Thursday, 01 October 2020
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Thursday, 05 June 2008 00:00

ThumbnailIt’s been almost 20 years since Indiana Jones took us on the grand adventure that hinted at being his Last Crusade. Now the “man with the hat” is back – and this time he’s bringing his walker. Seriously though, I find myself surprised and amazed to say that if there is anything about the Indiana Jones series that doesn’t seem to have aged it is Harrison Ford. No seniors joke is spared at his expense but Ford is just as much the rope-swinging, whip-cracking, sexy archeologist as ever.

After some down time playing professor at the university, Indy is once again embroiled in a mystery involving an ancient artifact that has peaked Communist interests. This time the object in question is a crystal skull with a mysteriously elongated cranium, rumored to have psychic abilities. Of course, with his expertise, he’s the man everyone is after and all of a sudden he’s being followed, kidnapped and other indignities not befitting a man getting on in years.

Shia LeBeouf plays Mutt, a greaser decked out like James Dean complete with devil-may-care attitude and bad pompadour haircut. I liked LeBeouf quite a lot in Disturbia, but he just seems awkward and forced in this role. Mutt enlists the help of Indy to save his kidnapped mother who turns out to be Indy’s old flame Marion (Karen Allen, Raiders of the Lost Ark). She hasn’t aged as well as Ford, but kudos to Hollywood for not replacing her with a younger actress. She and Ford still have an easy chemistry and seem to be genuinely having fun.

A few other familiar faces round out the cast, and Cate Blanchett joins in as the nasty Komrade Spalko. She looks every inch the villain, donning sharp military garb with a short sword and icy gaze. Despite her severe appearance she is a striking presence and still beautiful. The thick accent made me think of Natasha from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons!

ThumbnailThe film does an impeccable job at visually paying homage to its predecessors. Everything from the poster design to the quality of the filming looks like it could have been done just a few years after The Last Crusade. This was a conscious effort on the part of Stephen Spielburg who deliberately shunned digital filming in order to reproduce the look and feel of the originals. I really like this concept and for the most part it works in favor of the film, but is a bad combination when mixed with CG that just looks cheesy. In one scene Mutt swings on vines through the jungle with a hoard monkeys and it looks awful – and I mean awful. If I could change only one thing about this movie it would be that scene. It’s that bad.

The story left a lot to be desired and, although it captured my attention for a while, it lost me in the second half. It was still fun to tomb-raid with Indy and the adventure scenes were a lot of fun but really – aliens!??? I kid you not. Leave it to Spielburg to take a perfectly good action adventure film and throw in some completely ridiculous computerized aliens.