Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the
Twenty-seven years after Indiana Jones first appeared in theaters, nearly
twenty since his last appearance, Harrison Ford once again slips on the
battered hat and whip to play America's favorite archeologist/adventurer.
When it came out in 1981, Raiders of the Lost Ark - Steven Spielberg
and George Lucas' tribute to the serial dramas they grew up with - was
completely unique. It was a smart, funny, exciting and even romantic
saga which started off at a gallop and rarely slowed after that.
one-off tribute quickly became three movies. However, no matter how
deified the original trilogy may be amongst film aficionados, the cold hard
fact was only one of the films was worthy of the worship it received.
Only the first was a truly brilliant movie. The prequel Indiana
Jones and the Temple of Doom was a huge, bloody, ridiculous
disappointment. (It is also single-handedly responsible for creating
the PG-13 rating, because it was much too violent for the PG rating it was
given, so it did have some positive effect on film history...) The third installment of the saga,
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was a nice upgrade, but still pales
by comparison to the original.
course, an archeologist knows all about the ravages of time, and there has
been cautious optimism about the idea of bringing a 60-something Harrison
Ford back in one of his two undeniably iconic film roles. Nineteen
years later, is there still a place in the world for Indiana Jones in a new
millennium? Can an actor who is now just a few years away from AARP
membership still pull off breathless action sequences? In a movie
world when the Indy films have been copied for decades, will the original
still pack a punch?
answer to all three questions is yes - with reservations.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is another middling
Indy adventure, pretty good but not a masterpiece.
Apparently Spielberg and Lucas have been biding their time for years,
refusing to make another Indiana Jones film until they found just the
Honestly, it is a little hard to buy that this script by David Koepp
(Spider-Man, War of the Worlds, Panic Room) is the perfection that they
were looking for - the story drags a bit in the middle and can occasionally
be a little precious. It is a relatively interesting story,
although it is a little disheartening when the movie occasionally feels
like an National Treasure rip-off.
late 1950s (the original films took place in the 30s and 40s) Jones has to
race with the evil Russians to find the mythical artifact of the title - a
skull made of solid crystal with mysterious powers that could give the owner
world domination. He is joined by his son (though neither realizes it
at the time), a cocky greaser beatnik named Mutt - played by Shia LaBeouf in
a transparent attempt to get the young audience and maybe even launch a new
generation of Jones adventures.
follow a series of not-all-that-hard clues and riddles leading them to the
jungles of South America, where they find Indy's old love from Raiders,
Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen). Turns out she is Mutt's mother and falls back into
bickering with Indy like not a day had passed. Also in the jungle are
a formerly brilliant, but now apparently deranged mentor of Indy's (John
Hurt), an old partner of Indy's who may not be totally trustworthy (Ray
Winstone) and a whole lot of Russians.
bad guys are typical Indy no-goodniks. Cate Blanchett borrows the look
and accent of Natasha Fatale from the old Bullwinkle cartoons. Igor
Jijikine is just evil and menace incarnate, though the rest of the Russian
troops seem a bit incompetent.
these goings on are punctuated by fights, chases and explosions - more of
which work than don't. When you get down to it, that is the most
important thing in these movies.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull worth the nineteen
year wait? Probably not. Is it good to have the character back?
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: June 3, 2008.