Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The new Indy is better than Temple of Doom. Just.

It actually leaps a whole bunch of hurdles. This is definitely Indiana Jones; despite a geriatric Harrison Ford there is no question this film is cut from the same cloth as its predecessors. And there are a lot of fun moments to justify your cost of entry.

But the plot's a bit of a muddle. It's a mystery why it's called Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, especially as there's no kingdom to be seen. A better name would have been Indiana Jones and the City of Gold, or Indiana Jones and the Saucer-Men From Mars. Or even Indiana Jones and the Retroactively Misnamed Third Movie.

Actually, they could have called it Indiana Jones and the Neverending Car Chase. The film starts with a drag race, moves swiftly to some shenanigans with cars in a warehouse, and segues neatly into a daring motorcylce escape. After that there's a protracted jeep chase featuring swordfighting, vine-swinging and a bazooka, and the whole thing caps off with Indy and crew going over a bunch of waterfalls. In a car. Man, those are some fantastic chases, but it would have been nice if sometimes Indy had done something on foot.

Cate Blanchett plays a generic Communist on the hunt for the titular Crystal Skull. She's clearly supposed to evoke the monocle-wearing Belloq from Raiders, but she never manages to emote any real evil, and after a while it just feels like Indy and his friends have developed a thing for punching women.

Ultimately there's two audiences who will end up seeing Crystal Skull. For one audience, they could have walked into a cinema and stared at a blank screen for two hours while the Indy theme music played and called it brilliance. I'm more or less in that crowd. The rest of the world, who were hoping for some sort of Indiana Jones Casino Royale, will likely be disappointed by this muddled tale of Aztecs and aliens.


ceylincohomes said...

I kind of expected it to be kind of weak. It’s unfortunate that that seems to be the case. I would have liked a great addition to the Indy trilogy, but that is ok. My expectations arent very high for this film.

I also would just like to say that I wouldn’t call Iron Man a “homerun”…It was alright IMO. The suits looked great, and it had some pretty good CG, but overall it was just alright.. Ia Stil watching all Movies Here http://www.80millionmoviesfree.com

Grant said...

Retroactively misnamed? Huh?

Do you mean "The Last Crusade", so named because it was the final journey of Western adventurers into the Middle East in search of religious fulfilment and riches, and not - as many mistakenly believe - because it was supposed to be the last movie?

Greg Tannahill said...

I mean that the third movie was called the Last Crusade both for its historical connections and for its place in the original trilogy; and also as a remark on Sean Connery's character arc.

The fourth movie makes at least one of those reasons redundant and leaves the last movie wishing it had been called Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail, or somesuch.

The historical "crusade" in Indy 3 barely figured in the plot.