“Nuking the fridge” is part of the lexicon now — thanks to an infamous scene in “Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” when our intrepid adventurer miraculously survives a nuclear blast by climbing in a lead-lined refrigerator, which is then the only item blown out of the blast radius. (Never mind the radiation burns he should have suffered, once he crawled out). But despite the phrase replacing “jumping the shark” to indicate a serial story which has dropped in quality and/or credulity, and the resulting widespread debate whether the fridge scene or the alien subject matter of the fourth film meant the “Indiana Jones” series had, too, jumped the shark, at least one cast member had remained happily ignorant of the cinematic controversy, at least until recently.
Karen Allen, who played Marion Ravenwood in the first and fourth “Indiana Jones” films, sat down with IFC earlier this week to promote the series’ release on Blu-ray, and confessed that she only recently became aware of the disappointment level expressed by both fans and filmmakers. “I didn’t even know what that was, ‘nuking the fridge,'” Allen laughed when the topic came up. “My son had to tell me.” Nicholas, who just turned 22, wore a hat recently which had the phrase “Nuke the fridge” on it, and his mother inquired, “What does that mean?” “He said, ‘What? Are you kidding? You don’t know?'” she laughed, recalling the exchange.
Even though Steven Spielberg himself has expressed his doubts about the aliens, Allen said she was not disappointed but “intrigued” by the addition of inter-dimensional beings to the “Indiana Jones” mythology, particularly because the B-movie element was an homage to the films of her youth. “I grew up with all those science-fiction-y, out-there kind of films,” she said. “I thought it was great that it was moving into that world, the 1950s, and doing a kind of homage of that time.” She particularly liked how Shia LaBeouf’s character Mutt had a “very Marlon Brando moment,” when his entrance recalled Brando in 1953’s “The Wild One” — riding a motorcycle while wearing an off-kilter cap and a motorcycle jacket. “I love the little moments that remind me of a certain element of film history,” Allen said. “That’s particularly meaningful for me.”
As for the MacGuffin of the film, the crystal skulls, Allen said, “I’m not sure I completely understood it,” but she thought it was “amazing” and “mysterious.” ” “It was like a, ‘Whoa! What’s really going on here?'” she said. “When the spaceship lifts up in the jungle, I don’t know what’s going on, but I enjoyed it. I liked it.” But because the “whole history behind those skulls” is a mystery to most people anyway, Allen said, she’s not too concerned if she understands it or not. “Then again, I didn’t know much about the Ark of the Covenant and that whole mystery before ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,'” she laughed. “But now I could talk about it forever!”
“Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures” is available on Blu-ray now.