The first Indiana Jones movie on my list turns out to be the last one released and the one with the most mixed reviews. Many have mocked Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to no end for its absurd contrivances, Shia LaBeouf’s casting as potentially the next Indiana Jones, and that silly scene in which they “nuked the fridge,” which has joined “jumped the shark” as a way to describe the moment when a series or franchise goes too far. Yes, it’s not perfect and not quite on par with its predecessors, but Crystal Skull remains an entertaining return for everyone’s favorite archaeologist.
Let’s not lie: Harrison Ford is old, and his scenes of direct physical combat are a bit unconvincing, but he’s still Indiana Jones and is a good foil for the youthful Mutt Williams, just as Sean Connery was for Ford in The Last Crusade. I thought it noteworthy that, for all his sleeping around, Indiana Jones actually had a son. Just imagine how many kids James Bond may have out there. It was certainly enjoyable to welcome back Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood, and most of the other actors fill their roles well, from John Hurt as Harold Oxley to Ray Winstone as Mac and especially Cate Blanchett as Spalko, whom I always think of when I see a similar hairstyle. (Lost alert!) I should also mention that Alan Dale, who played Charles Widmore on my favorite show, has a brief role as a general defending Indy against accusations of treason.
Like the reviews, the plot itself is mixed. It has moments that strain any form of credulity (the fridge scene, Mutt’s Tarzan-style monkey attack) alongside moments of near brilliance (that whole jungle fight/chase is the best part of the movie). I can go from cringing at a creepy graveyard scene to laughing at how the characters somehow stay in the truck going over two waterfalls (they fall out by the third). It hits all the familiar beats that we would expect from an Indiana Jones film, from dangerous booby traps to the requisite creepy crawlies, giant ants in this case. Whatever some may think of it, it’s entertaining without a doubt.
Do I want to see another Indiana Jones film? Maybe. As with most things, it depends what they might do with it. The end of this one seemed like a letdown to my VC, but I suppose it’s a fitting “retirement” for the famous adventurer. Crystal Skull may be the lowest of the Indiana Jones films on my list, but it’s certainly an exciting ride for anyone not in the mood to nitpick.
Best line (mirroring a better one from Raiders of the Lost Ark): (Mutt) “What’s he gonna do now?” (Marion) “I don’t think he plans that far ahead.”Artistry: 4 Characters/Actors: 6 Entertainment: 9 Visual Effects: 7 Originality: 6 Watchability: 9 Other (silly plot points and some minor language and violence): -3 TOTAL: 38 out of 60
Next: #231 – Surrogates
© 2014 S. G. Liput
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