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What's the Archaeological Term for Excrement?

  • Dec 17, 2008
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 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. This is not the Indiana Jones that I grew up with, certainly not the anti-establishment, cynical yet humorous hero, who went on adventures with a devil-may-care attitude.
He's still Indy... even if the movie should have stayed buried in the sands of Cairo.
Now there are a few positive things to say about this film (not many). Mainly Harrison Ford still has "it". He's fantastic as Indiana Jones, as he always has been and probably always will be. Unfortunately the way his character is written seems to contradict his persona of the original three films. In one scene when confronted with a group of cliché Communist villains intent upon his destruction, they ask him if he has any last words... he responds, "I like Ike." What the fedora?
Aw, crap...
As for the Communists in the film, they are in no way an accurate portrayal of Socialism. They are nothing more than fill-ins for the Nazis of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. There is no historical value in their portrayal here, none. I had no idea that the filmmakers were going to turn Indiana Jones into a conservative, narrow-minded hypocrite. I'm not coming to the defense of the Soviets in their actions during the Cold War, but to the defense of political history . And as for the idea that Communists have always been fascinated with the occult and psychic abilities, this is only partially true. In the 1940s and `50s, some dictatorial figures in the Soviet Union were interested in ideas such as mind control. But this was a very small group of fanatics, most of which never came into power. However the idea that the Communists held the same plebian concepts about the occult that Hitler did, is an insult. (One of the main ideas behind Communism was that religion on a whole operated on two simple and destructive emotive factors: fear and the need to invert it into faith, and hate with its initial birth from ignorance and beliefs concerning superiority and inferiority. For further studies of this subject, try reading the book, And God Created Lenin: Marxism vs. in Russia 1917-1929, which examines the conflict between Communism and Christianity.)

Indy searches for a fabled crystal skull that may hold great power, which is why the Soviets are after it. Other plot elements include the discovery of an ancient Aztec civilization, Indiana Jones reunites with Marion, Mutt Williams becomes Indy's young sidekick and (gasp), is revealed to be his son, and a traitorous spy weaves in and out of the story. Not to mention the aliens. Yes, I said aliens. Correction: "Inter-dimensional Beings".

The entire plot feels something akin to an Ed Wood film. Now I'm not one to compare films (I find it to be elitist and narrow-minded) but since Spielberg and Lucas seem to feel that recycling all their old films into new ones is acceptable, I don't feel that I will have lowered myself at all. This could be viewed as the Indiana Jones equivalent to Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. In fact Indy even uses the classic Star Wars line, "I've got a bad feeling about this." And that's not the only reference to other Spielberg and Lucas films. The "Inter-dimensional Beings" look just like those in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
There's even a scene in which Indy climbs into a refrigerator to escape a nuclear blast while on a test site in the Nevada desert. This entire scene is simply an in-joke that refers to an old version of the screenplay for Back to the Future. In that early draft Doc's time machine was a refrigerator and Marty was only able to escape the `50s by going to a nuclear test site in the Nevada desert. Notice the mindless repetition. There are of course other in-jokes that revolve around the Indiana Jones films as well. Hey, did you just see the Lost Ark? Uh, huh.

When will directors learn that sequels are often unnecessary? We didn't need three sequels to Jaws, the prequels to Star Wars, the sequels to Jurassic Park or this pathetically inadequate sequel to Indiana Jones. Why do they feel the need to re-release their classic films with new special effects and new footage? Why do we suffer through summers of endless sequels, prequels, remakes and spin-offs? I'll tell you why. Most of the directors have lost not only their originality but also their artistic integrity. They're greedy, capitalist schmucks. They don't care about the fans of their films or of their characters. They only care about merchandising, exploiting their fame, and making as much money off their once brilliant ideas as possible. It's sad really.
I'm not one to dictate to others but if you're a fan of Indiana Jones, I'd suggest you skip this and go watch the DVDs of the original films. In fact you'd probably be best if you didn't even acknowledge this fiasco of a film. I know that ignoring the new Star Wars and Indiana Jones films may seem juvenile and melodramatic to some, but not as juvenile and melodramatic as the films themselves are. In conclusion the Indiana Jones legacy is history. Its remnants shall be lost along with those of other franchises driven into the dirt by greedy filmmakers.
The only way to bring Indy back would be to have him go back in time and erase this part of his story arc. Yes, that's it! He should meet up with Doc Brown and build a time machine and go back in time. And perhaps he'll go back too far and end up in the Cretaceous Period where he'll be forced to fight off the Jurassic Park dinosaurs only to be saved by E.T. and Chewbacca. Really, this would be great. In fact I think someone should pitch this idea to Spielberg. *

* = ironic statement
Looking for clues as to why this films sucks. He's Still The Man in the Hat! A bumpy ride with the family...

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July 04, 2010
Man I could not have said it better myself, I need to watch it again but I remember thinking "OK time to leave" when they drove off a cliff only to be saved by a giant tree. Still I may find it to be stupid fun now, maybe. Excellent review.
July 04, 2010
Thanks, can you tell I hated this one?
February 12, 2009
What the f***? An Evil Dead film without Bruce Campbell as Ash? Say it isn't so? Man, Raimi's been going downhill since this whole Spider-Man thing made him a hotshot director. Why can't cult filmmakers understand that they don't need to manufacture these over-hyped, formulaic films? Yeesh, I hope Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro don't screw up The Hobbit.
February 12, 2009
I suppose this is inevitibly the type of thing that occurs once a film maker becomes an institution rather than a creative force. I shudder to think what Sam Raimi's new horror film may be like since he became a horror director simply be accident and not through any real love of the genre. Gratitude for your fans alone has never been a replacement for a true understanding of the genre. I love ya Sam, but you've never really gotten it, or you wouldn't be thinking or remaking EVIL DEAD again WITHOUT Bruce Campbell!
December 21, 2008
well said, count, well said.
December 19, 2008
I think the term is Jurassic Dung / Jurassic Turd?
December 18, 2008
Best. review. headline. ever.
December 18, 2008
I hope that's a good thing. I laughed out loud during the film, but my laughter was followed by groans of disgust.
December 18, 2008
I LOL'd at your title alone.
December 17, 2008
Hiya Count I see you figured it out before I had the time to reply. It's pretty easy once you get through the first one Now you're cookin' A
More Indiana Jones and the Kingdom ... reviews
review by . May 02, 2011
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 …
review by . November 17, 2010
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" …
review by . May 23, 2008
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 …
review by . February 23, 2010
A little different for Indiana Jones, but still a solid entry
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; …
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
not worth your time if you value the original trilogy of indiana jones movies
Quick Tip by . June 11, 2010
Aliens? Are you serious?
review by . April 23, 2009
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 …
Quick Tip by . April 01, 2010
Jumped the shark the moment the Indiana Jones survived the nuclear blast.
Quick Tip by . November 19, 2009
Utterly Disappointing attempt by Spielberg! I won't even bother writing a full review for this one...
review by . May 13, 2009
Older, wiser, bolder....and still terrified of snakes - which sets up a good scene, since a large python plays a key role late in the movie. The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the fourth (and what I assume will be the last - at least with Harrison Ford holding the torch) in this epic trilogy. We are all aware of the infamous crash at Roswell New Mexico some fifty years ago....well Crystal Skull begins ten years after that. The Russians have taken Dr. Jones to Hangar 51 and force him to reveal …
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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 ...
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Director: Steven Spielberg
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: May 22, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: October 14, 2008
Runtime: 122 minutes
Studio: Paramount
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