Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

Dir. Steven Spielberg
3/10

If your a fan of the Indiana Jones’ films, then what I say probably won’t matter; you’re probably going to see this no matter what. I loved the first film, liked the second, really didn’t like the third film and felt the same way about this. I know that Larri liked the first three films, but I didn’t really care for this one.

***
One of the reasons I didn’t like the third film, “The Last Crusade,” was because of the cutesy relationship and jokes that came out of Indy and his father. This spilled over into the clownish take on Marcus. (Note the difference between the Marcus in Raiders and the Marcus in the Last Crusade.) Because of that I was not excited to learn that Shia LaBouf was going to be in the latest installment. I thought the same sort of dynamic was going to occur. The one thing that surprised me, at least initially, was the fact that Spielberg didn’t seem to be taking this tact. Unfortunately, as soon as the Marion character comes on the scene, we get the cute family situations, that really annoy me–especially the way Spielberg handles these situations. I must say, though, the whole tone of the film in the early parts of the film reminded me of the tone in Raiders–no family sentimentality or cutesy jokes. I was really excited and hopeful. But alas, it didn’t stay that way.

Let me stop there and comment on specific aspects of the film.

Harrison Ford:
I wondered how his age would affect the role. The verdict? His face looked older, body frail, but most of all, he just seemed tired and worn out. It was disappointing and sad–sort of like watching Joe Montana play for the Chiefs.

Karen Allen as Marion:
She also seemed old, but the bigger problem was that her acting seemed so wooden. It was a little creepy, although that’s a bit strong. I guess the main problem was that I didn’t think she had much chemistry with Ford; they did not convince me in the slightest that they had great love for each other.

Cate Blanchett:
Terrible villian. Not imposing or formidable at all. More of a cheesy cartoon character (with the cheesy Russian accent like Natasha from Rocky and Bulwinkle). The strapping Russian commander was much more imposing, and I thought he would have made a better villian.

The action sequences:
I was expecting the action sequences to be too contrived and unreal. I was happy to find that they weren’t that way. Unfortunately, the action sequences were just boring. The scenes felt like Spielberg didn’t have anywhere to go.

The pacing.
Temple of Doom had too much action. Raiders was perfect. Crystal Skull had too much down time.

If I had to sum up this film, I’d describe it as a great athlete that has played past his prime. There’s nothing really to prove, and there’s nothing left in the tank.

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