I was giddy as a school boy (inside) all day after I received two phone calls at work from a great friend informing me that he and his wife wanted to go and see THE MOVIE with me this afternoon. I was soooo excited… work just dragged by until 3.30 when I was allowed to leave a half hour early to make the 5pm showing. I cannot believe that it has been 19 years since Indiana Jones last graced the big screen and it really did look as if it were going to be the last time as Indy and his companions rode off into the sunset in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. From what I gathered on screen, I believe that Spielberg, Lucas, Ford, and company wanted to tie up some loose ends.
Without giving away too much, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was an entertaining movie but at times it was a bit too hokey… even for someone who still watches the three movies at least once a year (and when and why did Raiders of the Lost Ark become Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark?). The year is 1957, 20+ years after World War II and Nazis. This time, the enemies are the Russians and seeds of McCarthyism are seen in the beginning of the movie. We learn a little about what Dr. Jones has been up to since that time.
All of the elements of the previous films are here: the quest to find the MacGuffin, keeping it away from the villains, the creepy crawly creatures…. yes there is at least one snake involved, the big action pieces, and above all Harrison Ford’s unflappable portrayal with all the dry wit one comes to expect from the action star. The most pleasant surprise is Karen Allen’s return to the fold as Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark. The chemistry and magic between the two leads was unmistakable from the moment they resumed their bickering which was a highlight of the first film.
After the movie, we discussed one scene that would make a fantastic water ride at an amusement park. I have often though that the mine car chase/battle in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom would be the basis for a great rollercoaster.
There were more times in this film that the action was slowed down and you kept wanting something to happen. It was very slow to get going but once it did, it kept us entertained. As we discussed, it may be that we might just be revisiting something from our youth and not being as captivated by it as adults. I admit that seeing the newest Star Wars trilogy kind of had me feeling that way, but there was just something missing in this Indy adventure.
The supporting cast of new friends for the archaeologist were unfamiliar. Gone were Marcus Brody and Sallah. In their place were a teenage James Dean type school drop out, a kidnapped colleague of Indy’s, and a greedy man who apparently had adventures with Indy following The Last Crusade.
So, while not as memorable as the three previous chapters, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is an entertaining film that any fan of the original blockbusters should see. By the way, be sure to look for one of the treasures Dr. Jones uncovered in the previous movies in the warehouse segment at the beginning of the movie… blink and you may miss it. And anyone who can tell me where the shooting star seen in all Spielberg movies is, will be rewarded handsomely.
Overall, I give it 3 out of 5.
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