Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – Review

Indy’s off on another whirlwind adventure. This time he’s racing Ruskies, lead by the sword-waving Irena Spalko, to find the origin of the mysterious crystal skull, which may or may not be extra-terrestrial remains. Joining him is his old flame Marion Ravenwood, a young greaser named Mutt, Prof. Oxley, and an old “comrade” Mac McHale.

The jury seems to be out on the latest Indy flick. Public opinion is pretty much split down the middle. My opinions can be summed up in a series of thumbs up and thumbs down:

-Thumbs down for Ray Whinstone, whose Mac McHale character is so typical and cliché it makes B slasher movies look original (fault the writers as well).

-Thumbs up to Shia LaBeouf, whose Mutt is the sole source of youth and energy in this cast of characters, proving his successful performance in Transformers was no fluke.

-Thumbs down to the CGI action sequences. The digital effects are obvious and disenchanting. Gone are the days when you could watch an Indiana Jones movie and wonder “how did they do that?”.

-Thumbs up to the non-CGI action sequences, which are great fun to watch (particularly a delightful motorcycle chase through the streets of Connecticut). They serve as a reminder to the ways action films aught to be made.

-Thumbs up to John Williams, whose musical score adds some much needed gusto to an otherwise mediocre adventure. Thumbs up to Ben Burtt as well, for his great sound effects. Of all the returning talent involved with the original Indy films, they’re the only ones who still seem to be operating in top form.

-Thumbs down to the “Lucasian” (by which I refer to George Lucas) influences in this pic. I blame him for the film’s clumsy climax which forces the actors to do a lot of standing around in front of a blue screen while confusing computer-generated things happen about them.

My diagnosis: Indy’s cogs are rusty, but still in working order. I rank Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to be better than Temple of Doom, but not quite as good as The Last Crusade. Decent summer entertainment.

**1/2 out of ****


Anonymous said...

I'm curious, what did you think of Cate Blanchett?

The Oscar Nazi said...

I liked Cate Blanchett for not taking the role too seriously. She knows there's no need to try and become villain of the year, and as a result she found just the right balance between exotic and (dare I say) believable.

I can't help but laugh at her Russian accent though (she never can get those long "o" sounds without sounding British)!