Review - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Strictly for Indiana Jones fan’s only!
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Yes, nearly 20 years after the last episode – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in which Indy went in search of the Holy Grail along with his father Henry Jones senior, Indy is back!
The trademark battered fedora is present and so is the bull whip but Indy as played by Harrison Ford is older, more battered, and in seemingly reasonable physical condition. Spielberg must have wondered as to what he should do with the script of this film, coming as it does nearly twenty years after the last Indy film and twenty seven years after Raiders of the Lost Ark, the film that made Indiana Jones into a cult hero in pop culture. In the interim, innumerable blockbuster action adventures have made their way onto screens the world over.
When Raiders of the Lost Ark was released in 1981 it signaled the birth of the monster blockbuster and practically set the trend for swashbuckling action adventures. Post that, we have had films as varied as Romancing the Stone to King Solomon’s Mines to the recent execrable National Treasure, all of which owe their existence to Raiders.
So what does the latest Indy film have to offer? Unfortunately, it offers the same elements as the first one – elaborate action set pieces – three in all, including the one at the opening of the film, dry banter between the lead characters, and a plot that involves archaeological hocus pocus with an accent on the paranormal. I used the word unfortunately, because it is all been done before and Spielberg has nothing new to offer to the viewer either in terms of style or content.
So we have the mouldy caves and rotting mummies, flesh eating ants, mysterious riddles written in long forgotten languages, and exotic locales – the Amazon in this case, not to forget the search for some absolutely super duper mysterious artifact. While the enemies in the earlier films (Raiders and Holy Grail) were the Nazis, this film situated in 1957, has the Russians playing the evil ones at the height of the Cold War, and so we have Cate Blanchett as a very Rosa Klebb type of character (remember From Russia with Love) with a super pseudo Russian accent and creased military pants.
Spielberg has stuck to the comic book feel of the earlier Indy films, and the set pieces are quite standard. True to form, two set pieces involve motor vehicle chases, with Indiana Jones leaping in and out of moving vehicles and Shia LeBeouf indulging in some Douglas Fairbanks style swordplay.
Spielberg does throw in an occasional surprise, as in the sequence where Indy stumbles onto a nuclear testing site. The other sequence where a motorcycle chase ends in a library is also pretty good.
I missed Sean Connery and his witty comments; what we get here is the banter between Harrison Ford and Shia LeBeouf, which for the most part is quite flat. The climax is all CGI generated, and quite tame.
Yes, I felt nostalgic while watching this film and thinking of the years gone by, but that is all this film is likely to do for the fans of Indiana Jones. For the viewer who has not seen an Indy film before I would highly recommend a viewing of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, you could safely give this one a miss!
This review is by guest reviewer Anand S. Anand lives in Pune and is a Miscellaneous Culture Vulture. He is deeply interested in music, food, books, films, and intelligent women. He views himself as a Falstaffian figure, who does his best to indulge his appetites.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - Movie Details
- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Lead Cast: Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett
- Supporting Cast: William Hurt, Ray Winstone, Karen Allen
- Story: George Lucas, Jeff Nathanson
- Screenplay: David Koepp
- Music Director: John Williams
- Running time: 124 minutes
- Reviewer: Anand S
- Language: English
- Country: USA
- Genres: Action, Adventure