Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

2 minute read

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Spoilers ahead

It has been nearly twenty years since Indy went on his Last Crusade, and I was eager to see if the magic of that film could be recaptured after this long hiatus. As the final credits roll to the familiar theme, I can say that the ride was enjoyable but not one I would be eager to take again. Rumors have been swirling that the franchise will continue into the next generation with Shia LeBeouf donning the fedora, and it seems this film was little else than a vehicle for that purpose. All the action was there and was spectacular. It was the sense of actual adventure that seemed to be missing.

The film opens in the era of the Red Scare, and Indy is being held captive by a band of Russian soldiers led by a seductively evil Cate Blanchett. Their goal is to find a mysterious box in Area 51; hmm… that’s a bit redundant. I can’t imagine any box in Area 51 containing something mundane. This box contains the remains found at the famous Roswell crash, and Indy just happened to be gang pressed into examining the remains by the Men in Black.

Right, you can guess where the endgame for this film is headed; one does not step into Area 51, mention Roswell, and not have aliens involved at the end. These aliens though did not lead us to Egypt and the pyramids. Instead, they lead Indy and his new sidekick Mutt (LeBeouf) down to South America to find a mysterious crystal skull discovered by the Spanish conquistador Francisco de Orellana. Along the way Indy and Mutt pick up an old colleague that went mad after finding the skull and Indy’s old flame Marion Williams, née Ravenwood. Cue the “big” reveals that Mutt is Indy’s son and that Indy left Marion just before they were to be married.

The action sequences moving the movie forward were well choreographed and entertaining. However, they felt like they were simply chewing up time; the sense of actually questing for something was missing. Most of the time was spent juggling the skull between Indy and the Russians. Once we arrive at the titular kingdom, there simply isn’t a pressing reason to be there.

It was an entertaining film, but it goes down as the weakest of the franchise, yes, even weaker than Temple of Doom. I think this would have gone down a bit better if it came out a decade ago; then, you could at least hope that Harrison Ford could make one more as the lead and go out with a mighty whip crack.

4 comments

Daniel Zelter on
Rumors have been swirling that the franchise will continue into the next generation with Shia LeBeouf donning the fedora, and it seems this film was little else than a vehicle for that purpose.

As annoyed as I was by the flick, I don't think that was Lucas-berg's intention. It just comes off that way, because of his desperate need to feel like he can still compete with Bay and the Wachowskis. But yeah, having to sit through Indy 4 made me think I actually liked MGS3's take on the idea more, because at least Kojima knows he's getting into parody territory.

It was an entertaining film, but it goes does as the weakest of the franchise, yes, even weaker than Temple of Doom.

I agree. People were hyping it as *better* than ToD, but I just didn't *see* it-Shortround and Willie notwithstanding.

I think this would have gone down a bit better if it came out a decade ago;

It would have been better if Lucas wasn't such a control freak and let Darabont write, instead of the hack who ruined Mission Impossible.

Anyway, did my comments @ http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lupinthethird/message/8733 have any substance?

Luis Cruz on

@Daniel

Lucas' comments recently (damned if I can find it right now) make it sound like this was a bridge film; he said that he could see how the franchise could go on without Ford. Whether or not this revelation hit him after the script was complete, the film still feels like it simply wants to setup the successor and little else.

As for your comments, I haven't seen LeBeouf enough to get a good read; he's certainly young enough for the part and has a close physical look for Lupin. As for Indy 5, if it happens, it don't see it being a Lucas/Spielberg production again; I can't see either of them getting fired up for another picture where Ford isn't in the lead.

Daniel Zelter on

Sorry, by MGS3’s take on the idea, I meant a retro Cold War action-adventure homage.

Daniel Zelter on

An Indy 5 will be a CG cartoon like Clone Wars. ^_-