“It’s in the space…between Space.”
Rated PG-13. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by David Koepp. Story by George Lucas. Starring Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent and Shia LaBeouf.
I’ve always had a nagging feeling that the Indiana Jones franchise is overrated. Sure, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a great popcorn action flick and the character and all his iconic traits (the hat, the whip, the fear of snakes, etc.) were a stroke of genius, but ultimately, I don’t understand the people who are obsessed with the series. Temple of Doomwas borderline unwatchable when I saw it as a 12 year old and the 20 minutes I caught on TBS the other day were embarrassing at best. The Last Crusade has its moments, but it was pretty forgettable. So, really, you have 1 good movie, 1 okay movie, 1 piece of shit and a great main character.
So, I didn’t really care if they ever made a fourth movie, and after going to see the newest release, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, my opinion on the series is basically unchanged. It’s better than Temple of Doom but worse than The Last Crusade and overall a pretty mediocre film, until the disaster that is the last 20 minutes. I won’t divulge much of the plot, but it’s essentially what you expect — MacGuffins, tombs, jungles and chase scenes — until the end.
At the end, I kept leaning towards my friend, an Indy-die hard, and saying, “are they serious?” as it got more and more ridiculous until it essentially delved into what felt like a parody. Not that I expected a great plot, but it was pretty bad throughout, with some of the least surprising “twists” on record and other than Indy, forgettable and one-dimensional characters. If this is the script they waited 19 years for, they either got really desperate or George Lucas really got his way.
Ford tries his best to salvage the movie, and the major concern about his age is never really a problem, and it is nice to see Indy again. Blanchett is not too intimidating as the Russian villain, and is ultimately wasted. Allen isn’t given much to do in her reprisal of the Marion Ravenwood role and Winstone is pretty one-note. Hurt seems to be having a great time hamming it up as Indy’s old friend Professor Oxley. Also watch for Mikhail from Lost (in a non-speaking part, I think) and The Janitor from Scrubs who each have short appearances.
LaBeouf, who I have a somewhat rational hatred for, doesn’t completely ruin the movie, but it’s so obvious that they’re trying to make him the heir apparent, and that seems to be half the point of the film. I’ll say this — I will never go to see an Indiana Jones movie with him as the lead.
Spielberg’s direction is competent, though some of the action scenes look a little too CGI/green screened and he has to take some of the blame for the failed ending, though the majority goes to Koepp and Lucas. It’s not a horrible movie, I guess, and there are some entertaining sequences. I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it, and it’s certainly not worth the $13.25 we each paid to see it, but when it comes out on DVD, or if a bunch of your friends are going, it’s passable.