Saturday, May 24, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Review

It's been about 19 years since Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) graced the silver screen, and after watching his latest adventure, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the first thing I needed to do was find a shot of tequila. Sweet, sweet tequila (followed by a beer chaser) kills the pain.

What were they thinking? No, really: What were they thinking, and why do I always seem to have to ask that question about most media today?

It's not that Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull lacked entertainment value, it certainly has some good moments, but it was a clear bastardization of the franchise filled with bad jokes, over-done special effects, and a poorly contrived plot (Wait, that sounds like some other franchise in a galaxy far, far away...).

Truth be told, it wasn't all bad. There was this really cool sequence involving killer ants... oh, and Indy had his hat, gotta love that hat... and John Williams scored that great Indiana Jones theme again...

And that's pretty much it.

The film
even started off on a bad note. I'm not just talking about that silly teen-race sequence, I'm talking about those ground hogs. Does Spielberg and Lucas have some kind of fetish they're not telling us about; I mean what was up with that? And don't even get me started about those monkeys and the "low key" Tarzan sequence. And by "low key," I mean without any hollering.

I suppose I should give you the general synopsis of the film: Set roughly 19 years after Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the film properly follows the passage of time and Dr. Jones is now enjoying his teaching career, when his less-adventurous lifestyle is interrupted by the Soviets (no more Nazis for Indy to fight, I'm afraid) who "persuade" Dr. Jones to help them figure out the mystery of the crystal skulls, which they believe will give them ultimate power.

I don't want to ruin the plot for you, what little of it there is, but suffice to say the overall theme of this adventure doesn't ring true with the other films in the series. How so? Well, the previous films dealt with more conventional religious themes or cults, but Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was more or less sci-fi. In fact, the plot very much reminded me of the style I'd find in a bad video game; it was out of character and could not hold my
disbelief, and suspension of disbelief is everything in a movie like this.

Let's just say there's budding psychic powers going on, and a few... out-of-this-world guests. Yeah, it's like that.

Since Indiana Jones is getting on in years, he conveniently encounters a young grease
r named Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) who helps propel him on his quest, and who tags along to be his sidekick. Indy's old flame, Marian Ravenwood (Karen Allen), also makes a return and gets to come along for the ride, and some of the film's best scenes are between her and Indy arguing like old times. The lead Russian, Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), is an alright villain, but I certainly wouldn't call her memorable, and I still don't perfectly understand what happens to her in the end.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a film that relies heavily on t
he nostalgia of its fan base, and while there are some excellent tributes to the original trilogy, to be perfectly honest, they should have left the fans with their fond memories instead. Fortunately, I got in for free with a movie pass I received as a gift, so I'm not out any cash, but I couldn't recommend paying to see this latest adventure. Personally, unless you're dying to see Harrison Ford use that whip again, I'd wait the year for it to hit TMN.

Sorry Indy, it really is time to retire.

No comments: