Well, I guess I've put this off long enough. Grab a cold one, this could take a while.
Here we go:
I'm not even sure how to start. We -- myself, my wife, and three kids -- went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on May 23. Ever since then I've been trying to decide how I feel about it. I've tried every way I can to avoid using the
"D" word: disappointment. Actually, I think I've come to terms with it, and I like the movie better the more I think about it -- also, I went back and saw it again that same night. I would suggest this to you die hard Indy fans out there (though, perhaps not the same night). It's a better movie the second time around, because you are no longer in shock.
So why was I in shock? I had basically prepared myself for the plot. I knew it would be different -- very different. Or so I thought.
This movie is nothing like the other Indiana Jones movies. At all. Getting our hopes up astronomically high never fails. You are always let down. But, I couldn't help myself. This was Spielberg, Lucas and Harrison Ford together again making an Indiana Jones movie. That's about as close to a perfect scenario as I can think of for getting one's hopes up.
So this "review" is a bit rambling. That's because I'm conflicted. I want to be able to say this is the greatest movie of all time (or at least since Raiders of the Lost Ark). But, it's not. But it's not the worst movie ever, either. It's actually a pretty good adventure, and there are some moments of brilliance. Shia Lebouf is fantastic! Harrison Ford will always be Indiana Jones, and I'll watch him any time he puts the hat back on.
Karen Allen reprises the role of Marion Ravenwood, and it's great to see her. The truly great moments of this movie are the same as in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade -- they are the interactions between the main characters. The plot is of secondary importance (good thing too here - because the plot really stretches credulity, even for Indiana Jones).
I have decided, after way too much thought, that the real black sheep in the Indiana Jones series is not this movie, or even the other favorite whipping boy, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (I wish everyone would stop bagging on Temple of Doom - it's actually a very good movie) - no, the black sheep is Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was much grittier and realistic than any of the other films. It was the greatest movie of all time (Citizen Cane be darned!).
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull would be better as a series.
I am completely open to the idea of Indy in a new set of adventures, and the end of this movie seems to hint in that direction. One bit of advice: we need a little more Spielberg and a little less Lucas. George Lucas seems to have lost his way. It pains me to write that, but this movie has his fingerprints all over it. Lucas was once a great story teller, but he seems to be more interested in what his minions, at Industrial Light and Magic, can do with a computer (and fleecing his loyal fans for every last cent), than in telling a compelling story.
To sum up:
Is it worth seeing? Absolutely. Will I own it on DVD? Of course. Would I pay to see it in the theater again? Yeah, actually I would.
One more thing to remember. A spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, if you will:
Remember, nineteen years have passed since the last story - for the characters as well as for us. In the world of Indiana Jones, there has been a horrific World War. Atomic Bombs have entered the picture. Communism has become a force to be reckoned with. The cold war is about as close to being a hot war as it ever gets (with the exception of that little Cuban Missile Crisis -- which Kennedy did not just solve, he also helped cause, sorry, I had to get that off my chest). Indiana Jones has been active in the events that have swept the world over the last nineteen years. And finally, The first three movies were set in the 1930's and were an homage to the "B" movie serials of that era. Those "B" movies were adventure movies, set in exotic locales, and often moved from one cliffhanging situation to the next. This new movie is set in the 1950's and again the film makers decided that they would pay tribute to the "B' movie genre of that time period. In the 50's that meant a more science fiction type of story. Just remember that, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will go down much easier.
Go see it.