fridge I thought the movie was decent. Would have preferred for it to not be aliens though.

Brian Sleider on Oct 23, 2013

14

I honestly think that, with as many ideas that get shot around during the making of a film, I can see either one of them forgetting just who exactly thought it was a good idea. They both probably think they came up with it. Seriously, if Indy had just dislocated his shoulder, and had to pop it back in (ala Lethal Weapon), we'd all buy the idea much more that he could survive the blast in a lead-lined refrigerator. But the fact that he emerges from the fridge completely unscathed seems to defy all logic - even for an Indiana Jones film. Having said that, I still think it's an enjoyable movie overall. Just not as good as Raiders or Last Crusade.

dangeer on Oct 23, 2013

15

Indy 4 showed who the bitch was in the Lucas-Spielberg relationship and it's not Lucas. An Indiana Jones script can be the most audacious, out of left-field story, but all roads lead though George Lucas. If George says no, it's not going to get made

Chris L Harris on Oct 23, 2013

16

What about the rest?

Nuno Lopes on Oct 23, 2013

17

spielberg should apologize for other aspects of that film but i personally loved the fridge scene, and it *was* survivable. reel/real physics 'proved' it.

Rafael Jordan on Oct 23, 2013

18

It's both of their faults. The people who want to blame only Lucas, and not Spielberg, the DIRECTOR OF THE FILM, are crazy. Just as crazy as those that thing Damon Lindelof had 100% control over everything they didn't like in Prometheus. Last time I checked, Ridley Scott was still the director of that film, and given a boat load of creative freedom by Fox. So he is just as much to blame for it disappointing.

Chris Groves on Oct 23, 2013

19

But at the end of the day, the 'nuke the fridge' moment was worth it JUST to get the utterly epic imagery of Indy in silhouette against an atomic bomb backdrop.

Chris Groves on Oct 23, 2013

20

Have to agree. The moment looked great but unfortunately in the end it just isn't worth anything. I blame both Lucas and Spielberg for the crap that is Indy 4.

Buzzfunk on Oct 23, 2013

21

I agree, the film has it's flaws. But I do think there is a bit of a double standard and almost a misunderstanding. The Indy films reflect the genres of the decade they occur in. The 50s had the Roswell incident and there was a huge alien buzz...so an Indy film taking place in the 50s makes sense to feature alien-esque subject matter. Beyond that, maybe it's just me, but I don't get the logic of 'Oh, these films can deal with magic and supernaturally religious elements, but this film dealing with beings from another dimension/outer space just brings the credibility of the franchise down' But again, I note the film's flaws. I've never had a problem with Shia, so I didn't have problems with him in the film. Sure, you can nit-pick about CGI and some of the 'sillier' moments, but let's not act like the original Indy films were pictures of grounded realism on film. The 4th film simply was a progression of that style. No film is perfect, none of the original Indy films were perfect, and the 4th wasn't perfect...but it was a lot better than a lot of the committed fanbase gives it credit for. And outside of those circles, it does at least seem to get respect, the critical reception on a site like RottenTomatoes for example, was rather positive.

Chris Groves on Oct 23, 2013

22

Ah, hell, it was fun damnit!

Jason on Oct 23, 2013

23

>"nuke the fridge" which has become synonymous with "jumping the shark." No it hasn't. A small group of zealous Lucas-haters tried to make it a thing and failed. Time to move on.

SubBasement_Richmond on Oct 23, 2013

24

I don't know what the fuck is going on with this people.recently J.J Abrams apology for lens flares and now spielberg blame or nuking in Indiana Jones 4.why they giving stab to the hands of some haters? both are great,nuking and flare!

Бабак on Oct 24, 2013

25

I blame them both for making a terrible movie.

cobrazombie on Oct 24, 2013

26

I think it's funny that so many continue mentioning the nuked fridge when that was the least of their issues. I do believe Spielberg is taking the brunt for his friend. I just can't understand why Steven hasn't explained to George how wrong it has been for him to deny the original theatrical versions of the original Star Wars trilogy. For all that E.T. taught Steven about revisionism and how he respectfully treated Close Encounters, you'd think Lucas would have released an untainted remastered version of the original trilogy with the recent Star Wars bluray sets. I still have high hopes, as a childhood Star Wars fan and a lover of film history, that Disney releases them remastered in HD untainted as they were meant to be seen now that Lucas has sold that stuff over. Anyone know anything about this? If not, at least there are talented and dedicated fans out their who have worked on un-special edition HD remasters of the original trilogy for us.

Johnny Neat on Oct 24, 2013

27

I have no problem with the nuking of the fridge. I don't even have a problem with the aliens. People act as if it's the first Indy to go completely batshit crazy at the end. I'm a pretty massive Indy fan and I loved it!

Peanut Turner on Oct 24, 2013

28

Truly the worst piece of cinematic excrement I have ever seen. Batman and Robin! Battlefield Earth as crappy as they are come nowhere near the stink of this debacle, maybe the prequels, but Skull truly is in a category of suck all to itself. I have never seen nor been a part of an audience of 1,200 people whose faces all looked like we were shell shocked when the credits rolled.

Alboone on Oct 24, 2013

29

not to even mention trying to pass off a brand new twin cam Harley for a '50s era panhead... bikers watch Indy too ya know...

nomad82 on Oct 30, 2013

30

The nuked fridge and the bomb, along with the bomb village, were the only cool things in the movie.

Mal on Nov 10, 2013

31

not a bad movie, but one without any real photographic merit; each 'exciting scene' whether it was the fridge being nuked, the ridiculous army ants/commie car chase fight, or the utterly disconnected and possibly senile UFO/mountain top destruction sequence looked like photoshop composites, CGI programming and artificial post production tricks. They should have used a real movie like David Leans Lawrence of Arabia as a template and shot as much of the film as possible in real environments.

L. Sammondson on Jan 31, 2015

32

Like nuking the fridge was any less believable than 'parachuting' out of a plane in a rubber raft and landing in a river (from Temple of Doom). There were many problems with Crystal Skull. But blaming them on whether or not a scene is believable is entirely missing the point of a franchise that also includes a bottomless pit and a 1000-year old knight. The issues were to do with structure, pacing and balance. They were going for one of the bold openings from the other films, and one that clearly signaled Indy was in the 1950s. Nothing say 50s like nuclear testing but they missed the mark by taking out the "adventure/exploration in an exotic location" aspect. In fact it took the film some time before they even left the US.

floppylobster on Feb 2, 2015

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