Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
I am disappointed. My expectations of the 4th installment in the Indiana Jones saga was that it would be dynamic and modern but stay within the boundaries of the story. I think that it did all of that but the method of execution was bizarre for lack of a better word. I loved seeing one of my favorite actresses playing a bad guy (Cate Blanchett) and I was happy to see them bring back my favorite sidekick for Indiana in Marion (Karen Allen). The characters were likeable and the comedy was old school Indy but the story was absolutely ridiculous.
Seeing the studio responsible for bringing movie graphics into the modern era produce special effects like this puzzled me. I shook my head in wonder as a million CGI giant ants ran all over the screen and my mind flashed back to the poorly done scarabs in the original Mummy. The crystal skull looked really bad and overall it was overkill on alot of the CGI. Cate Blanchett is a handsome woman, strong and powerful in her delivery of Irina Spalko… but I can’t say I expected less, she is a champion onscreen and always delivers. That being said, I found myself wondering why Irina’s visage and cute haircut remained absolutely flawless after sword fights, water splashes and dirty chases… it was like a video game, the girl remained clean… and it’s not like I wanted to see Cate muddied up with the angry Galadriel glare going on (wipes brow) but I mean COME ON! A little dirt would have helped right?
What Went Wrong
The movie is not horrible, it was just disappointing and I am going to see it a second time to see if I am being unfair in my judgement. The story just seemed like a cluster f— gumbo of X-Files, The Outsiders, Rebel Without a Cause and Indiana Jones smooshed into Spielberg’s continuing frolick through the space age. It was hard enough seeing Indiana fighting Russians instead of the Third Reich, and it was even harder accepting the quest that he is on. This has to be the worst of the four, by itself it can hold up as a crazy archeologist’s quest but when placed in a box set with Raiders of The Lost Ark and The Last Crusade… well it comes in last, and that’s where it belongs.
Finally the most sobering thing for me to see was the fire gone from the eyes of Indiana Jones. Age has a way of doing that to some people, but the fire is gone… which makes the ending very easy to take (when you watch it you will agree with me). The good doctor seemed mellow, relaxed, retired and zen-like in his calm. In the former movies he looked wild, daring, ready to go and dangerous, I just did not get that from him. And if you think there is an old Indiana Jones limping around in this installment, you are in for a huge shock. I will say that even with the fire gone, this is Indiana at his most agile, hell if I can move like that when I am an old man, I would have the zen in my eyes too. Marion looks good like she did in Raiders save a few wrinkles and maybe a few extra orders of pudding after dinner but you recognize her immediately and that’s what counts. That sly tom-boy grin of hers is still there and I was happy to see them paired onscreen once again. Shia LeBeouf was a brief distraction that somehow blended well into this chaotic script, he is likeable and good throughout, which was actually a help to the film rather than an annoyance.
Another positive thing I can say about Indiana Jones 4 is there wasn’t any cameos by Short Round, whew! If you are a fan of this series, please give it a chance and form your own opinion. I fell asleep during a few parts but this falls on the fact that I went to the movies extremely tired. I will be seeing it again, for Cate and the cast of good guys… the story? well at least the car chases felt like Indiana Jones.