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Review – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones

An enjoyable summer action-adventure romp.

[NOTE: Edited on 26 May 2008: Removing spoilers]

Its been 18 years since the last “Indiana Jones” movie, and the one question everyone has is, “is it worth the wait”?” Yes, and no.

Set in the “red-scare” era of 1950’s America, Doctor Jones is forced by Russian agents (replacing the cartoon Nazi agents) to help them raid a top secret US warehouse housing artifacts and in the process helps them recover a highly secretive artifact, one that resembles a Crystal skull.

Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones is then fired from his job and is recruited by a young kid (who he later finds out is his son) to help save Marion (from the first “Indiana Jones” movie) from the Russian agents, only to find that they are trying to discover and utilize the secret power behind the Crystal skulls; and decides its up to him to stop them.

The film is non-stop action. There’s plenty of stunts, adventure galore. The film is first, and foremost an “Indy” adventure movie, with plenty of old-school stunts to wow the audience.

There’s a thinly disguised dig at the current political situation in the US via the “red scare” and the McCarthy Witchhunt’s of the 1950s and the background story of what happened during the past 18 years between “Last Crusade” and “Crystal Skull” are tantalizing and interesting.

And if you still aren’t pulling, there’s plenty of nostalgia thrown in for good measure.

However, having said that – there are plenty of times during the movie where it really stretches credibility and believability to the hilt.

Spielberg made a point early on in production that they’d be returning to old-school stunts, and old-school action, reducing the CGI to almost nil.

Except, well. He lied.

The CGI is splashed so much all over the place… it includes CGI gophers, CGI monkeys, CGI ants — and to boot, the CGI isn’t even very good. Especially during the jungle chase sequence where Shia LaBeouf is fencing in a jungle on top of a jeep with Cate Blanchett. It looked so fake, everyone in the audience was laughing at that one sequence.

[Spoilers Removed]

The “family situation comedy” part is fun and returned us back to the early Raiders’ movie, but it did seem that Karen Allen’s character was plugged in and given very little to do. I also felt that Karen Allen’s character seemed slightly loopy as she was quietly giggling to herself after plunging the Indiana family down a ravine in a jeep. Maybe that was just me.

I found Shia LaBeouf’s character enjoyable, and its obvious that LaBeouf is being lined up as the replacement for Harrison Ford in the future. Whether LaBeouf will be accepted as the new Indiana Jones is something that only time will tell.

Yes, the movie is enjoyable. I certainly enjoyed it, at first I was really worried that this movie would be a rehash of “Last Crusade”, which in-itself was a rehash of “Raiders” – but fortunately it does not make the same mistake as previous movies.

Yes, it’s an Indiana Jones – and yes it was worth the wait, but at the same time I felt the credibility and enjoyability of this movie may have been tarnished by its use of CGI, and overindulgence in plot points.

The more cynical audience member, refresh from the disappointing “Star Wars” prequel movies may look at “Crystal” and wonder why Dr.Jones even bothered returning at all.

Anyway, the movie is fun, action-filled and enjoyable — just go in there with a smile, and enjoy this summer’s biggest movie.

Overall: 7/10.

Editor notes:
[NOTE: Edited on 26 May 2008: Removing spoilers]
[NOTE: Edited on 26 May 2008: Slight rewording of a few paragraphs]

  1. What is it with the complaints over CGI? After so many years, it is becoming tiresome. It’s here to stay until some other form of special effects is invented. Get over it.

  2. “The more cynical audience member, refresh from the disappointing “Star Wars” prequel movies will look at “Crystal” and wonder whether Lucas and co are secretly giggling at the audience for going to a movie where nothing really is delivered except patishes of nostaliga, action all wrapped up in CGI.”

    If you honestly believe that the SW Prequel Trilogy was nothing more than “patishes of nostalgia and action all wrapped up in CGI”, then I can only assume that you either never saw the movies or were not paying attention, while watching them.

    Nostalgia? Please!

  3. Rosie, sorry it took so long to ‘approve’ your comments. I understand your frustration with my article/review.

    I in the process of amending it to not include spoilers.

    And yes, I agree with your points too.

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