Saturday, May 31, 2008

Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull **1/2
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by David Keopp
Starring Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, and Jim Broadbent

Whoa, whoa WHOA! Did you see that cast? Talk about all stars. I mean you got the aging veteran (Harrison Ford) the new Hollywood poster boy (Shia LeBeouf), the talented actress (Cate Blanchett), the British character actors (Ray Winstone, John Hurt and Jim Broadbent), and the one who comes back because of story reasons (Karen Allen). Add that with Steven Spielberg, and you get an awesome, fantastic blockbuster, right? Not really. I mean the cast is great, it's just the movie that's not.

After 19 years since the great Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade fought the Nazis for one last time. It's 1957. Now it's the Red Soviets turn to handle the power of something crazy and not understandable to the average dumbass. It turns they are after a thing called a crystal skull. There aren't many in the world, but it turns out that Indy's friend has it. Anyways, the opening sequence where Indy sloppily fights the Ruskies and survives a nuclear blast is unexciting and predictable. That's the film's problem. All the sequences are very uninteresting. The same thing goes for the plot. It follows the Indy play book pretty throughly. There's the sidekick, the badass villain with superiority complex, and the crazy special effects ridden finale, which is truly spectacular here, but once again uninteresting. I also won't tell much about the plot since it would be mean, but it has influences of the 50's sci-fi films. That's all I'll tell.

The actors, however, don't act on paychecks. They act on the fact they are in the new Indiana Jones movie. For the first few minutes, Harrison Ford's dry, cool wit isn't dry and cool. It's just wit. Then the with gets it's dry and cool back. My hatred of Shia LeBeouf may be shrinking, as he isn't so annoying and Hollywoodesque in this film, as he plays the greaser Mutt quite well. Cate Blanchett, despite being great almost all the time, is a bit of shortcoming here, as she struggles with the Russian accents a bit, but she still manages to fit into the villian role as Colonel-Doctor Irina Spalko. While the other supporting players nail it. Ray Winstone has the right amount of humor as the deceptive, albeit predictable character of George McHale. John Hurt is kookily brilliant as the once-genius Harold Oxley, who goes nuts in search of the skull. Karen Allen is just there.

Even though the ending of Indy 4 calmed the audience down of the hopes of the sequel, who know with the Hollywood fat cats will think up for a quick buck. Anywho, Indy 4, not so good. Still the actors can teach other Hollywood films to actually care in their sinking ships of a film.
You did OK, Indy. You could of used some Sean Connery.

Other Indiana Jones films:
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) ****
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) ***1/2
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) ***1/2

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