Sunday, August 21, 2016

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) #reviews

Famed archaeologist/adventurer Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones is called back into action when he becomes entangled in a Soviet plot to uncover the secret behind mysterious artifacts known as the Crystal Skulls.

Concluding our epic revisiting of the Indiana Jones franchise, we reached Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Since a fair amount of time passed in real life, this is reflected in Crystal Skull. We hook up with a much older, much more reflective Indy in his autumn years. That being said, he still possesses a typical Indy habit of landing himself in hot water.

This time the Soviets have replaced the Nazis as villains, and we find ourselves in a milieu in the grips of the Cold War, set up  against the deliciously evil Dr Spalko (played by Cate Blanchett, who remains one of my favourite actors).

While McGuffins present in previous films were of a sacred nature (the Ark of the Covenant, holy stones, Holy Grail) the object everyone's gasping after this time is a crystal skull pilfered from a Native American tomb. What follows is a typical wild race to a location filled with hostile natives, traps and certain death.

What I loved about this film is that it refers back to previous instalments by bringing Indy back with the indomitable Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) from Raiders and some fresh daredevil blood with Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf). There's a shift in dynamics since Indy isn't quite as spry as he used to be, so Mutt is there to play active sidekick.

I was prepared not to like this film – after all, how often can you reprise the same characters until the Law of Too Much Awesome kicks in. I'm not going to lie – the ending was epic, and most certainly *not* what I expected – but I enjoyed the ride and the film held a solid internal consistency. There's nothing higher grade with an Indiana Jones film. It's action. It's humorous dialogue. Granted, a few of the gags were just downright awful (the scene involving quick sand and the snake rope – I was like, nope, that's really the kind of humour you'd expect to entertain a five-year-old) but overall the movie engaged me, made me smile and scratched the right itches I have for an Indy film.

The epilogue was suitably heartwarming and tied up enough "happy for nows", and they *could* have left well enough alone there with Indy's stories and have been fine, but yeah *sigh* ... they're busy with Indiana Jones 5 with Harrison Ford ... And I'll be honest, I'm dubious on whether it's right or whether it's practical for them to do this. Crystal Skull is a perfect stopping place. If anything, breathe fresh air into the franchise by telling the story of his granddaughter, if Disney absolute has to. I pray (and this is something that may even drive me to feeling slightly religious) that the screenwriters don't fuck this up. PLEASE don't fuck this up. I've a soft spot for my favourite professor. He's getting old and creaky, and I'd like his story to end well, without it becoming cringe-worthy.

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