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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Long title and one I have trouble remembering. I keep calling it Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, which gets the gist of it across, I guess. Harrison Ford reprises his role as Indy and Karen Allen is back as Marion Ravenwood, although I'd argue that she isn't the co-star. I think that title goes to Shia LeBouf as Mutt Williams.

Warning: There might be spoilers ahead

I'm going to try really hard not to give too much away since it's a new movie, but I might slip up and I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone.

The plot gets rolling when Indy is kidnapped and dragged onto a US military base by Soviet agents. They want him to find something in the warehouse, but he doesn't know where it is. (And if you saw the warehouse with its millions of crates, you'd know why.) To buy time, he goes along, pulling a MacGyver like stunt--the contents of the box is highly magnetized, so he uses gun powder and shotgun bbs to find the correct box.

This is where the adventure begins. The Soviets are lead by Col. Dr. Irina Spalko (played by Cate Blanchett) and she and her troops are the opponents that Indy has to best. Along the way, Indy is joined by Mutt Williams, Marion Ravenwood, and an old school friend, Oxley.

Um, I think I better leave the plot description here. No spoilers, I believe since everything I said happens in the first fifteen minute of the movie.

I wanted to love this movie, but it felt as if the energy was missing from it. I enjoyed it and I'm glad I watched it, but I'm also glad I didn't spend the money to go to the movie theater. This is the perfect rental film, I guess.

Aside from the missing energy, I also thought the plot was farfetched, and considering I write paranormal romance, you have to go some distance to get me thinking something is farfetched. :-) The concept should have been something I loved, but it was just a little too far out there. I know the first movie involved the Arc of the Covenant and all that, but the crystal skull was beyond that.

There's no real relationship between Indiana and Marion in the movie although we're supposed to buy that feelings have been running strong since the first movie despite their not seeing each other in years. And the humor of the first and third films was definitely missing here. (I'm not a fan of the second Indiana Jones movie and see no reason to ever watch that one again.)

My other disappointment came with the ending. For one thing, it made me think of The Mummy and for another, it was just a bit anticlimatic IMO. After all the build up, I expected more than what was delivered. Again, the energy was missing from the end the same way it was from the rest of the movie.

That said, there were some nice moments in the movie, too. If you watch the movie, pay attention to the car chase at the beginning inside the military warehouse. You'll see one of the crates break open and show something special.

I also liked the relationship between Indy and Mutt. It worked for me both before and after, and the way it changed, seemed natural to me. Another part I enjoyed was Oxley. Everyone thought he was mad, but the man had the key to what was going on and he came through--most of the time.

Overall, it was a pleasant enough diversion, but not the best Indiana Jones movie ever. I rank Crystal Skull ahead of the 2nd movie, but the original and the third with Sean Connery are by far the best films.

My rating: 3.5/5