Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: In Review

Last year, it was John McClane who came roaring back with a fourth film to the Die Hard franchise after a long absence (12 years after the film) and John Rambo earlier this year (20 years). Trilogies seem to be a thing of the past in Hollywood, as many of the franchises are turning into quadrologies (and perhaps even more) because people are drawn back into their favorite characters' worlds (Terminator, Spider-Man, Shrek, etc.) This time, Spielberg, Lucas & Ford reunite once again, 19 years after the Last Crusade to bring home the biggest film of the year for many box-office predictors to search for the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Without giving too much away, in this installment, Indy and his treasure hunting buddy Mac (Ray Winstone) are kidnapped by soviet soldiers led by the infamous Dr. Spalko (Cate Blanchett) in search of the Crystal Skull which will provide them with a new kind of weapon dealing with mind control. As Indy escapes narrowingly and seemingly in impossible ways (in good old Indiana fashion), he must team up with a young James Dean-John Travolta hybrid named Mutt (Shia LaBeouf) to find the professor (John Hurt) who holds the key to the whereabouts of the Skull and the legendary City of Gold, not without finding along the way his once great love Marion (Karen Allen) who has a few secrets of her own.
Many critics agree that this film takes the action sequences and the CGI too far in this film, creating over-the-top situations and tries to make us forget how old Harrison really is. Well, in a Indiana Jones film, what do you expect? You have to take a step back to try to enjoy the ride because that's what it's all about. Agreed, some sequences will look ridiculous (Indy surviving the impossible in the Nevada desert with the help of an everyday appliance or young Shia with his Jungle swing set, so to speak), but Indiana always finds a way to move forward. You hit him, he'll hit you back, that's just how he is. Cate is fun to watch because she can have a million henchmen with her, she'll do the ass-kicking today. Well, never send a man to do a woman's job, that must be her motto. Her accent is spot-on, and I loved that wig. It is a shame that John Hurt has very little to work with, because for a man who seems to have all the answers, his character acts more like Rain Man than an archealogist. But overall, I don't have many complaints about the film, except the idea of having a fifth film with Shia taking over the franchise as Lucas (money grubber) is advancing. That's why I adore the very last scene, where Steven (and Harrison) prove that there is only ONE Indiana Jones.
For the Oscars, I expect it to compete in the Sound categories, Visual Fx, maybe Art Direction, but this movie will serve more as one of the good entertainment films of the year for the whole family.
Rating : 3/4

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