Sunday, May 25, 2008
Movie Reviews: INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
In 1957, intrepid archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is on the verge of losing his job at a prestigious university thanks to some questionable activities he's undertaken recently. He then meets up with a young rebel named Mutt (Shia LaBeouf) who asks Indy to go on another grand adventure: recover a legendary skull made out of crystal which allegedly will allow its owner to rule the world. Traveling down to Peru to an ancient lost city, Indy and Mutt must dodge an evil Russian agent, Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), who is after the same object.
Cast Harrison Ford, Ray Winstone, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, John Hurt (more)
Director(s) Steven Spielberg, David Koepp, George Lucas
Writer(s) Jeff Nathanson
Status In theaters (wide)
Release Date May 22, 2008
Running Time 124 minutes
MPAA Rating PG-13 - for adventure violence and scary images
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is mostly enjoyable if sometimes muddled summer movie. Crystal Skull does bring the trills and general fun that has made the Jones series a piece of Americana. Harrison Ford puts the classic fedora on again and it the 19 year layoff hasn't hurt him one bit. Ford is still able to give Jones that wonderful charm and cocksure attitude that Indiana has had in his previous films. Ford is clearly having a ball jumping back into this character and it comes through the screen. Shia LaBeouf joins him this time around and his annoying level is minimal throughout. LaBeouf interaction feel fairly organic and unforced, something that seems to happen way too often in these types of movies. Cate Blanchett's character is a bit of oddity and it's never quite clear as to what or who she is and what she's after doesn't help that it's hard to keeping the image of Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle from popping up every time she speaks. Ray Winstone has a fun little bit part but he's give very little to do and much like Blachett's character we really don't know very much about him or his friendship with Jones. Karen Allen's return does work very well and some of her interactions with Dr. Jones are some of the film's highlights. Steven Spielberg's prime objective is to give us the over the top action that we've come to expect from the Jones series and he mostly succeeds. When Spielberg gives us the rollercoaster thrills this movie is fun to watch. The action set pieces are good fun even if the film lacks a classic moments like Raiders' opening sequence or Doom's thrilling cart chase. What was supposed to be the big action piece, the chase in the jungle, is sometimes fun but handicapped by some truly mind bogglingly bad digital effects. The sequence finishes with a scene that made me roll my eyes and gave me visions of Ewoks. Sadly, the overall experience is kind of choppy with big lulls in between which make the film drag a tad bit. It wouldn't drag so much if the plot wasn't so convoluted and muddled. Once the film was over I was quite sure what the whole mess was about or why anything happened. I enjoyed the ride but can't say it's a classic like the first films.