Sunday, June 15, 2008

Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull yesterday, several weeks after it came out in theaters, and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the original films as a kid, but I never had the dedication to them that I've had for Star Wars. I didn't come in with the high hopes of over-analyzing of the dedicated fanboy, but merely the interest of a summer moviegoer.

The Indiana Jones films have always suspended belief, exercising a little bit of "rubber-band reality," as Matt Groening summed up in the reality in The Simpsons, but it got a little bit too ridiculous in Crystal Skull. (SPOILER ALERT!) For one, Jones survives an atomic blast by hiding in a titanium-cased refrigerator in one of the fake houses laid out within weapons testing sites. I don't know if that's possible, but surely he would have a few bruises and would vomit once he came out of the fridge. That doesn't happen, though, and instead he comes out still his handsome 60-year-old self.

An interesting storyline is set-up of Jones being suspected of communist ties by the government, and is quickly dropped, never to be heard of again. With the resulting hour and a half or so of story taking place outside of the United States, I'm not sure how the writers could have worked that into the script, but it was an interesting plotline that would have been able to really remind watchers that they were watching a 1950s-era film, and not just another romp through the early 1930s, which is what it did at times feel like. Aiding to that time confusion was Cate Blanchett's character, Dr. Irina Spalko, who struck me in her mannerisms and outfit as much more German and Nazi-like than Russian.

Besides those objections, it was a pretty good film. When compared to the first return to the Star Wars universe, 1999's The Phantom Menace, this return to the world of Indiana Jones was leaps and bounds ahead.
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