I appreciate the fantasy that comes with movie making. I’m very good at suspending disbelief (it is a big reason why I love Star Wars), and I appreciate seeing the “hero” with no training win a sword fight or gun fight when duty calls.
That said, there were parts of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull that even I couldn’t believe.
Fencing fights while straddling two jeeps … swinging Tarzan-style from jungle vines (and into a moving vehicle) … surviving three different drops down a waterfall … surviving an A-bomb blast in a refrigerator (thought that one was pretty cool) … aliens ….
All of this happened in the new Indy film, which felt a lot less like the previous three Indiana Jones installments, which were much more believable … even if they, too, were a little crazy.
But if you can get past the ridiculousness of some of the scenes — and heck, even if you can’t — then it’s possible to appreciate the new Indiana Jones.
All in all, I did … though I was able to look past the flaws.
The new film takes place about 20 years after the third (in the mid 1950s), and we meet a much older Indy as he’s been kidnapped by the Ruskies and taken to the same military storage facility that we saw at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, this time to help Cate Blanchett’s villainess find the remains of an alien she believes can lead to superhuman abilities (all in the effort to rule the world, of course).
Indy’s escape is dazzling, as is his introduction, and soon enough, he’s back teaching and he eventually meets a young 50s greaser named Mutt, played by Shia Lebeouf. A cleverly choreographed motorcycle chase later, and the two are on a plane to Peru to “follow the clues”.
Note, I’m skipping over a lot of plot filler here … the movie WAS two-plus hours long …
It’s there where the two find Mutt’s father-figure, a professor who’s gone crazy thanks to the crystal skull (an alien head, if you haven’t figured it out), and a familiar face from the first Indiana Jones film, Marion Ravenwood, played again by Karen Allen (who’s aged to the point where my wife couldn’t get over it … I thought she looked great considering it’s been nearly 30 years since the first).
The last half of the movie is a lot of “Watch Out!” and “Unbelievable!”, mixed in with some CGI and ancient puzzles. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun … it just didn’t have the magic from Raiders of the Lost Ark or Last Crusade (I thought Temple of Doom had a silly ending, to be honest).
Despite his vine swinging and fencing, I like Shia’s character, and I have to admit, I’m becoming a fan of his. He was the only thing remotely worthwhile about Transformers, and he was great in Disturbia. And yes, I even remember him from his Even Stevens days.
Like I said, the movie is borderline ridiculous, but it’s a perfect summer movie, and it’s much better than similar movies like The Mummy or National Treasure. I’m not calling it a “must see,” but it’s definitely a “maybe go see.”
My grade: 6.5 out of 10.
Below: Again, we had fun with the movie review for this one in Friday’s Herald. Here’s what Page 1C in the Carolina section looked like (if you got a paper and got one of the copies where the printing was blurred, then I hope you appreciate what we tried to do).