Saturday, May 24, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Saw it Thursday night and I'll tell you what, I did like it but after dwelling on it I think maybe it was probably the weakest of the bunch.

First, I have to say, the action is great.  The action sequence in the South American jungle is intense.  Loved every minute of it.  The chase through the streets was cool shit.  The warehouse was fun fun fun.

The characterizations were.....mmmmmmmm...I don't know.  Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones, there is no doubt about this.  Harrison Ford can stand there and chew gum and pick his nose for two hours and you would never doubt this fact.  But there are some bits, mostly with Karen Allen (reprising her role as Marion Ravenwood) that just fall flat for me.  Maybe cause I have never seen Raiders from start to finish and the last time I watched was in high school but that stuff mostly fell flat.  Shia Labouf was fantastic.  He plays a greaser kid that turns out to be the son of Indy and Marion.  School drop out but still sharp as a whip.  It was definitely a good change for him, especially since he was pretty much useless in Transformers.  If his role was to be Indy Jr, he filled it wonderfully.  Cate Blanchett can do no wrong.  Not only is she beautiful, but she can do about anything.  Didn't even recognize her in the movie and she played the lead villain, Irina Spalko.  Ray Winstone and John Hurt also come out as archeologist/adventurer types.

The plot is pretty standard, find crazy object that does crazy shit and get involved in crazy happenings.  In this case, a crystal skull with an oblong brain case.  The villains this time around are Reds and, since the movie takes place in 1957, is set around the Red Scare.  Indy (they call him Indiana like once the entire movie) is drummed out of his university teaching job because the FBI gets suspicious that he might be a Red sympathizer cause of what happens in the beginning at the warehouse.  I was wondering if maybe they were trying to be overly political but then I thought, nah, how the hell else are they going to get him out and adventuring? 

The movie is a real mish mash of ideas.  I found out the script passed through about I think a dozen hands.  Go figure, it does show.  The movie doesn't really have the epic scale of the rest.  In fact it never leaves the Americas.  There are lots of great moments and then there are not so great moments.  I love the fact that Indy is portrayed as more of a teacher type in this movie, what with Shia Labouf's character running around with him.  That's cool.  The fantasy aspect they used for this movie...maybe...not so much.  A little too out there for this movie.  Too much science, less mystic fantasy.  Very pulpy.  That's just me.  I'd love to have that crystal skull though.  Man, that was cool shit.

I'd very much recommend it.  It was worth the night out.


Blogger Mark said...

I have very similar thoughts, though I have to say that without the nostalgia factor, I don't think this movie would have been anything special. However, it didn't ruin the series for me (did a better job than the Star Wars prequels), which is a good thing. It's definitely the worst of the 4 for me, though it's pretty close to Temple of Doom (it shares a lot of similarities with that one).

I thought Ray Winstone and John Hurt were pretty much wasted on the small parts they had (I love both actors and would have liked to have seen more, but as you mention, the script already has too much of a mish mash of ideas)

12:53 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Here's hoping for a director's cut featuring no less then 12 topless Cate Blanchett scenes. I predict no less then 5,000,000% improvement!

6:25 AM  

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