Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Posted Thursday, May 22, 2008, 7:32 PM

I am not a big fan of the Indiana Jones movies, but I am enthusastic about them. I enjoy all three of them, almost on an equal basis. I didn't see Raiders in the cinemas originally, as I was only 11 and I don't think I recognised it as a film intended for me. It was mostly aimed at kids slightly older than me. And that's part of the problem with the whole series - as I grew up, the movies did not - George Lucas maintained his intention of having the movie appeal to fourteen year old boys.

Well, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is in that same league. Teenage boys are going to love it, but 40 year olds who grew up with the franchise are not. They'll pick it to bits and come away disappointed that it veered from the course they feel it ought to have followed.

And the problems are too many to list, though they are small and can be overlooked. Except for one.

Good Things: Action and adventure, and humour, aplenty. The effects are impressive and don't dominate too often. And it is definitely Indiana Jones in tone.

Bad Things: Too many fanboy moments. Felt like a lot of set pieces tenuously linked together. Too many characters just stood around not doing very much. A couple of the set pieces and effects sequences were poorly constructed or were just stupid. Janusz Kaminski's photography looked... strange, sometimes, like he was uncomfortable with harking back to the earlier movies. Even the music was bland and unimpressive. But most importantly, the worst part was that the conclusion was unsatisfying; The bad guys' come-uppance didn't really make a lot of sense.

Overall, I think I need to watch it a few more times, on DVD, to really appreciate it. I may enjoy it more in my own environment, coming in armed with the whole story already known to me, so I can ignore the broader stuff and enjoy the smaller moments.

Oh, and in terms of spoilers: Click for spoilers

The worst kept secret in Hollywood: Mutt Williams, played by Shia, is Indy's son to Marion Ravenwood, and his real name is Henry Jones III. *sigh* They really didn't need to do that.

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