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Movie Review Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
 May 20, 2008
 
Grade:  B
Director:  Steven Spielberg Released:  May 2008
Writer:  David Koepp, George Lucas MPAA Rating:  PG-13
Players:  Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen Running time:  124 minutes
Ratings Methodology


 

Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the greatest films of all time; I'll not waste time comparing Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to it.  However, Skull is right in line with both Temple of Doom and Last Crusade.

Mild spoilers ahead.

It's easy to find flaws with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  But for each moment I disliked, there was a moment that I loved.  For each Tarzan scene, there was a quicksand scene.  For every plastic looking crystal skull there was a cobweb on Indy's hat.  And for every dead weight character (hello, Prof. Oxley) there was Mutt Williams.

Shia LaBeouf, as Mutt, was better in this movie than I anticipated.  I figured he would carry his own weight, but he did more than that, in many cases he carried the weight of the entire movie.  Other than the monkeys and the plants to the crotch (which have nothing to do with Shia and everything to do with the script), I really enjoyed his character.  He had some terrific moments, dare I say, iconic moments?  He's the second strongest supporting character the franchise has seen since Marion Ravenwood in Raiders (the first strongest is Sean Connery as Jones Sr.).  Too bad Marion got neutered in this adventure.  She had almost nothing to do other than smile at Indy.

The other good news is that Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones again.  Older, yes, but still Indy.  It was an Indiana Jones movie.  During a motorcycle chase scene, Indy is pulled into the window of a moving car, wherein he throws a few punches and promptly exits the vehicle by climbing out the window on the other side of the vehicle.  That is the moment which notified me Indy was back.  It was the moment that allowed me to relax and enjoy the ride the rest of the way.  Crystal Skull is better than most of the action adventure films that have come out since Last Crusade.  I'll take Crystal Skull over any of the Mummy or Tomb Raider or National Treasure movies.

Of course, me being me, I have a couple more complaints.  As I said, it's easy to find flaws with this picture.  First, the crystal skull was too convenient.  It was the answer to too many puzzles.  It opens a chamber, it allows Indy to communicate with Ox, it scares away natives, it prevents the assassination of JFK.  Well, you get the idea.  It's used as a one-size-fits-all decoder ring.

No payoff to the "don't touch anything" line from the trailer.  As a cute tip of the hat to Temple of Doom it's okay, but you've got to pay it off.  Mutt has to touch something and cause trouble for Indy.  Lack of payoff was kind of a theme with this movie. How/why was Dr. Jones reinstated at the college again?

In the final Analysis the pros outweigh the cons.  While there are parts I did not like, I liked the movie overall.  It was fun, it made me laugh, it offered nostalgia to the previous films.  I enjoyed it - I had a good time at the movies.

- crocoPuffs

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