Friday, June 13, 2008

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullWe went to see the long-awaited fourth movie in the Indiana Jones series - Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull.
The story is set in the Cold War era of 1957 with the Russians seeking to learn the arcane secrets of the universe. When their agents track a young man (Shia LaBeouf) carrying a coded message from a Professor Oxley (John Hurt) to Professor Henry "Indiana" Jones (Harrison Ford), they know they're onto something big.

Led by the thoroughly nasty Colonel-Doctor Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), the Russkies follow Jones and the young man, Mutt, to Peru. With Oxley's message decoded, Indiana and Mutt follow the trail to discover a legendary skull made of a single piece of crystal quartz and a possible clue to the whereabouts of Akator, also known as El Dorado, the City of Gold.

Of course, Spalko and her thugs aren't far behind and our heroes are captured and discover that they also have Oxley and Mutt's mother (Karen Allen), who turns out to be an old flame of Indiana's. The Russians believe the skull to be an alien artifact of great psychic significance and a source of immense knowledge. And so the fun begins with Indie and good guys escaping with the skull and trying to find out the secret of Akator while preventing the Russians from getting hold of it again.

Sure it was nice to see Harrison Ford back in the role of Indiana Jones and goodness knows we've waited long enough for this movie to get made. However, even with Steven Spielberg directing and a reasonably decent cast, this movie just doesn't live up to the reputation of the previous ones.

Can't really fault the cast. Ford is on form as Henry Jones, Blanchett is the archetypal bad guy (or gal), Hurt does his best bewildered professor bit as usual and even LeBeouf doesn't overdo it. Even Ray Winstone, playing a duplicitous character of no real import, manages to downplay his normal cockney barrow-boy image and do a decent bit of role -playing. To be honest we'd expect a bit of over-acting in an Indie movie but it's the unlikely stunts and action scenes that make it look bad - a sword fight taking place on two moving vehicles over rough terrain, using a snake as a rope, surviving a nuclear blast inside a fridge, a boat going over three waterfalls without anyone getting a scratch, etc.

I can't say it was bad as it thunders along at a decent if unlikely pace but it is by far the weakest Indie movie in the series. Even the plot involving crystal skulls, Russians, Incan treasure and aliens wasn't so bad either but it was so underwhelming after the big build-up it got and a 19-year wait. Wouldn't recommend it as a DVD purchase but it's worth a rental just to see Indiana Jones ride again, possibly for the last time. I don't imagine Harrison Ford will don the fedora and bull-whip again but young Mr. LeBeouf may well be being groomed as his successor. We can but wait and see but hopefully it won't take so long or suck so much next time.

Genre:Action, Adventure, Fantasy
My Rating: 6/10

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