Thursday, December 25, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Through the "magic" of digital effects, we are handed "Raiders of the Lost Ark," but repackaged as a disappointing rip-off. The film is horrendously diagrammed by the once creative mind of Steven Spielberg, which coasts down a plot where ends don't often meet, and when they do, they are way too obvious. This may not be your mother's Indiana Jones, but I appreciated the movie one generation back, the one that was original, well-done, and perfectly action-packed. This one very speedily cooks towards an awful ending, one in which there are punchlines aplenty. I just failed to see the plot there. There is one sequence that did help the movie save a tiny bit of face, and that was the Yale motorcycle chase. That was very well done, scenery-dropping, exhilarating fun. The movie it was in wasn't. Well, on with this review. Harrison Ford obviously checks in as Indiana nee Henry Jones, Jr, an action hero who is very truth telling: he is a parallel with Ford. Well, Indiana now is fighting in the Cold War, and trying to find a skull in some South American ancient tomb, so on, so on. We can see that Spielberg has gone on autopilot from the beginning, inserting Soviets for Nazis, but not actually changing much else. He does, though, introduce a younger character, Mutt Williams (Shia Lebeouf), typical motor-greaser who crosses paths with Indiana, and tells him that his mom has been chased by the Soviets and Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett, usually very good, this time going through the motions). This sets up an emotional macguffin: Mutt is Indiana's son! So that means that Karen Allen makes an appearance as Marion Ravenwood, but I really think it was a bad idea. From her announcing of the family tie, the film heads in a downward spiral, often branching off of the relationship, but mostly just goofing around with CGI and Shia Lebeouf swinging like a madman through trees. We also get to see John Hurt looking gaunt for the umpteenth time, as Ox Oxley, the man who knows a lot about the crystal skull. The crystal skull controls minds, and needs to be returned to the cavern where it originally lay. Speaking of all this returning, I believe the script ought to have been returned to Spielberg's desk with a note: Why are we aiming for a grand slam? C-

Indiana Jones 4 has one disturbing scene, and also some action violence.

No comments: