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Indiana Jones And The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull

Posted by evankessler on May 23, 2008

As I entered the Ziegfeld theater on opening night of Indiana Jonesand The Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls I was constructing my own “Horribility Scale” whereby I would rank the film on a scale from one to ten, one being Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (mediocre but enjoyable), Ten Being the Star Wars Prequels (mind blowingly horrendous). Having been conned into George Lucas’ three Star Wars prequels my cynical expectation for IJATKOTCS was to come in at an even nine on my previously laid out scale, even though I hoped for it
to exceed expectations and surprise me with about a four and a half.

The curtains opened up and this reviewer felt a chill of excitement. The screen was revealed as as was the action, opening with a gopher emerging from a hole and a 50’s Era teen-drag race type scene…I was a tad bit unsure that I was in the correct theater. Despite my original misgivings the film opened with promise. The first fifteen to twenty minutes were a dose of Jonesian delight. Although Indy himself looked a little long in the tooth the action that ensued complete with relics, evildoers, and some cranium kicking from a creaky old man set the film off on a relatively rollicking pace. It was more or less all downhill from there. The more characters that became involved in the action, the more the plot resembled that of the film Goonies. A bunch of friends were hunting for buried treasure as the bad guys were hot on their tail. The whole film seemed like a scavenger hunt of sorts. Thestrength behind the films like Raiders of The Lost Ark and The Last Crusade was that the archaeological relics being sought out had somewhat of a known historical basis and a connection was built to the importance of that which was sought. In The Last Crusade for example, the Holy Grail was more than just Jesus’ cup, it was a bridge between Indiana and his father. The Crystal Skull in this film seemed so foreign that not even the characters knew why they were looking for it. All everyone knew is that it had some psychic power and that Cate Blanchett wanted it and it drove another guy crazy that Indy used to be friends with. Often times it seemed like the only reason anyone wanted to find the Crystal Skull is because they finally had the directions to get there. The other angle played up in the film was, of course, the reunion of Indy and Marion Ravenwood. As nice as it was to see Karen Allen back on screen again and the two arguing just like old times…it was really unneeded.

Another strong point of the other two sequels was that they never stopped to consider the film or films that preceeded them. This film feels like it dwells on a relationship built up 27 years ago…but that relationship doesn’t necessarily weigh on anything that occurs throughout the film, but nonetheless provides a few one liners.

The rest of the supporting cast felt a bit wasted. While Cate Blanchett is always a pleasure to watch, she never angered me with her evilness…and it seemed like no thought went into writing John Hurt’s character, they just lazily said he was crazy from the Crystal Skull. Ray Winstone played the token worthless fat guy and Shia LeBeouf wasn’t unenjoyable and lord knows he certainly injected some youth into the proceedings as Indy’s travel partner and initiator of the plot thickening trip to Peru. I’d say more but I don’t do spoilers. Lebeouf participated in plenty of action sequences that might cause me to give up my suspension of disbelief altogether.

As harsh this review has been, I’m not sure the film deserves a ten on my haphazardly formulated horribility scale. I’ll give it a seven and a half and a hearty “DAMN YOU SPIELBERG AND LUCAS!” for ruining such a good thing by making part IV. I’ve already put the $12 I’m not spending on Indiana Jones V: Mutt Williams and The Sasquatch Trail of The Pacific Northwest, into a savings account so I can hopefully make my money back by the time that comes out.

2 Responses to “Indiana Jones And The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull”

  1. David said

    It was awful. It made everybody look bad. I actually thought the Star Wars films were better, at least they kept their internal logic most of the time. Oh well, we should be used to getting mugged by Lucas by now.

    So when Lucas gives you lemons, make lemonade:


  2. Evan Kessler said

    No no. I say when Lucas gives you Lemons ask for another director to give you tastier fruit.

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