May 27, 2008

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" Mini-Review

I managed to get out and see "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" yesterday, and while I thought it was better than "Temple of Doom," it wasn't better by much.

To be fair, it isn't the fault of the actors. All of the primary stars gave stellar performances. Even Cate Blanchett, who is reduced to playing Generic Russian Bitch #12 due to the storyline, is able to pull off a decent performance. The special effects were decent, there are some nice miniature sections, and the script stayed true to the characters.

The main problem is the myth they decided to tackle. Movies like this work when the back story is well established and generally integrated into our communal consciousness. "Raiders" and "Last Crusade" work because they ask us to imagine for a moment that the legends behind Judaism and Christianity respectively are literally true. While the legends that "Crystal Skull" ask us about are less than sixty years old for the most part, they're still enough out there that we can start to see it. "Mola Ram" was just pulled out of Lucas' ass.

It's still worth seeing just for some real closure to the series, but as long as you go in expecting a big screen version of a TV episode of the Indiana Jones chronicles, you won't be disappointed.

1 comment:

Okie said...

I'm totally with you with two exceptions: on 'fault of the actors'...I'm not a fan of Shia...which could be a personal bias. As to the script staying "true to the characters", see my comment below and my blog. Indy has significantly changed in this movie.

I really, really, really, really want to LOVE this movie. Sadly, I just can't. I've already posted two reviews over on my blog which show the turmoil I'm dealing with.

I'm a die hard Indy fan and have been since the beginning. It was with an anxious heart that I heard about Indy coming back. I have wanted more Indy movies ever since I watched Indy, Sallah, Marcus and Henry ride off into the sunset. But knowing that Harrison Ford is now older than Sean Connery was in Crusade and knowing that Lucas and Spielberg have both changed their styles considerably, I was a bit nervous.

Generally speaking, I still really enjoyed the movie and still absolutely love the franchise. However, there was far too much in this movie that was just WRONG for me to fully love it. Indy has let his morals slip so much that he is on the verge of grave robbing and he is far too easily swayed to help the bad guys (I'm with the Feds...he helped them into that bunker without enough fight). Add to that the very thin plot concept behind the skull itself and the whole thing falls apart (we're to believe that an advanced culture lost a 13 'man' crew and have sent out failed expeditions to find it for thousands of years...and the same crew is miraculously brought back to life and sent home by the return of a skull...a skull that had apparently been present until the 15th century - which begs the question, why didn't they leave before then).

Anyway, I'm too far on the virge of divulging spoilers in my rantings.

I will agree that Cate Blanchett did a great job with her role and I have a proficient Russian speaker to help back up that the accent and language used in the movie was actually pretty good.

But the changes made to Indy's character as well as the too-far-fetched-to-the-point-of-lacking-all-credibility elements, leaves me unwilling to stand behind it fully, but I'm still enough of a fan that I've seen it twice in the theater and want to see it again and I'm sure it'll be on my wish list for Christmas.