Saturday, March 21, 2009

Movie Journal: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

To tell the truth, I had actually looked forward to Indy 4 for some while; though not excessively enough to find time to view it in theaters. Nevertheless, I was excited. Now that I've actually got around to seeing it, I have to say that not only is "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" the worst Indiana Jones film ever created, but it also happens to be one of the worst action films I have had the misfortune to see.

Now, don't get me wrong. I haven't seen loads of terrible action movies, but I have seen my fair share. And, truth be told, Indy 4 isn't all bad. But it just doesn't succeed where it counts.

Take Jones himself, for instance. As longtime fans of the series, do we not empathize with his situation when the Soviets are forcing him to assist them in their search of the Crystal Skull, which they believe will lead them to the ultimate power? Of course. But Jones' responses to these various situations gives us more of the impression that he's just trying to stay out of trouble instead of being in search of adventure. And who could blame him? He's gotta be at least fifty years old by now, right? It's unfortunate that he's really not the same Indiana we remember and cherish.

In fact, nothing we've cherished from past Indiana films is present here. Marcus? Dead. Jones' father? Dead. And so what we are presented with are a group of mostly new characters, the purpose of these being to replace the old, which never comes to fruition. True, some chords are struck here and there, such as during Shia Labeouf's character's introduction, when he is portrayed as something of a passive thief; a person who takes what he wants without asking, without thinking, and when he feels like it. But that's never really referenced again, and the rest of his character doesn't really reflect that. Also, Karen Allen returns as Indy's long lost G.F. Marion Ravenwood, but the chemistry between her and Ford just isn't there anymore. Not to mention that her character was really badly written this time around.

Perhaps the only character I connected with besides Shi LaBeouf's was Cate Blanchett's. Blanchett did applaudingly well as a Russian villain, and it's a shame because in the end she received the very worst fate among every bad guy in the movie.

The action shines in some moments, but really grinds in the third and perhaps most crucial act of the film. The creators attempt to keep things rolling with cute little domestic inter-character subplots between the main characters, which are badly hatched and executed worse.

Indiana Jones 1, 2, and 3 feature some of the best action scenes ever created, along with superb dialogue and legendary characters to carry it. Indy 4 is the sequel that should never have been made, because then Indy fanatics wouldn't have to pretend for the sake of the series that it didn't exist. Also, I really expected just a little more of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg both. Granted, it's not the worst movie ever made, but it just falls too flat for many people to care for very long.

What I think it comes down to is that, the rest of the series and any expectations aside, even in it's own right The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is an ultimately unfulfilling story. It really is a bad movie.

5 out of 10

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