Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

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

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Starring Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Shia LaBeouf, Karen Allen

Author

Credit goes to the filmmakers for returning to the visual style of the original movies of the series, and the Indiana Jones movies have the best punching sounds ever. But I’m not sure if “modernizing” Indy, even if it’s just the 50’s, really works. By extension, would a movie about Indy as a traditionalist father in the rebellious 60’s work? Or grandpa Indy wearing bell bottoms in the 70’s? No way.

Rather than watching Indy lead an interesting supporting cast on a great adventure, we have a relatively isolated Indy struggling to remain cool while the world around him leaves him behind. Instead of seeing Indy take on the world with the attitude and charm we have become so familiar with, we are given a whimsical story about aliens and other dimensions that borders on the ridiculous. It almost seems like Indy himself has a hard time convincing us that this adventure is anything like his previous ones.

I suspended my disbelief for the duration of the film, and I really wanted to believe that the flying saucer at the end was cool. But I just couldn’t swallow it. Indiana Jones has made the leap from fantasy to science fiction, and that doesn’t work for me.

They’ve had almost twenty years to come up with a knockout script for what is likely the series finale, and this is the best they could come up with? Does Spielberg even know how to make a good movie anymore? It’s been a decade since he made a really good one (Saving Private Ryan).

Ford is pretty good, all things considered, but he just doesn’t have the material to work with. Wearing his hat wasn’t what made him masculine. It was his physical strength, his charm, and his wit. In this one, he’s still in shape and can still move, but his lines are gone, and there’s no one to charm. Nice to see Allen again, but she is a shell of her former self, missing the spunk she showed her first time around and looking more like a soccer mom than a damsel in distress. LaBeouf has got it made. Prime roles are just being handed to him.

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