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Shia Le Beouf: If the Jacket Fits…


Teen Critic Candace Kavanagh has been watching Shia Le Beouf's career with interest. (Paramount)

By Candace Kavanagh

(note this post contains spoilers)
Do the words Last Crusade mean anything to George Lucas? Apparently not, since the creator of what was supposed to be the Indy trilogy has now put out a fourth installment for us to sink our teeth into. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has had more hype surrounding it than any action flick of the last five years. The film's websites hovered over the production, trying to catch glimpses of Indy's latest adventure. The hottest topic being the return of Marion Ravenwood played by Karen Allen. The character of Marion Ravenwood originated in the first Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark as Indy & 's love interest. But of course it is not her alone that has caused all this buzz. Instead it was the combination of her old face and a new face to the Indiana Jones' films and the big screen overall. The arrival of Shia LaBeouf -- and the implications that come with him -- had filled the movie chat sites for months. Movie geeks everywhere were constantly asking the question, "Is LaBeouf's character truly Indy's and Marion's love child?" If you don't already know the answer... he is. Yes apparently Indy gave life to Mutt, a typical rebellious greaser of the fifties. A tough guy character we haven't really seen from LaBeouf - he usually plays the goofy kid. Unfortunately this seems to be a role he can & 't really pull off.

I have seen Shia LABeouf in action with movies like Tru Confessions. This Disney Channel original movie whose over all quality lacked tremendously, excluding only Shia LaBeouf's performance, which shined above any of his other Disney Channel colleagues. He portrayed a mentally retarded twin brother to the main character, a role that is hardly ventured. His success at this launched him into more eye opening roles like Disney's Holes, a movie based on everybody & 's favorite novel from the fifth grade. Lucky for him this served as doorway to a world completely separate from the Disney world. After he escaped the clutches of the modern day Mickey Mouse Club, he found himself in beautiful movies ranging from Transformers , which opened the door to millions of teen girl crushes, to Bobby , where everyone got to see him experimenting with acid and a kitty litter box. Then came profound movies such as A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints, a film that showed Shia LaBeouf & 's depth as he played a young man trying to escape from his hometown of Brooklyn so he could realize his dreams. So we have all seen greatness from this young actor. But in Indy 4 , Shia proves that the leather jacket is just too big on him. It's as if this jacket was some kind of demon that possessed him and caused him to shoot off corny lines and play out horribly predictable scenarios. The only happiness coming from the way it reminded me of the Happy Days TV show. Maybe his role was some kind of attempt at combining his trademark goofiness with Johnny Depp's character in Cry Baby. No matter what it was his role in this film bored me to tears. In fact everything else about this film made me wish that the whole thing would be replaced with a marathon of Young Indy, a series filled with more originality than this film, and with Patrick Flannery being much more entertaining than Shia LaBeouf & 's over used act.

But since many of the stars of this film have already obtained stable careers (long live Cate Blanchett), I worry mostly for Shia, whose career is still in its green stage. Although he has already jumped over the biggest obstacle for young actors of today by escaping the realm of the Disney channel, he still has a long way to go before he can be recognized as a well-rounded actor. Recently magazines began labeling him as the Tom Hank's of the younger generation. So at this point it seems that he has met a fork in the road: One way pointing towards Tom Hanks and the other pointing to Harrison Ford. Though Ford's career and reputation may be one of extreme glamour and adventure, maybe the best way for Shia to choose his road would be to look at who still has a respectable career. Let's all hope Shia LaBeouf chooses wisely. Will he work with a mermaid and sports equipment or will he work with an ominous ancient building that may leave you looking for your head? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

-- Candace Kavanagh spends her life absorbing celluloid images. She loves every type of film from so-called "chick flicks" such as My Fair Lady and Legally Blonde, to mind bending thrillers like Mulholland Drive and Hard Candy -- with every zombie movie, action flick, musical, and comedy in between.

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