23 May 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls

I have not seen the original Indiana Jones movies in quite some time. This makes it difficult for me to write an accurate review. I do not remember the original trilogy being so campy. That is my major complaint of the latest installment Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls. Now, I am aware that the Kingdom is historical “fact.” It is an actual event in history. As was the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail from the first and third films. I, honestly, cannot remember what the second, or first if you look at it as it was a prequel, one was about or in search of. The Kingdom is my only other complaint though. (See SPOILER below, if you want to)

The movie opens with Indy and his buddy Mac being pulled out of a car and threatened to help the Russians lead by Irina Spalko. Harrison Ford is back in his iconic role and Ray Winstone portrays Mac. Cate Blanchette plays Spalko. The Russians are in search of a magnetized mummy. At this point, Mac is revealed as a double-agent and Indy loses a hard fought battle. After a campy survival from a nuclear blast, Indy’s loyalty is questioned and General Ross, not Thunderbolt Ross from the Hulk movies, comes to his aid. Alan Dale is in this throw away small role that never returns to the screen.

Meanwhile, the university that currently employs Indy as a Professor kicks him out and Jim Broadbent, playing the Dean, stands up for him. We then see Indy packing and learn that his father has passed. This is how they dealt with Sean Connery not returning to the role of Henry Jones, Sr.

Now, Indy is seen leaving on a train but Mutt Williams comes on the scene in search of Prof. Jones. He tells of how his mother and family friend Ox have been kidnapped and it has something to do with a Kingdom of Crystal Skulls. From here, there is plenty of campy adventure, campier adventure, and a scene of human eating ants. There is also a scene of Shia LeBeouf swinging through the trees Tarzan style. We also learn that his mother is Marion Ravenwood, played by the same actress Karen Allen.

Finally, the film winds up in the Mayan temple of the Crystal Skulls and, I warn there is a semi-spoiler here, aliens appear. That’s right, aliens. Then, there is a scene right out of The Mummy with the Earth sucking everything in, and the protagonists trying to escape. Then, I am not lying, there is an alien UFO! At this point, I was glad to see it was the end. This Sci-Fi finale really hurt the film for me. The final scene, however, wrapped up the movie as a stand-alone, but also left it wide open for another film.

I am now going to go back and watch the original trilogy again and see if I do not acquire more love for this “fourquel.” I do not see any reason why I would not go see a fifth if it were ever made. The acting was on par with what you would expect from these actors ad actresses. Shia LeBeouf was a good addition to the cast. Cate Blanchette was a fantastic villain. This movie definitely had the Spielberg feel. I did enjoy myself and this two hour fantasy adventure. Verdict: I highly recommend seeing this in theaters if you are a fan of the franchise, but if you aren’t the home market cannot be that long of a wait in today’s world. Yet, seeing it loud and large is always a good thing when it comes to action and adventure films.

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