22
May
08

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

 

 

“Indiana” Jones gets an “X-File.”

 

Starring Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Shia LeBeouf, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, and Jim Broadbent. Directed by Steven Spielberg.

 

Good, not great. Worth watching, but not the wait.

 

It’s been 19 years since “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” and I’m thinking… that may have been a little too long of a wait. The year is 1957, and the story kicks off with a convoy heading into the infamous Area 51. The convoy is Russian headed by Stalin-loving psychic Dr. Irina Spalko (Blanchett). She is holding “Indy” and his friend “Mack” (Winstone) hostage in order for Indy to guide her to a box taken from the Roswell crash site. Following a double-cross by Mack and a derring-do escape from the military warehouse, he goes from the frying pan into the fire as he winds up in the small town about to be “nuked.” He escapes inside a refrigerator and is later questioned by the FBI as to his “possible” Communist ties, nevermind the fact that he served in the War (and is now “Colonel” Jones).

 

Back at the college Indy is teaching when Dean Sanforth (Broadbent) asks him to take a reprieve due to the FBI looking through Indy’s office. Little does he know that Indy is being followed by the Feds as well as the Russians. Added to that is a visit by ‘Mutt’ Williams (LeBeouf), a stereotypical 50’s “greaser” (looking like Brando) who tells Indy that an old acquaintance, Professor Oxley (Hurt), has been kidnapped when he was looking for a mythical “lost” city and a “crystal skull.” Williams’ mother Marion apparently knows Indy and had Mutt give him this information.

 

CUT to the plane dissolved with a map, tracking their movement to South America. From there it’s the quest to find the crystal skull (which looks like H.R. Giger designed it) and for return. Indy meets with Marion Ravenwood-Williams (Allen) and finds that Oxley is alive as well as insane. The Russians seem to meet them at every turn as well, with Spalko wanting the crystal so she can harness all the knowledge in the known universe. And last but not least is Mack, who can never decide whose side he’s really on.

 

I’ve been trying to figure out what is missing from this movie and the answer is… danger. Whatever event happens to Indy isn’t IMPERATIVE; everyone chugs along from scene to scene, basically acting out the story. There’s no real tension or DANGER, just scrapes and skirmishes. But enough of that.

 

What I did enjoy the movie is solid Spielbergian filmmaking. Sure, it’s not the greatest story ever told but whatever he tells, he tells it well. There were long and medium shots as opposed to close-up vs. close-up. The actors had to ACT, which worked well for the most part.

 

Another thing missing: a rousing John Williams score. The initial “Raiders” theme is present but is unheard until maybe the 30 minute point. In fact, most of the music is subdued.

 

The writing works for most of the movie, but “Indy 4” gives more than a nod to “Temple of Doom.” If “Indy 2” is really disliked as much as Spielberg lets on, he didn’t show it. Also the ending is reminiscent of “X-Files: Fight the Future.” Hope that doesn’t ruin it for you…

 

Finally, mention is made for Marcus Brody and Henry Jones, Sr. as their characters have “passed on.” No kudos for Sallah, though.

 

Why to see this movie: well it’s enjoyable, watchable, you can take your kids (or parents) to see it, and nostalgic. In regards to nostalgia, when I was leaving the theatre a guy exclaimed, “You know what? Russians are no substitute for Nazis.” True enough.

 

My grade: B

Advertisements

1 Response to “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”


  1. May 23, 2008 at 5:49 am

    An excellent review – after seeing it this evening, I completely agree with your assessment. Not the best film of the series but very enjoyable and I think without the X-Files elements, I’d rank it above Temple of Doom but below the other two…but add in that bit and it brings it alongside the other. An old-fashioned adventure delivered well by Spielberg (and the actors involved)!

    Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: