It took almost two decades, but Indiana Jones finally made it back to the big screen. INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL takes places twenty years after Indy and his father found illumination and road into the sunset. A lot happens in twenty years and the world is a far different place when we last saw Dr. Jones, e.g. there was a World War that ended in the defeat of the Nazis and the world is now involved in a conflict of a different sort, the Cold War. The movie begins with a group of teenagers speeding down a long highway trying to race with a group of army vehicles. Eventually the army guys turn down a different path that leads right up to Area 51. The army guys turn out to be a bunch of Soviet spies sent to the U.S. on a special mission. When they get inside the gates of Area 51, the trunk of a vehicle is opened and Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and a friend of his the audience is just meeting for the first time, "Mac" McHale (Ray Winstone) are thrown upon the ground. With guns pointed, the brains behind this operation makes her appearance, Colonel Dr. Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett, who looks more alluring and ravishing than she ever has in any other movie). Dr. Spalko claims that Dr. Jones has been to this place before. Indy claims he hasn't. Then Spalko weaves a tail about some mysterious object eleven years ago that Indiana was tied to and that she knows for a fact that it was brought here. If you think this sounds more like a X-Files movie than an Indiana Jones film, you're not alone. When I first saw where this whole thing was headed I kept hoping that it wouldn't turn out that way, but I was wrong. From what we've seen in the first fifteen minutes along with the title of the movie, most anyone can piece together where the film is headed.
That's not to say INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL is terrible, because it's not. There's a lot of good stuff that happens. I'm not a very big fan of the overrated Shia LaBeouf, but I will say I really enjoyed his role in the movie as Mutt Williams, a rebellious teenager who seeks out Indy when his favorite professor, Harold "Ox" Oxley (John Hurt) and his mother go missing. In fact, this is LaBeouf's best performance in a movie since HOLES. Karen Allen returns to the Indy saga as the Marion Ravenwood, the love of Indy's life and the one he let get away. There's a tribute both to Dr. Henry Jones, Sr. (Sean Connery) and the late Marcus Brody (the late Denholm Elliot). There's a fun chase in around the school Indy teaches out and is now a tenured professor at, Marshall College. There's also a really awesome homage to those B films of the 1950s and 1960s particularly in a scene with some really vicious flesh-eating jungle ants. Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, and Shia LeBeouf play well off of each other and John Hurt is hilarious as the tutor to both Indy and Mutt who for reasons that won't be named has retreated into a child-like state.
Yet with all that and the great action, hilarious one-liners, references to previous Indy pictures and shows (there's one reference to THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES), and a beautiful and domineering villainess, there's still the whole matter of the Crystal Skull. For the first part of the movie, the Crystal Skull is like a McGuffin, an object that everyone seems to want but really serves no purpose other than to get things moving. Then it becomes clear that the Crystal Skull isn't some worthless object. It's an object of great power, but unlike the artifacts from the previous Indian Jones movies, it's not an artifact from some forgotten time but holds the key to the future. The whole concept the ultimate conclusion of what the Crystal Skull leads to is the downfall of the movie. I know there were some people that were turned off by the whole "nuking the fridge" segment, but I wasn't bothered by it; there's at least one scene similar to that in every Indiana Jones movie--it was solely there for humor. I could deal with the nuking of the fridge, but not so much the whole Crystal Skull.
Instead of an Indiana Jones movie, the major plot structure seems more akin in the world of the X-Files. In fact, much of the plot of INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL is like watching a rejected episode of the X-FILES. And the blame for that one lies at the feet of George Lucas. In 2003 Lucas was given a draft of a script for an Indiana Jones movie written by Frank Darabont. Darabont had spent a year writing the script and had worked closely with Steven Spielberg on the project. Spielberg loved Darabont's script and called it one of the best scripts he has ever read. Harrison Ford loved the script. George Lucas didn't and Darabont's script was thrown out. Five years later, this is the drivel that we ended up with: the worst of the Indiana Jones movies. Thanks, George.
Overall, INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL is a decent action picture, but a very sub-par Indiana Jones movie. It's worth watching, but it's the weakest movie in the franchise and the overall plot of the film doesn't gel with everything else in the Indy canon.
You know how The Last Crusade was a step in the right direction for Indiana Jones after the disappointing sequel? Well, this is another step, a re-step if you will in the wrong direction, and easily the worst film in one of the greatest series of all time. This film brings the good old-school action and must have been quite the breath of fresh air at the time it came out, but it's still very disappointing and has very questionable special effects, plus one plot element that ruined the entire … more
So, based on some reviews I've read and comments I've seen from viewers on TV...apparently INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDON OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL is supposed to have been a life-changing movie. At least a groundbreaking film sure to vault to "all-time classic" status. Because there sure are a lot of disappointed viewers around. If, however, you have the more reasonable expectation of a highly-entertaining, highly-implausible action film that hearkens back to the "cliff-hanger" … more
Had I known then what I know now I would have passed on seeing this movie and settled for a root canal or possibly done my taxes again. The idea of bringing Indiana Jones back to the big screen is a great one, one that can appeal to both the young and old. However when the rubber hits the road this movie is a disaster. There is zero character development, and the storyline is incredibly lame. Lucas has done it again, like Star Wars, he has taken a great … more
Well it's not as good as Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Last Crusade, but Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull is still better then The Temple of Doom and will stand proud with its predecessors as a solid action flick living up to an American icon. This long awaited final chapter to the story of treasure hunter Harry "Indiana" Jones Jr. may not live up to the greatness which were the first and third entries, but don't let a simple comparison ruin the fun of this fourth movie; … more
WARNING: This review contains spoilers! After 19 years, Indiana Jones returns to the silver screen in what may be Steven Spielberg's worst film ever (or until now, anyway). Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a bust. The screenplay was amateurishly written and the film itself is directed with juvenile enthusiasm. The overall mood of the picture doesn't even feel like that of Indiana Jones, but rather more like National Treasure, The Mummy Returns or … more
Looking back at my childhood in South London, the fact my parents had no money and worked very hard for very little was tempered by the escape from reality afforded me by film. And as a child, the films that stood out above all else, that revealed another world of possibility and adventure, were Indiana Jones and Star Wars. I've also probably seen The Neverending Story a hundred times too, but the enduring quality of Indiana Jones meant that even last year we dropped $60 on the box trilogy set to … more
Nearly 20 years after riding his last Crusade, Harrison Ford makes a welcome return as archaeologist/relic hunter Indiana Jones inIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, an action-packed fourth installment that's, in a nutshell, less memorable than the first three but great nostalgia for fans of the series. Producer George Lucas and screenwriter David Koepp (War of the Worlds) set the film during the cold war, as the Soviets--replacing Nazis as Indy's villains of choice and led by a sword-wielding Cate Blanchett with black bob and sunglasses--are in pursuit of a crystal skull, which has mystical powers related to a city of gold. After escaping from them in a spectacular opening action sequence, Indy is coerced to head to Peru at the behest of a young greaser (Shia LaBeouf) whose friend--and Indy's colleague--Professor Oxley (John Hurt) has been captured for his knowledge of the skull's whereabouts. Whatever secrets the skull holds are tertiary; its reveal is the weakest part of the movie, as the CGI effects that inevitably accompany it feel jarring next to the boulder-rolling world of Indy audiences knew and loved. There's plenty of comedy, delightful stunts--ants play a deadly role here--and the return ofRaiderslove interest Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood, once shrill but now softened, giving her ex-love bemused glances and eye-rolls as he huffs his way to save the day. Which brings us to Ford: bullwhip still in hand, he's a little ...