Thursday, January 30, 2014

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Steven Spielberg, 2008) Review

A few years ago, we would be done with the Indiana Jones films now. Isn't that weird to think about. But, we now have a fourth Indiana Jones film (not quite sure if it's the last but...we'll see) which I picked up on DVD recently so it's time to finish off the Indiana Jones quadrilogy with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal of the most spoiled films in recent history (you all know what happens, don't you!).

During the cold war, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and his work partner Mac (Ray Winstone) are brought before a soviet group led by Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) who uses Indy to find a magnetic crate ctntaining an unrecognisable corpse. Indy returns to university but is interruped by the arrival of a young adult called Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) who brings Indy a letter from a great scholar called Oxley (John Hurt) and the two find themselves on a quest which details the legend of mysterious crystal skulls.

I know what you want me to say. "This film is terrible, waste of time and effort, craps on the original's legacy, NUKE FRIDGE!!!"., I completely disagree. I actually enjoyed this film...quite a bit actually. Is it up there with the others, of course not, but damn it if it isn't better than Temple of Doom. To begin with, I was actually impressed with how well Harrison Ford held up considering it had been 20 years later. Indy, while losing a bit of his suave, still keeps his badass attitude along side a good team of characters. I actually liked Shia LaBeouf as Mutt, who proves his worth and made me actually like Shia LaBeouf and other characters such as Ray Winstone's Mac as well as the surprise character from the second half. Plus, it does have all the elements that go into an Indiana Jones film!

I will admit that it does have problems. While the fridge didn't have me completely up in arms, it was the waterfall scene that had me stepping back and thinking "...what". I know that there is the idea of suspension of disbelief and, while Indiana Jones does run on this idea, but this was up there with the Temple of Doom raft scene. There is also waaaay too much reliance on CGI. The first three utilized more practical effects which would obvious date less than CGI from 2008! A mixed thought was the use of callbacks to the older films. Some are painfully obvious than just seems like fanservice but other, more subtle ones are welcome (did you catch Indy quoting his father?). Plus it's the only film I've seen recently to have a continuity cock-up that actually bothered me. I normally just let them slide.

So in short, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull...not actually that bad. I feel that the only reason it gets so much flack is that it really didn't need to exist. Okay, it is true as the ending of Last Crusade is much more satisfying but since it exists, I'll take it for what it is and that's another Indiana Jones film. All that's missing is the whip.

It may seem like a mixed bag, but it does step up with some likable characters, good acting and Indiana Jones worthy action.

So would I want another Indiana Jones film? Well, I actually wouldn't be against it after watching this as long as Mutt sticks around (and he probably will).

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