ADVENTURING FROM ANDREWS DISBELIEF — I had high hopes for Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but I made a mistake: I forgot to take some sort of prescription medication before I went to the movie theatre.
The new movie, the fourth in the adventures of Dr. Jones, completely junks the historical grounding of the original films and takes a step toward paranoid conspiracy. There are aliens. Seriously.
Not only that, but the aliens were crystal skeletons who had a space ship under the Mayan ruins — a fully functional space ship at that. To make matters worse, George Lucas had to involve Area 51 in the damned story.
All in all, I just find the way they approached the subject matter lacked the taste or tact that made the first three films great. It was a shotgun blast to the face and I despised every minute of it.
Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is nominally about Indy on another archaeological adventure. But as we find out in the first ten or so minutes of the film, the movie is deeply flawed and nowhere near the classic greatness of Raiders or Last Crusade. The film begins the very first shot with a close up of a horrendously animated CG gopher. The very first thought the popped into my head was “Oh, fuck.” Unfortunately, it all goes down hill from there.
What appealed to me about the original Indiana Jones films was deep historical backgrounds that the plots were grounded in. Sure, some of the plot elements were a little supernatural (Ark of the Covenant, Holy Grail, removal of a beating heart out of a man’s chest), but they were done tastefully, in my opinion. However, even deeper was the historical context of the plot. These stories have persisted for centuries and have captured the imaginations of the human race. They are, in the most literal sense, the myths which are the foundation of our culture.
It wasn’t all horrible though, there were definitely some relative high points to the film. The action sequences were well-choreographed and the CG effects were certainly top-notch. The CG was still noticeable, probably to the dismay of Spielberg. There was also that witty Jones dialog as well. One scene in the library stood our particularly well in that regard. I feel like the acting could probably have been better but I’m going to chalk that one up to sub-par writing that was too dependent upon the already mentioned Jones-isms and a loss of focus on plot and character development.
Overall, I would probably say that this is a decent action flick but not worthy of the reputable name it carries. Most of the time I felt that I was watching yet another sequel to The Mummy with only a few of the traits that made the original Indy flicks great shimmering through. I would probably recommend that you rent/Netflix this film. If you decide to see it in theatres, make sure you don’t go in with your hopes up.