Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

STEVE - “Don’t touch anything!” should have been the words that Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones directed towards George Lucas instead of Shia LaBeouf’s Mutt Williams. Regrettably, even if he had he would have been too late. So instead after nineteen years of been stuck in development hell, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Harrison Ford dust off the old fedora and return once more to the world of everybody’s favorite archeologist, this time bringing along a new cast, new characters, and a new adventure.

I won’t lie to you; it was a little weird seeing Indy on a new journey. I’ve watched the old movies so many times that it was hard for me to believe that I was watching Indiana Jones in a new motion picture. Nevertheless, as strange as it was to see my favorite action hero venture out on a brand new quest, it was more amazing to see him come back to life. Sure he’s a little older and little worse for the wear, but that look in his eyes, and the gruffness in his voice, and the fedora… oh Indy… I’ve missed you.

However, that doesn’t stop the fact, that for whatever reason, George Lucas has it out to destroy ever grown man’s childhood! Why, George, why?! Indy may be out on a new expedition, but it’s the silliest, brainless, most ridiculous escapade ever! EVER!!! Did you know that the reason it took nineteen years to make a new Indiana Jones movie was because Lucas had this stupid plot in his head from the beginning, but Steven and Harrison had enough sense to say no? Well, now we know that if we ever want to get anything out of Spielberg or Ford all we have to do is ask, and then wait nineteen years for them to cave in. Which I’m kind of glad they did, but then I kind of wish they didn’t.

I mean it was great to see Indiana Jones fighting the bad guys again (even though the bad guys were Russians instead of Germans) and solving strange historic puzzles, and digging up buried artifacts. But the story and the special effects got in the way. Whose idea was it to make digital gophers? Come on… those things looked so ludicrous and ridiculously fake. I’m actually surprised… for an ILM movie these special effects were below par. They didn’t have me believing a good portion of what I was seeing, which is rare for ILM. Very rare. And as far as the story goes all I have to say is one thing. A REFIGERATOR?!! REALLY?!!

Actually I lied, I have more to say about the story, but more on that later.

As for the direction, I can say that I was glad that Spielberg returned to the director’s chair. Considering what he had to work with as far as the script went, I was glad he came back. And I’m very glad that Ford returned, because that my friends, is where the real magic happened. Nineteen years later and Ford proves that he can still be and is Indiana Jones. I was afraid at first that he wouldn’t be able to return to the role, and during the first few minutes of the film I didn’t believe that he was back. But then, once the action happened, I was caught… and I believed… and I’m sorry that I ever doubted you Harrison.

As for the rest of the actors; I hate to say that I was surprisingly disappointed. I expected a lot from the likes of Ray Winstone and Cate Blanchett. Unfortunately they did very little to impress me. Even Karen Allen returning in the role of Marion Ravenwood from the first movie disappointed me. Her acting seemed stilted. There was a moment early on in the film that I found myself really missing Sean Connery’s Henry Jones, Senior in the picture. I loved him in Last Crusade and his absence in the picture left a little bit of a, much needed to be filled in, hole. However, Spielberg has found his boy wonder… and he is Shia LaBeouf. The kid has what it takes, and I immediately fell in love with him and his greaser character Mutt. At one point I even began to care for Mutt as much as Indy. A hard feat to accomplish Mr. LaBeouf, and therefore my fedora is off to you.

And now to the script... it was weak, it was very, very weak. The action, direction, everything, with a few exceptions from the special effects department, was good. But the story left so much to be desired. The climax felt so anticlimactic, and I hated it! It was so un-Indiana Jones. But my biggest complaint concerns that of the relationship between Marion and Indy. It’s been twenty some years since these two have been together, and yeah we learn a little bit of history about them, and why they didn’t stay together after the first film. But after a quick spat, these two suddenly fall in love again? How?! You can’t leave someone, go off and have another life, and then all of sudden pick up where you left off twenty some years ago. It doesn’t work like that. There needed to be more development between these two than what was shown on screen for me to believe that they are still in love. No, it didn’t work for me. And neither did the McGuffin. Again, un-Indiana Jones like. Get over yourself Lucas, and quit ruining everybody’s favorite characters with weak story and plot lines!

So should you go see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? If it was any other action movie, with any other action hero, I would tell you no and that you would be better off staying at home and watching something else. However, this isn’t any other action movie, and this isn’t any other action hero… its Indiana Jones.

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