Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Originally uploaded by wachamuvi
It’s been nineteen years since Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was released to theatres. Nineteen years for fans to hope that maybe, someday they’d get to see the everyman hero named Indy crack his whip in a new adventure again. Last night at 12:01 a.m. the wait ended and fans are going to be divided directly down the line.

I cannot say that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a bad movie. It is well shot by Janusz Kaminski (although it looks vastly different than any of the previous films), there are numerous iconic images that strike of what makes Spielberg the king of Hollywood, the action sequences are fun, and Indy does get out of tight situations by the combination of brains and brawn that we have come to expect from the character.

This being said, my problem with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is that the movie takes us to a place where I don’t think Indy belongs. I have no problem with the Cold War instead of the Nazi’s trying to take over the world, but aliens are stretching it. Indy himself doesn’t even seem to do much in the “detective” work that we’re so used to seeing him do; he follows an old friends instructions and this old friend turns out to be bat crazy then they just kind of jaunt together wherever old crazy tells them to go.

All of the Indiana Jones films harken back to the over-the-top action adventure movies of the golden era of cinema, but Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade still managed to create realistic characters, realistic (yet fanciful) adventures and amazing action – yet Kingdom of the Crystal Skull seems to have finally walked just over the line where an homage to old action movies becomes a literal translation of old action movies. And this time we get old sci-fi movies as well, and I tell you I don’t think Doctor Jones can pull off sci-fi.

I won’t post any spoilers here as I know that this movie is going to be seen by almost everyone I know this weekend, but I will stress that you need to go into the movie knowing that this is not the Indiana Jones you remember, this is an Indiana Jones movie made for a new generation of kids who don’t want to think about what they are watching.

This is my final opinion: I waited nineteen years for a sequel to a movie that really didn’t need a sequel, I know that they had fun making it, but I would have waited another year or two for a movie that felt more like an Indiana Jones movie, not a movie that feels like another movie that happens to have the Indiana Jones characters in it.

I think far too many movies are being made nowadays because they are “fun” movies to watch. What happened to the days where my “fun” movies to watch were also smart?

Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: David Koepp
Indiana Jones: Harrison Ford
Marion Ravenwood: Karen Allen
Mutt: Shia LaBeouf
Mac: Ray winstone
Irina Spalko: Cate Blanchett

Indiana Jones: Put your hands down will you, you're embarrassing us.

1 comment:

Adam said...

While I enjoyed Indy 4 a bit more than you did, I think your critique is fair, balanced, and very reasonable. A lot of people having similar feelings would have just descended into slamming George Lucas. Instead, you went into detail about the specific aspects of Indy 4 that didn't work for you. Thanks for an excellent review.

Hey, I'll put up a link to this blog on my own blog. Would you like to do the same? It's not exclusively a movie blog like yours, although I do post reviews from time to time.